Dr Budha Kamei
(Contd from yesterday)
At the closes by two girls dancing together in the centre of the circle; the step is the same, but they change about as in a quadrille, and great use is made of movements with the hands. This and all the dances end by the men meeting in a close circle, holding up their daos and giving vent, simultaneously, to a long drawn hoey, once repeated.

Introduction :
The Zeliangrong are one of the natives of Northeast India. Racially, they belong to Mongloid stock and speak the Tibeto-Burman language. Tradition says, the Zeliangrong ancestors originated from a cave recognized as Mahou Taobei; they moved to Makhel and to Ramting Kabin, and then to Makuilongdi, Senapati District of Manipur.

“A society is a collection of individuals united by certain relations or modes of the behaviour which mark them from others who do not enter into these relations or who differ from them in behavior.”1 To T.B. Bottomore, society is a group of people having a political independence along with distinct economic, religious and familial institutions. He does explain polity, economy, religion and family as the main structures of a society. The social members have independent relations in their way of life. This relationship is made in all cultural activities such as social, language and kinship. Through this relationship a homogenous society is formed under a particular culture. A.L. Kroeber opines, a society is a group of inter-related individuals. All the scholars have different opinions about the definition of society. In short, a society is a group of individuals having a distinct culture and bound together into one homogenous group and they exist through their activities in various ways of life.

“Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessaries of life to every individual of human society. They enter into the economical arrangements and daily concerns of every family. They are necessary to every occupation of human industry; to the distribution and security of every species of property; to every transaction of trade and commerce; to the labors of the husbandman; to the ingenuity of the artificer; to the studies of the philosopher; to the researches of the antiquarian; to the navigation of the mariner, and the marches of the soldier; to all the exchanges of peace, and all the operations of war. The knowledge of them, as in established use, is among the first elements of education, and is often learned by those who learn nothing else, not even to read and write. This knowledge is riveted in the memory by the habitual application of it to the employments of men throughout life.”

(Contd from yesterday)
The mortuary cults of many people give indication that the dead were imagined as actually living in their graves and able to receive the offerings of food and drink made to them. It is believed that grave is the residence of the dead so every effort is made to comfort the departed soul. Carl Clemen has rightly stated that the earth is the soul of life, but it is the realm of dead. It is also believed that the soul that has no tomb has no dwelling place and becomes a wondering spirit. However, the grave has been often thought of as a door to a vast subterranean or underground abode of the dead. Taroilam is believed to be within the bowel of earth. The belief is widely spread and found among the Karens an Asiatic tribe, the land of the dead is held to be below the earth. The Aryan people undoubtedly held the same view and the Roman Orcus and the Greek Hades are underground.

The Zeliangrong, one of the natives of Northeast India belong to the Tibeto-Burman family of the Mongoloid racial stock. Tradition says, the ancestors of Zeliangrong originated from a cave known as Mahou Taobei; they moved to Makhel and to Ramting Kabin, and then to Makuilongdi, Senapati District of Manipur. From Makuilongdi, they migrated to different directions; the Rongmei to the South, Zeme to the West and Liangmai to the North.

Culture can be preserved when the religion of the community survives. Culture is a vehicle of religion. Culture and religion are inseparable in Zeliangrong indigenous religion, Tingkao Ragwang Chapriak. Cultural festivals are times of “worship and prayer to Almighty God for plenty and welfare and celebration for them.”1The social and cultural values, the aesthetic and creativity are expressed through dances, songs and music. In a year, the Zeliangrong people celebrate nine festivals at different stages of agricultural operations according to lunar calendar with festive spirit and prayer. “The Zeliangrong religion is sustained by their colorful festivals accompanied by religious rites and prayers, dance and music and feasting during different months of a year.

Dr Budha Kamei
“A good wife is heaven’s last, best gift to man, –his gem of many virtues, his casket of jewels; her voice is sweet music, her smiles his brightest day, her kiss the guardian of his innocence, her arms the pale of his safest, her industry his surest wealth, her economy his safest steward, her lips his faithful counsellors, her bosom the softest pillow of his cares.”

From previous issue
It is believed that the nature of the spleen of a pig predicts the future; if the spleen bears blemish, it is a sign of bad omen, but if the spleen bears no blemish it is a sign of good omen. A healthy spleen is believed to have indicating prosperity in crops, livestock and population. After the rite, the internal organs (head, liver, lung and entrails) of the victim (Guak Babung) are buried at the same spot with ritual. It may be noted that the burial site is kept secret and nobody is known except the elder who performed it.

“As arts and beauty go together, a home without art cannot be the abode of beauty. Without beauty there cannot be truth and without truth there cannot be peace. A home becomes a house.”
The present article attempts to look into the traditional handcrafts of the Zeliangrong of North East and their cultural significance. The word craft denotes skill, art, trade etc. Crafts are all the techniques of skilled handwork used to produce tools, weapons and artifacts. Handicrafts also called handcraft or crafts have referred to a particular skill or art of making objects by hand. It can be stated that handicraft is the making of objects like basket, bowls and rugs etc. In addition, it can also mean creating beautiful objects for decoration. But, jewelry, bended glass windows, wall hanging, wood carvings are excluded in this.

Manipur, once an Asiatic country is located at the extreme eastern corner of India. With an area of 22, 327 sq. km, today of Manipur is bounded in the north by Nagaland, in the east and south by Myanmar (Burma), in the south-west by Mizoram and in the west by Assam. In the past, Kabaw valley was also a part of Manipur.