Thoibi

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Thoibi
(Old Manipuri: Thoipi)
PRINCESS THOIBI TRICKED KONGYAMBA AND ESCAPED FROM HIM.jpg
Princess Thoibi tricked Angom Nongban Kongyamba and escaped from him
Information
Aliases
  • Moirang Thoibi
  • Moilang Thoipi
  • Ewanglon Thoibi
  • Iwanglon Thoibi
GenderFemale
OccupationPrincess of the Moirang kingdom
Affiliation
TitleLanglen Thadoi
FamilyMoirang Royal Family
Spouse(s)Khuman Khamba
RelativesChingkhu Akhuba, Chingkhu Telheiba
ReligionMeitei religion (Sanamahism)
OriginMoirang kingdom
HomeAncient Moirang

Moirang Thoibi (Old Manipuri: Moilang Thoipi) or Ewanglon Thoibi (Old Manipuri: Ewanglon Thoipi) is the main character of the Khamba Thoibi story from ancient Moirang Kangleirol legends.[1][2] She is a princess from the Ancient Moirang kingdom.[3] She is not the king's daughter. She is the daughter of the King's younger brother Chingkhu Akhuba and fraternal niece of King Chingkhu Telheiba of Moirang.[4][5][6] Khuman Khamba, a poor orphan prince, loved Thoibi.[2][7][5][6]

The word "Thoibi" means perfection or completion of beauty and accomplishments.[8]

Early life[change | change source]

Meeting Khamnu[change | change source]

Princess Thoibi meeting Khamnu in a marketplace.

One day, Princess Thoibi visited the marketplace of Moirang. She saw the girl Khamnu selling wood. She asked Khamnu many questions. She even gave her food and jewelry. Thoibi and Khamnu became good friends. The next time Thoibi went to the market, she met Khamnu again. Thoibi asked Khamnu to come with her fishing on Loktak lake. The king heard that the princess and her friends were going fishing for fun on the lake. He ordered all the men in the kingdom to stay away from the lake. Khamnu told her brother Khamba about this the royal order. The next day, she left him at home. Khamba was sleeping and had a dream.[9]

Meeting Khamba[change | change source]

Thoibi saw Khamba sailing on a boat in the Loktak lake.

In Khamba's dream, Goddess Ayangleima (either Panthoibi or Koiren Leima) made herself look like Khamnu and asked him to get vegetables. Khamba woke up and wondered about his dream. God Thangjing made him think that he had truly seen his sister Khamnu. So he rowed down the lake in a rowboat. But he went in the wrong direction. The God Thangjing spread clouds over the hills, and there was a storm. It blew the boat towards Thoibi and her friends on their fishing trip. Thoibi saw Khamba standing close to her. She asked Khamnu if she knew the strange man disobeying the royal order. Khamnu said no. Khamba did not know what to do. Hearing his sister's voice, he went closer. Thoibi saw that Khamba was handsome, manly, muscular, and well fashioned. Khamba was also amazed at Thoibi's beauty and glamour. It was God's will that they should be lovers. Khamnu worried that her brother might get punished for disobedience. Thoibi noticed a piece of Khamnu's cloth matching Khamba’s headdress. She also discovered Khamba wearing the bracelet she had given to Khamnu. Later, Khamnu revealed the truth. Then, Thoibi became kind to Khamba. She gave him good food. She told him to go home before the King heard that he had broken his rule and come to the lake.[10]

Oath to her lover[change | change source]

Princess Thoibi visited Khamnu's house. Thoibi sat on the red cloth near the post of the north side (ukoklel). The walls of the old house were full of holes. So Khamba hid himself within a mat. Thoibi asked Khamnu about the mat. Khamnu said that it was the worshipping place of God Khuman Pokpa. So Thoibi asked if she could pray to the God. She wanted to be blessed by the God. Thoibi knew the truth very well. But she pretended if she knew nothing. She prayed out loud to the God to allow her to worship him daily in the house. Khamba heard her voice. He laughed aloud. Thoibi said the God was speaking. She came out in the veranda. Meanwhile, Khamba sent his sister to the market to get some fruit. At Khamnu's absence, Thoibi presented him gifts. The two bound themselves by an oath before the God Khuman Pokpa. They drank the water in which a golden bracelet had been dipped. They vowed to be lovers forever. After this oath, Thoibi addresed Khamnu as "sister".[10][11]

Legendary Dance[change | change source]

Khuman Khamba and Moirang Thoibi dancing the Khamba Thoibi Jagoi at the Ebudhou Thangjing Temple at the Lai Haraoba festival in Ancient Moirang.

The King made Khamba the "Khuntak Leiroi Hanjaba" (Floriculture Minister) to gather flowers from the hills.[12] Thoibi prepared delicious food for Khamba. She tied the food in a bundle of leaves. She fastened it with silks of seven kinds. By the grace of God Thangjing, not a petal of a single flower brought by Khamba was broken. At Khamba's return, Thoibi washed his feet and offered him fruits.[13] On the day of customary rituals to be performed, Khamba first offered his flowers to God Thangjing. After that, Khamba gave the flowers to the king, to the queen and then to the high officers of Moirang. Everyone was happy with the flowers. They gave Khamba gifts.[14] Khamba and Thoibi danced before God Thangjing's holy shrine. The pairing was great. The people watching shouted with joy during the dance. Finally, Khamba and Thoibi knelt before God Thangjing.[15]

Exile[change | change source]

Thoibi being beaten by her father for not obeying him

Thoibi's father asked her to marry Nongban Kongyamba. But she said no. Her father was angry and he said, "I will be better to be childless than be the father of this evil girl." He asked his Minister Hanjaba to sell Thoibi to the Kabaw chief for silver and gold. He exiled her to Kabaw chiefdom. He did not want to see her any more. Thoibi told Khamba about what happened. For his sake, she had to go exile to Kabaw. She told Khamba not to forget her. On the day of her exile, she cried so hard that she sounded like thunder. The queen and all her maids also wept. Minister Hanjaba took her away to Kabaw. On the way, she met Khamba. He wept with her remembering the past happy days. Both the lovers felt the pain of separation.[16] Khamba gave Thoibi a staff to lean on as she walked. On her way, Thoibi planted the staff by the roadside. She wished for it to grow flowers and become a living, leafy tree if she remained faithful to Khamba. She also marked a roadside stone. Finally, she reached Kabaw. But Chief Tamurakpa of Kabaw felt sorry for Thoibi. He kept her as a guest. Thoibi became a friend of Changning Kanbi, the daughter of the chief. But the evil women of Kabaw persuaded Changning to treat Thoibi like a servant. Thoibi was sent to catch fish and to gather firewoods. Thoibi was busy with her work. However, she always dreamed that Khamba was with her. God Thangjing took pity on her. Chief Tamurakpa heard about the harsh treatments of Thoibi by his own daughter. So he asked all the women to weave one cloth each. Changning called Thoibi a wayward child. It was because of Thoibi had not wanted to marry Kongyamba. Changning knew Kongyamba was muscular, attractive and the son of famous ancestors. So she thought Kongyamba as a good man. Tamurakpa heard his daughter's words. He was angry with her. He was about to strike her but Thoibi stopped him. The two ladies wove their cloths. Changning was jealous of Thoibi. In the night, Changning tore holes in Thoibi's cloth with a porcupine quill. Later, Thoibi found all that had been done. However, she repaired all the holes and made the cloth even more beautiful than before. Tamurakpa liked Thoibi's cloth very much. He threw his own daughter's cloth away. One day, when Thoibi was working at her cloth making machine, a wind brought ashes towards her. She knew it was from Moirang. She wept remembering her beloved Khamba and her hometown. The God Thangjing softened her father's heart. He sent men to bring her back. However, he asked Kongyamba to marry Thoibi on her way home. However, Thoibi prayed to the patron deity of the Kabaw chiefdom. She thanked Chief Tamurakpa for his kindness. On her way, she saw the stone on which she had written her promise to be faithful to Khamba. She prayed to it and offered gold and silver on it. She saw Khamba's staff which she had planted. It had grown flowers and become a living, leafy tree.[17]

Escape from Kongyamba[change | change source]

Thoibi escaped from Angom Nongban Kongyamba by tricking him

When Thoibi was on her way back to hometown, she was awaited by her suitor, Angom Nongban Kongyamba. Angom Nongban Kongyamba asked his watchmen if Princess Thoibi was coming. After looking carefully, they shouted, "Lo, the Princess is at band." Thoibi heard the shout. She instructed her companions to sit near her if the man was Khamba but far away if the man was Kongyamba. It was Kongyamba and not Khamba. However, she went on. She pretended to be friendly to him. She sat on the red carpet of Kongyamba's possession. However, she placed a stick between Kongyamba and herself. She asked him for fruit to eat. Kongyamba brought her fruit. But she did not eat the fruit. She pretended to get ill due to her long journey from Kabaw. Kongyamba was worried. She asked Kongyamba to let her ride on his horse. He agreed. So Thoibi rode Kongyamba's horse. Kongyamba rode in Thoibi's palanquin. Suddenly, Thoibi galloped off on the horse towards Khamba's house. Khamba met her from the long time exile at his house. They wept for their reunion. Kongyamba was angry that he had been tricked a girl. He asked the king's ministers to act. Minister Thonglen and Minister Nongtholba sent men to protect Khamba and Thoibi from their enemies. The matter was set before the King in the royal court. The king wanted to solve the issue by the trial of the spear. During the talk, an old man came to the meet the king. The old man told him that a ferocious tiger was a great threat to the villagers in a place called Khoirentak. The king changed his mind. He said he would use the tiger to decide what to do. He said that person who killed the tiger could marry Princess Thoibi.[18]

Marriage and death[change | change source]

Khamba killed the man-eating tiger. Thus, Khamba and Thoibi married each other in high state by the King of Moirang. One day, Khamba wondered if Thoibi was faithful to him. He wanted to test her chastity. One night, he pretended to travel away from home. Then, he secretly returned home. In disguise as a stranger, he pushed a stick through the wall of Thoibi's room. He was teasing Thoibi. Thoibi was not aware of all this. So, she thought it had been done by a stranger. She got angry. She pushed a spear through the wall to hit the stranger. Khamba was severely wounded. He called her. Thoibi knew his voice. She immediately went out and carried him inside. Khamba was dying. She was extremely shocked. Before he died, she killed herself upon him with the same spear. Khamba and Thoibi are the incarnations of a god and a goddess. They were sent by God Thangjing. Unlike normal mortal beings, God Thangjing denied their happiness of long life and children.[19]

In popular culture[change | change source]

Dancers performing the Khamba Thoibi Jagoi in Manipur.

References[change | change source]

  1. Panchani, Chander Sheikhar (1987). Manipur, Religion, Culture, and Society. Konark Publishers. ISBN 978-81-220-0047-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Freda Marie Houlston Bedi (1967). Social Welfare. Publications Division.
  3. Eurasian Studies Yearbook. Eurolingua. 1996.
  4. Moirangthem Kirti (1993). Folk Culture of Manipur. Manas Publications. ISBN 978-81-7049-063-0.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dalal, Roshen (2017). India at 70: snapshots since Independenc. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. p. 304. ISBN 9789386815378.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Datta, Amaresh (1987). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: A-Devo. Sahitya Akademi. p. 222. ISBN 978-81-260-1803-1.
  7. Chandra, N.D.R.; Das, Nigamananda (2007). Ecology, Myth, and Mystery: Contemporary Poetry in English from Northeast India. Sarup & Sons. p. 83. ISBN 978-81-7625-742-8.
  8. Singh, N. Tombi (29 August 1976). "Khamba and Thoibi: The Unscaled Height of Love". Chitrebirentombichand Khorjeirup – via Google Books.
  9. Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 181.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 136.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  11. Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 137.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  12. Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 138.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  13. Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 139.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  14. Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 140.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  15. Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 141.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  16. Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 148.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  17. Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 149.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  18. Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 150.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  19. Hodson, T. C. (Thomas Callan) (1908). The Meitheis. Duke University Libraries. London, D. Nutt. p. 151.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  20. "Khamba Thoibi-Folk Dance Of Manipur". Archived from the original on 2021-02-01. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  21. Khamba Thaibi Manipur Dancers, Khamba Thaibi Folk Dance Troupe, Khamba Thaibi Dancers Delhi
  22. Khamba Thoibi Dance - Everything Experiential
  23. khamba Thoibi Folk Dance of Manipur
  24. Mayembama Anandamohana (2002). A. Dorendrajit Singh. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-1112-4.
  25. Khamba Thoibi and Poems on Manipur Book Review By James Oinam
  26. Khamba Thoibi And Poems On Manipur : Raina, Vimala : Internet Archive

Other websites[change | change source]