The Mao Naga tribe inhabits the northern part of the Manipur State- Senapati district bounded by the Angami, Rengma and Chakhesang Naga tribes in the north, the Maram and Zeme Naga tribes in the west, the Tangkhul Naga in the east and the meiteis in the south. The area stretches along the foot hills of Esii Pfoki or Mt. Tenupu on the Japfii hill range in the west extending up to Liani River on the eastern side of Nagaland.
The Mao Naga tribe inhabits the northern part of the Manipur State- Senapati district bounded by the Angami, Rengma and Chakhesang Naga tribes in the north, the Maram and Zeme Naga tribes in the west, the Tangkhul Naga in the east and the meiteis in the south. The area stretches along the foot hills of Esii Pfoki or Mt. Tenupu on the Japfii mountain range in the west extending up to Liani River on the eastern side of the Nagaland State “The Origin is always obscure,” says MacIver. The origin of the Mao Naga is very obscure, for there is not any written historical document of the past, the origin of the Mao Naga traces only through the bases of folk songs, stories and folklores. The history and customs are preserved in human memories which are handed down through one generation to another by oral narration. The songs and tales cover the whole life of the society, social system, history of origin, migration, achievements of the heroes, the love affairs, events of the war and making peace treaty and such events of times.
The Tiger, the God and the Man came into existence through the miraculous union between the already existing the first woman and the cloud of the sky. The first woman’s name was called” DZIILIMOSIIRO,” which means the “purest water “or “crystal clear water.”
One day “DZIILIMOSIIRO,” was resting under a peepal tree with her legs apart at the place called ‘MAKHRIIFII’, now MAKHEL, which is believed as the first Nagas’ native land or place by the common Nagas, presently situated in Mao, Manipur. Suddenly a dust of clouds surrounded over her and some drops of liquid came down over her private part and she become pregnant. There is another tale about the origin and migration of the Mao Naga, which seems to be more authentic. It is believe that the Naga’s fore-fathers came from China. They ran away from Chinese emperor who forcibly employed his subjects in the construction of the Great Wall of China. They walked alone the river’s side, Kriiborii, which is a tributary of Chindwin River in Myanmar, and finally reached the end of the river, where its source begins. They settled there and name the place called “Makhrefii.”(Makhre - secret, fii- place)
When the mother grew older, she became weak. The children of hers nursed her turn by turn when the other two went to the field. The mother always felt discomfort on the day when she was looking after by the tiger because the tiger would always demand to eat this and that parts of her body as soon as she died.
She always caught high fever whenever the God looked after her during the day as the other brothers went to the field. The woman always long for the man to nurse her because she would feel very pleasant and never get sick whenever she was with her Son (man).
Accidentally she breathed out her last breath on the day when the man looked her after. The man buried the dead body beneath the hearth of the kitchen as being advised by his mother less the Tiger and God came back from the field. The Tiger asked from the man to show the place where the mother was buried and scratched out the mud wherever he (Tiger) suspected.
Now they all wept together for their lost mother. They sat down together and discussed what they would do thereafter, as the mother was no more. They came to conclusion that they must go to their respective places was already being directed by their mother when she was alive.
When the time came for their departure, the God and the Tiger were hesitant to go to their respective places. They remained at home with the Man. They began fighting for the native home. They came to conclusion that they would have a contest. The contest was- one who saw, first the rising sun would dwell in the native land. Therefore the following day they sat in a line watching the first rising sun. The Tiger and the God were looking seriously at the east while the Man was looking at the west, at the high mountains. The man saw the sun light appeared on the top of the mountains before they saw the real sun rising. Thus the Man won the contest.
The God hesitantly went away the forest. The Tiger though supposed to go where their mother had directed to go (plain) but he remained at home with the Man in their native home. In order to get rid of the Tiger the Man made some sorts of plans. The Man asked the Tiger what was he scared most. The Tiger answered that fire and thundering sound were the most frightening things for him.
One day the Man tight on the Tiger’s tail with a bamboo cup and piece of the torn mat when he was fast asleep. He then brought the horn, buffalo’s horn, near the Tiger’s ear and blew it with his might. On hearing the deafening sound the Tiger woke up from his sleep and ran away to the plain. The youngest son, therefore, remained in the native home as the inheritor of the mother. That is why the youngest son of the family inherits the residence of the parents.
To be continued.....