By S.Z Howe
The British Army annexed the upper Burma in 1883 and the little Shan state of Kale also fell to them instantly. Afterwards Capt.Raikes of the British Army acting Deputy Commissioner of the Upper Chindwin sent for Chief Tson Bik of Tashon (Falam) and held a peace talk with him at Sihaung village near Kalemyo and then Falam Chins capitulated to the British government.
Again Capt. Raikes called the Siyin Chiefs to come down to Kale to enter into negotiation with him for peaceful coexistence. The Siyin Chiefs sent there Hausuang and Thuamson from Khuasak and Dosuang and Thuamson from Limkhai as their representatives on 14-3-1887. In order to demonstrate their military excellency and powerful arms, the British soldiers made a shooting practice in the presence of the Siyin delegates. They hanged a mat on a tree top at a distance of seven hundred feet away as a target and shot it into pieces with their rifles.
Captain Raikes told them that they wanted to explore the Chin Hills but the Siyin delegate refused their proposal. He further warned that the Siyin people should cease thenceforward any raids on the Kale territory such as killing, kidnapping and plundering the plain peasants or else British government should take necessary action against the culprits with imprisonment.
Against the warning of Capt, Raikes, the Siyin people continued their habitual hostilities to the plain and assaulted the British task force (sappers and miners) near Kalemyo while construction a road on 7-12-1888 and killed Lieut. Palmer RF at Kanpale village in the Kale valley.
After then, the British Army set off their first Chin Hills expedition. But the United Chin forces led by Khaikam defended against them at Tulsuk (No.2 Stockade) that the British troops could not break through the defense line and they were repelled to Kalemyo with heavy casualties. On their second expedition, the spearhead of the British Army could manage to reach upto Nahatang (Zuhawmna Mual) and the Chin forces repulsed their enemy from there again. The British soldiers who ran back in panic still bumped into beehives in the bush and some of them encountered wild beasts which injured them and they thought that the Chin soldiers could ally themselves with even bees and wild beasts.
In the third expedition, the Chin forces took defensive measures from Leisan Mual (Bhasa hills) and to summon up their courage for the battle, the Suktes drank too much that they could no longer resist the enemy and suffered heavy loss. And yet Bo Khai Kam, leader, of the forces also got an injury in his chin. These encounters became a fateful decision for them to withdraw themselves into the Siyin valley when they were aware that they were only fighting a losing battle. (Chief Khuplian of Lophei wrested a rifle from a British soldier in a hand to hand fighting).
The British Army pursued the retreating Chin Army up to Khuasak village and General Sir George White, General Faunce and Major Raikes (newly promoted) themselves attacked Khuasak village. They set fire to the village and the whole village was burnt down to ashes on the 28-1-89.
The Chin Army once again rallied to Buanman to defend the enemy from there, When the enemy spotted their position, he shelled Buanman with artillery from Khuasak. As their arms were not equal, the enemy was irresistible that the Chin army succumbed and was dispersed in all direction to go back home.
But the Kimlaitus (Buanman clan) wrongly took heart to fight on with the enemy again and built a strong fort at Siallum so as to defend the Buanman-land”. The British army assaulted Siallum fort on the 4-5-89 and the battle was so fierce that a surgeon, Dr Le Quesne of the British side won the Victoria Cross from there. The Kimlaitus suffered heavy loss and the Siallum village also was lost ever since then.
In order to establish themselves in the Chin Hills, the British government garrisoned Fort White and opened a Telegraph and post office there on the 13.1.1889. They also sent Joseph Kennedy to Thuamvum on cartographic expedition and he surveyed (all the country side around Thuamvum) that Thuamvum had been called Mt. Kennedy after his name ever since then.
Later on, the Siyin assassinated Major Stevens while on tour in the Siyin valley and his remains were buried at Fort White war cemetery.
Mang Khup and Mang Pau of Khuasak village who spied on the enemy’s movement were apprehended and jailed in Mingyan jail. They were released on the 1-9-1890 and General Wolseley and his junior officers themselves brought them to Khuasak Khuppau’s house. Chief Khup pau held a peace talk with General Wolseley at his house. For this purpose, Khuppau killed a mithun and mixed its blood with zu (country beer). Hausuang gave the brew to General Wolseley and Capt. Rundall to drink it first in taken of having sworn an oath of maintaining, peace between them forever. After then, the Chief and his elders drank it one after another. According to the Siyin custom, they stroke one another with the tip of the mithun’s tail in order to conclude their successful peace talk.
In the meantime, in the year 1891, Mr. BS Carey and Mr. Fowler visited Khuasak and the Khuasak people killed one mithun to host the white visitor. They held a meeting and Mr. BS Carey promulgated the Chin Hills regulation for setting free all slaves kept in the Chin Hills.
The Siyin and Sukte chiefs disagreed about this regulation that they called a meeting at Dimpi village to discuss to resort to arms against the British government. Accordingly, they made a plot and assisinated Myo-Ok U Tun Win, Township Officer from Fort White at Suangbum near Thuklai village. The rebel leaders Khaikam, Khuppau and Mangpum (three brothers) became fugitive criminals and hid themselves in the deep forest of Dolluang land when the government pursued them for capture: When the government could not trace their hiding place, the government caught twelve men of Khuasak village to be kept as hostages in jail until Khaikam and his brother surrendered themselves to the government. The hostages were, Thanghau, Hanmang, Kamkip, Paukham, Lunson, Kiptuang, Lianvum, Suakmang, Onson.Thuktuang, Dothang and Hongkam. The British government promised that they would free them as soon as the Khuasak people surrendered Khaikam and his accomplices.
For fear of successive crushing defeat on them, the remnants of Khuasak dispersed men went to the hiding place of Khaikam and his brothers and implored them to come out to surrender themselves to the government lest they should do away with the whole Khuasak. Then Khaikam and his brothers agreed to submit and, accordingly, Khuppau was jailed in Mingyan and Mangpum in Rangon Central jail and Khaikam was transported to the Andaman islands for life. As a result, the government set free all khuasak men kept as hostages.
General George White took the whole Chin Hills in 1895 and ruled it with Chin Hills Regulations.
The government released Mangpum and Kuppau on 1-12-1897.
Mangpum learned Burmese while in Rangon central jail and as he came back home with good education, he privately opened a night class and taught his villagers Burmese free of charge. His good will movement became a great uplift in the cause of education in the Siyin society and its neighborhood. Later, he enlisted in the Military Police (BFF) and founded the Siyin company in the Chin Hills Bn. (BFF). He was promoted up to the rank of Subedar Major and was invested with the convetous he redeemed his brother Khaikam from life transportation. He went to France in the First World War to command the Chin Labour Corps. He was noted as one of the forerunners of the Chin civilization which gave quicker and easier impetus to revolutionizing the Siyins to tolerate Christianity first in the Chin Hills, too.
This article is compiled from the Yangon Siyin Baptist Church Silver Jubilee Magazine.