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It is the burial site of king Taiba who is considered to be the father of the Maram people. Due to such socio-cultural implications, important rituals and activities continue to be performed at this site. Annually in the month of December or early January a post- harvest festival called ‘Kang- He’ is hosted which lasts for 3 days. It starts from the 16th day of the lunar month of the Marams. During this festival no form of domestic works are carried out. It is believed that no seeds will thrive even if planted and firewood collected for domestic uses will rot. It is a complete period of rest for the people. The king and the people gather near the tomb and various forms of indigenous games and sports are played. Among these, the most popular one is wrestling in which the participants compete naked. This game of strength exclusively for males is expected to become a new attraction to the visitors to the region. Naked wrestling has been an important event of the festival as it provides an opportunity exclusively to the men to test their strength.
A significant belief of the people is that, the tomb stone has the power to regulate rainfall. If annual rainfall is less, they perform rituals and the tombstone is struck once with a staff. They believe that, this ritual will compel their deceased king Taiba to send rain in the land. In case of excessive amount of rainfall the tombstone is struck twice to stop the rain.
Additionally, the present day Mao-Maram agricultural practices too have its genesis in the folklore of king Taiba. Due to the affection shown towards the dead king by his daughter, the spirit of the dead king supposedly blessed the daughter. Since she was married to a Mao man, thus the blessings bestowed on her spread over the whole Mao tribe. Therefore, even today the neighboring Maos are seen to harvest before the Marams.
Cultural meanings and interpretations are found to be contextual in all aspects of socio-cultural life. The present paper revealed how a megalithic stone, the Rang Taiba stone, has its genesis in the Maram oral traditions, thus reiterating the living nature of this stone.
102 Chongloi S., Marak Q. / Antrocom Online Journal of Anthropology, vol. 11, n. 1 (2015) 97-104 The burial site not only tells us a story about a king, but also signified the rich culture and strong beliefs of the Maram people in the afterlife. This can be seen in the story of the mysterious disappearance of the king’s body and his appearance before his daughter after his death. It also showed how a king has the power to even decide the time of harvest. The people of Maram look up to Rang Taiba’s tomb as a mark of their unity and prosperity. To this day, the tradition of capstone burial is still in practice though in a smaller scale.
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Chongloi S., Marak Q. / Antrocom Online Journal of Anthropology, vol. 11, n. 1 (2015) 97-104
Figure 1: Rang Taiba’s tomb stone (Capstone) Figure 2: A monolith (erected by King Taiba’s son in memory of his father) 104 Chongloi S., Marak Q. / Antrocom Online Journal of Anthropology, vol. 11, n. 1 (2015) 97-104 Figure 3: The Maram King’s house and its surrounding with the Rang Taiba tomb stone at the left corner