Title: The Meitheis
Author: T.C. Hodson
First Edition: Originally published in 1908
About the Author:
Thomas Challan Hodson occupied key administrative positions in Bengal Khasia Hills, Assam and Manipur before retiring in 1901. Later on he held positions as Hon. Secretary of Royal Anthropological Institute, reader in Ethnology, Cambridge University; and as William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology, Cambridge. He was a recipient of the coveted Silver Medal of the Royal Society of Arts. His highly acclaimed works include Primitive Culture of India; Languages Customs and Religion of India and Sensus Ethnography of India.
About the Book:
The country was divided into six pannas, Ahalup (the club of the old men), Naharup (the club of the young men), Laipham (abode of the gods), Kkabum (belonging to Khaba or bitter, from khaba), Hitakphariba (gatherer of tobacco), and Potsangba (watchmen). The earliest mention of these associations occurs in the reign of Kbirengba, A.d. 1510, and it is clear that at that time they were already military associations, and on the complete organization of the lal-lup (war club or militia), which took place in the reign of Pamheiba, they became what for some time they had been in fact, constituent parts of the militia of the country. Ahalup and Naharup seem to have been the first two to be established, and, on the creation of the Laipham and Khabam divisions, precedence was assigned to these latter over the older bodies. The precise reason for this is obscure, but may be connected with the difficulties which Pamheiba, a great reformer, experienced in introducing Hinduism as the formal religion of the State. It is now almost impossible to tell the precise conditions of membership in these associations before the period of the Burmese invasions, because the devastation of the country and its repeated depopulation completely disturbed the internal organization of the state, and the system described by Colonel McCulloch and other observers was the creation of Gambhir Singh at the comparatively recent period subsequent to the treaty of Yandabo in 1826. Nevertheless, it seems probable that the ancient model was closely followed, and that the basis of it was personal, not territorial, a feature which is due to the fact that such a system only became possible after the hegemony of the Ningthaja clan had been finally settled.