(Last Updated on : 15/12/2008)
Renowned as the 'Switzerland of the north east', these rich tribes of northeastern states of Indian Territory have thronged in every corner of the region especially in Manipur
state. The recent survey that has been carried on in the beginning of this twenty first century, total population has been enumerated to be amounting to twelve million. They also highlighted the fact that there are about sixteen major tribes while the sub tribes of Angami are quite large. Maximum of Angami tribes follow Christianity
as their religion.
The life style of Angami tribes is simple, typical of any other agrarian society of Indian tribal communities. Therefore it needs no mentioning that agriculture is their chief occupation. They can produce near about twenty varieties of paddy every year. Another unique feature of their cultivation activities is that these Angami tribes carry on cultivation of wet rice on the hilly terrains. Due to this, the intricate irrigational system has transformed the steep barren hills into picturesque paddy and rice fields.
The culture of Angami tribal communities is enriched by exquisite woodcrafts and artworks. In fact woodcarving also is very population as an occupational activity. On the fringes of the region where Angami reside in great numbers, wood, including bamboo is conserved so that these can be used later for various carvings. Up to twenty six varieties of bamboo were recognized, which are independently or in combinations, are rampantly utilized by the villagers for various purposes.
These include, rubber, shoot birds, and also huge varieties of bamboo baskets that are used for freshening meat, stocking grains, holding paddy etc. Angami tribes also use catapults, a plaything consisting of a Y-shaped stick with elastic between the arms mainly used for propelling small stones. These too are made from bamboo. Even before plywood was in vogue, fencing and doors too were prepared from bamboo. Amongst other important bamboo products of these Angami tribes comprise of a headband used for carrying huge loads etc. There is a special flat bamboo device applied for removing husk from the paddy, shelling soya beans, trapping birds and small animals, a hot favorite utensil for the Angami tribes.
Plantations are well protected and also valued to a great extent. One also finds no dearth of first-class male craftsmen and masons. On the other hand, most of the Angami women are expert in threading the customary cloths. In case of conventional weaving, however, both men and women are involved. The men thread with bamboo, cane and rope etc. The special patterns that women weave on cotton, silk and woolen cloths are quite unique, much depending on the tools and equipments that they used. One need to know the fact that both the style of weave works are so exclusive and independent that even a child can distinguish between the threading done by women workers and those done by any man.
Their sense of artistry is also being reflected in the décor of Angami house. They maintain a conventional house style with all the paraphernalia that highlight their ennobled status.
Festivity is part of their life. Sekrenyl is the most feted festival, held in the month of February . This 10-day festival is popularized amongst Angami tribes as Phousanyi. When Angami tribes organize community feats to commemorate any festival of local origin, the entire region swoops in to lodes of color and jubilance.
During those festive seasons, one can observe the fantastic carved panels, crossed roof struts and mithun skulls thus alluding their own culture. Just like any other Christian tribes, including Nagas
, the Angami tribes too have similar cultural elements. Rituals, customs are quite similar, especially their custom of giving burial to the deceased family members at their home grounds.
The mother tongue of Angami tribes is Angami language, which many people also identify in various names like Gnamei, Ngami, Angamis, Tsoghami, Tsugumi, Monr, Tsanglo, and Tendydie. Enriched literary works too have been produced. Quite a handful of dialects, namely, Kohima, Dzuna, Kehena, Khonoma, Chakroma (Western Angami), Mima, Nali, Mozome, Tengima, Tenyidie (Tenyidye), have been produced. Tenyidye is the most 'standard'dialect and each and every Angami tribe can decipher it quite well.