Glimpse of a Golden Era From Yunan Province, China to Mung-Dun-Chun-Kham, India (Chao Manash Mohan)

• According to literature there was the kingdom of Tai, called “Mung-Mao” or “Mung-Mao-Lung” in Yun-Nan, province of China.
There were four princes of Mung-Mao. Sukapha was the eldest, Suakhanpha was the second, Suapatpha the third and Suachatpha the youngest. ( At this many literature gives different information)
•These four princes wanted to expand their kingdom and desired to have a kingdom of their own. They set out on a journey taking along with them a group of nobles, soldiers and a large group of people.
•The eldest prince Chao lung Sukapha proceeded westwards, the second prince Suakhanpha moved to the north and the third prince Suapatpha went forward to the east, from Yun-Nan. The youngest prince Chao Suachatpha established his rich and prosperous kingdom of Yun-Nan itself.
•The prince Sukapha, the eldest prince, who crossed the Patkai ranges and came down to Mung-Dun-Chun-Kham, the golden land (the magnificent kingdom of Assam) in 1228 A.D. (13th century) and established a great Tai Kingdom in Assam.
•From this narrative, the kingdom established by king Sukaphais supposed to be the first kingdom of the Tai-Ahom in Assam.
•Ahom are members of the Great Tai (Tai-Yai) group of people. Culturally and traditionally, Tai-Ahom is a rich branch of the Great Tai people who lived in Assam. They have their siblings in Burma, Yunnan, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.
•The Tai-Ahom were the earliest Tai group who migrated into Assam and name it as Mung-dun-chun-kham which is now known as Assam, perhaps derived from the Tai word Ha-sham -the land of the Shams
.
•These Tai-Mao people are also called Shams from Burmese Shans, eventually the local people called this Tai group who came to rule in this area as “Ahom
•In 1251 A.D. the Tai-Ahoms established their first capital at “ Che-Rai-Doi” (che=city, rai=shine, doi=hill), the shining city on the hill.
•The Ahoms called their country as “Mung-Tai” (mung= city, land) the land of the Tai people.
•As early as the 17th century A.D. most of the Ahom were converted to Hinduism by political way; anti Ahom Force. Though some of the Ahoms ( Mohan, Deodhai, Bailung) refused to give away their traditional practices and cultural heritages and still many follows it during marriage and funeral occasions.
•The traditional customs such as marriage and funeral customs in which the rituals are different from those of the Hindus and now many young generations are coming front to revive own culture.
•During the period of the Mogul wars in 1682, they extended their kingdom up to the Manaha river. This limit of the kingdom remained unaltered until the end of Ahom rule in the year 1826 A.D.
•The Ahom kingdom was the longest ruled Tai dynasty among all ,around six hundred years (from 1228-1826 A.D.), when the kingdom was passed into the hands of the East India Company.
•The establishment of the Ahom kingdom brought a new element into the Assam history that is, the system of administration. The government system under the Tai-Ahom rule could be called as the monarchical system.
It is said that, the coming of Ahom has left at least two important legacies in Assam, i.e., the sense of the importance of history and the system of administration.
•The Ahom themselves did not followed the caste system, even though, a large number of people in Assam were Hindus and they do so.
•The Tai Mao people from Mung-Mao, were called “Tai-Ahom” by the local people. When they first came to Brahmaputra valley they brought with them their own language and manuscripts. Tai-Ahom have their own language, script, literature, culture, religion and the chronicle, which is called Buranji. According to J.N. Phukan (2004), the Tai Mao had adopted their script probably from the Mons before the 13th century.
•The system of kinship in Tai-Ahom and Thai appears to be similar in many context:
Tai Ahom : APA - Mothers elder sister, Father’s elder sister ,Wife of mother’s elder brother, Wife of father’s elder brother
Standard-Thai : PA.
Tai Ahom : PU – THAW : Grand Father
Standard Thai: PU – TA
•Tai-Ahom people used to identify themselves to differentiate from other communities with their Ahom titles. During the Chao lung Suakapha period (in 13th century), there were only eight clans of the Ahom.
•Ahom. During the six hundred years of their rule in the Brahmaputra valley, various classes were formed due to different posts of administration. The titles are used by Ahom according to their posts in the Ahom kingdom.
•It is said that the Ahom have a religion of their own. All available evidences point to the idea that the Ahom religion is regarded as a branch of the old Tai religion. The Tai-Ahom religion is based on certain fundamental beliefs in supernatural powers, basically, the worship of the ancestor spirit and beneficial spirits of the hills, forests and water.
•It is interesting to make a note of the similarity between the traditional beliefs of Ahom and Thais before adopting Hinduism and Buddhism. The traditional rites related to agriculture both in Thai and Ahom societies are quite similar. Their purposes of performing rites are also the same, i.e. in order to bestow upon gods, sacred things, including ancestor souls and implore them to protect the performer and all community members against all hazards to their life and properties as well as to beg for blessing, good things, and confidence in living their life all the year round.
•The great god named Lengdon was said to be the principal god of the Ahom. The worship of Lengdon along with other gods called Umpha Puja / Umpha (Um- to offer, Phra- gods).
•At Peng Kaka the holy book of Tai Ahom mentioned: In the beginning there was nothing, there was only one almighty being, the great god. The god himself created the whole universe. A great god created a deity, and then created a goddess as his wife.
•The Tai-Ahom people were not image-worshippers. There was no evidence of the image worship in any ritual of Ahom. They created art and architecture but without the icon of god for the purpose of worship. The icon of god and goddess has never been named in their sacred books.
•However the two idols called Chum and Seng (Chum phra rung muang – Seng maung) which were possessed by Ahom royal family, were preserved as the idols of the king. Chum and Seng were considered as gods (phura) in bright colour (rung) presiding over the kingdom (maung)
•According to the belief of Ahom, there is the hierarchy of the spirit after death i.e. Dam and Phi. After death a man becomes a “Dam”, he continues to exist and protect the living family members from all evils.
•After a period of time when the duty as Dam is over then he rises above Dam to be a “Phi”. The Phi has a duty as a god of the society. He is now “a society god” and cuts off all relations with his family.
•The Ancestor worship of Ahom is held annually on 31st January on the festival called Me-Dam-Me-Phi festival.
To be continued.

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