Our life history is in the hills. We need to do more research. A lady is still alive. Chongnoubi an old lady who use to live in Nungthin village of the hills have so much attachment that she keeps mentioning the name of her village.
She sang a song – “today, if I go back to that village Nungthin, whether my youthful days with my husband and children be there” that was very touching for me,” says Dr Jina of Moyon Women Organization established in 1940.
She continued – “Moyon tribe is one of the least populated tribe in Manipur yet it continues to exist because of the cultural values which our forefathers have lived up to and for which we have been struggling.
Earlier we live in the hills but after the Second World War we are scattered because of the need felt, that we need to go for formal education. And Kapaam Village of Komlathabi, Chandel was a very promising area where we could get all the facilities, that is how we got settled in the valley. Our villagers started establishing schools and we have South East Manipur College established in 1980 in our village.
As Moyon, we have been trying to provide education facility to our people and by now we can say that 70 percent of us are literate. We are in the hills also, as Moyons continued to live there. In Politics, we have less chance of representation as we are very few in numbers.
We studied the language which is not ours. We studied the syllabus where our history is not reflected. That makes us feel that our language is not important and other peoples’ language is more important, other peoples’ history is more important, other peoples’ culture is more important than ours. This is the situation of minority in particular and of the indigenous people all over the world”.
Revival of the ancient
Weaving of the traditional dress is mostly done by women. Many ornaments existed before the Moyon tribe was converted to Christianity that was before 1940. Practicing the ancient tradition was not welcome after the conversion. Lately Moyons have started their revival and cultured the practice of feeling pride in practicing the indigenous which could be witnesses in the smiles they wear when they celebrate their cultural fest
Some festivals and customary functions of Moyons in practice.
The oral tradition like folk songs, folk tales, gives an account of the tribe. Most often the elder people passed on the knowledge to their younger generation.
Here is some of the ancient festival of the Moyons observed every year nowadays. Most of the festivals are related to agriculture and living.
Ikam – anyone with a good harvest expresses his gratitude to the goddess of the paddy and shares his wealth with his people by performing Ikam – a feast of merit. A grand feast which lasts for 3 to 5 days is organized. People sing folk songs and are seen dancing their folk dance during the festival. A person who performs Ikam gets social recognition. Memorial stones are erected in the village in memory of those who perform Ikam when they passed away. The Ikam has eight stages and those who can perform upto fourth stage get high social recognition.
Shaangkhen – is celebrated in the month of August or September to take care of the paddy in anticipation for a rich harvest. It is performed at the village gate by the village elders using mud, plants, stones etc. people eat, drink, dance and sing during the festival.
Vaangcheh – is a merry making festival after annual harvest where a host treat the whole village. The host is carried in a palanquin.
TrekTraang – is a house inaugural function to drive off the evil spirits. It is performed inside the newly constructed house of the village.
Naathuur – traditionally everyone wears earring in the community and everyone must bore the ears. Every child in the family gets their ear bored with a function.
Exhibition of indigenous items of Moyon
Moyons are hard working people they have a huge collection of traditional wear for different occasions. Their ornaments range from bangles to bracelets. Some of the ornaments are inherited from one generation to another as it passed on to their daughters at the time of marriage.
A set of agricultural tool which was displayed at an exhibition hall in the month of January when Moyon women organization celebrated its diamond jubilee celebration in Jan. 2015 attracted many. Various Bamboo Handicraft products like storage for grain, bamboo set storage for kitchen items, and the small bamboo containers which fishermen carry at the time of fishing were displayed.
Various traditional garments which the ladies and men folk wore on different occasions and day to day basis were also displayed in the hall. In a way the display was quite learning for other communities and for each items there was a tag with names on it. As such their effort in documenting and cultural revival could be witnessed in a glimpse at the time of the celebration.
Women empowerment by Moyon Women organization for harmony
“ Moyon tribe is one of the most important tribe and some say status of women in Moyon tribe is high.
I remember the olden time in our community when a lady holding a child could not participate in a gathering as it will disturb the meeting that was the time women folk got really disturbed.
When a woman is divorce she does not get any right to get anything. This is practiced in our community till today. The Challenge we faced as a women in social communication is overcome now. We felt that we as a women need to keep up the spirit of harmony.
We have been conducting workshop and interaction with our men folk. We were one of the first women organizations given privilege in the apex body of the Naga conference. We got the voting right. In the Apex body assembly Moyon lady leaders can speak out the difficulties. They are positive to the women status in the society now. That is how all the chief in the village have help our women organization in cash and kind and most importantly advices.
Men folk know much more than womenfolk. Our men folk are appreciative of our activities.
Culture is our roots, our identity, our basis and we need to revive. We are celebrating the diamond jubilee function with the motto of building our homes for posterity through culture. We have our own folk dance and folk songs, traditional attires and ornaments”, says Dr. Jina of Moyon women organization who is a social worker and an academician.
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