Ruangmei Lu: An Aural History of Ruangmei Folk Music

in Module
Published on: 20 October 2020

Kadiguang Panmei

Kadiguang Panmei is a Doctoral scholar at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. He is interested in studying the culture of Northeast India and its people from myriad perspectives—food, migration, geopolitics and the arts. He is also a music producer and makes music in his free time.

Ruangmeis are one of the Naga tribes of India and are predominantly based in Tamenglong and Noney districts of Manipur and parts of Assam and Nagaland. The name Ruangmei means people from the south and is an indication of the direction they migrated to from their ancestral home of Makuilongdi. 

Ruangmei culture like many indigenous cultures is preserved through oral history, folk music and stories sung at various occasions. Folk songs and music are integral parts of their tradition and, historically, lus (songs) were sung on occasions that were both sacred and routine, covering various aspects of the social life of the Ruangmeis such as crop harvests, romance, rituals, etc. However, with the older generation passing away, the Ruangmei cultural practices are dissipating. Thus the documentation of Ruangmei folk music is also documentation of their cultural heritage.