Monday, December 31, 2007

For First time visitors

First Time visitors, please visit

1. My Home

2. People of Manipur

3. Women of Manipur

4. Ceremonies of Manipur

This is a sticky post. Regular posts continue below. Scroll down below to read articles and links and an occasional post on Manipur and the North east.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Two more manipur MLAs Quit.

BJP members B.D. Behring and Danny Shaiza put in their papers yesterday and the Speaker, Maniruddin Sheikh, has accepted the resignations, sources in the Assembly secretariat said today.

The resignations follow that of two other Opposition members, Samuel Jendai and Henry Paotei, both from the Federal Party of Manipur (FPM), who quit the Assembly membership on December 23.

The Naga legislators said they decided to quit in support of the ongoing peace process between the NSCN (I-M) and the government of India. Jendai and Paotei had also cited the same reasons for quitting the membership.[Source]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Trooper Kills Colleague and Himself

And as there weren't enough killings, Four paramilitary troopers were killed and another four were critically wounded in a bizarre shooting spree by their fellow colleague who later shot himself dead in the northeastern state of Manipur, officials said Sunday.[via]. Life have become so cheap in my homeland. Whatever happened to Homeland security...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Irom Sharmila's Fast Covered by BBC

Irom Sharmila Chanu's Marathon 6 year long marathon fast has been picked up by BBC. She's been fasting for about 6 years now as a protest against the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA, which gives sweeping powers to the army in the state.

She says,"My fast is on behalf of the people of Manipur. This is not a personal battle"
On hunger strike since 2000, Irom Sharmila Chanu is being force-fed through a pipe in her nose on the orders of the state administration.

The 35-year-old is an iconic figure in Manipur's politics. She completes six years of fasting in November, in what is perhaps the longest such political protest ever recorded.

Sharmila is demanding the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA, which gives sweeping powers to the army in the state.

Manipur, with a population of 30 million, has been administered by the Indian army since 1980 and human rights organisations often describe the army's powers as "draconian".


While the government maintains that the law is necessary to restore normalcy in a state racked by a militant secessionist movement, civil society groups allege gross human rights violations by the army.

[BBC news]
Manipuri women have always been strong. Read my posts on manipuri women from the sidebar.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Manipuri Dress, Wangkhei Phi

Isn't it gorgeous? The dress as well the lady, whatever little we see here.
She is showing off, the Wangkhei Phi, named after the place where this type of dresses are primarily woven or manufactured. usually, ladies wrap their lower body with beautiful stripped wrap-arounds like a sarong, and the upper body is covered with the wangkhei phi much like a saree. It maybe worn as a saree also.

Photo courtesy: kangla Online

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cool Quotes and Sayings from Movies

Cool quote from God father.

I will give him an offer he can't refuse!

Cool quote from Casablanca.

The germans Wore Grey, You wore Blue!

Cool quote 2 from Casablanca.

Of all the Gin Joints in the world, She walked into Mine.

Cool quote from James Bond.

Oh! James.

Cool quote from Gone with the Winds!

Frankly my Dear, I don't give a damn!

Cool quote from DDLJ

Bade bade Deshon Main, Aisi Choti Choti Baaten Hote Rehte hain!

Cool quote from Reservoir Dogs

Let me tell you what "Like a Virgin" is about.

More Quotes and Sayings about movies.

Cool Quotes and Sayings: James Bond Movies

Cool quote from Never Say Never Again.

Largo: Are you a man who enjoys games?
James Bond: Depends with whom I'm playing.

Cool quote from Thunderball.

But of course, I forgot your ego, Mr. Bond. James Bond, the one where he has to make love to a woman, and she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing.!

Cool quote 2 from Octopussy.

Kamal Khan: You seem to have this nasty habit of surviving.
James Bond: You know what they say about the fittest.

Most Quoted Cool quote from James Bond.

Oh! James.

Cool Quotes and Sayings from Manipur

The wisdom of the old.
There are many Cool Quotes and Sayings from the olds.

Cool Quote 1.

It is dificult to wake up someone who is not asleep.

Cool Quote 2.

10 days for the thief, one day for the houseowner.

Cool Quote 3.

Misfortune never comes singly.

Cool Quote 4.

Would you be my mother's daughter in law?

Cool Teen Quote 5.

To a group of girls, Anybody who doesn't like me, please raise your hands.

Cool Quote 6.

Miser spends 1 rupee in a candle to find his 25 paisa coin.

Some North East Recipe

Fried Pork Chops may not be a recipe frpm the North east, but then we cook various Types of Pork, and love Pork Chops. This is just one way of cooking Pork Chops...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Manipur in the shadow of AFSPA

is a film by the Human Right's law network,

CNN-IBN reports: Sharmila was 24 years old when she witnessed the gunning down of 10 people in retaliation to one of their trucks being blown up.

The event led to several protests in the state, but the Sharmila took the protest to a further level.

She embarked on a hunger strike, which is still on. Her organs have deteriorated and she is now being nasally fed in a high security prison in Imphal.

Today, Sharmila is an icon for many Manipuris, the emblem of their protests against the 48-year-old Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the controversial act that has given the Army unrestricted powers in the North East.

Meanwhile, there have been several attempts to repeal the Act. Two years ago, a group of naked women marched to the Headquarters of the Assam Rifles in Imphal to protest the killing of 29-year-old Manorama, who was shot dead allegedly by the Army.

Human rights activists believe it is an example of the unrestricted powers of Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

"The Army goes everywhere. It can pick you up at night on suspicion. Noone in the country is aware about the North East. They are cut off from the world. The government is quiet on it. Nothing will ever be done. Atrocities continue till the present day," Colin Gonzalves of the Human Rights Law Network says.

Human Rights Law Network's film Manipur in the shadow of AFSPA is a collection of testimonials of people who have been victims, at the receiving end of atrocities and violence.

One of the young boy for example was picked up by the army a few years ago and allegedly made to perform oral sex on the jawans who arrested him.

"When the film was shown to people noone could believe it was Manipur. They thought it was Vietnam or some other country," editor Combat Law, Harsha Dhobal says.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act is one of the most stringent laws put into force by Independent India in 1958.

Despite several protests there has been no effort by the government to repeal it.[source]

On Manorama's Second Death Anniversary

NDTV article on AFSPA The Armed Forces Special Power Act

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Human shield and Murder of IGP

Poor Fisher Men used as Human shield in Manipur........

The Imphal Free Press IMPHAL, Jan 2: Residents and meira paibi womenfolk of the Ningthoukhong area staged a sit-in demonstration today at Ningthoukhong bazar to protest against the using of villagers, including a local councillor, as human shields by the security forces during the recent operations in the Ningthoukhong Kha Moirangkhong Leikai on December 27 morning.

Charging that security forces commandeered several local boats during the operations, and that the local menfolk were forcibly used as oarsmen, the protestors say their agitation will continue until the government gives a firm assurance against this kind of thing happening again in the future. [More]

Posted at my othet Blog.

Assam Riffles Men Killed......

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 (Imphal):
Three Assam Rifles personnel were killed and five others injured in an ambush by Manipur insurgents at Longpi village in interior hill district of Tamenglong, according to official sources. [more]

But also.....There is Protest Againts protest IG's killing

To protest the killing of IGP T Thangthuam and his escort commander S. Khamkhanjam Paite in the December 31 attack at Oinam, a 24 hour State wide general strike has been called from midnight of January 6.

The decision to impose the general strike was taken during a joint meeting of the Kuki Students' Organisation, Zomi Students' Federation, Hmar Students' Association, Paite Students' Organisation and Zillai at the Kuki Inn today.[more]

When will the war end?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Growth of Assam Muslims

Some link, here

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Decision on withdrawal of AFSPA soon

...............says Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee

A decision to repeal the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) currently being applied across insurgent-hit North East India will be announced soon, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today.

"The recommendations of the high powered Review Committee have been discussed with the Home Minister and a decision would be taken by the Government soon," Mukherjee said on the sidelines of a Coast Guard investiture ceremony in the Capital.

The Review Committee had submitted its report to the Government six months ago. It was set up in wake of a widespread agitation in Manipur following the alleged rape and murder of a woman by Assam Army personnel in July 2004. [More]

We can only hope the decision is favorable. Much have been written about it, and what I add would only be repetition, but if indeed the centre wants to integrate the whole country, we better do away with such things as will only alienate us.

Shall we miss the gravy train???

Over the next five years, there would be 5 per cent reduction in tariff
rates. India like other countries would have a negative list for 950 tariff lines, Menon commented. Menon said the Nathula route would open by March 2006 while another 12 borders in the north-east were being developed for trade with Bangladesh and Myanmar respectively. The system would become more effective once Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) came into force. Indian exports to south east Asia grew from $1.4 billion in 1991 to over $8 billion in 2004-05. Menon said trade could rise to $15 billion by 2005 and to $30 billion by 2007. [more]

I Just hope there are more enterprising young people in the North east to ride this boom. We all knew that Burmese traders trade their Moreh goods for even bicycle parts from Manipur. So the options are endless and opportunities galore. And we can't cry for for what we don't have before we grab what we have. We must also realise that all the developed countries have developed through private enterprises and not by the government, and we keep crying that we are neglected. Visit Bihar or the interiors of Mainland India to see what negligence is all about. And for PSUs, it will be a very long post if I were to start on that lines. Even the best roads and infrastructures have been built by private enterprises. Lets stop the blame game and take it up in our hands. Only prosperity will bring back peace and the ecosystem that comes with peace and prosperity. We must make our region conducive for businesses and enterprises which at present is not. And those who are the cause for it could be same cause to make our business environment conducive. We must open doors, wherever we can. Imagine if powerful groups were to provide protection to Businesses from corruption, red tapes, pilferages and everthing that makes up an unfavorable business environment. Just wishful thinking though.....

I write regularly here.

First Time visitors, please visit
1. My Home, Manipur
2. People of Manipur

3. Women of Manipur
4. Ceremonies of Manipur

Friday, December 23, 2005

'Outsiders' stoking N-E fire: Patil

While claiming the overall security situation in the North-East has shown signs of improvement, Union home minister Shivraj Patil accepted Wednesday that outsiders were trying to stoke trouble and fights between tribes in the region seem to be on the increase.[more]

Vigilant paramilitary forces reduce militant activity in Northeast

A senior paramilitary official has said that militant attacks on the
highway connecting Tripura to the mainland has been checked considerably due to increased vigilance by the force.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is responsible for counter-insurgency operations in restive Tripura, bordering Bangladesh, where the outlawed All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) and the National liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) are fighting for a separate tribal
homeland. Militants often ambush vehicles and kill innocent people or kidnap passengers and drivers, who are later released in exchange of huge ransom. [more]

Thursday, December 22, 2005

1700 crores for The Nathula trade route between India and China

The Nathula trade route between India and China via Sikkim would require an investment of Rs 1,700 crore in roads, warehousing, banking, insurance, customs, information technology and allied sectors by 2010, according to Prof Mahendra Lama, head of the Nathula Trade Study Group (NTSG). [More]

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

CIA helping north east insurgents

"It’s not only the Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) agency which is aiding and abetting the North East India insurgents. Even the United States of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)," said Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. "ISI is still active in Bangladesh and continues to back North East India insurgents with the full support of the CIA," Sarkar said adding that he has communicated to the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on the CIA’s involvements - hand in glove with the Pakistani’s intelligence agency to "aid and abet" the North East militants outfits.[More]

There was some rumour about DEA wanting to establish relations with Manipur Insurgents to combat drug trafficking. Hope, it is the motive.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Assam Least Developed state in The NE

Assam is lagging behind all other states in the Northeast — ArunachalPradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura — in human development index. What is particularly unfair is the central government is making a habit of taking Assam for granted.... The alienation of Assam persists, the study warns. Assam stands at a dismal position in the Human Development Index (HDI), which is a holistic indicator of education, health and income. Its HDI rating of 0.348 places it second from the bottom in the northeast, points out the study, titled “Left Behind - A Case Study of Assam...[more]

And, Assam accounts for 50% of India's onshore production of Oil and Natural gas.[more]

Need I say more that the NE is neglected?

First Time visitors, please visit

1. My Home

2. People of Manipur

3. Women of Manipur

4. Ceremonies of Manipur

Monday, December 12, 2005

Today is Nupi Lal

Today is Nupi Lal. It is a state Holiday in Manipur.It means Women's War or A War fought by Women. I had written about it earlier in my Blog here.
Women have also played major roles in the politics of Manipur. Not that there
have been many many politicians, but women groups do have a say in many
matters.This can be dated back to 1931, when a very important event took
place called the Nupi Lan. Nupi Lan marked an important event in the history of Manipur. Nupi Lan means the women's war, Nupi meaning women and Lan meaning war, when women stood up in an uprising againts what we called chak tangba( inflation of food ie rice). The war or uprising started at the said Ema Keithel, when women protested against exports of Rice to Assam to feed the Brittish when Rice itself became scarce in Manipur. But since the British were paying, more local
prices shot up making itvery expensive in Manipur thereby causing a lot of
problems for the local populace. We rememeber the brave women who
fought in nupi lan with state holiday every december the 12th. More.........
It marked a very important event in the History of Manipur and on
empowerment of Manipuri Women. I don't know of any other war on a War or
uprising solely by women other than for a cause solely feminist[ eg. Bra Burning]. We have also heard of Women Warriors in Jhansi Ki Rani orJoan of Arc, But Nupi Lal, was uprising by women solely for a social cause. We call elderly Manipuri women by the loving word "Ema" meaning Mother and the uprising was led by most elderly women. Even today, women groups are very strong today in Manipur as everybody must recall the Manorama Incident[Read more], when some elderly women had protested in front of the military. Even today, an informal network of local Emas (motheras) roam the streets of manipur with improvised torches. These women are called Meira Paibis or torch bearers. Started out as an informal group to punish drunkards and other social evils, they are now a very strong force who even have a say in political matters. Read about Meira paibi here.

And I believe seeds of the empowerment of women in Manipur was sown during the Nupi Lal. Everybody could learn a lesson from this historic event that equal participation of sexes can only but uplift a society. Note that, Manipur is not a Matriarchal society and the Men are not lazybums and have a history of being fierce warriors. But women have been very effective in many an event. In Manipur, women don't beg or fight for their rights and respects, they earn it and the men are fiercely protective about their women and vice versa. Do link this post and let the world know.. Crossposted at my Other Blog.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Injustice to my Roots

Am I doing an Injustice to my roots by not writing anything here for a long time. i will write something nice over the weekend. How about the Indigenous Theatre of Manipur called Leela, Sumang Leela. Sumang for Courtyard and leela for theatre or drama, in the context of 'Prabhu ka Leela, or Yeh kya leela hein?" .

In the meantime read this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

New Visitors

Dear new visitors, Please start from the following links

1. My Home
2. People of Manipur
3. Women of Manipur
4. Ceremonies of Manipur

The Immediate next Post in on a very Romantic Tradtion of Manipur. Just Scroll Down.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Love is in the Air.

Ok Ok,
I take it that it was boring. I fully agree. Yes alright... the last post was boring. Henceforth, I shall not do copy paste jobs. Leaves no room for a personal touch.
And if you have come from a link I left some where in the web, PLEASE READ FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE or start here at Home at a faraway place.

Today, I will write about a very beautiful thing. Something that will make every teenage girl wish they were born in Manipur. As for Guys, they wouldn't mind shifting their base there, and if Manipur had some industries or IT companies like Hyderabad or Bangalore, we would have had major Influx crisis. I shall write about Love and not of love making, if there were love to be found, it is in Manipur.

In Manipur, it is considered quite unmanly if one were to go for a arranged marriage. Gossips go like,
"Oh!! he didn't get a girl friend so his parents are looking for a Guy". "Oh! that girl, how would she find guy, she is of bad character, ask anyone who studied in delhi during 1998-2001. So her parents are busy looking for a Bakra from some village. You know those obedient Village boys who are in the armed forces or software engineers in bangalore."
Even Doctors are not spared. So, Arranged marriage is not a very common culture, though nowadays many people have started the culture. Well there are obedient city boys as well, who were busy making their career in Bangalore, delhi, Mumbai, USA, UK. Its not uncommon these days to settle for a arramged marriage as well, but despite being an arranged marraige, there is a culture that still prevail.

Well my dear ladies and gentlemen of non-manipuri origin, I pity you, for you will never know How it is to Elope with your lover and how romantic it could be.
Yes, in Manipur, a couple elopes before they get married. Even if they are arranged, they are made to elope on a particular date. They usually elope to a close friend's house where the friend's parents take care of the girl who eloped( no they are not allowed to sleep together, though couples are known to take liberty before the parents come to know that they have just eloped). A messenger usually a close friend of the Groom to be is sent to the bride-to-be's house to inform of what happened. Next day, the guys' parents visit the girls home with a proposal that their boy had eloped their girl and to ask for her hand and match kundli's and fix dates etc etc. the girl returns to her house and then get married on the date fixed.

Sometimes, Hindi films do occur and girls parents get angry and threaten the guy's parents that they will charge with abduction case but those are extreme case like what happened to my Aunt since her brothers(read my father and his big brother) didn't approve of the guy, in which case the couples are separated but in extreme case the Groom's family marry them without the Bride's family. My poor Aunty, we did a remarry to the same guy of course after about 8 years. Sometimes the couple is too young and both parents agree to wait till they get older in which case, more often than not the couple re-elope till their parents give in. How so romantic.

So all the stories and movies in manipur revole around "elope" which is called nupi chenba in Manipur. A very beautiful tradition and a romantic way of announcing to both parents that they love each other, because in Manipur we usually don't talk marriage and BOY-GIRL with our parents, and a teenager don't invite someone of the opposite sex to his/her place for functions and parties. Well in some ELITE family of manipur it does happen, nowadays, but not in most. It just is not done, and unlike the notion of fellow Indians that Girls from Manipur are quite promiscous and wanton, well, meetei girls are not and are known to be very very moral though there might be exceptions as afterall we are humans and like what I mentioned in the begining "Oh! that girl, how would she find guy, she is of bad character ...." there always are some black sheeps. I even know some ;-) and as Men we never mind a few exceptions. And news travel fast in Manipur and everyone knows any girl who is wanton and are rarely excepted. So dear friends, Meetei girls are not easy picking, and the guys very dangerous. We take offense very easily if anything is talked about our Read my posts on Women empowerment. We highly respect Women. I won't comment on girls of other race. To each their own and I don't pass judgements. But please don't confuse Meetei girls with any other girls and please don't generalise. I am not saying other people are bad or good nor do I condone any character, but this blog is meant to educate people about Manipur.

Despite being from a Co-ed, I have never had a lady friend coming to my place for any function but it doesn't stop anyone from not falling in love. Everone in Manipur has to fall in love, and even if it is arranged, they are given about a years time to know each other and fall in love and then ELOPE. Love is everywhere, and people drop exams, runs way from college and what not all for love. All for love. Marraige I think should be such.
We have our own Heer Ranjha in Khamba-Thoibi, the story of which I might have plagiarised, but well, I will just post a summary on that myself. Copy-paste makes boring reads. the story of khamba-thoibi called "heights of Love" translated by N Tombi Singh I believe made me cry, and if you don't you have a heart of stone...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Manipur in Mahabharat

Thought of copy pasting these write-ups, then thought againts plagiarism and I said to myself, just link them up.

Here is an account of the origin of Manipur and About Mahabharat and Manipur. I personally have nothing much to comment on this as this is a something much debated about and without proper knowledge I didn't want to write. Well let me at least start

In the Mahabharata, Manipur ( 'Mani' -Jewel, 'Pur'- City or place ), the remote North-Eastern State of India - is mentioned as the meeting place of Arjuna, the third pandava and Chitrangada, the crown Princess of Manipur. Most orthodox Bishnupriya Manipuris and Meiteis believe that the name bear itself to the proof of the existence of Vedic civilization from the pre-historic time as the Jaimini Mahabharata mentions clearly 'Manipur', 'Bishnupur' etc. Claiming to be the Kshatriyas, they trace their ancestry with the Arjuna-Chitrangada-Babhrubahana episode of the epic Mahabharata. But there is reasonable doubt whether the present Manipur is that of the Mahabharata. Scholars have different opinions as well as views regarding the exact location of the Manipur mentioned in Mahabharata with the present state of North-East India.

The Arjuna and Chitrangada Story,
In the Mahabharata, and Dharani Sanghita, Manipur is mentioned as the meeting place of Arjuna, the third pandava and Chitrangada, the crown Princess of Manipur. Prachin Manipurer Itihas by Shri Mahendra kumar Singh States that this place, with a bay like Lake Logtak in the centre surrounded by hill -bounded plain land, was the kingdom of Chitra Bahana, a Gandharva king as par the epic Mahabharata. According to Mahabharata, his daughter Chitrangada( or Chitranggoda) attracted to Arjuna from hastinapura and got herself married to him. Babhrubahana is the son of Chitrangada, belonged to Kshatrya of Chandra Bangsa, ruled Manipur after Chitrabahana.
Read More about the origin of Manipur and of Arjuna in Manipur

Lai Haraoba

The Picture below is of a dance called the maibi dance during a Pre-Hindu era festival of Manipur called Lai Haraoba. The exact translation of this would Merriment of the Gods, or rather God's festival. Note that the Pre Hindu era cultures and Hinduism mixes perfectly well. One attribute to the perfectionsm of Manipuris. We tend to take the best of both worlds. Without embracing the ugly casteism and class discrimination of the Hindu religion, we have only taken the beauty of the Shradha and Love of hindusim and have perfected it without any Unreasonable baggages. I shall write more about the Pre-Hindu era celebrations after I learnt everythin about it. I will need a little research.

Image hosted by

The dress that the men are wearing is what I described in my article on dresses of Manipur.

To the right is a picture of Raas Leela,
another example of perfect art form.
Read About Raas Leela

Read more about the culture of Manipur

Please do take the pain to go through the previous posts. I have put in my heart into writing them, so You know about the people called Manipuris and a Place called Manipur, The land of Jewels.

Previous posts

Introductory post on Manipur
People of Manipur
Women of Manipur
Dresses of Manipur
Ceremonies of Manipur

My regular blog at Anthonysmirror

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ceremonies of Manipur

Manipur is a land of many things and when I think of all the many things that makes up a Manipuri, I can't help thinking about the Ceremonies that go on all year long. Ceremonies are a part and parcel of a Manipuri's life. I still remember the joys I had experienced as a child when all the relatives would come to our house for a never ending plethora of ceremonies... The first ceremony, along a Manipri's life cycle, is held on the fith day of a child's birth. It is called the Swasti Puja.

Swasti Puja: I don't know what it signifies, but it certainly is a very sweet way of welcoming a new born to thw world. It is like the first birthday of a child, where all friends and relatives comes to have a dekko at the child and offers the child a Daan. My mom still remembers the uncle, a good friend of father's who dropped a 50 rupee note on my swati day, and those days 50 bucks would at least buy 2000 bucks worth of things today. Of course I was his favorite nephew for asong as I was a Kid, and yes, the amount signifies how special a child is to the person. No, its doesn't mean a rich uncle will be more special, but a poor uncle going out of his way to offer a daan of 50 rupees then would mean a lot of things. Attaching money to love seems a little out of taste today, but it is a sweet tradition nonetheless, its a diffrent matter that one gets invited to a swasti pooja too ofetn and has to shell out 500 bucks each time. Social activists today are quite vocal against the monetary gifts. The guests of course are dined.

Next ceremony in one's Life Cycle is the chagumba( I don't know how to spell it), maybe Chaumba. It is the ceremony of feeding a child his/her first solid food. I believe, the Bengalis also have a similar tradition. Learnt about it when I read's Jhumpa Lahiri's Namesake. It was a striking similarity though, maybe the whole ceremony was a Bengali legacy, a sweet legacy nonetheless. The similarity was in the ceremonial tradition of letting the baby choose between pen, money, soil and other stuff which would theoretically decide where the future of the Child lie. But I believe it could be changed litle bit today, we could place a stethoscope, a laptop and the money. Today, one becomes either a doctor, computer engineer or an MBA anyway.

The next ceremony is called the Naa-hutpa, or ear pierching. Yes, we do have ear pierchings. I am talking about Men. So, when you see a Meetei Guy next time with a small hole in the earlobe, don't think he is cool or too fashion conscious. It is just a tradition thrust upon us when we cannot say yes or No. Of course, once the boy passes puberty and becomes conscious of his Manhood, the earrings are removed. I still have pictures with my earrings on, I have it back home so I can't post it now. This ceremony is conducted with much fanfare with Friends and relatives from all over and a grand feast to celebrate, we don't accept gifts though an over enthusiastic uncle or aunt slips a 100 rupee note into the kids hand much to his surprise, a pleasant surprise I presume. oh, there has to be a grand feast on every occasion. Will save grand feast, we call it Utsav for the last. And the child's head is clean shaven and goes through a ritual of cleansing. A very beautiful sight.

Next to Nahutpa would be the Lagun thangba or lagun ceremony. Every Manipuri Hindu wears the Lagun or the holy thread. Of course we keep it hidden, we consider it uncool to be to religious. We wear it or the customery one month after the ceremony and then keep it inside our suitcases. Manipuri Brahmins wear it all their lives. Lagun cremony is done anytime after a Male child reaches the age of 15. I had mine when I was 17, where I had to act as if I was going away as a brahmachari and my mom and her friedns and my aunts would act like they will stop me from going. The boy's head will be again clean shaven. Oh, so my head have been shaved clean at least twice and have undergo the same everytime a family member expires. So, the boy's head will be shaven clean and dones safrone dhoti and upper cloth. I went around like a begging monk, and they would fill my jhola with rice, pulses, money gold and silver. I will practice brahmachrihood for 7 days after wich I would be certified to get married.

Next ceremony would be marriage, there might be a House Warming ceremony called the Yum Sangaba, if the person ever builds a House(we still dont have matchbox house system yet) and the ceremonial cycle completes after one expires on the fourtheenth day of one's expiry when we perform the shrad. It doesn't stop there. For one whole year, we have a grand feast every month and then every death anniversary afterwards. The ceremony never ends in The land of jewels.... and add to it the festivals that come in between.

PS: By the way yesterday was Ningol Chakouba. While bhaidhooj was celebrated in western part of India. Ningol Chakouba could be called the most Important festival in Manipur. It is most like raksha bandhan, but only for the Married Women- Ningol, chakouba mean an invitation to a feast. On this day, married women come to their parental abode for a fun filled day of a grand feast and gifts from the parents and brothers. It is a festival every Manipuri keeps close to the heart, the day starting with cleaning of varieties of fishes and fish delicacies of all kinds cooked for the Ningols. I miss ningol Chakouba when all my aunts would come, and all the delicacies. Especially, the fresh water fish cooked lie kheema.... shall post the recipe at anthonyskitchen soon ..
Do read about the people fo manipur from previous posts

There seem to be an avian scare in manipur.
Fearing a possible outbreak of Bird flu in Manipur following the death of a
red legged falcon at Barak in Tamenglong on November 1, the administration has
launched a campaign to make people aware of the deadly disease.
''There is
every possibility of the deadly avian influenza reaching the eastern region of
India since birds are migratory in nature,'' veterinary officials here

Read more

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

People of Manipur-III

More on people of Manipur.
How we Dress? Traditionally.

Meetei Women have quite a beautiful array of dresses, some of which are sought after bypeople who have seen them. I can't but have a sense of pride, and a grin when I see that a traditional Manipuri dress is worn by a newscaster or some TV personality. Moirang Phi is one type of dress I can remember, but I don't know the names of the others.It is worn as a saree by any Indians who have had the good fortune of having come across the same, during those North Eastern festivals or at the Delhi haat. Maybe a generous Friend.This hand woven, and hand crafted clothes doesn't come too cheap either. I have borrowed some of it from kangla Online. This are not everything or the best that we have but the best that these pretty Meetei Girls could manage at Pune where they were students.

Traditionally, the ladies wear a wrap around, not very much unlike a Sarong, legacy of out asian lineage or maybe the invasions. The wrap arounds are called Phanek. These are still Hand woven I believe. There are plain phanek that one wear casually, and then there are Phanek that are worn when we "go out", called Mayek Naibi. Whereas the plain ones, are as the name suggest of plain colours like Red, gren, Blue, maroon etc, the Mayek Naibi are with Horizontal stripes. But there are no other design, floral or otherwise on the main body of the phanek. But there is a strip or edge about 3 inches wide which carries beautiful design.

The Phanek is usually worn with a blouse and a Upper cloth which is worn like a mini saree today. But traditionally, I believe it was worn without the blouse, the Phanek worn above the breast like a cocktail dress, uper body covered with the same Uppercloth folded across the shoulder like in the picture. It is the upper cloth which is much in demand by Ladies elsewhere, who had the good fortune of having set her eyes on it. I have met ladies who had inquired about the manipuri saree with the mandir edge, more than once too often( mandir or temble edge is a popular design). Longer version of this cloth could be worn as a saree, much like Manipuri ladies cut sarees into half to wear with the Phanek. Phanek is also a beautiful dress, but its not much liked to be worn by non-manipuri, though admired. But then its maybe because, it would be a paradigm shift in terms of dressing. The phanek is not like any dress worn by the mainland Indians. But I have seen some Punjabee or Bengali Lady guests carrying if off beautifully during functions held in manipur. A Mayek Naibi and a Moirang Phi makes quite a soothing sight.

Men are not quite lucky, we have to make do with The normal trouser shirt or a jeans and Tee. The Tuxedo Imperialism. But of course it is not that we don't have traditional Dress. But truely traditional dress are only to be seen during our traditional Festivals where people dress up for the gods, girls in the same Mayek naibi and Resam (velvette) blouse, Men also with Velvete blouse and a type of Loin cloth with poted designs like a leopard, worn like a dhoti. But then, this cloths are never worn outside this festivals and Mythological Dramas. The more common traditional dress, worn during functions, weddings, Shradh ceremonies and other celbrations would be white Dhoti Kurta. yes, it is still very common even today. One doesn't got to a Wedding or a Shradh ceremony without the Dhoti Kurta, even today. I don't know where we picked up the tradition but, a groom wears a turban as well on his wedding he bride of course is attired in the most uncommon of dress called a Poloi. It is a dress that is has to be sewn unto the body of the bride. A cylindrical ensemble, decorated with beads and small knick knacks and the bride can't help looking like a doll, a very pretty doll indeed. The same dress is worn for the Ras Leela, the famous manipuri dance. I shall describe the Manipuri Wedding in another post.

This led me to another story. I just can't stop when I start writing if it is a topic close to my heart. Writing about the wedding dress make me remember my Lagun ceremony, and I realised that Ceremonies of manipur would make a very long post. Or, maybe I shall write some more. Next topic. Uploading it just. I had written it already.

Don't forget to read about people of Manipur-I and People of Manipur-II from previous posts.

My regular Post at Anthonysmirror

The raas Leela Picture have been borrowed from BobbyMaisnam
The wedding picture from Sanalaibak and the Women in traditional from Kanglaonline
Read more about Ras Leela

Friday, October 28, 2005

The people of Manipur-II

I will make this episode short.
Another interesting aspect of manipur is that, the women are more empowered than most other races. But unlike the confusion and misconception by some, manipur society is not a matriarchal one, unlike the Khasis of Meghalaya. But, Yes It is true that Women takes active part in Social and moral policing and, of course Business. When I say Business, it is the small trade of mini retailing like vegetable and fish vending and traditional cloths. They operate in markets commonly known as keithel. A women dominated keithel is called Ema keithel (Also called Khwairamband Bazaar around 1580), Ema for mother since the trade is done my mostly elder Women. The vegetable and Rice mandi is also controlled by women in a loosely held system. Bigger business is, of course, mostly in the hands of marwari traders. In fact Ema-keithel is petty famous, perhaps a one of its kind and there have been write ups and photo documentaries on the same. Gold and Jewel trade is also most done by women.

Image hosted by Image hosted by

Women have also played major roles in the politics of Manipur. Not that there have been many many politicians, but women groups do have a say in many matters. This can be dated back to 1931, when a very important event took place called the Nupi Lan. Nupi Lan marked an important event in the history of Manipur. Nupi Lan means the women's war, Nupi meaning women and Lan meaning war, when women stood up in an uprising againts what we called chak tangba( inflation of food ie rice). The war or uprising started at the said Ema Keithel, when women protested against exports of Rice to Assam to feed the Brittish when Rice itself became scarce in Manipur. But since the brittish were paying, more local prices shot up making it very expensive in Manipur thereby causing a lot of problems for the local populace. Read more. We rememeber the brave women who fought in nupi lan with state holiday every december the 12th.

Women ever since have learnt the power of group effort( I didn't say unions, since they are anything but Left) and have taken up many social causes, the latest being the Manorama case.
Women groups called the Meira Paibi's or torch bearers are women groups whose only common identity being the torce, the kind that was seen in old hindi movies and caves. A short wooden staff with fire burning at the tip. Meira paibi's roam the streets of manipur late at night to keep Vigil against unlawfull activities. Started as a group to punish errant husbands and sons who took to drinking and rowdism late at night, they have evolved to a political force of sorts with a say in everthing.

Even today, many women are doing quite well in their respective fields. In my batch, the state topper in High School was a Girl. Yet there are instances of exploitation, domestic violence, etc but they are minor instances compared to the other parts of India.

Read more about Manipuri Women

Read about Meira Paibis and Thokchom Ramani

My regular Blog at Anthonysmirror

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The people of manipur

More about Manipur,

A small Disclaimer: “My posts will be devoid of facts and figures. I have been away from home quite some time, and so I shall rely more on my memory. My memory is really bad in numbers, so I shall prefix all the data with the Imfamous “About”. I usually write the posts from on my laptop at Home and there have been some problems with the net connection, so I can’t google either, except from office where I post the articles. I don’t want to rely much on google either. Not many facts about Manipur are available on the Net and I can’t be sure how genuine some might be. But I will not resort to fiction.”

I shall take up each topic separately, like the story behind The Polo, About Indian Flag, the Problems that we faced, about our culture etc etc.
Today let me share with you some Facts, more about the people there.
I believe, people are more interested in the beauties of the Place, simply put the tourism quotient. Whenever I say I am from Manipur, the second most popular question is, “I heard that Manipur is very beautiful, full of Greenery?”. The most popular being, what our currency is. Few questions come about the people that reside there. Everybody seems to be an expert already on the people of Manipur. For one, we eat snakes and rats. And, our women folk are very promiscuous. A pre-conceived notion, but a fact nevertheless.

I am to blame but I haven’t read the whole of Manipuri History. I recently got a mail, that a Book about the ancestors of Manipur, translated from our archaic language and script written originally on Manipuri equivalent of scrolls is now available with some publishers. It was sent to me on a Manipuri e-group. I have to get hold of one. But I shall tell you the little that I know as of today.

Like in my previous posts, Where I said that we are a little India with our own set of prejudices, class discriminations and even dowry system however insignificant, Manipur is inhabited by different ethnic groups. I, for one, don’t believe in ethnicity. I don’t even believe in religion, I publicly announce so. I am a Beef eating, staunch Threaded Hindu named Anthony. I truly believe in one world, a truly free market. But the fact is that Manipur also has different Ethnic groups. I will write mostly about what I know best. About my ethnicity. About the Meeteis.
Not because the others are insignificant, but I would start writing more truths which would ruffle a few feathers, and we are living in sensitive times now. But I love them all, I will try my best so that everybody lives in Peace. I am a staunch supporter of living together in Peace. I hate the British empire who Divided India, and who divided Palestine. It is the cause of all the hate brewing in the world today. America came in much later. It was British diplomacy all along. Well I am off track now.

Manipur, as it is, is inhabited by the Hill tribes and plains men. The Plains Men or the Valley Men are called the Meeteis. The Meeteis , but for a few sects are in the general category unlike some notions that all chinkies have Scheduled caste or Scheduled Tribe reservations. I am not even an OBC. It amused me when my placement officer called me in on day and told me to apply to HPCL because they were offering very good Package and they had reservations for SC/STs. Even she had assumed without checking out if I attended my B school with a reservation and without checking out my ranking. So the plains people or Meeties makes up most of Manipur. Could be more than 80% of the native population ( I am not including Bangladeshis and Nepalis and non-manipuri Indians), here 80% is a guess. The rest is made of a number of tribal brothers and sisters. We have been living together with harmony for hundreds of years, but politics have now reached out its poisonous fangs to the Harmony.

So what are the Meeteis, Who are they? Meeteis, as described by a British writer “are particularly a handsome race. Hardly an obese men are to be found( which of course is not true anymore). The Meeteis have beautiful features. The Meetei Women have very beautiful hair”. Some British Anthropologist have chronicled about the Meeteis very pleasantly. Meeteis are good in numbers( unlike me), very sincere, and take friendship and honour very seriously, even today. It won’t be uncommon to see a Meetei picking up a fight against injustice, something as trivial as eve teasing. Meeteis take their manhood also very seriously. Honour matter much to them. Maybe a legacy from our oriental ancestors, read hara kiri.

It would also be surprising to know that the Meeteis, follow Hindusism. A particularly strict sect of Hinduism called the Vaisnavism. It was the sect of hindu made popular by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. I don’t remember the exact dates, interested reader may google for it, but it was around the 16th century that
Hinduism spread in Manipur after a Hindu missionary ( yes Hindu also had Missionaries, and I studied in a mission run by Hindus) known, not in a very good light, as Shanti Das Goshain( Goshain was what w could pronounce Goswami as, I believe). The Meeteis embraced Hindusim because it was a very pure religion, and it is often said that Vaishnavism reached its peak in Manipur. When, a Meetei starts something, it is said that we do it till perfection. What made ShantiDas a Vilain was because he poisoned the ears of the then King, Maharaj GaribNiwas, to burn all the ancient scriptures of Manipur. The Scrolls that I mentioned earlier. Only a few could be saved and salvaged. It was Gloom times for Manipur when he burned down the scriptures. We still have some that were Hidden though. We call it the “Puran mei Thaba” Puran = the scriptures, mei thaba means to burn. But since then, the Meeteis have followed Hinduism with a fervor unmatched by any sect. We celebrate the Holi for 5 days with complete abandon, we celebrate the Rath yatra on the lines of Puri, for 10 days and very seriously full of festive and grand feast both during the day and night for 10 days. Each family takes turn like a Rota, to take care of the feast for the 10 days. It is celebrated in the local Brahmin Family and there is a Brahmin family in every locality of 15-20 families. Some families jointly take the turn to offer the feast and the Puja for the day. It is considered that Offering a crown for the Jaganath gets you Assured Blessings, it is just a matter of pride and pretige I believe. My mother offers most years. And all other Hindu festivals, just name it and we celebrate it right from Govardhan puja, Diwali, Durga Puja, Shivratri, Krisna Janma, Saraswati Puja, Viswakarma Puja and what not.
Add to it, the festivals from the pre-hindu era. The Lai Haraoba( the Festival of the Gods) , Cheraoba( the Manipri new year), Ningol Chakouba( Manipur raksha bandhan equivalent where the married sisters come home to a day of festivity and feast and brothers showering them Gifts), Emoinu. Who said India was a Land of festivals. Manipur beats the rests of India in it. Didn’t I mention time and again that Manipur is a miniature India. And that we like excess of everything.

But since the Manipuri version of Hindu came from west Bengal, they gifted us with another legacy that I am thankful to the bongs for. The love for Fish. Manipuri Hindus are staunch Hindus ion that we can’t carry chicken or mutton into the house in general and kitchen in particular, even today. But we can’t do without Fish. Of course to appease the Gods, we keep Thursdays as pure veg ( but that’s the day when youngsters cook chicken on their own in the backyard). Some Meeteis also after attaining particular age devote themselves to god and stop eating fish altogether. But we love Fish. I can’t do without fish. Of course, youngsters nowdays living away from home, and most of us live away from home for studies or for work so most of us eat non-veg Food except for a few girls. Well next episode soon. More about the people.

Keep coming.

Don't forget to read manipur- Part-I

And Visit my regular Blog at Anthonysmirror
Privacy Policy