Konsa Village: The Wancho Frontier of Longding

Ye Konsa village hain? (Which village is that this?)



Effectively, it could actually get complicated however let’s get performed with this anyway. I’ve already briefly described it in my normal Tirap Longding journey report however let’s get into the small print now. 

The primary main spot we visited as part of our expedition was Konsa or Kunsa, a significant village of the Wancho individuals. Now, this itself is sufficient to confuse a newcomer as a result of there’s additionally a city known as Khonsa (with that additional H), which is the headquarter of Tirap and a fairly well-known city on this area. Most of us had been initially confused however our native information Khunwang of Native Routes Excursions made it clear that we had been going to a village.

We began the morning from our lodge in Longding and shortly entered very desolated territory. In India we’re used to crowd and congestion even at small cities and villages. That’s the reason such desolation can really feel stunning. The final time I noticed such desolation was whereas escaping Imphal via the Silchar route.

We stored driving for hours, barely coming accross a village. There have been a couple of scattered huts right here and there on the slopes. The hills had been freed from forests although, which implies that they’re used usually for jhum cultivation. We had a quick halt and Pongchau which is smallish city however it’s the solely city on this space and the market right here caters to all of the villages.

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Wanchos had been our hosts for the day

About Wanchos

Similar to most different issues in NE, this can be a advanced subject. Usually Wanchos are thought-about one fo the Naga teams, considerably similar as Konyaks, but have a special id divided by state borders. 

In case you haven’t realised but, the time period Naga itself was an exonym to explain varied adjoining however distinctive teams that lived in these hills unfold accross modern-day Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, and Arunachal. They principally remained secluded from the world  other than some transactions with neighbouring kingdoms resembling Ahoms. 

Even inside Nagas, we are able to see huge distinction between languages and a few of them are mutually unintelligible, this requiring a lingua franca resembling Assamese or Hindi. Additionally noteworthy is that Konyak/Wancho languages belong to Sal Language family, totally different from Kuki Chin Naga family that the majority different Naga Languages belong to. So, that will inform you one thing about various origins however we are able to’t actually make sure about something.

The phrase Wancho and Konyaks can also create confusions. They’re additionally similar when it comes to tradition and language however the ones in Mon District of Nagaland are often called Konyaks whereas in Arunachal you’ll come accross Wanchos. All these are fascinating features of those ethnic teams and a few of these elements will all the time stay mysteries. 

Coming again to the journey, we had been heading in direction of the distant Wancho village of Kunsa (or Konsa) village, positioned close to the Myanmar border. Konsa has the identical vibe as Longwa within the neighbouring Mon district of Nagaland though the actual border doesn’t cross by way of the village right here. The native King or chieftain, his huge home, tattoes elders, vibrant music and dances, spacious morungs embellished with logdrums… Every part jogged my memory of Longwa in Nagaland that I visited a couple of years in the past.

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Desolated landscapes

As we reached the village, we had been welcomed by a couple of properly dressed village elders together with the King Katwang Wangham, and the native GB (Gaon Burha). The King is the standard head whereas the GB is the executive head who works with the federal government. 

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A dramatic welcome

We had a dialogue like concerning the life within the villages and shortly came upon that points are just like these we encountered in Mon. Jhum cultivation is the mainstay right here though most of it’s subsistence farming, simply sufficient for his or her wants. We had been additionally knowledgeable concerning the issues with opium cultivation within the distant areas and efforts to eradicate the identical these days.

The King’s home was a giant one and the standard wooden sculptures right here had been noteworthy. We may additionally see a number of shields hanging from the partitions. The Oriah competition at Konsa was scheduled for a couple of days later. This wasn’t the competition day. However, the villagers appeared to have dressed as much as welcome the visitors. It really jogged my memory of Konyak village of Hongphoi, with a variety of well-dressed and well-tattooed aged males sitting round a hearth, sipping black tea, smoking up, and chatting in a laid again method. 

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The King
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Joyful excessive

The ladies had been inside, busy cooking. Though there’s not homestay or restaurant right here, the locals had been knowledgeable already they usually had been busy getting ready meals. Polygamy has been the norm in these areas however the observe is lowering with the introduction of modernity. We had been informed that within the olden days the chiefs used to simply have greater than 20 marriages however we’ve got to take a look at such practices from the angle of the environment and circumstances and never by way of our personal up to date prisms.

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Girls getting ready meals

The factor with these distant areas like Longding, Tirap, and for that matter Mon, is that they adopted trendy methods a lot later in comparison with others. Many of those individuals had been following historical animist traditions until as late because the Nineties and Christianity has reached right here solely lately. That’s the reason, we are able to have a greater glimpse of their historical traditions and tradition and particularly the village elders are those who’ve seen two totally different worlds. The identical can’t be stated a few much less distant area resembling Kohima, the place western influences reached a couple of generations earlier and there’s nobody who has reminiscence of pre-Christian period. 

Anyway, we had been quickly knowledgeable that the locals will even carry out a bit for us. The ladies of the King’s family first carried out a music that’s accompanied with rhythmic pounding of corn with large picket pestles. We had been roughly defined concerning the music, which talks about having fun with the second, which is apt particularly for ladies. It roughly says “Now we’re collectively, tomorrow we is probably not… so allow us to cherish the second.”. 

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Wancho Girls pounding and singing
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Have a look at the beaded headgears
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Conventional Wancho Jewelry product of beads

It was adopted by the boys performing a warlike dance with spears, machetes, and weapons. In comparison with the soothing rythm of the ladies, this one seemed like a warfare dance. Whereas the times of bloodshed and headhunting are lengthy gone, they’ve stored the traditions alive by way of such cultural representations.

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Attention-grabbing apparel
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Western influences combining properly with conventional costumes

Probably the most noteworthy side right here is using weapons. It’s undecided the place they picked up the abilities of gunmaking however they will need to have learnt it after the arrival of the British. However, they picked up this ability somewhat properly. I bear in mind assembly a gunsmith in Longwa. Right here, we didn’t have the time to fulfill one however I’m positive there are various such craftsmen in these villages. Whereas we are able to now not anticipate warfare, the weapons are nonetheless used for searching. 

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Wancho Males Warfare Dance

We had been lastly provided meals, and it was touching to see the hassle they took to supply a platter that included pink rice, varied leafy greens, mushroom, eggs, and potatoes. It was a bit mainstreamized model of what they’d often have. We thanked them for taking that a lot effort for guests.

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Feast at Konsa

So, this was kind of about it from Konsa. I’ll return with tales from one other village quickly.

Khonsa Video footage

Attain Konsa and the way’s the street situation?

Konsa is round 50 KMs from Longding city and also you’ll want a prearranged automobile until you will have your personal. It’s a distant space simply close to the border of Myanmar.

The roads had been respectable although, appeared lately constructed. Nevertheless, in the course of the heavy rains they might get affected.

Is there a spot to remain in Konsa?

No, there is no such thing as a place to remain in Konsa as of now. Folks often make dat journeys from Longding city. Arunachal Tourism has simply began selling it. So, we are able to anticipate it to come back up sooner or later as extra individuals go to it.

What’s the proper season for Konsa?You may go to anytime however attempt to go to throughout a competition. This yr, Oriah was scheduled for 26-Twenty seventh April though we occurred to go to every week earlier!

Telephone and web connectivity in Konsa?

My telephone was working right here. I feel connectivity has taken nice strides of late in India and that is additionally an instance of that.