Friday, October 10, 2008

Chawngmawii and Hrangchhuana

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful girl named Chawngmawii. She had a secret friend, a handsome young man named Hrangchhuana. He was from the neighbouring village which was at war with Chawngmawii's village. Both of them were very popular in their two villages because of their good looks. Although the two of them lived in different villages at war with one another, they met very often because they loved each other very much.

In those days, when villages were at war, it was very dangerous to move from one village to another. But as Hrangchhuana was very much in love with Chawngmawii, he often secretly went to her village to meet her.

Alas, the villagers came to know that someone, perhaps an enemy, was visiting their village at night. "He must be caught," they said. So they built a wall surrounding the village and spread ash at the foot of the wall so that they could trace that person's footprints. But Hrangchhuana was very clever, he walked backwards when entering the village and they could not catch him.

As time went by, Hrangchhuana became more and more careless. One day, he was finally caught. The village chief was very angry and said, "Tie him up and let him lie on the road." He then ordered all the girls to come out and walk over him. This was done to humilate him and to find out the girl who had betrayed her village by loving an enemy. The girls walked over him, some even jeered and made fun of him and then it was Chawngmawii's turn. Instead of making fun of him, she covered Hrangchhuana's face with her shawl and held him tenderly, crying, "My dearest, what have they done to you?"

Thus Chawngmawii gave herself away. The people of the village became very angry with her and as punishment, they tied her up and let her watch her lover Hrangchhuana being tortured and put to death. He was beheaded and his head was displayed on top of a tree near the village gate. People threw mud on his face and made fun of him. Poor Chawngmawii watched with sadness. At last she could no longer bear to watch the muddied face of her beloved so she climbed up the tree to clean Hrangchuana's face.

Before his death, Hrangchhuana had told Chawngmawii, "If I am ever captured and put to death, please take my head to my parents." So Chawngmawii began to look for a chance to steal Hrangchhuana's head. One evening, she finally got the chance she had been waiting for. She climbed the tree and removed Hrangchhuana's head and fearlessly set out for his village .

When she reached Hrangchhuana's house, she told his parents how their beloved son was killed. It broke their hearts to see their son's lifeless face. They were very grateful to Chawngmawii for risking her own life to come to their village and bring home their son's head.

When the people of Chawngmawii's village came to know that she had taken Hrangchhuana's head to his parents, they were very angry and brutally killed her.

It is said that the souls of Hrangchhuana and Chawngmawii changed into stars believed to be Jupiter and Venus. These two stars come together every now and then in their journey through space, and at such times, folklore has it that the souls of Hrangchhuana and Chawngmawii unite.

Taken from Selected Mizo Folk Tales, 2008, published and edited by the English Language Teaching Institute (ELTI), SCERT Mizoram.


  1. A touching tale, this. It also again brings out the brutality of Mizo life in those days. 'Honour killing' still happens in some Indian and other societies. Does it happen in some form in the Mizo and other n.e tribal societies after Christianity came?

    1. This isn't the "honour killing" that is prevalent in those societies you are talking about. This is similar to sectoral violence or revenge killing. In "honour killing" they treat the woman as some object who should stay in the house and if she "strays" away, that is a blot on the family honour. In many tribal societies, every single village comprised of independent clans or is still present in Arunachal Pradesh. And these clans are always trying to kill each other. So the village only killed an "enemy" and the girl was killed by the villagers for conspiring with the "enemy".

  2. A beautiful story. Like all folklores of love, the two are tortured and cannot meet while alive, but meet after beautifully here they are the suggested planets as stars..the richness of folklores

  3. One of the Mizo writer says Jupiter is Siaia, not Hrangchhuana. If so, which heavenly object looks so close to Venus?