Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sihai Khullen, Sihai Khunou and Sihai Kahaophung

Sihai is a general reference to a cluster of villages (Sihai Khullen, Sihai Khunou and Sihai Kahaophung) that lies in the north of Ukhrul District headquarter in Manipur state within the union of India. Sihai Khullen, the nearest village from Ukhrul is approximately 37 kilometers from Ukhrul town connected partially by National Highway 150 (Imphal-Kohima via Ukhrul and Jessami). A hamlet (Zero Point), 29 kilometers drive from Ukhrul on the Ukhrul-Jessami highway is where you have to take the right turn to reach Sihai Khullen. From here one has to walk or take a rather bumpy village road ride of about 7 miles to reach the village from the National Highway. Sihai Phangrei, a long hill range is sure to give a mesmerizing view to those who love gigantic natural landscape. The hill range also in many ways look like a natural fortress of Sihai. The villagers have to drive or walk through the meandering road cut out beneath the hill range to travel to the district headquarter and other places.

Origin of the Name

The name 'Sihai' is said to be a derivative of the word "Saan-Hee" the local word for 'Cow's Diamond/Jewel.' There is a myth behind the name, which the locals believe dates back to many centuries to the time of migration of their forefathers. According to the myth, a cow was slaughtered as a sacrifice to commemorate the occasion of the settlement. As was the practice in olden days, the sacrificial animal was defect-less in all aspects. The cow was slaughtered after performing proper sacrificial rites to ensure the settlers and the generation there after are blessed. When the villagers cut open the slaughtered animal, they found a diamond inside the bowel of the cow. The elders then decided that the name of the village should be Saan-Hee. However, due to mis-pronunciation by outsiders, the village became better known as Sihai. The name of the village as called even today by some of the neighboring villages in their local dialects do suggest that the name of the village indeed was and is Saan-Hee.

The jewel found inside the bowel of the cow was retained by the chief of the village. After a few generations, the jewel was given away as a marriage gift to the then chief's daughter who married the son of Phungcham village chief. Phungcham is a village about 30 kilometers north west from Ukhrul town. There is an unconfirmed theory that the jewel in the possession of Phungcham chief till date is the same jewel given away by Sihai chief to his daughter. The jewel is said to be bowl shaped and shiny. It is believed that the bowl was used as a means to know the the nature of rain and harvest the year will bring. The bowl being shiny indicates a good year and being moist suggest it is going to be a bad year. Moreover, there also is a myth that the bowl is non-transferable. The bowl is rumored to have been stolen many times in the past, but always finds it way back to the owner (Phungcham Chief) in mysterious ways.

The Present Sihai

With expansion of population, the village got bifurcated into two, Sihai Khullen and Sihai Khunou somewhere in the early 19th century. However, till date, the three villages are in theory still under one chief though administration is run individually. The new settlement came to be known as Sihai Khunou, which is about 6 kilometers from the original settlement beyond the river. Sihai Khunou further got bifurcated into Sihai Khunou and Sihai Kahaophung somewhere in the 20th century. One of the strongest reasons for bifurcation was to occupy more of the inherited land and to move closer to arable land on the other side of the river. The original place of settlement came to be called Sihai Khullen meaning 'old settlement.' At present Sihai Khullen is inhabited by about 150 families with some 10 percent of the domiciles residing in nearby towns and cities for work, business, education, etc. Sihai Khunou has equal population and Kahaophung has about 30 families. Immediate neighbors of Sihai are Mapum, Zingsui, Shirui, Lunghar, Longpi and Khamasom.

Places of Interest and Best Time to Visit

The rich species of flora and fauna in and around the village is one reason why nature lovers love to visit this village. The best time to visit this village is in the spring season. Rhododendrons of many varieties bloom in the month of April and May. One can see the whole stretch of stream beds in full bloom of white and red rhododendrons (locally called Ngayawon and Kokluiwon). This is the time when the young people of the village celebrate the spring festival to commemorate the beauty of nature and youth. The people are friendly and welcoming.

Hunting, fishing and hiking are things that will attract people those who love outdoor activities. The month of October offers a mesmerizing natural view of the surrounding. The view of ready to harvest paddy fields, the blooming of cosmos everywhere and other pre-winter flowers indeed are sights worth seeing. October, is a special month considered almost as the second spring of the year. This is the month when young people of the village keep aside a day to celebrate as Cosmos Day.

Sihai Phangrei, a long hill range is one of the favorite picnic spots in Ukhrul district. The ownership of the hill range was in dispute between Sihai and Lunghar village. The dispute which lasted for decades was finally resolved through Tangkhul Customary law. In olden days, disputes where none of the parties involve relents, the final and ultimate test were to eat a morsel of earth from the disputed land or for the disputing parties to immerse in water. In the first case, something untoward happens to the guilty one after eating the soil and in the latter case, the guilty one will float unable to go underwater. The customary water immersion trial for the dispute of Sihai Phangrei was done in October 2008 and Sihai village was declared the winner and the rightful owner of Phangrei.

Author's Note:....................................................To be added later

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you have to purchase a women's affection- do not marry her!

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