The Khamti Myth and Their Origin

U.N.Gohain: A Short Note on The Tai, 1950

     Khunlung's dynasty in the main line, after reigning on the earth for several hundreds of years, came to an end. There remained only one daughter who, being blind, was sent a drift by her father on a raft down the river Nam-kiu (Irrawaddy). Chang, the Creator thought that there would be anarchy and disorder in the world if the royal line was to become extinct with the blind princess. So he sent Lengdon (the Vedic god of thunder) to come down to earth to procreate a new line of kings in her. According to some it was the creator himself, (and according to some others it was Lengdon's son Tenkham who came). The god, taking the shape of a tiger, embraced the blind princess telling her who he was, and then faded away from sight. As a result of the union the princess in course of time given birth to three sons named Chaohuchian or Sukhampha, Chao-Samlung or Samlungpha and Chao-Kya-ingi or Sukapha. As these princes were begotten by the tiger, they and their descendants began to have their names prefixed with Su or So or Hso Hkaw Hpa, etc.; The last name in the Burmanised form is Tho-Kaw-Bwa. Bwa is the Burman word derived from Tai Pha which means king. The Khamtis say that when a tiger (Su) is killed in their village, all the people of the locality have to suspend their work for the day as a mark of respect for their common ancestor. Time was when the Khamtis used to make offerings of flowers to the body of the tiger killed. Even now they try to avoid killing tiger as possible. The Khamti further say that the spirit of the aforesaid three brothers are still worshiped by the people in Upper Burma.