History and Origin of the Kabui Tribe

The word kabui is still a mystery to the kabui themselves. It is an alien word of which no definite origin is known to the kabuis. The kabuis now days call themselves Rongmei. It is a combination of two words RONG and MEI meaning SOUTH and PEOPLE respectively. Thus Rongmei stands for the southerners,
the ancestral home of the kabuis lies in the mountain ranges in the Tamenglong sub division of Manipur and adjacent mountainous areas of Nagaland and Assam.

The Kabui settlement area within the territory of Manipur happens to be the southern portion of the vast tract of kabui country and hence those who settling in the southern part of their habitat within Manipur call themselves the Rongmei the southerners.(Life style, Indian tribes: locational practice, Volume 2: By Shiva Tosh Das)

               In present day literature, the word kabui has been widely used within and within and outside Manipur and the name Rongmei is less known to the other communities.The original home of the kabuis of the Manipur lies in the Tamenglong area which is a vast tract of hilly region situated along the western borders of Manipur. It is reported that many early settlers into the valley of Manipur came from Tamenglong area. It is reported that the earliest settlement of the Kabuis in Imphal is more than a century old. In terms of race and language, the Kabui fall under the Tibeto-Burman family of the Mongolian race. It is believed that a number of Mongoloid groups, including the Kabuis, used to inhabit the upper course of the Chinese rivers of the Yangtze and Hwang Ho. According to the writings of ancient ethnographers of as early as British era, they are one of the twenty two tribal communities who belonged to the Manipur state. Today also, these Kabui tribes have been enlisted as one of the twenty nine tribes of the Constitution of India.