This article has been extracted from
THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.
OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts. Some units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.
A tribe scattered over the western and south-western portions of the Southern Shan States, Burma, and found in greatest number near Fort Stedman in the State of ^'awnghwe. In dress and appearance the Inthas closely resemble the Shans among whom they live, and to whom they are known as Anghsa. They are mainly dis tinguishable from their neighl)ours by their dialect, which is not Shan, but appears to be an archaic form of Burmese, closely resembling Arakanese or Tavoyan. This resemblance has given rise to the theory that the Inthas originally came from Arakan. It seems, however, more probable that they are the descendants of one of the branches which broke off from the main Burmese stock about the same time that the Arakanese migrated to the western coast from the Irrawaddy.
The early chronicles of the Tagaung kings refer to the separation of the Arakanese from the parent stem, and allude to the migration somewhat later of other parties, one of which went east and settled in what are now the Shan States. If the progeny of this party still exist, it is among the Inthas and Taungyos of the Shan States that they will probably be found. The Inthas are Buddhists. In 1901 they numbered 50,478 in the regularly enumerated areas, and it was calculated that there were about 700 in the 'estimated' areas of Karenni. At P'ort Stedman they have a custom of building their houses over the water of the adjoining lake, sometimes at a very considerable distance from the shore. This practice has given them their name of Intha ('lake-dweller'). Their habit of rowing standing up and using the crook of their knees as a rowlock is peculiar.