The Telegraph
Tuesday , April 29 , 2014
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Feast to celebrate an age-old friendship

- Two Naga villages of Manipur’s Senapati district meet to relive ancient ties

Maram Khullen (Senapati), April 28: They drank, sang and ate to resurrect their age-old ties.

Two Naga villages — Maram Khullen and Chakhumai — in Senapati district, today came together to relive their ties by having a “traditional friendship feast” at Maram Khullen.

The gathering at the residence of K. Namba, the chief of Maram Khullen, 90km from Imphal, came after a century of a similar friendship feast at Chakhumai.

“Such a feast was last held nearly a century ago. At that time, people from Maram Khullen had visited Chakhumai for the feast,” K. Raina, the former deputy Speaker of Manipur Assembly, who hails from Maram Khullen, said.

The two villages are located 20km apart in Senapati district. Oral history has it that they helped each other in times of war and misfortune.

The people of Maram Khullen were at frequent war with the Angamis of neighbouring Nagaland in ancient times. When they made forays into Angami territory, the Maram Khullen warriors found shelter and support at Chakhumai village.

The villagers of Chakhumai also halted at Maram Khullen en route to Imphal and other places.

Around 200 villagers, including the young and old of Chakhumai, gathered at the residence of the Maram Khullen chief this morning to revive the ancient relationship.

Chakhumai chief Kapani led the delegation.

The programme was a short one, following ancient traditions, the sumptuous feast being the main attra- ction.

On arrival at Maram Khullen, the villagers accorded them a warm reception and escorted them to the house of the village chief.

Namba gave a short speech welcoming the guests. “Let’s continue to help each other as our forefathers did,” he said.

Folk artistes of both the communities presented a song each, hailing their friendship. Chiefs of the two villages also signed a declaration before the grand feast.

“The traditional friendship feasting declaration” said the day was celebrated “so that the younger generation continues to perpetuate this friendship in the true spirit according to the values and customary practices of our forefathers.”

The chiefs also exchanged spears to strengthen their ties.

Beautiful Maram girls in traditional apparel served “blessing wine”, a local brew, as a prelude to the feast.

The dishes were simple yet delicious — beef curry, boiled potato salad and boiled vegetables.

“I enjoyed being here as a part of the programme. I did not know much about the age-old relationship between Maram Khullen and our village. I learnt something much about the ties between the two villages. It was a great experience,” K. Hekha, a young boy from Chakhumai, said.