Friday, 15 January 2016

Poi-Leng for the last Rite of late Gyanpio Mahathera is fixed on 08th February 2016

Namsai: Poi-Leng for the last Rite of late Gyanpio Mahathera is fixed on 08th February with 3 days programme as per a meeting held in Namsai Buddha Vihara today on 14th January 2016.
A committee has been formally constituted for the smooth functioning of the Poi - Leng with the support of various others subcommittees. The expenditure shall be born on contribution from various villages, government officials, contractors and businessmen . Help shall be sought for from local MLA (s) & local district administration.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Indigenous people of the Legendary Tribes of North East India – the Tai Khamyang Tribes, Tinsukia District, the State of Assam, India!

North East India is home to over 200 tribes. Each tribal community have their own distinct culture and traditions. They speak different languages, have different religious practices, wear clothes with distinct patterns and also have different ways of celebrating. These celebrations form a part of their festivals where these communities performs colorful dances, showcase their traditional cuisines and source of livelihood like their agrarian practices and their handlooms and handicrafts.
Across a majority of the tribes of north east India one can find a close resemblance with the communities of South East India. One such tribal community of Assam are the Tai Khamyang tribes. Known to have migrated to Assam from the Kachin State in Myanmar the Tai Khamyang people derive their name from the Tai word ‘Khamyag’ meaning ‘people having gold'(‘kham’ meaning ‘gold’ and ‘yang’ meaning ‘to have’). Many Khamyangs have also historically used ‘Shyam’ as a surname, which is a cognate with ‘Siam’, the old word for Thailand.
The Tai-Khamyangs, represent a brethren of Great Tai/Thai family of South East Asia. They are numerically tribal group found in Tinsukia, Jorhat, Sivasagar and Golaghat districts of Assam as well as adjacent parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Their population totals about 7,000 of which only a small minority speak the native Tai Khamyang language. The Khamyang are followers of Theravada Buddhism and are closely related to the Tai-Khamti. They maintain good relations with other Tai Buddhist tribes of Assam.
The Tai Khamyangs, in the Patkai Mountain Range, got divided into two groups namely the Maan Nam or Pani Nora (Low Land Nora) and Maan Loi or Dum Nora (Upper land Nora). These settlements lies near the great lake ‘The Lake Of No Return – India’s Bermuda Triangle’. In the mid eighteenth century, due to the critical surrounding for the presence of couple of Cobras in the lake and problems faced from the Kachins, the Tai-Khamyangs crossed over the Patkai hill and settled in a fertile valley of Arunachal Pradesh. It is said that they constructed a pagoda which is still present near the ‘Lake of no return’.

ON THE KHAMTIS P.R Gurdon : On the Khamtis, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. XXVII (1895)

The habitat of the Bor Khamtis, who are said to number 20,000, is in a valley high up the Irrawady, in latitude 27° and 28° east of Sadiya. The Khamtis that we know in Assam are those that have emigrated from "Bor Khamti" and have settled in Assam after the breaking up of the kingdom of Pong by Alomphra. These settlers established themselves early in this century on the "Tenga Pani" (a river in the vicinity of Sadiya), with the permission of the Ahom kings. Before proceeding further, it will be interesting to note that this Khamti movement is the second Tai emigration that we have on record. Some considerable time previously the Ahoms, who spoke a language much akin to the Khamti tongue, and who are also of the Tai race, made an irruption over the Patkai range and invaded and conquered Assam. The Khamtis, who had apparently been given hospitality by the Ahoms because they were almost kinsmen, before long rose against the Ahom king, and ejected the Ahom governor of Sadiya or "Sadiya Khowa Gohain". The Khamti chief took the governor's place and retained it. The Ahom king, not strong enough to oust the Khamti usurper, had to recognise him. During the rule of this chief local Assamese were reduced to slavery, and they were not released till our own Government interfered in 1839. Out of the revenge the Khamtis rebelled against our Government, and the Sadiya Garrison, including its commander, Col. White, was surprised and cut up. This led to reprisals on our part, and the Khamtis were attacked, defeated, and scattered abroad. During the following year many of them returned to their home in Bor Khamti. Those that remained divided into four parties, and settled in different parts of the Lakhimpur district.
N.B Bor Khamti is an Assamese name for the great Khamti country in Myanmar (Mueng Khamti Loung).


Three villages, 100-odd families, a wonderful tapestry of culture and traditions, and a history that goes back 700 years – Assam has just discovered a tourism goldmine.
Residents of Balijan Shyamgaon, Betbari Shyamgaon and Na Shyamgaon, all in Jorhat district, are said to be descendants of those who came to Assam in the 13th century from Thailand, via the Patkai hill ranges. That was the Great Migration from Southeast Asia, leading to 600 years of Ahom rule.
However, what is of immediate interest to the tourism department is the fact that these descendants of the original migrants have maintained a link with their past. The inhabitants of Balijan Shyamgaon, Betbari Shyamgaon and Na Shyamgaon – near Titabor, – remain Buddhists and have temples (viharas) and pagodas with art and sculptures that echo their distinctive history, culture and traditions.
Among the objets d’art and relics preserved in these villages are a statue of the Buddha, a pair of Burmese chivar (robe), a golden kammawara (a religious book) and a large cane basket that was gifted to the Balijan Buddhist temple as a token of love and friendship by the Burmese general Mingimaha Bandula about 300 years ago.
The Balijan shrine is already a major pilgrimage spot for Buddhists of the Northeast. The first general conference of the All Assam Buddhists’ Association, which is a regional chapter of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, was held at Balijan Shyamgaon in 1942.
Residents of Balijan and the other two villages play traditional musical instruments like the kong (flute), which is still used in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China and Vietnam. Although there have been slight deviations from the original Tai-Khamyang culture, the villagers still adhere to customs such as the birth ritual called khawn.
Each of the villages has a vihara, where monks teach Tai and Pali scriptures to students. Regular schooling is taken care of by Assamese-medium institutions.
Several Buddhist scholars from Myanmar, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan have already visited the three villages for research.
Photo: Tai Khamyang Women From Na Shyam Village, Performing A Buddhist Ritual In The Occasion Of Assam Mahotsava 2015 Jorhat.

By- Bijit Dutta.


Khomong or Noi Khomong was the first settlement of the Khamtis in India. Khamong served as a permanent transit-camp of the Khamtis in India. A fresh light was thrown on it, when a Buddhist stupas was unearth at Khamong, Vijaynagar, in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. Though the khomong was not figure in the chronology of Khamti, but then, there was always alive in the memory of old khamti people as their first settlement village in India. Khamong existed by the middle of the 18th century, if not earlier.
The khamong does not recorded in khamti history in obviously, because of it was far away from the political scene of its operation. The geographical location should be fully understood. This eastern most corner of the country in surrounded by Burma, present Myanmar from three sides. It is a tiny table land providing a sharp contrast to the main of mountain in the region. The narrow strip of about 15 km is stretched from east to west over a length of about 4 km. It is again horizontally divided by the Nao-Dihing river. Chau-Kang pass in nothing, but the valley of this river, that flows eastward in to Assam.
The land is fertile, cool climatic and marvelous scenic beauy. No wander the enterprising Khamtis made it a convenient place after entering through the Chau-Kang pass.
Khamong felt almost midway, eight days march from Bor-Khamptee or Mueng Khamti-Loung i.e. Putao in Burma and 8 to 10 days march from the Tenga-Pani region in Arunachal Pradesh, along the Noa-Dihing river. All traffics to and fro between Putao in Burma and Tenga-Pani in Assam had to pass through Khamong or Vijoynagar. In one reference about the Khamong found in an Assames chronology of a Burmese Bhiku Piyin-Din-Sirado written by Thrinanda Bhikshu (Sirado Utpatti Katha, Lalit Chandra Bora, Ahum press, 1941), states that Sirado came to India in 1883 and stayed at Khamong for eight days. It proves that Khamong was an important Buddhist centre in the last quarter of the 19th century. It means that, the settlement was in existence for at least one and a half centuries. It may also be noted that Sirado is said to have re-introduced the true Theravada tradition among the Khamtis and converted most of the Singphoos to Buddhism.
At Khamong the Singpho Chief, Bisa Gam, employed thirty strong soldiers, hired specially for killing of the Khamti Chief "Phra-Taka", whom the Singphoo called as "Pongfong"(means old grey hairs) from Hukong in Burma. The Singphoo Chief was intolerable for suden appearance of the Khamti Chief in the region. One very strong and brave young Khamti named Chau-Ai-Long, who happened to be a guest of the Khamti Chief on that fateful night, challenged them at night and killed most of the enemies on the spot. In the morning when the matters was known by the Chief, the Phra-Taka or Chow-Ngi-Long-King-Kham expressed his happiness and praised to the oung Khamti for having save his life and adopted him into the Longking dynasty and called him as Chau-Ai-Noy-Long-King-Kham. Some of the Tai scholars suggested that, Chau-Ai-Long was an offspring of Chau-Pom-Xing and Nang Somkham, fiance and lover as well. He was a strong and brave man in Putao or Mueng-Khamti-Loung in Burma.....

Chow Uppa Mansai
Namsai, Arunachal Pradesh.