15 Kilometres uphill Nungba, a small hamlet with hard working and skilful citizen thrives in Tamenglong hills. The place is called Haochong along National Highway Number 1.
Two to three lanes diverting in deep corners, houses, a vicinity school, primary health centre, church, few shops together makes a compact hamlet where you find everything in the nearest distance.
The unique setting in the hill top seems like a theatrical set up to a visitor. The charm of the hamlet is that it is well organised and well maintained by the residents through village authorities and other governing body regulations.
Spring Water Tapping
In the middle of the hamlet, a big concrete tank is erected where running stream water is stored for public use. Certain number of small tubular pipelines is seen diverting from the tank for the lowlanders or a distant reach in the local made water supply chain to cover the water needs in a systematic approach.
The water is so crystal clear and warm from the running stream. Adorn by villagers who are busy washing clothes and taking bath around the tank the significance of water in day to day life seem so vibrant.
Overflow of stream water from the pipeline is a very pleasant sight to see. The game of nature is indeed beautiful that it plays to one’s heart. The sources from where the water had streamed down much have been a wonderful place to explore.
Most of the people make their own houses with the available natural resources. A saw mill converts the wood from the nearby forest into furniture use and designer’s sheet, waiting for the youthful hands in polish and nails for a fitting structure of a comfortable good looking house.
Out of fine touch and firm carpentry, many skilled carpenters from Haochong are engaged in some of the renowned carpentry centres in the State..
A mission school and a government school educate the children of Haochong. The hamlet is such a peaceful one, and is very neat and clean.
It is believed that ancestors of Haochong make clothes from the cotton thread they yield through cotton crops. And practice sports based on masculinity and bravery. From throwing the biggest stone at length and higher platform long jumps in the air where one stretch jumps from a 6 feet high platform the people of Haochong are very sporty and athletic.
Historical association with Kings and Queens of the once princely State speaks that people of Haochong secured a Queen with her Princess who were running to Cachar at a deep cave to protect from the enemy when there was a fight for throne. They also keep the foot mark of the visiting Kings engraved in stone plates as a mark of respect.
In Haochong, some stones bearing mark of male genital organ are still kept in a roadway leading to forest area where people use to herd Buffalo and collect firewood at the Western side and upon enquiry it is known that in earlier times people use to measure the size of male genital organs and the largest one wins recognition and honour.
People use to practice Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal husbandry and other initiatives including government services to make their living.
In horticulture, orange remains the main cash crop. They also grow tea leaves and boil them with plain water for any visiting guest. The plain tea is taken to keep the body warm during winter season and rainy days. In simple words people of Haochong practice nature.
Almost every household has a small piggery where three or four pigs are reared by a family. In a good practice they never let out the pigs from the piggery unless on specific time. The practice makes it more systematic and is a hygienic approach to the citizens around.
Small local chickens could be seen picking up worms as the mother hen scratched the ground with the guiding sound she makes. Buffalo is also reared in the hamlet.
Communication and Information
Though there is no local cable TV network some people own DTH for information and entertainment besides the usual Doordarshan and All India Radio services. In Haochong villagers are up to date and kept informed about the happenings around.
Local people use to make wood spins for children to play and some children were obviously seen spinning their wooden device with sling thread to spin on the ground besides their normal games. It was like an innovation witnessed.
During festival time they organise marathon and other sports which is very lively and largely participated.
On connectivity two or three passenger Diesel Jeeps plying between Haochong and Imphal makes an efficient trip. The roads are motor able for two wheelers too.
A fast food or two make things lively at the jeep parking for people to have wait tea and snacks till the operating jeeps is packed with passengers. All but there is enough space and the place looks like a compact one with green pasture wait or a wooden bench stop.
Few shops meet the daily demands of the hamlet from eatery to kitchen stocks including vegetables, mustard oil, salts and other grocery items. The shops fulfil the needs of the hamlet.
People of Haochong have their own way of life since ancient time. They are self-sustainable in the sense that they make their own fabric and other items. Though majority of them follow Christian way of religious practice, the revival of the lost cults and tradition is making way. Of what was believed to have practiced in the past the Haochong people demonstrate it through actual practice as in the form of play by the original inhabitants or depicting the history through action by wearing the traditional clothes and acting every possible practice of grinding grains in the local way to rearing cottons from the crop, and ritual ceremonies at the ancient home.
On festive occasion they sing the folk songs and walk with spears and there was unity in performance from the inhabitants. Traditional inheritances are guarded deeply and Haochong people deserve the recognition they get in preserving their age old practices and valuing their ancestors.
The place is a few hours’ drive from Imphal and is a much place to visit. People living in Haochong value education, they are warm – hearted and hospitable. Their social activities are very much coordinated.
Hoachong is indeed a happy place where people smile through thick and thin. It is developing and will shine with time and efforts from the inhabitants.
In the lofty hills, open sky and green pasture. Spring water tapings and fire twigs gathering, to herding a buffalo in nature’s bounty or sitting on a stony chair in the wintry sun or feeling the breeze on a sunny evening and recording the silence in the night far away from the noise of Diesel Auto the place seems like a little paradise where beauty is to be embraced with sight and bamboo trees swaying with the wind to a majestic view of the blue and green landscape.
The human love of nature is strong and the strength could be felt as one stands and watch the nature from a green pasture in the top most part of Haochong, feeling the blowing wind and listen to tiny voices of the human civilization few meters away.