Understanding the Institution of Syiemship Kingship in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya Through Oral Traditions
The origin of the Khasis and how they came to settled in these regions is shrouded in mystery. While social scientists believed that the Khasi settlers had connections or a close resemblance with the Chinese and had migrated to the present lands and therefore had Austric links, legends had it that the original seven families or Hynniewtrep descended by a golden ladder from the heavens and decided to stay back on earth and start their settlements. Since the beginning the people were very sure about making these hills their permanent home. They decided upon an elderly person to become some sort of a priest Lyngdoh Knia to look after the well being of the people inhabiting the region. For this selection, the ritual of egg breaking shat pylleng was considered to be the best way by which they could find the right person. In the beginning, there was no institution of Syiemship Kingship , but people comprehended about the need to have at least one leader to look after their welfare. Basan and a Lyngdoh were chosen as leaders to administer the village community and attempted to bring the different villages together. After the Khasis had made their settlements, they decided they would choose among themselves the eldest male member to be their ruler and administrator, the emergence of such States or settlements led to the origin of the institution of Syiemship Kingship , thus originated the concept of U Syiem The King . The origin of the Khasi Syiem shows that initially there were three large Syiemships Kingship which later increases over time with large and small Syiemships. Syiemships having mythological origin like those of Khyrim, Malngaing and even the Sutnga Syiem were considered divine. The institution of the Khyrim Syiemship dates back to the legend of Ka Pah Syntiew. Oral traditions stated that the Hima Shyllong as being of divine origin, and that the ancestress of the clan is a fairy Puriblei that lived in a cave called Krem Marai.
Khasis, Basan, Lyngdoh, U Syiem The King , Ka Pah Syntiew, Puriblei
Ms Ibetlin Kharumnuid