|State of India|
Location of Manipur (marked in red) in India
Map of Manipur high
|Coordinates (imphal): Coordinates:|
|Established||21 January 1972|
|• Governor||Krishan Kant Paul|
|• Chief Minister||Okram Ibobi Singh (INC)|
|• Legislature||Unicameral (60 seats)|
|• High Court||Manipur High Court|
|• Total||22,327 km2 (8,621 sq mi)|
|• Density||120/km2 (300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+05:30)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-MN|
|HDI rank||5th (2005)|
|Literacy||79.21% (2011 Census)|
Manipur (English pronunciation: i//) is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. The state is sometimes referred to by alternative names such as Kangleipak and Meeteileipak. It is bounded by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Burma lies to its east. The state covers an area of 22,327 square kilometres (8,621 sq mi). Its people include the Meetei, Kuki, Naga, Pangal, Gorkhali and Bishnupriya Manipuri, who speak different types of Sino-Tibetan languages.
Manipur has been at the crossroads of Asian economic and cultural exchange for more than 2500 years. It has long connected Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia, enabling migration of people, cultures and religions. It has also witnessed many wars, including fighting during World War II.
The Kingdom of Manipur was one of the princely states of British India. Between 1917 and 1939, the people of Manipur pressed for their rights against the British Raj. By late 1930s, the princely state of Manipur negotiated with the British administration its preference to be part of India, rather than Burma (now Myanmar). These negotiations were cut short with the outbreak of World War II. On 21 September 1949, Maharaja Budhachandra signed a Treaty of Accession merging the kingdom into India; this merger is disputed by various groups in Manipur as having been completed without consensus and under duress. The dispute and different visions for future has led to a 50-year insurgency in the state for independence from India, as well as to violence between different ethnic groups within the state. Over 2010–2013, the militant insurgency was responsible for the violent death of about 1 civilian per 100,000 people, each year. The world's average annual death rate from intentional violence has been 7.9 per 100,000 people.
The Meetei, who live primarily in the state's valley region, form the primary ethnic group (27% of the total population). Tribal people constitute 30% of the state population. The term Meetei includes Meetei Sanamahi, Meetei Christians, Meetei Hindus and Meetei Brahmins (locally called "Bamons"). The language of Meetei people, Meithei (or Manipuri), is the lingua franca in Manipur and is one of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Other than Meetei people, Manipur has a diverse group of ethnic groups speaking different languages and dialects, variously practicing Hinduism, Christianity, Sanamahism, Buddhism, Islam and other folk religions.
Manipur is primarily an agrarian economy, with significant hydroelectric power generation potential. It is connected by daily flights through Imphal airport, the second largest airport in the northeastern India. Manipur is credited with popularizing the horseback sport Polo to Europe; it is the Indian state where Captain Robert Stewart and Lieutenant Joseph Sherer of British colonial era first watched locals play a rules-based pulu or sagolkangjei (literally, horse and stick) game in 1859, rules they spread as Polo, first to Calcutta and then in England.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography and climate
- 4 Districts
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Religion
- 7 Economy
- 8 Culture
- 9 Festivals
- 10 Tourism
- 11 Security and insurgency
- 12 Media
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 External links
Manipur had been known throughout the ages as Kangleipak or Meeteileipak as well as by more than twenty other names. Sanamahi Laikan wrote that Manipur's new nomenclature was adopted in the eighteenth century during the reign of Meidingu Pamheiba. According to Sakok Lamlen, the area had different names according to the era. During the Hayachak period, it was known as Mayai Koiren poirei namthak saronpung or Tilli Koktong Ahanba, then in the Khunungchak period as Meera Pongthoklam. During the Langbachak era, it became Tilli Koktong Leikoiren and finally Muwapalli in the Konnachak epoch.
Neighbouring cultures had differing names for Manipur and its people. The Shan or Pong called the area Cassay, the Burmese Kathe, and the Assamese Meklee. In the first treaty between the British East India Company and Meidingu Chingthangkhomba (Bhagyachandra) signed in 1762, the kingdom was recorded as Meckley. Bhagyachandra and his successors issued coins engraved with "Manipureshwar," or "lord of Manipur" and the name Meckley was discarded. Later on, the Sanskritisation work, Dharani Samhita (1825–34) popularised the legends of the origin of Manipur's name.
The Kingdom of Manipur was one of the many hundreds of kingdoms in south and southeast Asia. There are no data about the early history of Manipur, but legendary chronicles claim that Ningthou, the first King of Manipur ruled from Kangla at Imphal in 33 AD. He is also known as Meidingu Nongdaa Lairen Paakhangba.
Manipur came under British rule as a princely state (Kangleipak). During World War II, Manipur was the scene of many fierce battles between the Japanese and the British Indian forces. The Japanese were beaten back before they could enter Imphal, which was one of the turning points of the war. After the war, the Manipur Constitution Act of 1947 established a democratic form of government, with the Maharaja as the Executive Head. In 1949, Maharaja Bodhchandra was summoned to Shillong where he signed the instrument of accession merging the kingdom into India. Thereafter the legislative assembly was dissolved and Manipur became part of the Republic of India in October, 1949. It was made a Union Territory in 1956 and a fully-fledged State in 1972.
A separatist movement has been active in Manipur since 1964 with the establishment of the United National Liberation Front; several groups have used violence to achieve their goal of a sovereign Manipur. Beside this, there have been demands by the tribal people to divide the present state into two or three Indian states. Foreign travellers to Manipur must gain special permission to enter, as it is considered a "sensitive area" due to its political troubles and geographical location.
Geography and climate
Manipur is one of the seven states of Northeast India. The state is bound by Nagaland in the north, Mizoram in the south, Assam in the west, and by the borders of the country Burma in the east as well as in the south. The state capital of Manipur is Imphal. The state lies at a latitude of 23°83’N – 25°68’N and a longitude of 93°03’E – 94°78’E. The total area covered by the state is 22,347 km². The capital lies in an oval-shaped valley of approximately 700 square miles (2,000 km2) surrounded by blue mountains and is at an elevation of 790 metres above the sea level. The slope of the valley is from north to south. The mountain ranges prevent the cold winds from the north from reaching the valley and bar cyclonic storms originating from the Bay of Bengal.
Four major river basins are in Manipur State: the Barak River Basin (Barak Valley) to the west, the Manipur River Basin in central Manipur, the Yu River Basin in the east, and a portion of the Lanye River Basin in the north. The total water resources of Barak and Manipur river basins are about 1.8487 Mham. The overall water balance of the state amounts to 0.7236 Mham in the annual water budget. (By way of comparison, India receives 400 Mham (million hectare meters) of rain annually.) The Barak River, the largest of Manipur, originates in the Manipur Hills and is joined by a number of tributaries such as the Irang, Maku, and Tuivai. After its junction with the Tuivai, the Barak River turns north and forms the border with Assam State, and then enters the Cachar Assam just above Lakhipur. The Manipur river basin has eight major rivers: the Manipur, Imphal, Iril, Nambul, Sekmai, Chakpi, Thoubal and Khuga. All these rivers originate from the surrounding hills.
Almost all the rivers in the valley area are in the mature stage and therefore deposit their sediment load in the Loktak lake. The rivers draining the Manipur Hills are comparatively young, due to the hilly terrain through which they flow. These rivers are corrosive in nature and assume turbulent form in the rainy season. Important rivers draining the western area include the Maku, Barak, Jiri, Irang and Leimatak. Rivers draining the eastern part of the state, the Yu River Basin, include the Chamu, Khunou and other short streams.
Physiographically, Manipur may be characterised as two distinct physical regions – an outlying area of rugged hills and narrow valleys, and the inner area of flat plain, with all associated land forms. These two areas are not only distinct in respect of physical features but are also conspicuous with regard to various flora and fauna. The valley region would have been a monotonous, featureless plain but for a number of hills and mounds rising above the flat surface. The Loktak lake is an important feature of the central plain. The total area occupied by all the lakes is about 600 km². The altitude ranges from 40 m at Jiribam to 2,994 m at Mt. Iso Peak near Mao Songsong.
The soil cover can be divided into two broad types, viz. the red ferruginous soil in the hill area and the alluvium in the valley. The valley soils generally contain loam, small rock fragments, sand and sandy clay, and are quite varied. On the plains, especially flood plains and deltas, the soil is quite thick. The top soil on the steep slopes is very thin. Soil on the steep hill slopes is subject to high erosion, resulting in gullies and barren rock slopes. The normal pH value ranges from 5.4 to 6.8.
The natural vegetation occupies an area of about 14,365 km² which is nearly 64% of the total geographical area of the state. The vegetation consists of a large variety of plants ranging from short and tall grasses, reeds and bamboos to trees of various species. Broadly, there are four types of forests - Tropical Semi-evergreen, Dry Temperate Forest, Sub-Tropical Pine and Tropical Moist Deciduous.
Teak, pine, oak, uningthou, leihao, bamboo, cane, etc. are important forest resources growing in plenty. In addition, rubber, tea, coffee, orange, and cardamom are grown in hill areas. Rice is a staple food for Manipuris. Rice and cash crops make up the main vegetation cover in the valley.
The climate of Manipur is largely influenced by the topography of this hilly region which defines the geography of Manipur. Lying 790 meters above sea level, Manipur is wedged between hills on all sides. This northeastern corner of India enjoys a generally amiable climate, though the winters can be a little chilly. The maximum temperature in the summer months is 32 degrees C. In winter the temperature often falls below zero, bringing frost. Snow sometimes falls in some hilly regions due to the Western Disturbance. The coldest month is January, and the warmest July. The ideal time for tourism in the state, in terms of climate, is from October to February, when the weather remains bright and sunny without the sun being too hot.
The state is drenched in rains from May until mid-October. It receives an average annual rainfall of 1467.5 mm. However, the rain distribution varies from 933 mm in Imphal to 2593 mm in Tamenglong. The precipitation ranges from light drizzle to heavy downpour. The normal rainfall of Manipur enriches the soil and helps in agricultural processes and irrigation. The South Westerly Monsoon picks up moisture from the Bay of Bengal and heads toward Manipur, hits the eastern Himalaya ranges and produces a massive amount of rain in the state. The climate of the State is salubrious with approximate average annual rainfall varying from 933 mm at Imphal to 2593 mm at Tamenglong. The temperature ranges from sub-zero to 36 °C.
Manipur has currently nine administrative districts.
|Source:Census of India|
Manipur has a population of 2,721,756. Of this total, 58.9% live in the valley and the remaining 41.1% in the hilly regions. The hills are inhabited mainly by the Naga and Kuki, and smaller tribal communities and the valley mainly by the Meitei, Bamons (Manipuri Brahmin) and Pangal. Some Bishnupriya Manipuri, Naga and Kuki settlements are also found in the valley region. Racially, Manipuri people are unique; they have features similar to South east Asian.
The distribution of area, population and density, literacy rate, etc. as per the 2001 Census provisional figures are as below:
|Demographics of Manipur (2001)|
|Child Sex Ratio||978 female to 1000 male|
|Density (per km²)||107|
Languages The official languages are Manipuri (Meeteilon) and English.
Meetei language (Meeteilon)
Meeteilon, a Tibeto-Burman language, the official language of Manipur, has a long history. It is the main language of communication among the different tribes and people inhabiting Manipur. English is slowly gaining ground as a common language of communication, especially in the cities. Hindi is spoken primarily by migrants (mayaang) from northern India.
Meeteilon has been recognised as the official Manipuri language by the Indian Union and has been included since 1992 in the list of scheduled languages (included in the 8th schedule by the 71st amendment of the Constitution in 1992). Meitei is taught as a subject up to postgraduate level (PhD) in Indian universities, apart from being a medium of instruction up to undergraduate level in Manipur.
Manipuri script Meetei Mayek is a script, commonly referred as Mayek, which has been used since ancient times. The origins of the Manipuri alphabet, or Meetei Mayek as it is known in Manipuri, are unknown. Many historical documents were destroyed at the beginning of the 18th century during the reign of King Pamheiba. Some believe the alphabet has been used for almost 4,000 years.
Between 1709 and the middle of the 20th century, the Manipuri language was written with the Bengali alphabet. During the 1940s and 50s, Manipuri scholars began campaigning to bring back the Manipuri alphabet. In 1976 at a writers conference, all the scholars agreed on a new version of the alphabet; it contains several additional letters to represent sounds not present in the language when the script was first developed. The current Manipuri script is a reconstruction of the ancient Manipuri script. Since the early 1980s, the Manipuri alphabet has been taught in schools in Manipur. The Manipuri language is written in Meetei Mayek alphabet more widely than the Bengali alphabet in modern times.
Languages of hill people
There are 29 different dialects spoken in Manipur. The six main hill dialects recognised by Government of Manipur for the medium of instruction and examination up to class XII are:
- Zou, dialect of the zou/zomi people.
- Poula, dialect of the Poumai Naga
- Thadou, dialect of Thadou people, the second language in the state after Meiteilon during the Colonial Period.
- Vaiphei, dialect of Vaiphei people
- Tangkhul, dialect of Tangkhul people
- Paite, dialect of Paite people
- Hmar, dialect of Hmar people
- Mao, dialect of Mao people
- Lianglad, dialect of Liangmai Naga People
- Rongmei, dialect of Rongmei people
- Maring, dialect of Maring Naga/Maring, Maring Khoibu, Maring Narum-saibol people
- Maram, dialect of Maram Naga
- Gangte, dialect of Gangte people and
- Mate, Dialect of the Mate-Taithul people
SOURCES: Mate Literature Society (MLS), the Mate Tribe Council (MTC) a Govt. of Manipur registered society Council and Laibul (Mate Primer by MLS (2001), Tuibuang, Maniput (India).
Manipur also has its own traditional way of living, which is also one of the oldest of the region. Sanamahism was followed by the Meetei community and some related communities of Manipur. Later, it got influenced by Hinduism. Then in the 19th century with the arrival of the British, many tribal people were converted to Christianity.
About 46% of Manipuri people are Hindus. Vaishnavism school of Hinduism became a dominant force in Manipur in the eighteenth century when the king, Garib Niwas (1708–48), declared it as the official State religion. This was the Vaishnavism of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the great Bhakti preacher of Bengal, which stressed Krishna bhakti.
Christianity is the religion of about 34% of the people in the state. It was brought by missionaries to Manipur in the 19th century. Christianity brought a marked change towards the civilization of the hill people. In the 20th century, a few Christian schools were established, which introduced Western-type education. Respected schools in Manipur are Little Flower School in Imphal, Don Bosco High School in Imphal, St. Joseph's Convent, and Nirmalabas High School, which are all run by Catholic priests and nuns. About 34% of the population of Manipur identify as Christian, and the majority of them are from the hills.
Meeteism and Sanamahi
Folk religions are practiced by about 10% of the state's people. These religions have a long history in Manipur. Sanamahism is the ancient indigenous religion. Sanamahi worship is concentrated around the Sun God/Sanamahi. The early Manipuri worshipped a Supreme deity, Lainingthou Soralel, and followed their ancestors. Their ancestor worship and animism was based on Umang Lai – that is, ethnic governing deities worshipped in sacred groves. Some of the traditional deities (Lais) whom Manipuri worship are Atiya Sidaba, Pakhangba, Sanamahi, Leimaren, Oknarel, Panganba, Thangjing, Marjing, Wangbaren, and Koubru. The religious life of the people, even when they adopted non-mainstream Hinduism, retained many characteristics inherited from their prehistoric ancestors. The essentials of this religion remain recognisable to the present day. but did not win widespread adoption until relatively recent history.
Muslims, known locally as Pangal, constitute about 8% of the state population as per 2001 census. The influence of religious preceptors, Shaikh Shah Jalal Yemeni who came to Sylhet in 1303 AD and Azan Fakir Baghdadi in 1690 AD in Assam, is felt among Manipuri Muslims. There are Arab, Bangladesh, Turani, Bengali and Mughal or Chaghtai Turk sections among Manipuri Muslims.
Manipur acts as India’s ‘Gateway to the East’ through Moreh and Tamu towns, the land route for trade between India and Myanmar and other Southeast Asian countries. Manipur has the highest number of handicrafts units as well as the highest number of craftspersons, in the entire northeastern region of India. The state is covered with over 3,000 square km of bamboo forests, making it one of India’s largest contributor to its bamboo industry.
Manipur produced about 0.1 GW of electricity in 2010 with its infrastructure. But the state has significant hydroelectric power generation potential, estimated to be over 2 GW. As of 2010, If even half of this potential is realized, it will ensure 24/7 electricity supply to all Manipuri residents, as well generate a surplus for sale to neighboring states in India as well as the Myanmar grid.
Manipur's climate and soil conditions make it ideally suited for various horticultural crops. It is also home to a wide variety of rare and exotic medicinal and aromatic plants. Some cash crops suited for Manipur include litchi, cashew nuts, walnuts, orange, lemon, pineapple, papaya, passion fruit, peach, pear and plum.
Tulihal Airport, Changangei, Imphal, the only airport of Manipur, connects directly with Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, and Agartala. It has been upgraded as an International airport, and as India's second largest airport in the northeast it serves as a key logistical center for northeastern states. National Highway NH-39 links Manipur with the rest of the country through the railway stations at Dimapur in Nagaland at a distance of 215 km (134 mi) from Imphal. National Highway 53 (India) connects Manipur with another railway station at Silchar in Assam, which is 269 km (167 mi) away from Imphal. The road network of Manipur, with a length of 7,170 km (4,460 mi) connects all the important towns and distant villages.
The Manipuri have a rich culture. Theatre has been part of the Laiharaoba festivals since time immemorial. Theatre in Manipur is divided into religious and secular, based on texts. The former is the adaptation of religious epics or some episodes from them, performed mainly in the sacred sphere such as temples. Within this, Gauralila (the story of the childhood days of Caitanya Mahaprabhu), Sanjenba (an episode from the play between Krishna and his cows and his Gopis), and Udukhol (an episode from Krishna's childhood days) can be incorporated. They are seasonal performances commanding spiritual devotions among the audience.
Secular theatre is mostly confined to themes that are not religious; it is performed in the secular or profane spheres. Within these are Shumang lila and Phampak lila (stage drama). Shumang lila is very popular. Etymologically Shumang lila is the combination of "Shumang" (courtyard) and "Lila" (play or performance). It is performed in an area of 13/13 ft in the centre of any open space, in a very simple style without a raised stage, set design, or heavy props such as curtains, background scenery, visual effects, etc. It uses one table and two chairs, kept on one side of the performance space. Its claim as the "theatre of the masses" is underlined by the way it is performed in the middle of an audience that surrounds it, leaving one passage as both entrance and exit.
Shumang lila is performed by a touring band of 12–13 professional artists on invitation basis. These troupes may be exclusively female (Nupi Shumang Lila) or exclusively male (Nupa Shumang lila). In each case, one sex plays all parts. Historically Shumang lila was based in Phagee lila (farce), performed during the reign of Ningthourel Chandrakirti (1850–1886), though traces of it were already present in the episode of Tangkhul-Nurabi Loutaba of Laiharaoba festival. Then it was succeeded by such plays as Ramlila, Sabha parba, Kabul lila, etc. But the real Shumang lila with various rasas (sentiments) was ushered in with the epic play Harishchandra (1918). Then it was followed by others such as Meiraba charan, Thok lila, etc. One of the most successful of this era was Moirang parba, an epic play based on the legendary lovers Khamba and Thoibi of Moirang.
On the other hand, the world of Phampak lila (stage drama) performed in the proscenium theatre is similar, in form, to the Western theatrical model and Indian Natyasastra model though its contents are indigenous. The so-called modern theatre descended on Manipuri theatre culture with the performance of Pravas Milan (1902) under the enthusiastic patronage of Sir Churchand Maharaj (1891–1941). The pace of theatrical movement was geared up with the institution of various groups such as Manipur Dramatic Union (MDU) (1930), Arian Theatre (1935), Chitrangada Natya Mandir (1936), Society Theatre (1937), Rupmahal (1942), Cosmopolitan Dramatic Union (1968), and the Chorus Repertory Theatre of Ratan Thiyam (1976). These groups started experimenting with various types of plays apart from historical and pauranic ones. Today Manipuri theatre is well respected because of various excellent productions shown in various parts of the country and abroad. Manipuri plays, both Shumang lila and stage lila, have been a regular feature in the annual festival of the National School of Drama, New Delhi.
Iskcon led by Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami started a network of schools in Northeastern India where more than 4000 students receive education centred on Vaishnava spiritual values. In 1989 he founded "Ranganiketan Manipuri Cultural Arts Troupe" which has approximately 600 performances at over 300 venues in over 15 countries. Ranganiketan (literally "House of Colorful Arts") is a group of more than twenty dancers, musicians, singers, martial artists, choreographers and craft artisans. Some of them have received international acclaim.
Manipuri dance (Ras Lila)
A classical form of Manipuri dance based and inspired by the theme of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha's love story and the devotion of the Gopis (companions) toward Lord Krishna. This graceful and slow movement of the dance makes it one of the most acclaimed classical dances of India. The costume is elegant, as there are nicely embroidered clothes that give lustre to the beauty of the art. This dance is very exciting dance. Iskcon led by Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Swami has put Manipuri Rasa Leela on Global map with its performance in many prestigious event like many World Conference on science and religion, United Religions Initiative conference, Kumbha Mela and many more.
Chorus Repertory Theater
The auditorium of the theatre is situated on the outskirts of Imphal and the campus stretches for about 2 acres (8,100 m2). It has housing and working quarters to accommodate a self-sufficiency of life. The theatre association has churned out internationally acclaimed plays like Chakravyuha and Uttarpriyadashi. Its 25 years of existence in theatre had disciplined its performers to a world of excellence. Chakravyuha taken from the Mahabharat epic had won Fringe Firsts Award, 1987 at the Edinburgh International Theater Festival. Chakravyuha deals with the story of Abhimanyu (son of Arjun) of his last battle and approaching death whereas Uttarpriyadashi is an 80-minute exposition of Emperor Ashoka's redemption.
Indigenous outdoor games
Mukna is a popular form of wrestling. It has rules agreed by all Mukna organisations and with Royal Consent. Traditionally the game is controlled and organised by Pana Loisang of the Ruler of the state and village organisations. There are four, Panas-Ahallup, Naharup, Khabam and Laipham, who control all fixtures and times for the games and the State Meet in which the Final is invariably graced by the ruler, who presents the title of Jatra (Champion) for the year along with reward of Thum Nama (A full bag of salt) and Ngabong Phi (hand made cloth of cotton yarn), exemption of all state duties and Ningham Samjin dress (traditional). The game has two categories (1) Takhatnabi (League), (2) Naitom (Knockout).
Mukna Kangjei (Khong Kangjei)
Mukna Kangjei is a game which combines the arts of mukna (wrestling hockey) and Kangjei (Cane Stick) to play the ball made of seasoned bamboo roots. The origin of the game goes back well to Aniconic worship. People celebrate Lai Haraoba (festival to please traditional deities) and include this item to mark the end of the festival. It was believed that Khagemba Ningthou (King, 1597–1652) patronised this game. In later generations, the game is organised in the villages. Presently, associations are formed in Panas with rules and regulations of Mukna Kangjei.
The game is played by two teams of seven players each. All players hold a natural cane stick with root, gradually increasing the size of the root, to the length of about seven inches to play the ball made out of seasoned bamboo roots of approximately a diameter of four inches (102 mm). The players put on Mukna Kisi Phijet (dress of cloth knot) to secure protection and holding each other. At present a short pant is added below Kisi (like cloth belt with knots). The game starts by throwing the ball in front of the panjenbas (leaders) of the two teams standing face to face to each other on the line. If possible they can pick up the ball and run. The process of running, obstructing and wrestling to get past the obstruction so as to put the ball on the goal line of the ground is allowed, Pun onba (change of side) and end of the game is given by the command of the umpire. The rules for the game are known as Kangjei lon.
Sagol Kangjei (Pulu or Polo)
According to Chaitharol-Kumbaba, a Royal Chronicle of Manipur King Kangba who ruled Manipur much earlier than Nongda Lairen Pakhangba (33 AD) introduced Sagol Kangjei (Khong kangjei|Kangjei on horse back). It was played regularly by 17th century during the reign of King Khagemba under newly framed rules of the game. The game requires perfect control of the pony, the stick and the ball with proficiency of riding. The sense of 'fair Play' was the main guided factor of this game. This is played between two teams of Seven players a side. During the time of the late Sir Chandrakirti Singh, K.C.S.I Maharaja of Manipur introduced regular game at Mapal Kangjeibung (now near Tikendrajit Park) on the ground of Sana-Lamjei (length 160 and 80 width in dimension) being one Lamjei equal to 6 ft (1.8 m) The game can be played in smaller ground also if occasion demands.
Captain Robert Stewart and Lieutenant Joseph Sherer of British colonial era watched locals play this rules-based pulu or sagolkangjei (literally, horse and stick) game in 1859, rules they spread as Polo, first to Calcutta and then in England. Joseph Ford Sherer is now celebrated as the Father of English Polo, and Manipur as part of Polo legend. Polo spread rapidly, and by 1900 was part of Summer Olympics.
Manipur has produced players of outstanding calibres like Jubaraj Bir Tikendraji (Senapati of Manipur Army) as legendary player described by Mrs. Grimwood (1887–90). After 1891, Manipur produced outstanding players like (L) Ojha Tombi and Shyamjai Sharma who never had the chance to play in international tournament.
Yubi lakpi is a traditional full contact game played in Manipur, India, using a coconut, which has some notable similarities to rugby. Yubi lakpi literally means "coconut snatching". The coconut is greased to make it slippery. There are rules of the game, as with all Manipur sports. It is played on the lush green turf. Each side has 7 players in a field with about 45x18 meters in area. The goal post is 4.5x3 meters box in the central portion of the goal line. The coconut serves the purpose of a ball and is offered to the king, the chief guest or the judges before the game begins. The aim is to run while carrying the greased coconut and physically cross over the goal line, while the other team tackles and blocks any such attempt as well as tries to grab the coconut and score on its own. In Manipur's long history, Yubi lakpi was the annual official game, attended by the king, over the Hindu festival of Shree Govindajee. It is like the game of rugby, or American football.
Oolaobi (Woo-Laobi) is an outdoor game mainly played by females. Meitei mythology believes that UmangLai Heloi-Taret (seven deities–seven fairies) played this game on the Courtyard of the temple of Umang Lai Lairembi. The number of participants is not fixed but are divided into two groups (size as per agreement). Players are divided as into Raiders (Attackers) or Defenders (Avoiders).
The Raiders say "oo" without stopping as long as they can continue and try to touch the Avoiders. If a Raider touches an Avoider while saying "oo", the Avoider is out. This process goes on till all Avoiders are out or surrender. If a raider fails to say "oo" or is out of breath, the Raider is out. Points are counted on the elimination of Raiders/Defenders.
If Raiders are tired they declare for change and a time limit is decided on. The principles of Oolaobi are very similar to Kabaddi in India. The ground (court) is not marked; normally the open space in the premises of the house or temple is used for the game. Oolaobi, sometimes spelled Woolaobi, is very popular with girls and a source of talent in Kabaddi.
Hiyang tannaba (Hi Yangba Tanaba) is a traditional boat rowing race and festivity of the Panas. This is held during the month of November. This was introduced during the time of Ningthourel Khunjaoba, the second son of King Khagemba, who dug the Kangla Moat around the Palace to make it impregnable in the year of 1660 after he ascended the throne in 1652. In the traditional function two boats "Tanahi" (Race Boat) are detailed for leaders known as "Tengmai Lappa". In each boat forty Hiroys (Boatsman) operate the boat. The boat which reaches the finishing line is the winner and all boatsman raise their (Now) oars high in the air as a sign of reaching the finishing line first and thus the winner of the race is declared. The leader pays his respect to the deity and the King of Manipur.
People of Manipur are very fond of riding horses specially those who are in the village near the breeding areas. Since the ponies are easily available, the young boys get the chance of riding ponies without saddle on horse back. Sometimes they ride horse using a rope in place of regular bridle throwing branches of small trees in place of Arambai. This practice helped the Manipur Arambai force as a martial art which was very much required during the advance and withdrawal of forces. This art was very popular as an indigenous game of the youth of Manipur. This game is displayed even now, during the festival "Kwak Jatra" after Durga Puja.
Apart from these games, some outdoor games, which are played by children, are in a position of extinction. Some games like Khutlokpi, Phibul Thomba, Chaphu Thugaibi etc. remain very popular game elsewhere, such as in Cambodia. They are played especially during the Khmer New Year.
Indigenous indoor games
Kang is played by both male and female Meities of Manipur. Manipuris believe Kang is a game played by deity Panthoibi. It is also believed that Manipuris began to play this game well before Vaishnavism came to Manipur. It is played under a shed of building on an earth ground (court) smoothly levelled to suit the course of the 'Kang' the target on the court. It is well marked for the respective positions of the players of both to hit the target on the court. It has rules and regulations formed by the associations to suit the occasions of the games either for competitive tournaments or friendly entertainment. The dignitaries of the Palace, even Queen and King also participated on social functions. In olden days 'Kang' was played during summer, starting from Cheiraoba (Manipur New Year) to Kang Chingba. Presently the game is played in several tournaments throughout the year, organised by the Associations. Rules and regulations have been modified to suit the improved process of the game.
The various festivals of Manipur are Lui-ngai-ni Ningol Chakouba, Yaoshang, Ramzan Id, Kut, Gan-ngai, Chumpha, Christmas, Cheiraoba, Kang and Heikru Hidongba. Most of these festivals are usually celebrated on the basis of lunar calendar. Almost every festival celebrated in other states of India is observed here and it makes Manipur a mini metropolis.
- Ningol Chakouba (November)
A social festival of the Meiteis and many communities of Manipur where the married women (Ningol) are invited (Chakouba-literally calling to a meal; for dinner or lunch) to a feast at their parental house along with their children. Besides the feast, gifts are given to the women/invitees and to their children. It is the festival that binds and revives the family relations between the girls married away and the parental family. Nowadays, other communities have also started celebrating this kind of a family-bonding festival. It is held every year on the 2nd lunar day of Heyangei (mostly during the month of November. Sometimes it falls in October).
"Ningol" can mean a family's woman or a girl child and is not necessarily married.
A post harvest festival predominantly celebrated by Kuki-Chin-Zomi tribes in Manipur has become one of the leading festivals of the state. Kut is not restricted to a particular community or tribe but the whole state populace participates in merriment. On 1 November of every year the state declared holiday for Kut celebration. The festival is marked by various cultural events such as traditional dances, folk dances, songs, sports and the most popular Miss Kut contest. It is a festival of peace and thanksgiving to the Almighty for the harvests.
- Yaoshang (February/March)
Yaoshang is one of the colourful and biggest festival of Manipur now it is mixed up with holi festival. The actual name of Yaoshang is "Yawol Shang" in remembrance of Manipuri god "Pakhangba" play often in a small hut. It is celebrated for five days starting from the full moon of "Lamta tha" the last month of Manipuri month (February/March). At the first day of Yaoshang "Yawol Shang" will make and burn just after the sunset with a spiritual function in every "Leikai" that is village or sub villages that have their names that is called "Yawol Shang Mei Thaaba", and just after burned "Yawol Shang" the children beg for some moneys in every house that is called "Nakatheng". In the second and third days girls goes to their relatives for their "nakatheng" and block roads with ropes for some moneys. In the fourth and fifth days boys starting to pour or splash water one another etc.. Another feature of this premiere festival is the Thabal Chongba (Dancing in the Moonlight). The boys from various places will come to the site of the festival and dance with the girls by holding on to their hands and moving in circles.
- Christmas (December)
The Hill dwellers consisting of various tribes (Naga, Kuki-Zomi etc.)in Manipur are Christians and celebrate Christmas for two days with prayers, reading of gospels, eating, singing of hymns, lectures on Christ, sports etc. It is usually observed on 24 December and 25. The Nagas are the second largest people in terms of population next to the Meitei people. Few of them living in the plain area but most of them living in the hill area from generation to generation. Nowadays, one can find a small but rapidly expanding Meitei Christian population both in the urban and rural areas.
- Pangal festivals
The Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) observed Id-ul-Fitr festival as in other Muslim world. During this month of Ramzan (Ramadan), Pangals practice denial by taking a fast, abstaining from eating and drinking, from pre-dawn till sunset and offer prayers for all. After the thirtieth day of Ramadan, when the new moon is visible they break fast which is also popularly known as Id-Ul-Fitr. They offer prayers at the mosques, have delicious dishes, exchange greetings and call on the friends and relatives. Children play with crackers, balloons, toy-guns with friends and go from one house to another house asking for money in the name of "Id ki Paisa" from the elders. Married women go to their maternal homes in the evening along with their families. Id-ul-Adha is the second most important festival of the Pangals in Manipur. Like Muslims elsewhere, Pangals offer animal sacrifices in the name of Allah and celebrate throughout the day in a festive mood and with family.
- Cheiraoba (Sajibugi Nongma Panba), March/April)
Cheiraoba (literally, stick announce) is the new year of Manipur. It is observed on the first lunar day of the lunar month Sajibu (March/April) and so it is also popularly known as Sajibu Cheiraoba. In olden days, where proper knowledge of time keeping was not there in every houses of Manipur, a King's horse-man announced the beginning of the new year with a stick on hand. And hence the name "Cheiraoba". People of Manipur clean and decorate their houses and make a sumptuous variety of dishes to feast upon after offering food to the deity on this day. After the feast, as a part of the rituals, people climb the "CHEIRAOCHING" located in Chingmeirong or the nearest hill tops; in the belief that it would excel them to greater heights in their worldly life.
Gaan-Ngai is the greatest festival of the Zeliangrong people. Its a 5-day long festival and is usually performed on the 13th day of the Meitei month of Wakching as per the Meitei Calendar of the lunar year.
Manipur has a rich culture featuring martial arts, dance, theatre and sculpture. Its greenery with the moderate climate make it attractive to tourists. The seasonal Shirui Lily plant at Ukhrul (district), Dzukou valley at Senapati, Sangai (Brow antlered deer) and the floating islands at Loktak Lake are some of the rare things found in Manipur. Polo, which can be called a royal game, also originated from Manipur. Some of the main tourist attractions are:
- Imphal (Capital)
The city is inhabited by the Meitei, Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) and other tribes, and among these the Meitei population is the largest and it is just 7 km (4.3 mi) from the airport of Manipur (Tulihal Airport). The district is divided into East and West and the recently constructed sports complex (Khuman Lampak Sports Complex) for the 1997 National Games is also one of the attractions consisting of everything from a cyclists' velodrome to the main stadium. Most of the imported goods are sold here at its Paona Bazar, Gam-bir Sing Shopping Complex, Ningthibi Collections and Leima Plaza.
Shree Govindajee Temple, Andro village, Manipur State Museum, many lakes, hills, valleys, Eco tourist projects etc.
Lakes and islands
48 km (30 mi) from Imphal, lies the largest fresh water lake in the North East India, the Loktak Lake, a veritable miniature inland sea. From the Tourist Bungalow set atop Sendra Island, visitors get a bird's eye view of life on the Lake-small islands that are actually floating weed on which live the Lake people, the shimmering blue waters of the Lake, labyrinthine boat routes and colourful water plants. The Sendra Tourist Home with an attached cafeteria in the middle of the lake is an ideal tourist spot. The special treat to watch are the floating islands popularly known as Phumdi which is made out of the tangle of watery weeds and other plants. For a nominal fee, people can hire small boats and see the way of life on these floating islands. The wetland is swampy and is favourable for a number of species to thrive on. It is in the district of Bishnupur. Etymology of Loktak is "Lok = stream and tak= the end" (End of the Streams). Sendra park and resort is opening on the top of Sendra hills and attracting the tourist.
- Hills and valleys
Kaina is a hillock about 921 metres above sea level and a sacred place of the Manipuri Hindus. So goes the story that one night, Shri Govindajee appeared in the dream of his devotee, Shri Jai Singh Maharaja and asked the saintly king to install in a temple, an image of Shri Govindajee. It was to be carved out of a jack fruit tree, which was then growing at Kaina. The scenery in this place is charming and the hill shrubs and natural surroundings give the place a religious atmosphere. It is only 29 km (18 mi) from Imphal.
The Dzükou Valley is a sight to behold. It is located in Senapati district bordering with Kohima. This valley is well known for its natural beauty, seasonal flowers and the overall flora and fauna. Dzükou derives its meaning from the Angami/Mao word which translates to "Cold Water" referring to the ice cold stream that flows through the valley. It is situated at an altitude of 2438 m above sea level, behind the Japfü Peak located in Nagaland. The rare Dzükou lily is found only in this valley
- Eco tourism
Keibul Lamjao National Park, 48 km (30 mi) away from Imphal is an abode of, rare and endangered species of Brow Antlered deer (Scientific name: Rucervus eldii eldii). This ecosystem is home to 17 rare species of mammals. The greenery of the place and the moderate temperature makes a pleasant experience to visit. It is the only floating national park of the world.
6 km (3.7 mi) to the west of Imphal, at the foot of the pine growing hillocks at Iroisemba on the Imphal-Kangchup Road are the Zoological Gardens. Some brow antlered deer (Sangai), one of the rarest deers in the world, and the state animal is housed here.
of Manipur, Imphal (2000) and Mate Literature Society (MLS): Mate Laibul, published with the permission and forwarding of the Director, Art & Culture, Govt. of Manipur, Imphal.
A popular tourist and picnic spot in Sadu Chiru is known as Sadu Chiru waterfall (near Ichum Keirap village) 27 km (17 mi) from Imphal, in the Sadar hill area, Senapati district. Hundreds of tourists flock to this place to enjoy the view of this waterfall and the natural beauty surrounding it. Consisting of three falls with the first fall about thirty meters high. To its vicinity, a newly built park or garden, 'Agape Park', is situated. It is owned and managed by Kamlun Telien of Ichum Keirap.
- Natural caves
Thalon Cave (around 910 metres above the sea level), one of the historical site of Manipur under Tamenglong district, around 185 km from state capital and around 30 km from Tamenglong district headquarters in north side. From Thalon village, this cave is 4–5 km (1 hour trek) Khangkhui Cave is another remarkable natural lime- stone cave in Ukhrul district. The big hall in the cave is the darbar hall of the Devil King living deep inside while the northern hall is the royal bedroom, according to local folklore. During World War II, the villagers sought shelter in this cave. This cave is at an hour's trek from Khangkui village.
Security and insurgency
Manipur has had a long record of insurgency and inter-ethnic violence. The first armed opposition group in Manipur, the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), was founded in 1964, which declared that it wanted to gain independence from India and form Manipur as a new country. Over time, many more groups formed in Manipur, each with different goals, and deriving support from diverse ethnic groups in Manipur. For example, in 1977 the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) was formed, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was formed in 1978 which Human Rights Watch states as having received arms and training from China. In 1980, the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) was formed. These groups began a spree of bank robberies and attacks on police officers and government buildings. The state government appealed to the central government in New Delhi for support in combating this violence. In 1980, the central government brought the entire state of Manipur under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) because its state government claimed that the use of the Armed Forces in aid of the state and local police is necessary to prevent violent deaths and to maintain law and order.
Since 1980, the application of AFSPA has been at the heart of concerns about human rights violations in the region, such as arbitrary killings, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and enforced disappearances. Its continued application has led to numerous protests, notably the longstanding hunger strike by Irom Sharmila Chanu.
The violence in Manipur extend beyond those between Indian security forces and insurgent armed groups. There is violence between the Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis and other tribal groups. They have formed splinter groups who disagree with each other. Other than UNLF, PLA and PREPAK mentioned above, other Manipuri insurgent groups include Revolutionary Peoples Front (RPF), Manipur Liberation Front Army (MLFA), Kanglei Yawol Khnna Lup (KYKL), Revolutionary Joint Committee (RJC), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), Peoples United Liberation Front (PULF), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-I/M), Naga Lim Guard (NLG), Kuki National Front (KNF), Kuki National Army (KNA), Kuki Defence Force (KDF), Kuki Democratic Movement (KDM), Kuki National Organisation (KNO), Kuki Security Force (KSF), Chin Kuki Revolutionary Front (CKRF), Kom Rem Peoples Convention (KRPC), Zomi Revolutionary Volunteers (ZRV), Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), Zomi Reunification Organisation (ZRO), and Hmar Peoples Convention (HPC).
The Kuki insurgent groups want a separate state for the Kukis to be carved out from the present state of Manipur. The Kuki insurgent groups are under two umbrella organisation, Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United Peoples Forum. The Nagas wish to annexe part of Manipur and merge with a greater Nagaland or Nagalim, which is in conflict with Meitei insurgent demands for the integrity of their vision of an independent state. There were many tensions between the different tribes and have witnessed numerous clashes between Naga and Kukis, Meiteis and Muslims.
- Fatalities in recent years
According to SATP, there has been a dramatic decline in fatalities in Manipur since 2009. In 2009, 77 civilians died (about 3 per 100,000 people). From 2010 onwards, about 25 civilians have died in militants-related violence (about 1 per 100,000 people), dropping further to 21 civilian deaths in 2013 (or 0.8 per 100,000 people). However, there were 76 explosions in 2013, compared to 107 explosions in 2012. Different groups claimed responsibility for different explosions, some claiming they were targeting competing militant groups, others claiming their targets were state and central government officials. The average worldwide violent unnatural death rate between 2004 and 2009 was 7.9 per 100,000 per year.
Motion picture, or cinema, was first introduced in Manipur in 1920. The first motion picture theatres in the state were established in Imphal after the Second World War.
Filmmaking in Manipur was pioneered by Shree Govindajee Film Company (SGFC) founded between 1946 and 1947. Mainu Pemcha (1948) was the result of the first attempt at making films by the Manipuris.
The first full-fledged feature film Matam-Gi Manipur was screened on 9 April 1972 at Usha Cinema, Friends Talkies in Imphal and Azad cinema in Kakching.
With the establishment of Film Society in 1966, Imphal Cine Club in 1979 and Manipur Film Development Council (MFDC) in 1980, Manipuri cinema got the required momentum and made an indelible mark both at the national and international level.
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