Monday, 24 August 2015

The art of capturing wild elephants

The art of capturing wild elephants is one of the ancient culture of Tai-Khamtis in North East India and in Myanmar. They are well known for their skills in capturing wild elephants for war purpose in the past and for commercial reason in the present. Ploughing with elephants is also an unique traditional method that makes Tai-Khamti a distinct tribe from all other tribes in North East India and in Myanmar.

There are four traditional methods in capturing wild elephants:
1. Kyone Method
2. Kyaw Phan Method
3. Decoy Method
4. Immobilization Method.

Due to their peculiar environment condition the Tai-Khamtis favour the second method, Kyaw Phan method. The method involves
lassoing a wild elephant from the back of a trained one, called a koonki.This practice is
prevalent in the Assam and the Arunachal Pradesh states of India (especially khamti tribe), and is one of the methods seen in ancient India.

Kyaw Phan requires the services of a skilled mahout or phandi . This person is able to
lasso a wild elephant whilst mounted on another. The phandi , who is well regarded for his abilities, is accompanied by another mahout assistant. Phandis feature in the folklore of northeastern India. Since 1977, this and all other methods of capturing elephants are illegal, but prior to the 1977 legislation,
mela shikar was used to lasso an estimated 300 to 400 elephants per year in Assam alone.

PRESENT SITUATION: Chongkham is dominated by the Khamti tribal community whose association with the elephants is legendary and dates back to hundreds of years. The Khamtis are famous for their traditional skill of capturing wild Elephants and imparting training to tame the wild pachyderm. The tamed Elephants were earlier used to extract timber from the forest and also for ploughing in the farm fields, even for plucking tealeaves!

Chongkham was once considered as Asia’s richest village due to the revenue generated by timber harvesting and other timber-related activities. Unfortunately, the Khamtis and their beautiful elephants are almost out of job now due to the ban on timber felling. While accepting the fact that the ban on timber felling is necessary to conserve our forests and bio-diversity, the importance of conservation and respectful rehabilitation of the tamed elephants and their masters cannot be undermined.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014


Namsai 21 Dec.2014 : The one day ANAYA Conference held at the Namsai Town Club yesterday concluded successfully with election of new office bearers. The conference was held under the chairmanship of Chow Mowney Singkai and Election Commissioner Chow Khai Longchot.
The new office bearers of ANAYA for session 2014-2018 are-
1. President- Chow Techanam Singkai
2. Vice-President (Administration)- Chow Novodeep Pangyouk
3.Vice-President (Protocol)- Chow Cheykham Manchey
4. General Secretary- Chow Rajana Manpoong
5. Assistant General Secretary- Sengkhong Maio
6. Speaker- Chow Pintu Chowlik
7. Deputy Speaker- Ningroo Sengyut Maio
8. Convener- Chow Tharasa Pomoung
9. Finance Secretary-Chow Fhatra Longkan
10. Assistant Finance Secretary-Chow Nalinda Enling
11. Cultural Secretary-Chow Pawan Chowlu
12. Assistant-Cultural Secretary Chow Ujjal Manpoong
13. Games & Sports Secretary-Chow Senly Manpoong
14 Assistant Games and Sports Secretary Chow Sujingna Mein
15. Social Service Secretary Chow Dhananjoy Mantaw
16. Assistant Social Service Secretary Chow Jotika Kapat
17. Chow Aikhamhom Pangyuk
18. Chief Auditor-Chow Wonnaseng Loungphoi
19. Information and Publicity Secretary- Chow Kungni Manpoong
20. Literary Secretary-Chow Watana Loungphoi
21. Office Secretary- Jotong Maio.
The day long conference concluded with the oath taking ceremony of the newly elected office bearers followed by handing & taking over of charges. The premier youth organisation of the newest district of Arunachal Pradesh , ANAYA assumes more significance as the nascent district marches towards a new destiny. A destiny of peace , progress and prosperity wherein the youths shall be playing the constructive roles as envisaged by the leaders and seniors. The note of the conference just suggests the redefined approach of the youths in the onward march.


1. AiKhamti Thien - Muang Mantalet. (North Myanmar region)
2.Chow Keing Ken - Muang Khamti Long. (North Myanmar region)
3.Chow Ngi Lungkeing Kham - Moung Khamti Loung. (North Myanmar region)
1.Chow Ngi Lungkeing Kham
2.Chow Ai Noy Lungkeing Kham
3.Chow Mu Ngan Lounh
4.Chow Salan Namchoom
5.Chow Rang Fa
6.Chow Fa Plang Lu
IN DIRAK REGION (Arunachal Pradesh: Mid 18th century a.d)
1. Chow Ching Thee.
1.Chow Tang Namchoom
1.Chow La Namchoom
1.Captain Gohain/Namchoom
1.Chow Sa Namchoom
2.Chow Kanan Namchoom
3.Chow Fee Po Namchoom
4.Chow Khamoon Namchoom
N.B Names of only popular rulers are mentioned above.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Poi Pee Mau Tai to commence from

Chow Bilaseng Namchoom
NAMSAI, Nov 18: The Tai community is all set for the 2109 Poi Pee Mau Tai that will be held at Nalung village of Namsai district on November 22. The three day grand celebration of 2109 Poi Pee Mau Tai – the New Year festival of Tai Khampti and other Tai communities is held to conserve the Tai traditional ceremony and celebrate the long, diverse and rich culture. The idea to celebrate the festival in Arunachal Pradesh was conceived by the Tai Khampti Development Society (TKDS) and first took place in 2008 in Namsai in accordance with the ancient Tai Calendar. The noble initiative with the support of the community chiefs, elected leaders, elders and youth was aimed at reviving its age old culture, script, music, sports, dances, folklore and way of life while keeping pace with the modern world.
The celebration at Nalung village is likely to be the biggest in the Namsai district as there will be participation from neighboring state of Assam and countries like Thailand, Myanmar.
The celebration is designed in such a way that it becomes a platform to develop and display the talents of the budding artists and writers of the society, besides exposing the tourism potentials of the area and generating employment avenues for the unemployed. The festival also inspires the youths to protect the identity and culture of the community.
Throughout the three days, there will be a range of cultural performances, including traditional Tai music performances, Tai classical and contemporary dances from various parts of Namsai district and popular dance drama of Tai Khampti called Pung.
The most successful blues band in India “Soulmate” from Shillong (Meghalaya), “Toxic Peace” one of the most skilled bands from Nagaland and “Minutes of Decay” a Delhi based all girl-band from Imphal (Manipur) and “DJ Acid” from Bangalore are slated to perform as well. In addition, there will be demonstrations of Tai martial arts including traditional sword
fighting, traditional sports competition, elephant safari, traditional single log boat race.
The famous Tai cuisine will be served in the various food stalls. The other added attractions of the event are fireworks display, poi pungfai (releasing of fire balloons), beauty pageants and ceremony of floating thousand candles over river Tieng.
Nalung, 3 kms away from Chongkham is a beautiful, serene and monastic village by the  river banks of Tieng, a river with crystal clear water and thriving flora and fauna. The site is
set amidst lush green forest and tea plantation which adds to its mesmerizing beauty that would give ample opportunities to the visitors for a perfect weekend getaway.

Saturday, 25 October 2014


(Held under the area of circles right from Miao, Diyun, Lekang, Piyong to Namsai)
Began from Chongkham in 1978, the years & places of celebrations prior to 1992 were unrecorded.
The following are from the 14th Celebration that are known to me :
14th - Piyong - 1992
15th - Wingko - 1993
16th - Innao Khampti - 1994
17th - Namsai - 1995
18th - Solungtoo - 1996
19th - Innao Singpho - 1997
20th - Manmow-1998
21st - Nongtow Khampti - 1999
22nd - Dumba - 2000
23rd - Nanam Khampti - 2001
24th - Mudoi - 2002
25th - Kaichu - 2003
26th - Changlai - 2004
27th - Diyun - 2005
28th - Sengsap - 2006
29th - Nanam Khamyang-I - 2007
30th - Nampong - 2008
31st - Old Mohong - 2009
32nd - Manna(Pathargaon) - 2010
33rd - Wagun Pathar - 2011
34th - Khagam - 2012
35th - Wingko - 2013
36th - Manfaiseng - 2014 (now)
37th - Koseng, 2nd Mile, Namsai- 2015 (Will be announced today at Manfaiseng).