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The Boundaries of Manipur

Chapter V

The Chussad Frontier

The Kukis were a wandering race, consisting of several tribes. Their original home cannot be ascertained exactly. However, it is probable that they came from south Burma and had pushed their settlements as far as the Naga Hills. They came into Manipur in search of their fortune. Though tribes of the same race had long been subject to the Raja of the State, they were first heard as Kukis in Manipur between 1830 and 1840. The Chussads were a branch of the great Kukis race. They were closely related to the Sooting or Kamhaws, but not so closely, as to have prevented the usual tribal feuds, which made it, unleasent for them to live near to one another.1 In order to avoid possible attacks from the Kamhaws, the Chussad Kukis left their home, in the south of the Valley of Manipur, and settled in the hills, near the Kongal route to Burma.

Raja Nar Singh (1844-50) and McCullock, with generosity and kindness won over and settled the early Kuki immigrants. As might be expected, jealousy sprung up in the minds of many of the Manipuri officials and when the Agent first established relations with the Chussads, efforts was made to obstruct his arrangements. When the Chief of the tribe came to Manipur under safe conduct from the Political Agent, he was murdered by a high official, the brother-in-law of Chandrakirti Singh.2 That abominable act alienated the Chussads and though they settled near the Manipur Valley, they never appeared to have been satisfied with their lot and always complained against the oppressions, committed upon them, by the Manipuris. They decided, in 1877 to leave the State for good. Their tributary offshoots the Choomeyangs, the Chunlges, the Moonoyes and the Koomeyangs also followed them. The Choomeyangs went first from Manipur, and after crossing the Ungoching Range, they settled down in the Burmese territories. The Chussad Kukis, thus settled in the area lying between the Chattik and the Kongal Thannas to the north and the south, and between Ungoching and the Malain Ranges to the west. Some of their villages, therefore, were in the area of the Kabaw Valley, in the territory of Burma. Tonghoo’s Chussad, Pumgong, Nowkeet, Koomeyang, Choomeyang, Chungle, Moonoye, Chunbo, Phunghe and Powchong villages were within the territory of Manipur and tookoopa, Wafe and Chungse within the Burmese territory. Tonghoo was the Chief of all the above villages, but each village also had its own Chief.

During the early part of 1877 some inroads had been made into the territory of Manipur by small parties of this tribe and several Manipuris had been killed.3 After the Kongal outrage of 1877, authorities of Manipur was, for some time, not exercised on that frontier. Taking avantage of the situation the Chussad Kukis became a terror to the peaceful Tangkhuls and Lahoopas in their neighbourhood. When the news reached Chandrakirti singh a strong force was immediately sent there to intercept their further advance. By the end of December 1879, it was reported that Tonghoo, at the instigation of the Samjok Raja, declared himself to be independent of Manipur, but his revolt was suppressed. Shortly after the above outrage, a raid was again committed, in February 1880, by a party of Chussad Kukis, on a Chingsaw village, in the territory of Manipur4 in which forty five men of the village were murdered, three carried off as captives and the village itself burnt down to ashes. With a view to suppress the Chussad Kukis permanently, Chandrakirti Singh desired to send an expedition against them. He therefore sought opinion from the Government of India. The latter concurred in the opinion of the Raja and Chandrakirti Singh suppressed the Chussad Kukis. With the subjugation of the aforesaid tribes peace was restored to this frontier.

However, in September 1893, raids were again committed on Kukilong, a Tangkhul village east of Somra5. On receipt of the information, the Deputy Commissioner, Upper Chindwin and Mr. A. Porteous, Officiating Political Agent at Manipur visited the village with a strong force of Military Police in March 1894 and settled the dispute.6 Examining the growing disturbances in the area and its geographical situation, the Government of India for administrative convenience, handed over the administration of the Somra tract to the Deputy Commissioner, Upper Chindwin District. The Government opined, “… it has been settled that the villages in the Somra basin are not to be handed over to Manipur, it would not have been worthwhile to re-open the question merely for the sake of one or two villages in particular Tuson and Wakhong being administered by Manipur.”7 Since then no attempt has been made for the restoration of the tract to Manipur. Subsequently the boundaries of Manipur were confined to 23o50’ and 25o51’ North Latitudes and 93o and 94o45’ East Longitudes.

Reference :
  1. F.A. Poltl, E. February 1883,No. 175, Johnstone to Secretary to the C.C. Assam 28 January 1882

  2. Ibid.

  3. Administrative Report of the Manipur Political Agency, 1877-78, p. 11.

  4. F. Poltl A. progs. January 1882, Nos 1-2, Secretary, C.C. Assam to Secretary, Govt. of India, 31 March 1880

  5. Administrative Report of Manipur, 1893-94, p. 2

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid, 1897-98, p. 1






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