Imphal Review of Arts and Politics


The Enchanting Folk Tale of a Lonely and Forlorn Kabui Village Girl Who Became the Beautiful Wild Blossom Chingthrao

These lyrical verses are from the repertoires of folk tales of both the Meiteis and the Kabuis. This tale is of Chingthtrao, and it occurs in a compilation of Manipuri Folk Songs by Lourembam Bedabati titled, Khunnung Eshei Nachom. Its narrative tells of the existential pain and agony of a Kabui girl who grew up loved and unwanted. Kabui is one of the native tribes of Manipur. The mundane worldly life torments and tortures a beautiful soul. Living true to nature, the maiden finally seeks refuge in the Divine. Kind Lord Thangjing, ancestral deity who is the guardian of Moirang obliges and grants her wish and prayers and Nature embraces her and she blooms in the wild, attaining liberation she sought. Her yearning for human love and friendship is also fulfilled when the beautiful maiden, Kunjalembi of Moirang befriends her and takes her as her most dear friend in her anxious wait for her lover, Pungnao Taba. The intense emotion of love and grateful concern Kunjalembi has for her floral friend saves her from oblivion. She immortalises her when she endows the name, Ching-thrao to her beloved friend. ‘Ching’ is the Manipuri word translated as ‘Hills’, ‘Tharo’ is ‘Lily’ and ‘Paitha’ is translated as ‘Flying Downward’.


Original Manipuri text (English translation below)

Kabui Chadi Nurabi

Poktabina Langonbi

Amuk thongba tarana

Numidang chara oijabi

Numidang thongba tarana

Ayukki chindamchayom oijabi

Enung nongna ngandringei

Namu mikup londringei

Singja Langubu pausibirey


Kabui chadi nurabi

Ayuk yenda mangdagi

Korou singja langubi

Humangi leirik kangdringei

Loimom fousu takpirey

Ho takpirey (3)

Loimom fousubi

Awa meisa loidrinei poktabi mamana

Pamlou yallubu takprey | |


Tara chajik charaga

Khalei yotpu paiduna

Kabui chadi nurabi

Pothabadi yaodana

Pamlou tannabu lakcharey | | 2

Kabui chadi nurabi

Awa meisa langbada

Khangamdrabi leirangdo

Khutagi yotlei thadokle

Kourou nongdol thaja yeng | |


Palem mamabu kouduna

Hikna hikna kapchakhido

Laibak thibi nujado

Kegey maikei yengduna

Chingu thagonnarak-ee |

Hikna kikna kaptuna |


Korou meisa langbada

Ching-uu ebungo

Ha moirangi thangjing

Nahakti chanbi heiba mapuni

Pamel madi khangammi

Ningthem ulen nangbada

Pamen urai tadedo

Pamen madi enga kumdamlakpada

Engen khumkharrakpada pamel madi

Wai maktabu haidedo awa meisa khangamdana

Pamel laktabu tinjage chinguba nangna

Kubiyu asi wadi haiduna tentha chingoinaramlaga


Maramna lamlen lamnungsi

Kegey Moirangsu lamkonnung

Thambal Nongsa loukonnung

Yengtra nonghun lou

Fibun ngairongching

Sareng chingibu chingmeine

Thangjing lamlon awangba

Loibi thaktabu karakle ||

Awabani Laibik thibi nujado

Kabui chadi nurabi

Loibi thakta leptuna

Khoiyum Thangjing thagonna

Awa meisa khangamba


Nungairakta chonthorakleda

Nura mana paithei haibagiPaitha lamjao thonneiyei |

Lemna mangba yadedo

Singen oina saiyonle

Sajibu laiyen taibada

Koina leihun tambada

Singen leisat tamlakle

Hada leirang leinungsi |


Awang Koubru Lokchinkol

Hembanabu lalum khun

Huirei Ngangbi Chingnungkok

Thoudu nandaba khundana panbabu leirangni

Maronniba londreba

Makhunidabu khundreiba

Haoba Khongjaibningthouba

Tolongkhomba koubana

Khutta singjang paidunaUrai hanna, hangdrei chanduna

Pamel singja langbada

Leirang mabu yaoba lei |


Leirang mawu tabana

Pamel ujao manba lei

Leirangi leina tabana

Kaoren khongu manbi lei

Leirang mana pomlingei

Nuragi khutsa manbi lei

Leirang fugaina satlaga

Lupai nachom manbi lei


Leirangna satpa ubada

Moirangi yaifaba

Thiyam Chaobagi mammomloi

Kumjalembi ebemma

Loibi chingda kaduna

Singen wana hekcharey


Nungsidako etaroi

Singen nangbu heklaga

Nungsi mapau ngaibada

Leirang maiyyok oijagey |


Sanjenthongi thongyaida

Nura kumjarembina

Leirang khutta paiduna

Mathanglen Pumnao tabasu

Ngaingam leiniko leinungsi |


Hada leirang itaroi

Panthousingna sonnaba

Loibi chanura amana

Saiyonbini haineiko

Singen kolloi thonduna

Loibi chingi lokmangda

Malang Cheiroinaduna

Yendou nangbu manglagadra


Ngasi Kunjalembi eihakna

Loibi chanurana saiyonba eta nangbu

Chingdagi mingthang khara lou

Loibi Chanuragi mingthang khara lou

Leirang nangi namingdu

Loibi Chingthrao thollamgeyko etaroi



English translation

The lass of Kabui Tribe

Guardianed by the woman who bore her not

 The morning-cooked rice, cold and old

Would be for her the night meal

The old food of the day gone

It’d be packed and bound for her day-meal

Well before the day breaks

When the village folks are fast asleep

Out in the forest was she sent to gather fire-woods


The lass of Kabui Tribe

Who before day-break

Brought home fire-woods

Well ere the sweat-beads on her fair face did dry

Was she told to do the pounding of all the rice

Ho … she was told (3)

Well ere the weariness and the anguish ends the mother who bore her not

Tasked the lass to slash at the Jhum field


Eating the life-giving food

Iron spade in her hands

The lass of Kabui Tribe

Knowing no rest

Out set she for the Zhum field

The lass of Kabui Tribe

Burning herself through the sufferings

The flower like maiden who could no longer bear

The iron spade slipped away from her hands

Skyward she raised her gaze at the moon


Calling aloud to her mother

She wailed in utter distress

The ill-fated lass

Then turning herself towards Kege

Prayed to the Lord

Crying her heart out.


Agonized by the days unbearable

To the Lord

Haa … Thangjing of Moirang

The kind-hearted master that you are!

The tall trees could bear

The frost of the winter

Could bother it not

Whilst the Early Monsoon makes up the fate of the floral lives that season

And the Later Monsoons hands out the fate of the floral lives that season

Said the mighty trees not a word of weariness

Resilient and bearing

Make me one among them Lord

Kindly do oblige, saying these words

Wailing aloud she said


Beloved native land of hers

The fields of Kege-Moirang

The fields of Thambal-Nongsha slopes

The Nonghu meadows beheld

The Fibun Ngaroi Hills

The place where Sareng Hill ends.

The Thangjing Highlands

Upward on the mountain she climbed

Woefully the ill-fated maiden

With prayers to Lord Thangjing in her heart

The agony she had been bearing.


Downward she jumped unto the rocks

That the maiden flew down, the place

Was hence named Paitha meadows

In vain could she not perish

Hence reincarnated the lass as a Flower on the trees

And when winter cold ends

The buds do spring

The one blossom on the trees too appeared

Oh! Ye beloved Flower


At North Koubru where the

The village of Hemban Lalum Khun

The Peak Hurei Nganbi         

 There seated aloft the boulders unsmooth these blossoms

Of different tongue spoken

Of different village lived

The Chief of Khongjai Tribe

Tollongkhomba was his name

Axe in hand Cut and bound trees

Gathering Firewood

In the bundle … the flowers … the wood was bounded too


Looking at the Trunk

She seems a tree mighty and told

Looking at the petals

She resembles the cattle’s footprints

Looking at the bud

She looks like maiden’s finger

And when she fully blooms

She becomes the intricate silver flower bunch worn at beauty’s ears


Seeing the flowers in full bloom

The prosperous of Moirang

Thiyam Chaoba whose daughter

The fair maiden Kunjalembi

Atop the mountain she went

Ventured the tiresome climb and dearly did pluck


Beloved companion

Holding you in my hands

When I wait for words from my suitor

You be for me the one to stand with

Amid the wooden bridge stood she

Fair maiden Kunjalembi

Flower in hand

In wait of her suitor Pungnao Taba

Beloved flower did accompany her


Haada flower beloved friend of mine

The village fathers did say

Of a highland lass

Become you are.


Lovely flower unnamed

Afront the mountain waterfalls

Blown ajar by the wind

Fear that you might lose your way


This day, I Kunjalembi

Oh beloved friend – reincarnated by a lass of the hills

Deriving a little from ‘Ching’

I give to you my dear

Your name ‘Loibi Chingthrao’.

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