Khonchok Khopok Special Cover Launched by India Post

Khonsa 1st August, 2023 : The Department of Posts, Ministry of Communication, Govt of India had released a Special Cover on the theme ‘Khonchok Khopok; traditional headgear of the Tutsa tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. Honble MLA, Khonsa East Wanglam Sawin graced the occasion as a Chief Guest and Shri Hento Karga, DC Tirap District as Guest of Honor. The program was attended by Shri. Jayanta Bhatacharya, Superintendent of Posts, Arunachal Pradesh Division, Shri. Tediap Hallang, Chairman All Tutsa Welfare Society, HODs, members of All Tutsa Welfare Society, Student leaders of Tutsa community and other dignitaries.
Chowang Wangsa, Postmaster, Khonsa Post Office in his welcome speech welcomed all the dignitaries and informed that such program has been held for the first time in the history of the Tirap district and through the Special Covers on one of the cultural aspects of Tutsa tribe people will come to know about the unique headgear of the Tutsa Tribe.
Chief Guest, MLA Wanglam Sawin lauded the Department of Posts for releasing special cover on Tutsa tribe and thanks the department for rendering insurance, postal and banking services even to the most remote places of the district. Sawin further said that with this released special cover on Headgear of Tutsa tribe – the younger generation of Tutsa would definitely know more about the importance and value of the Khonchok Khopok; traditional headgear thereby preserving their aged old traditional attires.
Shri J Bhatacharya, Supdt. of Posts, Arunachal Pradesh Division appreciated and thanks the All Tutsa Welfare Society for their keen interest in releasing of Special Cover on Tutsa tribe, he added that this special cover will be kept in Philately Museum which will disemminate about the culture & traditions of Tusta, he also informed about the various services provided by the Department of Posts, India.
Guest of Honor, DC Tirap Hento Karga thanks Department of Post for selecting the traditional headgear of Tutsa as Special Cover. The program ended with a vote of thanks by Ms. Jankam Ajang, PA Khonsa Post office.
Meanwhile, Shri Telem Kitnya, APO highlighted about the importance of Khonchok Khopok and its product, he added that in the Tutsa community, the head gear is one of the inseparable part of attires use during the festive events. The Tutsas are the tribal community, spread over Tirap and Changlang districts of East Arunachal Pradesh (South of Brahmaputra), in Northeast India. The tribe was recognized in 1989.
On occasions of festival, the Tutsas are known to adorn themselves with several colorful attires, among many of which the head gear called Khonchok (cone shape) Khopok (hat) is very significant part of the attire for a man. The way it is blended with vibrant colors, its uniqueness, and appealing look, the Khonchok Khopok definitely appears as center of attraction to both the participants and the audience. Thus, it undoubtedly creates the vibes of festivity and celebration.
Making the Khonchok Khopok requires lot of hardwork and artistic talent. Only a person with good skill preparing it.
The materials used during preparation of Khonchok Khopok are as follow:
· Sikhoe (Dried animal skin of mammals, preferably those of goat and cow)
· Luirong (made from horn of mithun, buffalo or cow, usually curved out from whole horn into a thin stick like)
· Wakpha (teeth (canine) of pig, preferably those of wild pig)
· Tokway (made from sea shells, preferably cut from the large sea shells)
· Tangpang (made from beard of goat, preferably some parts are colored into red with local herbs)
· Khosuk (made from horn of buffalo, curved out in to branch pattern, on which both colored and non-colored beard of goat are tied in its unique pattern)
· Songmey (made from hair of men, usually hairs obtained during head hunting days, as a sign of pride and victory. Note: In modern days, it is being replaced with artificial hairs from market)
· Womey (feather of hornbill)
The art of arranging all the materials to a ready-wear head gear is as follows:
§ The Sikhoe are usually folded into cone shape and stitched with the help of rattan palm (locally called as reh) in a similar manner as other wickerwork.
§ The beard of goat are usually tied on the Luirong on both left and right sides of the cone shape Khonchok. The feathers of the hornbill are added on each of the Luirong and at the tip of Khonchok.
§ Two Wakpha are tied upright at the front side of the Khonchok.
§ Tokway, made from the sea shells which are cut into round shape (except the front one) of various sizes with holes in the middle. The ropes made from the rattan palm are passed through the holes making it into round structure like a halo. The Tokway is arrange at the base of Khonchok. Per person 5 Tokways are required. Usually, the center Tokway has pointed end while the rest Tokways are round in shape.
§ Lastly, Songmey are tied on the back of the cone Khonchok supported by stick made from rattan palm while Khosuk are tied on each of left and right side.
As reflected from the above statements, it involves various materials where animals are the sources. This shows that it was made based on the availability of the materials during those days, however, each of the materials are preserved in the best way it can be done in order to avoid killing of animals. Also, it reflects the creativity of the fore-fathers with the available materials around them in the olden days, their ways of recreation and celebration of victory and brotherhood.
In conclusion, once all the required materials are put together it results into a colorful head gear that is so attractive and pleasing to the eyes. As mentioned above, among many other attires, the Tutsa community value and wear the Khonchok Khopok with pride and with reverence to the creativity and talent of their fore-fathers. The Tutsas embraces the Khoncho Khopok as an identity of the community and symbol to the talent and life of the people.
The program was also attended by former ZPM Wangjet Kuma, Shri Ngongphen Bangsia, President ATWS {All Tutsa Welfare Society) Tirap & Changlang, Shri Khuntik Khuisia, President ATSU (All Tutsa Students Union), Shri Ropong Kitnya, Gen.Secretary, ATSU (All Tutsa Students Union).