The Darlong people are settled in 22 Darlong villages in Tripura. We attempt in publishing about the history of all the villages in our esteemed ‘Darlong Eng’ magazine. In this issue of December 2002, we will write about village no.2 (Saibual). As it is a valuable piece of information that has to be treasured by our community, let us read it well to gain in-depth understanding about the history of this village. My heartfelt thanks goes to Pu Neikunga Darlong (Saibual village) for his kindness for which this article on Saibual village can be published.
In earlier days, Saibual village had been known as ‘Betsora’. However, of late, it have been renamed as ‘Saibual’. Thus, in this article, this village is written as “Saibual’. And since these information has been collected and compiled in a short span of time, there may be mistake from the writer for which I would like to solemnly urge readers to have an understanding.
Before the establishment of Saibual village, there existed a small livelihood with the name of ‘Intop’ khua. In 1940, under the order of Chief Lalsutkhama, fourteen households were asked to settle in ‘Intop’ village from ‘Dawi’ village. Intop village was situated on the side (sim tiang) of modern-day Saibual. A large, densed forest existed beneath this hilly village. This forest which was known as ‘Zala’ was filled with RITAI, KUARUK AND PHAIRUNG. Zala was filled with big trees. Wild animals such as elephants, deers and tigers inhabited this forest. A river also passed nearby Intop village. It is said that the elephants (sai) of the forest bathed (bual) in this river, which is the origin of the name of ‘Saibual’.
The first inhabitants of Intop village were:
Pu Vunga (leader), Pi Roii and 5 of their family members.
Pu Thuama, Pi Dingliani and 6 other family members.
Pu Hrawma, Pi Selvungi and 6 other family members.
Pu Neisualiana (Uzir), Pi Tuaih and 8 other family members.
Pu Vunga, Pi Hrenguri and 4 other family members.
Pu Liana, Pi Neii and 6 other family members.
Pu Khuala, Pi Thangi and 7 other family members.
Pi Rantuadingi and her son Lalkhawdinga, and 3 other family members.
Pu Roia and 6 other family members.
Pu Vangkhuma, Pi Thlaliani and 3 other family members.
Pu Kaia, Pi Vangthuami and 4 other family members.
Pu Roituadinga and his son Hnenga, and 2 other family members.
Pi Nguri and her son Lalhrila, and 2 other family members.
Pu Khawmvunga and 3 other family members.
These 14 households first settled in ‘Intop’ village. However, in a short span of time, they suffered the plight of water borne diseases. As they were few in number and isolated from town area, they had to suffer the disease on their own. This deadly disease killed nearly a half of them. They were roughly 66 in numbers when this sickness hit them. This resulted in the death of 25 persons, excluding the children.
Unable to withstand the epidemic disease in the newly inhabited village, many of the villagers left the village. Uzir Neisualiana and all the people were in deep grief. During that time, in the year 1944, Pu Dingliana (Rankunga Pa) was travelling towards Lamkhuang (Kathalcherra) village from Talan village, in search of habitable land. When Uzir Neisualiana heard that Pu Dingliana was in search of land, he invited the latter to visit his newly inhabited village. After having a brief conversation, Pu Dingliana said to him, ‘You and your people are unbelievers, but we are believers. How can we live settle together in a village?’. To this, the uzir replied back, ‘If you and your people are willing to come and settle with us in this village, we are willing to forsake our Chief Lalsutkhama. We will also believe in your God and turn into believers’.
Pu Dingliana was happy with the words of Pu Neisualiana, and they agreed to settle together in one village. Then, Pu Neisualina and his villagers began to shift in a nearby place since they were to become new believers.
Start of Christianity in Betsora:
In 1945, seven families moved into Intop village from Lamkhuang (Kathalcherra). At that time, there were only seven families left in this village. As seven new families were added, there were fourteen families in total again.
The name of ‘Betsora’:
Earlier, the area of betsora (saibual) was covered by dense forests, filled with RITAI/RIBEL. Neighbouring tribes called RITAI as ‘bet’, and the river was called ‘Sora or Cherra’. Thus, it was popularly known as ‘Betsora or Betcherra’.
Inhabitation of Saibual village:
Before settling in this village, Pu Dingliana urged the people to first pray for a suitable place for establishing a church and all the people agreed. Thus, they cleared the land to build a church to worship their God.
The first inhabitants:
These fourteen households were the first to settle in the new village of Betsora:
From Intop village:
Pu Neisualiana (Uzir, Sena Pa) and his family.
Pu Liana (Thuamdinga Pa) and his family.
Pu Ngula (Remi Pa) and his family.
Pu Thuama (Zatini Pa) and his family.
Pu Vunga (Hmuni Pa) and his family.
Pu Thangbawnga (Dinga Pa) and his family.
Pu Khawmvunga (Sangkunga Pa) and his family.
From Lamkhuang village:
Pu Dingliana (Rankunga Pa) and his family.
Pu Haka (Thanga Pa) and his family.
Pu Sunga (Muani Pa) and his family.
Pu Roituadinga (Zakhumi Pa) and his family.
Pu Thangpuia (Seni Pa) and his family.
Pu Neituazona (Roizoni Pa) and his family.
Pu Ngurhnela (Thuamdingi Pa) and his family.
These were the first Christians to settle in the village of Saibual (Betsora). The church was built by erecting pillars of thick bamboos. They had their first celebration of Christmas in this village the same year. After these people settled in Betsora, the name of Intop was soon forgotten.
Establishment of school in the village:
Although the village consisted of only fourteen households, the elders had desire to establish a school in order to educate their children. It came to their knowledge that there was an active Christian mission in Brahmanbari (present day, Bangladesh). Rev. H.A Jones, who was the father of Gordon Jones was working there as a missionary from New Zealand. Then, they made a request to him to open a school in their village. Rev H.A Jones was the Secretary of NZBMS School Committee in Tripura at that time. He accepted their request and approved for establishing a school in Betsora in the year 1948. Then, the village people worked in unity and constructed a small bamboo house as village school. Rev. Thuamliana (Hlutua Pa) started working there as a missionary teacher.
The first students to get admitted in the school were:
Pu Biaksanga (Lalhminga Pa)
Pu Vanlallawma (Thanpari Pa)
Pu Neituah (Thangliani Pa)
Pu Suadinga (Suaki Pa)
Pu Tinkhuma (Lalthangi Pa)
Pu Kunga (Remruata Pa)
Pu Dinga (Khumi Pa)
Pi Hmunsiami (Johana Nu)
Pi Roituai (Dawni Nu).
The mission school functioned from the year 1948 till the summer of the year 1963. During that period, Rev. Tlanglawma was the Secretary of NZBMS Sub-school Committee for Kailashahar region.
The following persons also taught in the school until 1963:
Pu Thuamliana Darlong (Hlutua Pa)
Pu Khamliana Darlong (Sangpuia Pa)
Pu Promesh Ruram (Khawngaia Pa)
Pu Tuathanga Darlong (Sungi Pa)
Pu Biaksanga Darlong (Lalhminga Pa)
Pu Dhirendra Chisim
Pu Vanlallawma Darlong (Thanpari Pa).
The state government started Gangaram Chowdhury Para JB School in the summer of the year 1963. Functioning of mission school at Betsora ended the same year. The students from the latter school joined the new school. Eventually, in the year-end of the year 1972, Betsora received a new Junior Basic school on its own, from the state government. It was christened as ‘Betcherra Darlong Para Junior Basic School’.
A brief statistical information is given regarding the village of Saibual. But, those who have shifted to other villages were not included. This data includes the period since establishment of the village till the year 2002.
Matriculation passed: 34 persons.
Graduate (BA/B.Sc): 10 persons.
Sc Nursing: 1 person.
MA: 2 persons.
BE: 1 person.
MBBS: 1 person.
Ed: 1 person.
Gazetted Officer: 7 persons.
Truck: 2 nos.
Motor vehicle: 2 nos.
Auto rickshaw: 14 nos.
Motor cycle: 8 nos.
Television: 45 nos.
Number of households: 130 nos. (2002).
Population: 696 nos. (2002).
The village has a fertile, cultivable soil. The village people depend mostly on their plantations for their daily survival. Cultivation of pineapple was prominent since the year 1988. The village people are modest and they keep their locality neat and clean, which have created good example for neighbouring villages.
Notable persons from Saibual village are:
Pastor C. Thuamdinga: He was the runners-up in the State-level Pineapple Growers Competition, held on 14 July 1971. He received a reward of five hundred rupees and certificate from ICAR, New Delhi.
Rev. Lalrema Darlong: The first among Darlong people to complete graduation (BA) and also Bachelor of Divinity (BD).
Pu Vanlallawma Darlong: He was a resident of Betsora village. He is the first among Darlong people to pass Higher Secondary schooling (Bengali medium) in 1962.
Pu Lalhmingliana Darlong: He was a resident of Betsora village. The first among Darlong to become Tripura Civil Service Officer.
Pu Neituasanga Darlong: The first among Darlong people to complete MBBS.
Pu Huanhneliana Darlong: The first among Darlong people to complete BE (Engineering).
Nk Rebeki Darlong: The first among Darlong to complete B.Sc Nursing.
There is much to write about this village. It will take time and energy to gather information. This article has been compiled in a short span of time, therefore, there may be errors and corrections to be made which may be beyond the knowledge of the writer. I urge readers to have understanding. May the Almighty God, our Father, continue to shower his blessings over Saibual village.