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Illustration of a baby khambrangchak
Similar entitiesPebet, Kakyen, Uchek Langmeitong
FolkloreMeitei mythology and folklore
Country India
RegionKangleipak (present day Manipur)

Khambrangchak is a bird species frequently mentioned in Meitei mythology, folklore of Ancient Kangleipak (early Manipur).[1]

The folktale of Lady Khambrangchak shows a chain of damages caused by her while preparing for going to her family of orientation. Later, she was even forgiven by the judging king declaring it as a nature of women to be emotional during such preparation.[2]

Khambrangchak is often known as "Khambrangchak Pidonnu"[3] or "Khambrangchak Tonsenu".[4]

Identification[change | change source]

Some scholars identity Khambrangchak as yellow wagtail.[5] Some scholars identify Khambrangchak as white pied wagtail.[6]

Moirangthem Kirti Singh identified Khambrangchak as partridge.[7]

A publication of the "World Wide Fund for Nature, India", identified Khambrangchak as multiple bird species. These species were (1) black naped blue fly catcher, (2) grey wagtail, (3) yellow headed wagtail, (4) white pied wagtail, etc.[8]

Stories[change | change source]

Once there was a Khambrangchak couple. One day Lady Khambrangchak told her husband that she wished to visit her parental house. Her husband allowed her to go. Happily, Lady Khambrangchak went to a nearby river to bath to prepare to go. There was a crab in the river. Lady Khambrangchak mistook the crab as a stone and stood on it. She started bathing, jumping and even singing happily. That disturbed the crab. The crab got angry and hurted her legs with its pincers (claws). Lady Khambrangchak shouted in pain and flew away. She flew towards a fruit tree and sat on its branch. There was a fruit about to fall down hanging in the branch. As Lady Khambrangchak sat on the branch, the fruit fell down to an anthill. A group of angry ants came out from their house. They saw an old woman sitting nearby. They bit her. The old woman rolled on the ground in pain. As she rolled, she destroyed a fence (wall). There was a bat's nest in the fence. It was also destroyed at the same time. The bat got frightened and flew away. As bats could not see properly in daytime, that bat accidentally flew inside a King's elephant's nostril. The bat couldn't find a way to go out. So, it stayed inside the elephant's nose. From that day onwards, the elephant did not eat anything. It felt sick. The King called a physician (medical doctor). The doctor observed the elephant. He treated a medicine for the elephant. The smell of the medicine disturbed the bat. The bat flew out of the nose. King's guards caught the bat. The bat was brought before the King.[1]

The King asked the bat why it stayed inside his elephant's nose. The bat blamed the old woman for everything. The old woman was brought before the King. She blamed the ants for everything. The ants were brought before the King. They blamed the fruit. The fruit was brought before the King. The fruit blamed Lady Khambrangchak for everything.[1]

Lady Khambrangchak was brought before the King. She told him the truth. She confessed that she disturbed a crab. The king said that it was not only women (human females) who were over excited to beautify themselves to visit their parental houses, but also the female birds and female animals getting over excited for the same reason. The king set her free. Thus, the preparation of Lady Khambrangchak for visiting her parental house became widely known and blameworthy in the entire kingdom.[1]

In another version of the story, the group of ants bit a pig. The pig jumped on a banana tree. The banana tree could not hold the pig's weight. The tree fell on a fence. The fence was broken. It fell on a pond. The pond fell angry and complained to the king. The king called all of the accused. All of them told him whatever they had experienced. Later, the king set all of them free.[9]

Interpretation[change | change source]

Regarding the preparation of Lady Khambrangchak for visiting her parental house (Meitei: Khambrangchak Mapam Chatpa), scholar Chirom Rajketan Singh said,[10]

“Carelessness can lead to chaos and the careless woman in Khambrangchak Mapam Chatpa caused a series of anger. Though pardoned for her fault, the tale depicts the woman's unawareness of things around her as she was engrossed in beautifying herself. This implies woman's love and fascination for beauty which can make her see nothing around.”

— Chirom Rajketan Singh[10]

In art[change | change source]

Khambrangchak is shown in an artwork of goddess Phouoibi, along with flower designs, found in Senjam Chirang. It is kept in the Manipur State Museum.[11]

Related articles[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 S Sanatombi (2014). "খমব্রাংচাক্না মপাম চৎপা" [Khambrangchak visiting her parental house]. মণিপুরী ফুংগাৱারী [Manipuri Folktales (Manipuri Phungawari)] (in Manipuri). India: Digital Library of India; Internet Archive. pp. 223, 224.
  2. Session, North East India History Association (1991). Proceedings of North East India History Association. The Association. pp. 76, 77.
  3. "An assessment on 'Ebenpokki wari', Manipuri folktales". Imphal Free Press. Retrieved 2024-04-18.
  4. B. Jayantakumar Sharma; Dr. Chirom Rajketan Singh (2014). "Khambraangchak". Folktales of Manipur. India: Digital Library of India; Internet Archive. pp. 97–99.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  5. Śāmuṅau, Khāṅembama (2010). Endangered Manipur Brow-antlered Deer: An Environmental Assessment. University of California, Berkeley. Department of Forest (Wildlife Wing), Government of Manipur. p. 172. ISBN 978-81-920708-0-3.
  6. Indian Journal of Forestry: 1999-00. Cornell University. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh. 1999. p. 311.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. Kirti Singh, Moirangthem. Folk Culture of Manipur. India: Manas Publications, 1993. p. 21
  8. Ramsar Sites of India: Loktak Lake, Manipur. India: World Wide Fund for Nature, India, 1994. p. 59
  9. B. Jayantakumar Sharma; Dr. Chirom Rajketan Singh (2014). "Khambraangchak". Folktales of Manipur. India: Digital Library of India; Internet Archive. pp. 97–99.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Dr. Chirom Rajketan Singh (2016). Oral Narratives of Manipur (in English and Manipuri). India: Digital Library of India; Internet Archive. pp. 190 (hard copy), 199 (soft copy).{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  11. Kalā: The Journal of Indian Art History Congress. Vol. 2–4. University of Michigan. The Congress. 1995. p. 92.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link) CS1 maint: others (link)

Other websites[change | change source]