Thadou - History and Cultural Relations

Thadou tradition links their origin with an area south of their current habitat. Intertribal conflict and the need for cultivable land are two of the reasons cited as possible causes for the northerly migration of the Thadou. However, Shaw believes that they originated in the north. It is his contention that they moved down the Imphal or Gun River, then proceeded down the Tuihat (Chindwin) River until they reached the sea. Since they were unable to traverse this obstacle, they retreated up the Tuihat until they reached that point where it merged with the Teo (Tyao) River. The retreat continued until they reached their present location. The Thadou feel that they are destined to be rulers of the Earth and eschew any yoke of domination. This attitude led to the Kuki rebellion of 1918-1919. In spite of their defeat then, the Thadou maintain the belief that a promising future awaits them. The impact of Christian missionary activity was felt early in the twentieth century. William Shaw believed that the Christianization of the area would improve relations between the Thadou and neighboring peoples (felt by the Thadou to be their inferiors). He also noted that Thadou participation in the Manipur Labour Corps altered significantly the Thadou worldview (i.e., revealing the world to be larger than the Thadou had thought it to be).

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