THE MARING TRIBE PEOPLE (A HISTORICAL PROFILE)

Maring is one of the oldest Naga Tribes found settled in the South-Eastern part of the present state of Manipur (India), bordering Myanmar (Erstwhile Burma). They mostly inhabit the Chandel District of the present Manipur State, but are also found scattered in other Districts like Senapati, Ukhrul, Tamenglong, etc. There are some groups of people found living in other parts of India and other countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar whose appearances, ways of living, cultures, traditions and languages are similar to the Maring people.
Maring people are generous, simple, hygienic, heroic, etc. It is also said that the Maring people were physically tall and strong. "The features of the Marings (Murrings) approximate to those of the Burmese (Myanmarese); some of them have flat and others have well-shaped noses. And their general expression is mild and intelligent. The height of the men of Maring people varies from the slender, lightly built Marings to the tall, sturdy, finely proportioned Mao's".

 

The Maring people have many important peculiarities and distinctiveness from other Naga Tribes and other tribes as well that easily sets them aside from others. Their distinctiveness and peculiarities may be exemplified by "Ha sang" (blacken teeth) in local terms. This practice is common with elderly people and the youths after they have been enrolled in the "Rakhaang" (dormitory) or Morung. However, with the dawn of Christianity and Modern Education, the practice gradually losses its significance hence total disappearance nowadays. "Murshum" (Pagri/Turban) is another peculiarity of the Maring people. It is a bundling of hairs of menfolk right above the forehead that looks like a one horn rhino. The horn-shaped hair bundle is then decorated with several lines of hard red beads (rulshum) wrapping around it. It is said that the original red beads were made of excreta of Python snake.

 

 

"Lhaanpur Klaat" is another peculiarity associated with the Maring people. It is the tradition of re-opening old tombs for re-use by relatives. The Maring people also have the practice of making necked earthen pot like burial tombs where the tomb hole is just wide enough to drop down the dead body. The Maring people were also feared for their love for witchcraft/voodoo/sorcery, which had been considered education by the Maring people during those early days.

*1 Dr. R. Brown (Political Agent in Manipur), "Selections from the Records' of the Government of India, Foreign Department," NO. DOCV111.1870, pp.101 & 125. & T.C.
Hodson. "The Naga Tribes of Manipur. "Low price publications, Ashok Vihar, Phase-II: Delhi-110052. 1911, reprint-1989, 1996, p.6.

 

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