One of the last foreign tribes which entered India are the Ahoms. They originated in the territory around Yunnan and marched west till they settled in current Assam. In fact, the whole territory West of Vietnam, north of Thailand and East of Bengal is a melting point of tribes under constant flux and only the modern nation state blocked the movements.

Tribal India coexisted with the mainstream India for millenia but maintained it’s own traditions. The coexistence means a bidirectional flow of influence where the tribals got Hinduized in due time and mainstream Hinduism adopted various tribal customs – the syncretism being such perfected that the tribal religions are treated as a part of Hindu whole. However, there was never a violent clash of civilizations though there are rare cases as like of Manipur’s Garib Niwaz who forcibly imposed mainstream Hinduism on his country. But, was the mainstream Meitei religion stamped out completely? No. It survived.

Take Ahoms, for example. The Ahoms were Hinduized somewhere in the middle of their rule with names like Devaraja and Bhagya Bijayadit Singha being some of the earliest names. After they became Hinduized, some of the gods like Lengdon and Jashingpha are equated to Hindu gods having the same role,

but till the last, Ahom rulers maintained traditional Ahom names along with Indianized names – an indication of the ease with which the syncretism is attained.

Shukapha Had 3 sons
ShutephaSonHad 4 sons
Chao-ShubinphaSonHad 2 sons
TaoshukhamphaSonHis brother Tao-Shulai was made Saring Raja
Tao-KhamthiBrotherTachanbing was the Thaomung
ShudangphaSonHad 3 sons
Chao-ShugangphaSonHad 4 sons
ShupakphaSonHad 2 sons
ShupimphaSonChao-Shubai was made Dihingia Raja
ShuhumphaSonAlso called Dihingia Raja. Had 4 sons. Shureng/Deo Raja/Phichao was made Saring Raja,  Shukhring/Dopraja was made Tipian Raja. Klangsheng was made ChaoShengleng
ShuklengmungSon2 sons
Shurampha/Bhagya Bijayadit SimhaSonDeposed
Shuchingpha/Khora Kekora Jayaditya SimhaBrotherAdopted two boys – one of them died. The other had sons Shureng and Shukreng
Shutamla/Phutunpha/Bhagania Jayadhwaj SimhaSon 
Shupangmung/Barjana Makaradhwaj SimhaBrother 
Shukanpha/Saringia Ramadhvaj SimhaSon 
Shuhungpha/Parbatia RajaBrother 
Shujinpha/Haru DihinglaBrother 
Shulikpha/Lara Raja/Ratnadhwaj Simha?? 
Shupatpha/Chao-Shulung/Gadadhar Singha??Hunted by the previous king. Had 2 sons
Shukhrungpha/Rudra SimhaSonHis brother was exiled to Namruk and blinded. He is called Namrupia Kana Raja
Shutanpha/Siva SimhaSon 
Shunenpha/Pramatta SimhaBrother 
Shurempha/Rajeshwar SimhaBrother 
Shunyeupha/Lakshmi SimhaBrother 
Shuhitpungpha/Gaurinath SimhaSon 

The Ahom is a Tai race from the borders of Vietnam and China who migrated West for whatever reasons. If you look at their origin myth till they reached Assam, you will notice two important things – they chafed at the Chinese domination and declared China as a country carved through fraud from Ahom lands. Ava being given to a son of Khunlung is an indication that Burma is conquered by them during Sukhapha’s march west – or they had historical claims of it. The traditional story goes thus. But note, whatever the origin of this story which came from Ahom Burinji, you will see heavy Hindu influence, clearly hinting that the chronicle was written after the Ahoms became Hindus.

In the beginning there were no gods and men. There was no world and there was only water. There was no air, no animals, no land, no rulers, no countries – there was nothing living. Sun, moon, stars didn’t exist. Only the Great God Phalaibet was present. He remained suspended in the sky like a swarm of bees. He had no shape and resembled a lump of flesh. He then, decided to change his shape and changed into a human being. Phalaibet suddenly opened his eyes and saw that there is nothing attractive around him.

He created Khuntheukham from his breast. He knelt before Phalaibet waiting for orders.  One day, on the orders of Phalaibet, Khuntheukham extended his body into the water and started floating on water. A lotus grew from his navel. After this, Khuntheukham started to create living creatures. First, a crab was created. Then a tortoise. Then, he encircled the tortoise with a serpent with eight hoods spread in eight directions. Then, he made a white elephant with long tusks. Khuntheukham was not satisfied.

He created two mountains and placed pillars on top of them. He then tied a rope to the pillars. Then, he created two large golden spiders which floated in the air. Out of their excrement, earth was formed. After that, the spiders put eight pillars on the corners of the earth and decided to create heaven. They quickly weaved a heaven in the shape of a Golden Throne at the top of the web covering the pillars and the summits of the mountains. A pumpkin seed was sown. Out of the pumpkin came men.

Phalaibet then created a wife and gave her female organs. They copulated and the Goddess laid four eggs. Phalaibet assigned Thaolung to hatch them. For years, he hatched. Nothing happened. He then thought how to break the eggs and sprinkled Amrita on the eggs. The eggs burst and out came four men.

Phalaibet, to the eldest son: I name you Phashangdin-Khunneyeu. You will rule earth.

Phalaibet, to the second son: I name you Shengchapha-Phakham. You will rule the eight lakh serpents living in water.

Phalaibet, to the third son: I name you Shengkampha. You will own the thunder.

Phalaibet, to the youngest son: I name you Ngingaokham. You will also be called Phura. You will help me  create the world.

Phashangdin-Khunneyeu saw that the earth is sparsely populated and created more men. He sent Thaoliping and Thaobanshing to teach men. Then, he sent Shangdeng to rule over them but he was not interested and came back.

After some time, Shengkampha acted against the will of Phalaibet and was killed. His son Shengkapha became his successor and after his death, became the God who takes care of welfare of household.

Phalaibet then looked down towards the earth and saw that things are not going on properly. He created Hunkhamngam and ordered him to stay in the foggy part of the heaven and write the Vedas.

By then, Ngingaokham completed his work of creating the world and rested on the top of Mount Meru. He was emitting a golden glow. After a long time, a person by name Puphishu, who noticed Ngingaokham captured him and brought him down. He made him the king of Mungkling-Khru. His race spread, ruling multiple kingdoms till Lengdon was born in the line. He was made the King of Gods and the successor of Shengkapha. He ruled all the Kingdoms of Gods and his country was full of riches. But, there was no one from his line ruling earth.

One day, Lengdon decided to send some from his family to settle the chaos on the earth. Next day, he ordered Shaiphunnyainyai, the God of Mist to bring Jashingpha, the Goddess of Learning to him. Jashingpha asked Lengdon to send some princes to earth, but Lengdon believed his nephew Thenkham is more competent to choose them. A messenger was sent to Thenkham and he asked to send Lengdon’s grandsons Khunlung and Khunlai.

They were sent down to earth using an iron ladder and entered the uninhabited country of Mungri. A camp was pitched there and they started to get into their routine, when one of their followers noticed, the divine fowl which they were supposed to bring with them is missing. Khunlung asked if anyone is ready to go back and get it. None was ready, but a local tribal Langu came forward under the condition that Khe country is given to him. He went to Jashingpha who told him how to place the divine sword of Lengdon in the audience hall and what not to do with the fowl. But, Langu had other thoughts. He decided not to tell what Jashingpha told him.

Langu said to the kings, “I wish to tell you what Jashingpha said. “The princes might not remember what Lengdon said to them. Let no other person know the secret. The rule of the Khe(China) country may be given to you. The princes should eat the flesh and liver of the fowls of the holy country. The heads and wings are to be taken by you, Langu. The princes should not take the legs of the fowls as they scatter about dung with their legs when they go out in search of food in the morning. The princes are prohibited from taking the heads and legs of the fowls. If they follow the advice they will be able to rule the earth. Jashingpha has ordered you offer me the sword and directed you, O! Kings, to rule the countries in the north.”

The princes then took the heavenly fowls and decided to build a palace. They took out the thigh bones of the holy fowls and cleared them with a knife. They made the bones polished and divined by examined them.

Khunlung, after first divination: Khunlung and Khunlai’s enemies will be destroyed.

Khunlung, after second divination: Khunlung will become the supreme ruler. He will be the master of elephants and treasures.

Khunlung, after third divination: Khunlung and Khunlai’s will still be supreme but their enemies will also be ruling.

Khunlung, after fourth divination:  Khunlung and Khunlai’s enemies will be defeated. Langu will have a large kingdom extending to the ocean.

The palace was built, a great city was built around it and people from different parts of the world flocked to that city. Lengdon sent a messenger to the Princes.

“You will be rulers of the earth and will be paid tributes by all. You are now the masters of a big town and the boundaries of your kingdom will be extended wide. You must not disobey my instructions. Next year you should make offer of sacrifices to me.”

But, Khunlai wanted to become king in his own stead. When a banyan tree was planted in the palace in the name of the king, he attached some gold strings to it’s roots without anyone knowing. A few days later, Khunlai said to Khunlung, “Brother, did you attach anything to the roots of the banyan tree?”

Khunlung: No, I didn’t.

Khunlai: I am the real king of the country. I planted the tree and attached gold strings to its root. You may examine it.”

Khunlung checked the tree and was overcome with grief when he found the strings and his brother’s deceit. Khunlai then took the banyan tree and placed it in his palace. After that, he quarrelled with his brother and took all the regalia away. Khunlung directly went to Lengdon and narrated all this. Lengdon became very angry. Lengdon cursed Khunlai by saying “Khunlai will not be able to reign long and come back to heaven. Know it for certain that his family will not reign for a long period.”

He asked Khunlung to go and rule Mungkhrumungja. Khunlung went back and ruled as ordered by Lengdon. He ruled the country well and was liked by all. His fame spread to all quarters. He, then, divided his countries amongst his sons and ordered them to pay tribute. He decreed that his son Khunju will succeed him, tutored him and handed him the sword and drums of Lengdon. He told his son of his tussle with Khunlai and told how Lengdon supported him. He asked him not to disobey the word of Lengdon ever. In the race was born Phuchangkhang whose two elder sons were made kings and the youngest, Sukhapha succeeded him at Mungkhrumungja.

But, he didn’t want to rule and marched west in search of new lands with some families and the idol of Chumpa-rung-shengmung which was given by Lengdon to Khunlung. Fighting all the way and defeating kingdoms, he reached Mungdun. A number of those he defeated also followed him.

After reaching Mungdun, Sukhapha settled there and established a strong kingdom. It is possible that he has reached the edge of wilderness and decided to stop before he entered the civilizational belt of India. We would further see that Ahoms almost never crossed Brahmaputra and ruled the territory for six centuries, making them one of the longest reigning dynasties in the world.

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