On the Primary level of Education, the medium of Instruction in both Government Schools and Private Schools is English. Wancho is not at all used as medium of Instruction.
On the Secondary level, English is again used as the medium of Instruction. Hindi, Assamese and Sanskrit are offered as optional subjects. Wancho, Nockte and Tangsa etc are used as MIL (Major Indian Languages).
Even at the college level, English is used as the medium of Instruction. English is also used for honours’ study such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine. In few colleges, the local language is used as the medium of instruction depending on the concentration of that particular community.
On the University Level, English is used as the medium of Instruction in Humanities Stream, Science and Technology.
As far as professional courses like Medical, Technical, Engineering, Management, Accountancy etc. are concerned, the medium of teaching is English only.
In the state, English is the official language. With regard to the administrative domains, English is used for documentation whereas Hindi and Assamese is used for communication.
On the state level, the use of Wancho is restricted. In the field of administration, English continues to be used.
In the District level, the use of English is predominant and to some extend even Hindi is being used. In some of the officers, it is seen that the tribal officers use their local dialect for communication.
At the Taluk & Block level also English is being used.
Only at the Panchayat level, the use of Wancho is seen in the field of administration.
In the case of lower courts and high court, English is used and at the taluk level Manipuri is used for verbal evidence.
There are many types of oral traditions and knowledge. They are as follows:
Record is called as mankhah-mankhan. He recording task is turned as mankhah-mankhan tham. There are many ways of keeping record. They are as follows:
i) Ke to Pak: When the number is recorded by using small sticks of around 7 to 10 cm it is called ke to pak. It is kept secretly.
ii) Hotham: The numbers also recorded by exchanging certain commodities in a fixed container is called Hotham e.g. Thamta one number of fixed container. For example during the construction of house some families are unable to manage rice as per required budget then they take up the help from others on exchange basis; the rice item is termed as Vong tham means a fixed container of rice like wise the name of item is given as per the name of particular item.
The number of exchanged items is recorded as per the container they have used for exchange. If the item is exchanged in a bamboo container then the record is kept by putting a mark on it.
iii) Rang po: The year of the field is recorded by the age of a person who was born during the cultivation year of the particular field e.g. if a person is born in the cultivating year of Longley field then he or she is addressed as Longley ha mish.
iv) Long-ri-Hahte: The boundary lines are recorded by planting a type of white flower plant locally called Let tho; along shaped stone is erected beside to mark the boundary. The boundary is maintained strictly and whosoever violates the traditional law is imposed with heavy fine. However, maximum boundary of the land is demarcated by natural drainage; otherwise a human made boundary is used.
Generally, it is a universal truth that human being communicated either by action or speech and record it in brain. But then there are certain laws to send a message or summon people to gatherings and keeping records. In villages, people communicate or send the message through following methods:
i) Kah(Kah mai, Kah nong): People communicating through oral language is called Kahmai. While Khanong is called when a person speaks by using opposite sentence.
ii) Hai hong: This is a signal given by making sound or voice to draw the attention of others. The message is conveyed through sound not by word. However, the long and short sound would convey different meanings.
iii) Kah Ho hingo: The illiterate people send their message through a symbolic letter. It comprises local items like ginger, charcoal, onion etc., which convey different meanings. It is wrapped and sent to friends. Here ginger means challenge, charcoal means talking about you. The supporting item would convey the whether the meaning of talk is negative (backbiting) or good, a type of allergic fern locally called Tsak sa leaf means jealousy and hatred, onion means deeply missing you, red thread means depart from one another, arum means following the line etc. here the smooth design of item shows the smooth relationship. The symbolic epistle is preserved in a safe place of house for reference. In this way people do communicate. Now, it has been replaced by script letter.
iv) Kah no: The Kah no means sending of message. Traditional people send their message by sending a messenger. For this task the Panao li (youngest member of sacred cum male youth training center) are assigned on behalf of village and for other private work of course any person can be assigned.
v) Kah nu: This is locally arranged wire/rope used just like the telephone wire to communicate between the constantly communicated friends. One end of cable is tied in a house and another end in another house. People communicate or send message by beating that wire in different styles depending upon their secret code. This is mainly used between neighbours by children or young men to pass their message secretly without making noise or sound.
vi) Cha chak amok ley aho: This is a sign language. The message is given by showing signal or action either by waving hands etc to targeted person.
vii) Tinglet: In a village during emergency message sent though loud announcement by Wangham (the ruling king of the village).
The villagers observe it. They start rescue operations. In this way emergency message is passed.
viii) Kham Thu: This is message sent by beating a long log drum of Pa (Sacred male youth training center) in case of group activities. For group activities, the members are invited by beating long log drum called Kham Thu. If any hunter kills a ferocious animal viz. tiger, leopard, bear etc. then villagers are informed beating a long drum in a different way. In this way, the people are well informed. This is called as Kho kahm aring.
ix) Pham wat: The sign of restriction is conveyed by putting a specially designed local made stick. A short stick is put across above the main stick, which is one meter long and erected near the restricted object or spot. In this way, the restriction message is communicated in the village.
x) Tho ra: The mark on water containers or drinking container of royal families is with six lines and x mark is between the lines. Whereas the commoner clans have different marks for their respective clans. In this way, the basic differentiation of royal families and commoners is conveyed.
xi) Chalik: Only royal families can wear traditional bands, not the commoner’s clans. In this way, the status of royal families is shown.
xii) Huh tu: The tattoo of royal families is different from commoner clans. The women of royal families tattoo in x design whereas the commoner clan uses simple stripped lines.
xiii) Khalo-khomo: The hair of commoner women is cut in short and women of royal families keep long hair.
xiv) Sei: A tribute is presented to the ruling Wangham of village as a mark of their respect and honour. In this way, the head of the village is honoured.
xv) Ajot: Traditionally every item is wrapped in different leaves. If the item is wrapped with double leaves by showing white side of leaves of outer part then it is regarded as specially wrapped and presented to special person as a mark of respect and honour.
xvi) Laai tong hu: When people eat together in the same plate the root side of leaf is kept directed towards the eldest of that group. This is a way of communication between the seniors and juniors.
xvii) Tsap so: Only royal families use the local made raised dining basket of stole design and commoner’s families use only ground dining baskets.
xviii) Watak: The bamboo floor of the royal family is constructed in X style where as the commoner’s floor is constructed in + design. In this way the clan of the royal and commoner is conveyed.
xix) Tan tong ngot: The juniors should not sit before the seniors especially if the seats are limited. In this way the mark of respect is communicated.
xx) Man wan toh: The owner puts traditional district marks on his or her weapon that is called Man wan toh. The mark of Wangham is slightly different from rest of the royal families i.e. Wangsa, Wangsu, Wangjen. Again the different clans of commoners have their respective marks.
xxi) Lam Cchayam: When people meet on the way the senior in age must cross on to the side of high slope of the road. If the road is plain the senior can cross in any direction provided the junior should not lift his weapon on his shoulder. In this way the mark of respect is communicated.
xxii) Public speech: In Wanchos a person must be a good orator to deliver his/her speech before the public. Otherwise a silly mistake may earn them a tough penalty. Traditionally the Wangham chaired the meeting or public gathering (Ngo-ro) and the individuals are given liberty to express their views.
While delivering public speech one must know how to address others especially elders otherwise action is taken on them. However, the public speech is educated in Paa for boys and in Eigho for girls. People get education by attending the meeting of public and Paa.
xxiii) Kho-Mo pak-toh: This message is given by leaving plucked leafy stalks in the meeting point of the way of his/her friends whosever left/crossed first to convey that he has crossed and left their meeting spot. The second person would study the leaves whenever he reaches that point and the magnitude of leaves dryness would tell the approximate gap or distance between them from that spot. If the leaves are dried completely them the distance between them would be very far. However selected trees leaves are used. It would be fixed by them while leaving that place in the morning hour.
xxiv) Mot-jo mot phann: In village there is a tradition that the message for group activities like Lam rai (a kind of social service by cleaning the main road) is to be performed with certain procedure or systematically. The king or head of the village fix the day of working after consulting the villager’s council of members and then declare it. His summons message is sent through the youngest member of Pannu. The youngest member of Pannu announces the message by uttering in a loud voice in every Paa. Again after ten minutes (approx.) the same message is passed from house to house by the youngest member of Each Paa. This is called “Motjo” and all the member unitedly perform the task assigned by young Wangham or council or members.
xxv) Mith man yuak: There is a rule to address the elderly person, seniors, juniors relatives etc. However, the addressing term may be classified into three parts i.e. Royal clan, commoner clan and intermediate clan. E.g.
Mother: In Royal family the mother is addressed Tatei while in commoner clan the mother is addressed as Nunu and Anu to sisters of mother or wife of father’s brothers. Nunu kho/ Anu kho to elder sister of mother Nunu Tan / Anu Tan to middle sister of mother. Nunu shuk/ Anu Shuk to youngest sister of mother, Nunu Tatai to wife of father’s brother or paternal grand mother.
Father: Taitah is addressed to king by his child, Apachahnu addressed to the king by relative clan of royal families or intermediate clan e.g. Ralongham etc. Rapa is addressed by his child to his father; Apa is addressed by Royal clan to close relative clans cum brothers of king like Ralongham. While in both Royal and commoner clan Apachong means eldest brother of father, Apatan is addressed to the middle brother of Father, Apali is address to 3rd brother of Father and Apa shunk is address to youngest brother of father.
Uncle: The uncle is addressed as Aho the commoner’s clan address the king’s uncle as Aho chong chahnu_whether_the king is eldest or youngest. While royal families address the uncle of commoner as Aho. But in the case of commoner clan there is a rule to address one another. It is not plain or simple as found with royal families. Achong means eldest brother of mother or marriageable uncle. Aholi is addressed to middle brother of mother and marriageable uncle, Aholi Shuk is address to youngest brother of and marriageable uncle. In Rusa village uncle is classified into two groups i.e. Mish hing mihmo (uncle of marriageable clan) and Ma mish (uncle of unmarriageable clan).
Aunt: The queen aunty is addressed as Tatai in commoner clan the aunty is addressed as Anuchong.
Brother: The brother is called as Hotei honow. The eldest king or prince is addressed as achong chahnu by both royal and commoner clan, Abowang and Aliwang address to second and third elder king by his brother of royal families and close relatives. The royal families also address simply Atei to elder brother of commoner clan. In the case of commoner clan the elder brother is addressed according to other number of birth i.e. Achong is address to eldest brother, Ali (elder brother), Alibo (third and fourth elder brother) Alitan (middle elder brother), Alishuk (youngest elder brother) the elder brothers of marriageable clan or other community are addressed as Atei, the younger brother is addressed by name or pet name. Generally people believe that a single mother has a capacity to beer a maximum of ten children, if she goes beyond ten then they are considered as extra birth thus the eleventh number or twelfth number child is addressed as Mihnei. This is very rare. Thus this term is not so popular. Another most important thing is that is the brother is of the same age as another to identify which one is elder and if they are form related clan then both of them address each other as Teinow means brothers. However if they are from marriageable clan then they address one another as Eipa means same batch or Ajo means same age.
Brother-in-law: The brother in law is addressed as Atei. If the elder brother in law is king then he is addressed as Ateichahnu and rest and addressed in different way i.e. Ateichong to eldest brother in law, Ateili (second middle brother in law), Apong (younger cum eldest brother in law), Nowli (second younger brother in law) Nowli ahi ke (third younger brother in law), Nowli ahi ke phang ang ke (fourth younger brother in law), Nowli shuk (Youngest/ younger brother in law).
Sister: The sister is called as Hona-honow. Sisters are addressed according to order number of birth. The elder princess is addressed as Achongtataia and younger as Apehwangcha. However, Achong/Aka/Achongka/Ana is address to eldest sister, Ali (second elder sister), Alitan (middle elder sister), Alishuk (youngest elder sister). The elder sister of marriageable clan or other communities are addressed as Anali. The younger sister as addressed by name or pet name. The sister of same age is addressed as einui, which means of the same batch or age.
Sister in law: Among the commoners the elder sister in law is addressed as Anachong and Achong cha is used for the queen. The younger sister in law is addressed as Apheh. The second or third the younger sister in law is addressed as Apheh ahi ke or Apheh sa and the youngest as Apheh shuk.
Son: The son is addressed as Lakasa. The eldest son is addressed as Apong or Arung Abo (second son), Ashuk (youngest son) and Mihnei to extra born son. Eldest son is termed as Taichong pa, Nowli pa (second son), Nowtan pa (middle son), Now shuk pa (youngest son) and extra born son as Mihnei.
Daughter: The daughter is addressed as Shekosa. The eldest daughter is addressed as Aka, Ali (second eldest daughter).
Grandson: The Su means grand child. The grand son is termed as Lakasu. He is addressed by pet name as Kusu, Pupu or Apu especially by grandmother and grandfather.
Grand-daughter: The granddaughter is termed as Shekosu. She is addressed by pet name like Kusu tatei or Api especially by grandmother and grandfather.
Great Grandson: The great grand child is termed as Sutai. The grand son is termed as Lakasutai. This is very rare that is why it may not be know to all people.
Great Grand-daughter: The great grand daughter is termed as Shekosutai. She is addressed by pet name like Kusu tatei or Api especially by grandmother and grandfather. Since great grand mother or father is hardly seen that is why such term may not be known to all the people.
There are traditional names for seven to eight generations.
Ancestors: This term is Apu-Apa/ Aputa – hom-stan and addressed as Aju-Ajong. Halpothi, Shampa/Hanpa.
Panwang: In Rusa village it is the tradition that the person must search close friends to form a special friends group. This is needed to counter the problems faced during the death of person. Generally, when a person dies decease families face lot of problems to take care of dead body like preparation of coffin, caring of corpse, burying or graveyard etc. due to insufficient members of friends or relatives to avoid this problem people used to make friendship. Among them a special and intimate friends are chosen. The selected intimates are called Panwang. And a mini party is celebrated locally called Panwang kam to recognize in the society. Once this party is celebrated they become Panwang on one another. One group of Panwang comprises the three members i.e. Panwang, Wang-kho (Head), Panwang-ta (second head), Panwang-shuk (youngest) they are aged in between 17 to 25 years. They also address one another as Panwang. Besides performing the duty of burying dead body, it is the moral duty of Panwang to take care of the welfare of his Panwang family.
The methods of counting may be done in different ways i.e. numbering days, weeks, month, year etc.
The method of counting numbers is as follows, ata (1) any (2), arm (3) ah (4) aga (5) arok (6) anat (7) achat (8) aku (9) Ban (10) Banbala (11) Banbanyi (12) Banba-aram (13) Banba-ali (14) banba-aga (15) banba-arok (16) banba-anat (17) banba achat (18) banba – aku (19) tsa (20) tsaban (30) punyi (40) punyiban (50) puram (60) puramban (70) puli (80) puliban (90) hata (100) honyi (200) horam (300) holi (400) hoga (500) horak (600) honat (700) hochat (800) hoku (900) jat-ta (1000) Jatban (10000) Lakta (1,00,000) kuti (1 crore) kuti thak (1billion), kuti thak kai (1 million). The number also counted in round figure i.e. tuita (single), lumpa (single man, widower), anyi (duet), hokhi-monyi (both of them), hotham tham (group), hom (they) etc.
The local term of day is nyih. The days are counted as follows, nyihta (one or single day), nyih-anyi (two days), nyih-ali (three days) etc. the serial days number are counted as follows, howang-nyih (first day), hophei-nyih (second day), haja phei nyih (third day) etc. the days are termed as anyih (today), nga-nyih (tomorrow), hap-nyih (day after tomorrow), hapta – nyih (after two days), hopta nyth yaphei nyih (after three days), haya haya phei nyih (next to next day.) after the day of yaphei nyih (after three days) the next day would be termed as 4th day, 5th day, 6th day etc.
The week is termed as hatdang. The name of week goes as follows: one week is termed as hat-ta, two weeks as hat-anhi, hat-ram three weeks etc. The terms of days of the week are hatsat (Sunday), amahat (Monday), haja phei nyih (Tuesday), haja phei nyih (Wednesday), hat-sat-lah-ley nyih ali/boros-poty (Thursday) hat-sat-lah-ley nyih aga (Friday), hat-sat-nyih arok (Saturday).
The Wanchos count their season or month on the basis of moon’s movement, behavioral changes in animals, birds, insects, physiographic changes in plants, soils, agriculture practices, belief and socio-cultural practices etc. The local annual calendar is counted from mind months of English or Western calendar. The following are the months followed by Wanchos of Rusa village.
1) Tsang: During tsang people feel severe or chilling cold. 2) Namsa: mid January to February 3) Namnu: mid February to March 4) Hanho: mid March to April 5) Hoha: mid April to mid May 6) Watt: mid May to mid June 7) Ran: mid June to mid July 8) Dah: mid July to mid August 9) Dik: mid August to September 10) Hey: mid September to mid October 11) Ru: mid October to mid November 12) Tam: mid November to mid December
The year is counting as per the completion cum cultivation of new fields. The traditional New year is counted from the day of Orok rangwa lao dang. It is celebrated to mark the farewell to old field and welcome to new field. From that day it is assumed or considered as New year but the New year is declared on the day of Orok means performing of ritual to select a new field by ngohiwang (council of member) the day is termed as rangpo-horan (New Year). The real New Year is celebrated during Oriah (annual festival). To mark the New year people mentioned while singing and exchanging folk songs i.e. aja ke rangpoa ma, nui ke ning le, nga rang chi nui- tei nui-tei ….. meaning we any not alive till the next year, ‘Rangpoa anu tam wei re …’ the Oriah is celebrated once in a year and for some people it would be the last celebration. It is celebrated in the third week of the month. The year of the field is recorded by the age of a person who born during the cultivation year of that particular field e.g. if a person born in the cultivating year of Longley field then she or he is addressed as Longley hah mih.
The weight is called Lih. The weight is the item of objects is measured in many i.e. Hopa, Pua, Took, Dun, Mun, Otun, Khongsa, Dola, Tho etc and exchange of commodities is barter system. We shall discuss on by one.
1) Hopa: the Hopa means single grain. The weight of the grain size is measured by subtracting the grain it is called hopa that.
2) Pua: One full glass of grain is called Pua. When the grain is measured to weight the Pua is termed as Pua that.
3) Toak: the measurement of weight in kg. is called Toak that. People measure the weight with the help of local made material called as Toak thatkeli means a material for weight measurements. The material is made of bamboo, wood and rope. A concave shape basket is prepared. It is made of bamboo or cane. Around three to four ropes are tied in separate points in the handle portion of basket. Again the ropes are tied together in a wooden short stick. A rope for handle is tied on the stick which is used as the indicator of weight. While measuring the weight the items are put inside the basket and hung and simultaneously the level of stick is raised slowly according to the weight of item.
4) Dun: the weight is also exchanged in the form of Dun. In this method the weight is fixed. The item especially grain is exchanged in fixed basket or bamboo tube container. Its weight is measured in round figure. However one dun is equivalent to three kg.
5) Mun: the food grain like rice, millet, maize etc. are also exchanged in a fixed bag that is called mun. The weight of one bag would be one Quintal or 100 kg approximately depending upon the size of the bag.
6) Othum: the Othum means big basket prepared to stone the food grain. Items are exchanged in Othum. The weight one Othum would be 200 to 400 kg.
7) Khong-sa: the Khone-sa is a type of flat basket used for cleaning husk and dirty things from rice etc. The rice and millet also exchange in Khong-sa. The weight of one full Khong-sa would be 10 to 20 kg depending upon its sides.
8) Tho: the liquid item like local liquor, water of the item would be 2 to 10 liters.
The distance is termed as tsai. The distance is measured by the following method. They are as follows, 1) Khomun Pa that: the small size of the object is compared to the size of hair. This is known as Khomun Pa. If the size of the object is very small and
not clearly visible then it is compared to the pointed end portion of the hair. Thus in local it is termed as Khomun ra. 2) Chakki tam that: The distance is also measured by finger if the size of the thing is equal to finger. This is called Chakki tam that. 3) Chak kap that: the distance is also measured by stretching the finger is called Chak kap that. The distance is measured by stretching different figures. 4) Sok that/ chok rong that: the distance measured by using the elbow is called Sok that or chok rong that. The length of sok is counted from elbow to
tip of the middle finger or punch. 5) Phak that: phak means meter. The phak refers to the distance measured by stretching both hands.
c) Measure of value: Earlier there was no currency or money to purchase the commodities it is exchanged with other item or same item. It is called barter system. The value of item varies as per the types cum quality of item.
d) Measure of Surface, land area etc : The surface if measured by phak that. For short cut measurements of surface a long bamboo is used.
e) Measure of capacity: The capacity refers to ability to contain or accommodate. The capacity can be measured on the basis of hardness, ability, power or heat, space, fertility, gift, facility, competence, facility, aptitude etc.
f) Measure of size: The size is measured in different ways depending upon size of an object. The terms used like Khumun ra, Khumun pa almost same as distance.
g) Measure of time: Time is called tu. Traditionally the time is measured and record through the combination acts of direction of sun, seasonal sound of birds, khumtut, Sali sham sat, pomo pak, ohat tho, ham khung/ pa khung etc. the general techniques for measuring time are as follows:
1) hanpak tunu let: the time measure through daily routine. Wanchos have different names for almost every hour of the day. 2) Rang han tu that: the time measures through the movement or shifting direction of sun is called Rang that. When the sun direction is measured through
shadow and object like tree, house, man etc. Is locally termed as Ran han chaba. 3) Osa juh sa ngao tu thut: the time measure through howl of rooster, seasonal and un-seasonal crying of wild bird and rodent is called Osa juh sa. 4) Kuksa tuk sa ngao tu that: the time measure with the help of sound of insect is Kuksa tuk sa ngao tu that. 5) Kham thut tu that: the time is measured through the long drum during the season is called Kham thut tu that. 6) Sali sam hai tu that: the time also measured through the chewing of betel nut at least 30 min. are taken for complete chewing of one Sali sham (it is
traditional time pass edible item comprising betel nut, phu lu (betel leaf) Sali (bark or root of a tree). Therefore complete chewing of one Sali equivalent
to 30 min. 7) Kho mo pak: this is a technique to measure the time with the help of leaves. The fresh leaves are plucked or cut and left in the meeting place. The
degree of dryness and expiry will tell time taking. 8) Tu that ke man: there are different terms to denote different time like now, later etc.
3. Concept of season, weather, calendar and heavenly bodies: There is no formal institution where these knowledge systems are imparted to next generation. But they have acquired all these through their long experience that has been handed over form one generation to the next invoking them and their understanding through the personal interaction with nature.
Nature reading: Let-ko-rang-po e - refer to counting of season with by observing the movement of moon, seasonal change of physiographical, cultural activities including agriculture etc. these people do not have any written calendar. But for them, reading of nature is their calendar. The flowering of different plants, the calling of birds, smell of soil, blowing of seasonal winds, behaviour of animal and fish etc. are their calendar. That guides them the time of different stages of cultivation and other social activities. Animals and birds are more sensitive to change of season and accordingly they behave, but the numerical date written on calendar on the wall is not sensitive to any change in nature. The climate conditions of two years of same date do not remain same. In this case the reading of nature is the best technique to know the change of climate conditions, the advent of agricultural activities and celebration of festivals some times there is confusion among the people about the month and activities to be carried out in respective month. In order to avoid this confusion they have many beautiful sayings describing the nature of different seasons.
Names of the season: Winter (Rangwa), Autumn (Rang wa tsonu nyi ba), Summer (Tsonu), spring (Tsonu nyi ba), Rainy season (Rangwat to). New moon is termed as let dan, let phi means half moon, let nu kam (full moon), Let mah (death moon) and sometime the shape of the moon appears like long tooth of boar thus it is compared to a boar’s teeth.
Heavenly bodies: Heavenly body is termed as Rang ding kho. People believe that the sky (Ding) is an abode of God. And the Sun, the Moon, the Stars (let si) and the Earth are his children. The Wanchos believe the Sun and the Moon were equally very hot and it was very difficult for all living creatures to stand the heat. The suffering was narrated to Gang tan means the sun (after discussion with Mr. Matpoh Kolong, 35 years. Old villager Nyinu on 10th November 2005 the word Jangtan found in the book. The Wanchos has been corrected as Gang tan) who rescued the living creatures as per the story found in Nyinu village at first the moon was very hot and shone all through the night as the sun in the day. Many people died of heat and trees and grasses are dried up. One day human beings and animals held a meeting and told the Gang tan how much they were suffering. He threw some mud on the moon and this partly covered his face and made it weak and cool. Even today you can see the dirt on it. To celebrate this people sacrifice a pig and divided the meat some to one some to another and they gave a portion also to the moon. The moon did not eat his entire share but took some to his parents whom he loved greatly. When they got the meat they blessed him saying, although Gang tan threw dirt at you, you will be seen from ever by the people on earth and all men love you. Every month for one day they will see your entire face and those born on that day will be lucky. But those who are born when your face is not visible will die young.
People are not allowed to keep the direction of torch light towards the sky lest the God would become angry and misfortune would be fall on the concerned persons. In this way the right principles and thoughts are imparted into the mind of children, because through such education only children will learn how to give honour and respect to their elders. It is believed that if a person left incomplete counting of star then her/ his life would be shorten. Thus people are restricted to count the number of stars as far as possible. This belief has certainly saved the waste of time. Because counting of stars will not complete in life. The eclipse is termed as lukling. The solar eclipse is called as Rang han lukling and lunar eclipse as Let nu lukling. Another story collected from the same village describes how eclipses are formed. It is like this “Luk” (frog) is great enemy of sun the moon and once a year he devours them. He has a long face and a thin belly, and when he swallows the sun, it quickly passes through his body and comes out through the vent. This is one cause of an eclipse. But some people say that the sun was devoured by a great frog and the serpent comes to save him. Others again say that just as man keep count the time so thus god and devil (Rang-bau) but he some times forgets to this or be counts wrongly and then the sun and the moon do not appear in their proper shape.
4. Geography and Topography: Geography is termed as hah hi ding-e topography is jongta-hah hi ding and biosphere as bing-ha. People believe that earth is flat and the sky has no end. For instance there is an oral story; once upon a time a man was interested in seeing the ending part of the earth and the sky. Thus he start his journey from childhood with a long sword and came back after many years to his original place but that time his beard grew long and gray and his sword become as short as a knife. But he did not know where he had reached. When people asked about his intension he answered them that he is still on the way to complete his journey. This story proves that there is no ending point of both the sky and the earth. A Wancho believes that there is a place where the sky has not covered the ocean, because from one end of the ocean we can’t see another end of ocean due to limited eye-sight, and we feel as if ocean has no ending point.
The traditional story on discovery of water or the spring of Wanchos goes like this, an old man and his son went to the forest and caught a bird. They hung it up on a bamboo and went to walk in their clearing but the Rang’s (god’s) daughter removed it. The next day the boy again caught the bird and hung it on the bamboo and went away, but again Rang’s daughter removed it. The boy told his father what had happened and so on the third day the old man came to help him. After handing the bird on the bamboo they hid behind some bushes and now when Rang’s daughter comes to steal, the father caught her and took her home. She was very beautiful and he married her to his son.
In Rusa village it is believed that the father and the son are from Pongla ham clan. At this time there was no water on the earth and people used the juice or fluid of the plantain or banana tree instead and the colour of food was blackish. But Rang’s daughter used to bring fresh water to the house every day. And one day people found that the food prepared by Rang’s daughter was white. The boy boasted to his friends of what his wife could do and they, they wanted know the secret. People started asking about her secrecy, but she did not give the right answer. And the people were curious and anxious to know about it. On the other hand even her family have no idea how she had prepared the food because she used to cook their food before they wake up. The mother in law had strong doubt that her daughter in law might have prepare it with some extra ordinary fluid. Due to extreme curiosity, one day the mother in law played a trick of break her secrecy. She put husks on her carrying basket secretly in night. Then next morning the mother in law observed the movement of daughter in law and saw that she put some container of fluid and went outside of the house. Then mother in law followed her by following the falling mark of husk and after some distance the falling mark stopped then she did and saw how she went a long into the forest and presently fetched water from a hole after lifting big and flat rock. Directly she had gone to home. The mother came back immediately to the village and informed the family member that her daughter in law has discovered the water. The people ran to the spot and dug all around the hole to make it bigger. Suddenly water gushed out from the earth with it came fishes. This is how water and fish first come to the world. This shocked the people therefore it is believed that Pongla ham clan has supernatural power of the devil. It is probably because the place has rugged and dark mountain spring, stream or river regarded as abode of devil. In Rusa village it is assumed that the spot would be HAH HAN KHA even now the villagers used the same place as the main source of water. However in some village the belief about the water and formation of the earth goes like this. In the beginning there as not earth but only sky. Rang threw a star into the sky and this star after many years turned into the earth. There was no water at first but it gradually oozed up from under the ground. As this stream flowed in different directions it cut through the ground and met hills in some place, the plains in others. Another traditional history of Pumao village describes the formation of rain below the earth is great lake of water and snake live in it. The earth rests on the snakes head sometimes the snake moves and the whole earthquakes. The water flow down across the wall and collect in the great lake below and rise up into the sky to rang and sent the water back to earth as rain. As in the tea garden water is drawn up to a tank so in the same way Rung draws the water into the sky and sends then down again. Fog and mist also go up to rang and form a thick layer across the sky which sometimes turn into a pile of stones which fall to the earth as hail.
It is believed that thundering and lightening indicates a fight of war between the god and devil. And the lightening occurs to kills the bad devils which exist or is hidden especially in the tree or other objects. People presumed that lightening occurs one to three times on the same spot depending upon the strength of the devil. In the first lighting the god attacks with sword by throwing it, followed by spear blow etc and all weapons go inside the land. And the war would continue till the devil die. Therefore, it is also assumed that the lightening spot has different type of god’s weapons. Thus the lightening is the sword of Rang. He waves it about while it is dancing and it flashes across the sky. Men get their swords and guns from rang, who at first had all of them in the sky men learnt to shoot by seeing of the lightening hits the tree though that lightening strike place in the consider as devil. In just the same way of bullet from a gun hits the mark.
Wanchos has varieties of stories that vary from village to village. There are many legends regarding the origin and migration of Wancho. The stories prevalent among the Wanchos cover a wide variety of subject such as heaven and earth, sun and moon, thunder and lightening, water, earthquake, land of women, domestic life, comfort of man, discovery of fire, threat of diseases, coming of death, frogs, leeches, fish, reptiles, mammals like dog, elephant, monkey, tiger etc. stories of origin and migration are generally described by the most of the old men in the villagers. For describing any customs or even referenced is always given to their mythical ancestral parent or Ajo Ajong. The majority of Wanchos believe that human being was born out from Wunquakwum to meaning gourd species. But there are many men had very thick necks and their throats were wide. They used to speak vile and ugly things and had no sense of shame. When Patyu the god, saw this he made the human neck small and the throat narrow so that man could only utter sweet and good words. After that he taught them how to sing and how to weep.
In fact, there are at least three to four traditional stories on the origin of Wanchos according to history of Wanchos, the lore relates how and when Wanchos originated. At first there were no different clans or communities, for all were one. It is said that from time immemorial the lord or king of water is Namwang (crocodile) once it came out from the water in the form of a buffalo and went wandering through the forest, when a party of hunters killed him. They cut his body into pieces and divide up the meat and feast on it. But there was a woman named “Khangtheak” with a beautiful daughter who was called “Toizam” they had gone out some where and by the time they returned all the meat had been distributed and there was nothing left for them. When Namwang saw this people eating the body of the buffalo in which he had taken form. He was angry and sent a great water to flood the earth. The whole earth got submerged in flood and everyone was drowned except the women and her daughter who had not eaten the meat. These two then lived together but there was no man to whom the girl could be marked. The lore continues that one day mother and daughter were sitting in the sun outside the house and discussed how the girl could ever have a child. They were naked as all people were in those days and the wind blow upon the daughter and entered her. She conceived by the wind and in nine month gave birth to a child. This was named as Ophannu /Nyannu Uphann the ancestor of the Wanchos. It was he who gave the goat and dog to them. Among the traditional stories of Wanchos one of aju ajong is very close to reality.
The story of Aju Ajong runs like this. It is believed that during Maiphan-mihjan (during the separation of men and animal life). As Verrier Elwin 1960 narrates the story of Wancho and the story goes like this, two brothers jointly migrated from a place named Ophannu perhaps in the north china to Patkai mountain range. The reason behind their migration perhaps may be due to natural calamities like flood etc that compelled them to migrate to a safer place. There they sacrificed a dog and agreed to divide the land between them. The elder one decided to settle in the area of Burma, Myanmar and the younger went into India, toward the present area of Tirap district. It would be Tsang area. At Tsangnu there were two brothers they were constantly quarreling between themselves the younger brother way very cunning. He walked out a plan to do away with the elder brother. So he made a boat (Kho) which a lid. He entered into it to see if it will fit him or not when the elder brother crawled into the boat the younger brother immediately closed the lid and tied it properly so the elder brother could not come out. The younger brother then said “Oh brother! You will now go drifting down by current. You go on saying to get “Sofa”, “Sofa”, (meaning open me open me). Saying so the younger brother pushed the boat into the river the swift current of the river quickly took away the boat. The boat when floating by down reached the plains. In the plains a woman was collecting firewood on the river bank. She saw the boat and heard the sound “Sofa” “Sofa”. Then she pulled the boat to the bank and opened it. To her astonishment she saw the man inside and enquired about him. The elder brother narrated his story and enquired about the woman. He also asked her whether she was married or not. The woman said, she has some children but her husband had died. The elder brother accompanied the woman to her house. There he saw the children but there was no other elder person. On enquiry he learnt that all the elder persons were eaten by an Ola (kite). He asked her when did this happen. The woman said on the previous morning. The elder brother stayed in the woman’s house next day when the Ola came again in elder brother killed him. He then construction a bamboo platform near the house and kept the chopped off parts of the Ola on the platform.
Next day they saw to their utter surprise that out of the different part of Ola many human beings came out. All those men stay together in a village. The Wanchos now believe that from then the all men and the elder brother have learnt all the different customs and so they refer to them as Aju Ajong. The elder brother is Aju and the woman is Ajong (i.e. great grand father and grand mother). Some legend narrated that when a great flood occurred all living creatures were drowned except a man Aju and a woman Ajong. Flood could not reach them as they took shelter on the top of a hill. Therefore Wanchos believe that all the Wanchos have descended Anju and ajong. There is also a lore reported to be the same in the China chronicle about a woman who conceived by the wind.
On the Indian side there were the Nootes and Wanchos and many other people, even people in the plains the Wanchos were the eldest of all and the Assamese are his children, thus he came across many communities like Nootes and Assamese in the hill tracts of the north and north-east and the plain area below. According to Wancho stories Assamese and Wanchos are said to be descendants of one ancestor. There was no difference among the people in respect of different communities and classes in the society. In due course of time they started separate settlements. They started speaking slightly different dialects. Thus develop a distance amidst each other. Otherwise culturally and traditionally they were almost the same. The natural calamities like flood and earthquake occurs frequently in those days. Due to which few people from plains too come up.
However there is no written record or any account to say when the Wanchos live in their present habitat or whether they are the autochthons of the area of when they have first migrated. From the information available different Buranjis, it may however, be said that when the Ahom king Sukafa first came and established his kingdom in Assam in the first half of the 13th century A.D. (1228), the Wanchos were there in occupation of the area from this it may be presumed that the Wanchos migrated many hundred years ago. The exact period of migration is however difficult to conjecture. About the history of migration also we have no other alternative then to depend upon the various legends current among the people. Their legends are handed down traditionally by word of mouth and no written documented is available.
Through the above source of history and legends we came to know about the migration of Wanchos up to the same extent. According to legends of Wanchos came to their present habitat from a place called Maiphan Mihjan means during the period when human being scattered from one place to the other (their memory does not go beyond Maiphan mihjan and Ophann. Ophannu or Ophan-tinu is ancestor of Wanchos (perhaps the Nyanu ophann is situated towards the south-west beyond the Patkai hills). Then the Wanchos migrated via- Burma and part of Tuensang area (before independence of India 1947 the Tuensang are was under NEFA) which is locally called as Longphoh Tsangnu in due course of time the Wanchos were divided into two sub groups i.e. Tangjen and Tsangjen (now Tsang and Tang are two big villages in Mon district of Nagaland). From Ophann tinu or Nyannu ofan and migrated into different routes. According to some stories, Nyannu ophan they come to Tiano. A place with an unidentified river from Tinao they split in two groups, each taking a different route, via Tangnu and Tsangnu, till both finally come and settled in the present habitat. These two groups came to be known as Tangjen and Tsangjen respectively.
These two original Jan (linage group) later broke up into smaller groups each one of which also has its own legend of migration. The Tangjen or Tangkainu sa into southern part of Wanchoos. The group of Wanchos migrated to Tang areas is called as Tangjen and the group of people came from Tsang areas are called as Tsangjen. Again these two groups are split into many sub-groups like Tingtong sejen and Ngoipa sejen etc.
According to Wancho history, it is said that the Tangjen tok locality called ‘Wann to’ meaning ember (tire) from Tangnu and separated to present place. While Sankaisa Nu or Sang meaning crossing the land of Sang or son of Sang migrated from north western and south western parts of Wanchos.
Thus the Sang or Tsankainu sa groups are called as Tsangjen (lower Wanchos). It is also said that Tsangjen or Sang Wanchos migrated from Sangnu by taking the feather or a bird and tooth of animal has crossed the land Sang. Hence the upper Wanchos and Lower Wanchos were from one ancestor (Ophannu) and descendant of Aju-Ajang.
Copyright CIIL-India Mysore