(Last Updated on : 31/01/2015)
Kuki Tribes of Manipur are an ethnic group which spread over the vast areas of North eastern regions of India, North western regions of Burma and the foot hills of Chittagong Hill tracts. It is one of the largest tribal communities which has spread all over North East India as well as the countries who share a common border with Indian States. The expansion of this group is largely due to the British policy in India
which included many more tribal groups and called them the Kuki tribes. As such, the mention of the Kuki tribes was first witnessed in the writings of Rawlins when he mentioned about the tribes residing in the Chittagong Hill tracts. The Kuki tribes are distinctly marked for their lifestyle which includes their economic, political, social and religious structure in the face of changing patterns of life and growing modern education, along with spread of Christianity
and various other changes that has been initiated by the government for the upliftment of these tribal groups.
Origin of Kuki Tribes
Kuki Tribe of Manipur have been popularly known for its Hillman tradition which includes a number of hilly tribal clans. Together they form the Kuki tribe which is scattered in almost all the states of North east India except Arunachal Pradesh. These clans share a common past, culture, customs and traditions and share common dialects which originate from the Tibeto- Burman group. The Kukis carry the Mongoloid features and are generally short height with straight black hair, dark brown eyes and brown skin. In India the Kuki tribes are mainly found in the areas of Manipur
History of Kuki Tribes
Kuki Tribe of Manipur can be historically traced back from the Stone Age. While a number of excavations in the region reveal their existence during the Neolithic age, this tribe continues to exist in the ancient India which is visible in the writings of Mahabharata
The history of Kuki tribes had been mainly discussed in the folklores and the legendary stories of the land that traces its origin. Since its creation this tribe remained significant in the ancient history as well as modern history under the British Empire in India
till it was defeated in the Anglo- Kuki war of 1917-1919. As such this tribe can be considered to be one of the original inhabitants of the land who largely reside in the hilly region of the State.
Society of Kuki Tribes
Kuki Tribe of Manipur can be distinctively marked by the cultural trends that are reflected on the daily life of the Kukis, their festivals, the music and the folklore which they follow.
Administration of Kuki tribes
Kuki Tribe of Manipur live a simple rural life which is concentrated to the chieftainship of the community. This tribe which resides in small Villages consider the villages as the largest unit of administration and all their administration is run by the Chief in consultation with the council of ministers and the priest of the village who are some eminent people of Kuki tribes.
Culture of Kuki tribes
Kuki Tribe of Manipur have distinct cultural trends which are reflected in the festivals they observe and the folklores, songs and music they play. As the society is largely agriculture based the festivals of the land is accordingly agro based. Among other festivals some of the most important festivals are the Lawm Se' Neh, Chavang kut, Mim kut, Sa- Ai, Chaang - Ai, Hun, Chang le Han, Kang kap.
Religion of Kuki tribes
Kuki Tribe of Manipur are mainly followers of Christianity
and Judaism. Along with the modern religions the tribe has great belief on superstition and witchcraft that mould their local religion. With the advent of British colonial power in the region and establishment of Christian missionaries this tribe came under Christianity which now forms a major part of their religion.
Thus, Kuki tribes of Manipur are distinctively marked by the customs they follow. In spite of its traditional background this community is facing a number of challenges in the battle between tradition and modernity.