Som: A Decaying Traditional Institution of the Thadou

By Lalgin Chongloi

Creating distinct identity from others, the Thadou one of the Kuki tribes of Manipur is endowed with a beautiful, varied and colourful culture and customs which makes them unique. Like many tribal groups of Northeast India, the Thadou also once had Som (dormitory) for boys where a group of young boys would sleep together at night and were being imparted the significant fundamental practices of healthy social living. Thus, Som acts as an institutional centre for learning in the traditional society of the Thadou. However, the isolation of the simple Thadou society was broken with the advent of British rule in Manipur and the western culture and world views were gradually diffused in the minds of the Thadou. Eventually the Thadou are drifting away from their traditional ways of life. As such, Som was badly affected. This paper attempts to highlight the significant role played by Som in the traditional society of the Thadou and also aims to explore the factors which might have been responsible for discontinuation of Som.

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