Poumai Naga tribe is one of the oldest, major Naga tribes in Manipur. Unlike in past, the natives of Poumai have ceased to practise most of the indigenous traditions. The reasons for ‘disappearance’ of indigenous traditions, in Poumai villages or any Naga village, are questions that require more in-depth research; however, there are some few general working hypothesis: the pressures associated with population growth and the depletion of forest habitats, and the notion that puritanical forms of Christianity introduced by American Baptist missionaries have eroded traditions that accommodated therianthropy.
Prior to India's independence, the ancestors of Poumai had evidently lived in this vicinity for centuries; this proved that Poumai are the aboriginal of this place. Due to lack of education in the past, the history of Poumai Nagas is getting distorted, and most terms used now to label the indigenous people and the place’s names are given by the outsiders for their convenience, without the consent of the natives; most of these terms are vague in fact. For instance, even the term Nagas and Head-Hunters are first used by the outsiders to address the people of this region, so-called the Nagas now. If cultural connotation is ignored, the label like headhunters could project wrong connotation; the culture of the Nagas are not limited to just head-hunting. Similarly, ignoring the native names, almost all of the village’s names in Manipur, particularly the Poumai Naga’s villages, are given by the non-natives that show no implication to the place or people. In this way, the unique culture is devalued.
Regularly shifting of the people to towns and cities for job and education, younger generation adopting different culture ignoring their indigenous identity, lack of support from the government to preserve and promote the cultural values, and lack of awareness for people about the endangerment of their culture are some of the crucial factors that could lead to extinction of the unique culture of Poumai Naga in future.
Loss of culture equates to the loss of identity. At this juncture, there is hardly any written document that could explain about the tribe of Poumai Naga, or even about one of the villages. The information and knowledge of the people and places of Poumai Naga are still of oral tradition.
So, it's high time to document and describe the information and knowledge of the Poumai Naga villages--lest our values will depend on foreigner’s definitions. In order to begin something (at least), some Poumais who are in academia have decided to work collectively to document and promote the culture of the Poumai Naga villages. The first plan is to come up with a book named as ‘An Encyclopedia of Poumai Naga’.
Submission of papers
Having said this, we invite individuals to contribute a description (a layout is given bellow) about any one of the Poumai Naga villages that can be considered to include in the book entitled ‘An Encyclopedia of Poumai Naga-Volume I’ --that will be published in December, 2019.
The aim of this book is to compile the findings of first-hand information about all the Poumai Naga villages in form of articles/descriptions into a book.
The output of this project will be a valuable resource for the community and also for those who are interested in Poumai Naga. This is one of the best ways of initiation to preserve and promote our culture and identity.
Information for the contributors
Officially, there are over 80 villages of Poumai Naga (need to get a reliable source still); a list of the villages is given below. One individual (or a group of individuals) will be selected for each village, preferably a native (or natives) from the village. An individual (group) who has agreed to contribute may be asked to work on more than a village; for instance, the person who has agreed to work on Phuba (Phyamai) may be asked to include all the villages such as, Phuba Khuman, Phuba Thapham etc, though these two are recognized as separate villages officially.
Agreement of contribution: on or before 31st Jan, 2018
First draft submission: on or before 30th June, 2019
Final submission: on or before 10th Nov, 2019
-Prof. Dr. Moses M. Naga
Department of Library & Information Science
North-Eastern Hill University Shillong
-Mr. Sahiinii Lemaina Veikho
University of Bern, Switzerland
-Dr. K.B. Standson Pou
Research Scholar, JNU Delhi
-Dr. Raile Rocky Ziipao
Research Fellow, Harvard University, USA
List of contributors
NB: The person In-Charge is responsible to submit the paper after consulting with all the contributors.
For suggestion about the contributors, please contact Dr. K.B. Standson Pou (+919654242827)