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Maram Queen Dies

By College Reporter
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Dimapur, Sep. 21. Queen Apei Hinga, the queen of the Marams died in her house last nigt. She died at the age of 88 leaving her only son Namba as the King of the Maram.
Queen Apei Hinga was born in 1922 at Maram Khunou. Her parent's - Father Tuiba and mother Sanga- were traditional farmers. She was the only child, born and brought up at Katomei. When she was very young, about 2 or 3 years old her father passed away. Her mother too died after her marriage. She got married at the age of 18/19 years old to the King Karang, the Chief of Maram, the year following the Japan war. As a price for the bride, four sows were given at her marriage. Out of their five children, four of them died when they were very young in an epidemic. Only Namba, now over 50 years old, survived. The Queen's husband too died when her son - Namba - was very small.
As a Queen she had led a disciplined life dedicated to the service of the people. She could not eat what others cooked for her rather she cooked herself and did all her works on her own as per the Maram custom was. Drinking water was the biggest problem for she faced. She had to go down the hill to get water. She could not weave, but her relatives and other offered her gifts and that she wore. Following the Maram custom she could not eat pork, dog meat, wild animals, mushroom etc. She endured all these things for the growth of the tirbe and society.
Apei Hinga has been instrumental in bringing about various social changes in the Maram society. In 1968 she banned the evil practice of ''M-BUNG KATAI'' under which a pregnant woman who underwent  terrible labour was taken out of the house and kept alone outside. It was believed that her death defiled the whole house. If the women should die she would be buried by someone else on hire and all her belonging were thrown away. With the abolition of this evil practice, today, the status of Maram women is upheld in society. Until 1975 Marams were not permited to enter into marriage with other tribe and clan. However, the Queen gave her consent to inter-clan and inter-tribe marriages. She also proclaimed the freedom to villages to start cultivation on their own convenient season even before or after the ''SAHARA-KATILURA KAMANAI'' (seed-sowing ritual). As a kind hearted Queen and a loving mother, even when a criminal (murderer) ran into her house, protection and shelter was ensured. She had no objection to the traditional practices to be Christianised, and for which today the number of Marams are grateful to her large heartedness.
Known for her justice and as a peace loving mother, Naga Women Union Manipur (NWUM) has conferred 'Best Mother' title in 2006. Pioneer Health Club Manipur with tis Office at Khurai Tinsit Road, Imphal has acknowledged and awarded a citation to the Queen on International Day of Older person on October 1, 2009. Being the only female Chieftain  among the Naga tribes, the oldest Queen has graced and blessed this year's Naga-Seed-Sowing Festival (Lui-Ngai-Ni) at Katomei Village in Senapati on Febrary 15, 2010 organised by United Naga Council (UNC). Though frail in body but with an indomitable spirit, it is note worthy to mention that the Queen had carried out all the customary and traditional rituals and practices very efficiently and was respected by all.
When the Queen was seriously-ill and bed-ridden with sickness related to abdomen, heart and lung is being looked after intensively by her only surviving son K Namba and granddaughters, hundreds were thronging her house to seek blessings. As a dutiful mother even as she was on medical treatment at JN hospital, Imphal she rushed back to her home feeling the urgent need of performing timely customary rituals.
Before her death she has crowned her only surviving son K Namba as the King of the Maram.
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