VICTORY DANCE Rhanthungo Kikon INTRODUCTION: LOTHAS of TSUNGIKI village performed this dance in the days of old when young warriors from a CHUMPO (popularly known as MORUNG) visited other CHUMPOS in the different KHELS of the village. For the young warriors, this Victory Dance acted both as a fit reminder of the great victories their forefathers had over their enemies and also as an inspiration for them to replicate in the future. It was a time to take pride from their past achievements and to encourage and dare each other for the days to come.
It prepared them for the future. Those were the days… THE DANCE: Now, the present generation performs the Victory Dance on all occasions. But the spirit and zeal of the warriors performing this dance remain as spirited and as full of fervour since times immemorial. Behold! All the young warriors are out of the CHUMPOS bedecked in all their ornamental fineries. Among them include the round black head-wigs made of the long hair from the neck and shoulders of the Himalayan black bear, or of the fur of the arms of the male gibbon.
On the head-wigs, as warriors of proven valours, are stuck in the feathers of the great bird, the Hornbill. On their arms, they have wristlets, bracelets and elbow armlets made of parts of sawn-off tubes of elephants’ tusks. Across their shoulders are thrown over colourful baldric-like woven strips of cloths. Joined to the end of the baldrics at the waist are the spikes’ holders – the spikes were used during raids over enemy camps. Kneecaps, the LENGTA and the colourfully decorated daos and spears complete their attire.
Now the young warriors will go around dancing in two rows to finally make a circle. Singing along and shouting loud cries as they stamp their feet, twirl their daos and spears, they make the circle – an indication of having surrounded their enemies. When they have their enemies surrounded, they thrust up their spears and dare each other not to let any enemy warrior escape from their individual posts or positions. THE SHANTHA: An exciting, and perhaps the most important, part of the Victory dance is the SHANTHA. The name ‘Victory Dance’ rightly belongs to this part-dance within the dance.
The SHANTHA is performed by four of the most-abled warriors. This group acts as the Escort of the warriors. It also is the rearguard and flanks protection of the warriors. The SHANTHA warriors are also wont to perform many skills and antics. Among them is the biting and holding of their daos on the blunt sides as they hop along – it is actually an oath-taking pledge not to die in enemies’ hands. They will also take a stance and hop forwards and backwards challenging their enemies making it clear what they will do to them with their daos and spears.