KHOMONG PLATEAU: THE FIRST TAI KHAMTI VILLAGE OR SETTLEMENT IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH (INDIA)

Khomong or Noi Khomong was the first settlement of the Khamtis in India. Khamong served as a permanent transit-camp of the Khamtis in India. A fresh light was thrown on it, when a Buddhist stupas was unearth at Khamong, Vijaynagar, in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. Though the khomong was not figure in the chronology of Khamti, but then, there was always alive in the memory of old khamti people as their first settlement village in India. Khamong existed by the middle of the 18th century, if not earlier.
The khamong does not recorded in khamti history in obviously, because of it was far away from the political scene of its operation. The geographical location should be fully understood. This eastern most corner of the country in surrounded by Burma, present Myanmar from three sides. It is a tiny table land providing a sharp contrast to the main of mountain in the region. The narrow strip of about 15 km is stretched from east to west over a length of about 4 km. It is again horizontally divided by the Nao-Dihing river. Chau-Kang pass in nothing, but the valley of this river, that flows eastward in to Assam.
The land is fertile, cool climatic and marvelous scenic beauy. No wander the enterprising Khamtis made it a convenient place after entering through the Chau-Kang pass.
Khamong felt almost midway, eight days march from Bor-Khamptee or Mueng Khamti-Loung i.e. Putao in Burma and 8 to 10 days march from the Tenga-Pani region in Arunachal Pradesh, along the Noa-Dihing river. All traffics to and fro between Putao in Burma and Tenga-Pani in Assam had to pass through Khamong or Vijoynagar. In one reference about the Khamong found in an Assames chronology of a Burmese Bhiku Piyin-Din-Sirado written by Thrinanda Bhikshu (Sirado Utpatti Katha, Lalit Chandra Bora, Ahum press, 1941), states that Sirado came to India in 1883 and stayed at Khamong for eight days. It proves that Khamong was an important Buddhist centre in the last quarter of the 19th century. It means that, the settlement was in existence for at least one and a half centuries. It may also be noted that Sirado is said to have re-introduced the true Theravada tradition among the Khamtis and converted most of the Singphoos to Buddhism.
At Khamong the Singpho Chief, Bisa Gam, employed thirty strong soldiers, hired specially for killing of the Khamti Chief "Phra-Taka", whom the Singphoo called as "Pongfong"(means old grey hairs) from Hukong in Burma. The Singphoo Chief was intolerable for suden appearance of the Khamti Chief in the region. One very strong and brave young Khamti named Chau-Ai-Long, who happened to be a guest of the Khamti Chief on that fateful night, challenged them at night and killed most of the enemies on the spot. In the morning when the matters was known by the Chief, the Phra-Taka or Chow-Ngi-Long-King-Kham expressed his happiness and praised to the oung Khamti for having save his life and adopted him into the Longking dynasty and called him as Chau-Ai-Noy-Long-King-Kham. Some of the Tai scholars suggested that, Chau-Ai-Long was an offspring of Chau-Pom-Xing and Nang Somkham, fiance and lover as well. He was a strong and brave man in Putao or Mueng-Khamti-Loung in Burma.....

Author:
Chow Uppa Mansai
Namsai, Arunachal Pradesh.