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Manipur (/ˈmʌnɪpʊər/ (About this soundlisten)) is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital.[6] It is bounded by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Myanmar (Sagaing Region and Chin State) lies to its east. The state covers an area of 22,327 square kilometres (8,621 sq mi) and has a population of almost 3 million, including the Meitei, who are the majority group in the state, the Pangals or the Pangans (Manipuri Muslims), Naga tribes, Kuki/Zo tribes and other communities, who speak a variety of Sino-Tibetan languages. Manipur has been at the crossroads of Asian economic and cultural exchange for more than 2,500 years.[7] It has long connected the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia, China (or East Asia), Siberia, Micronesia and Polynesia, enabling migration of people, cultures, and religions.[8][9]

Manipur
Lohtak Lake, around 30 km from the capital Imphal
Lohtak Lake, around 30 km from the capital Imphal
Manipur, a state of India
Country India
Formation21 January 1972
CapitalImphal
Districts16
Government
 • GovernorNajma Heptulla[1]
 • Chief MinisterN. Biren Singh (BJP)[2]
 • LegislatureUnicameral (60 seats)
 • Parliamentary constituencyRajya Sabha 1
Lok Sabha 2
 • High CourtManipur High Court
Area
 • Total22,327 km2 (8,621 sq mi)
Area rank24th
Population
 (2011[3])
 • Total2,855,794
 • Rank24th
 • Density130/km2 (330/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 codeIN-MN
HDIDecrease 0.695 medium
HDI rank15th (2017)
Literacy79.85% (16th)
Official languagesMeitei (Manipuri)[4][5]
Websitewww.manipur.gov.in
It elevated from the status of Union-Territories by the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act 1971
Symbols
EmblemKangla Sha
LanguageMeitei
MammalSangai (Rucervus eldii eldii)
BirdNongin (Syrmaticus humiae)
FlowerShirui lily (Lilium mackliniae)
TreeUningthou (Phoebe hainesiana)

During the days of the British Indian Empire, the Kingdom of Manipur was one of the princely states.[10] Between 1917 and 1939, some people of Manipur pressed the princely rulers for democracy. By the late 1930s, the princely state of Manipur negotiated with the British administration its preference to continue to be part of the Indian Empire, rather than part of Burma, which was being separated from India. These negotiations were cut short with the outbreak of World War II in 1939. On 11 August 1947, Maharaja Budhachandra signed an Instrument of Accession, joining India.[11][12] Later, on 21 September 1949, he signed a Merger Agreement, merging the kingdom into India, which led to its becoming a Part C State.[13][14] This merger was later disputed by groups in Manipur, as having been completed without consensus and under duress.[15] The dispute and differing visions for the future has resulted in a 50-year insurgency in the state for independence from India, as well as in repeated episodes of violence among ethnic groups in the state.[16] From 2009 through 2018, the conflict was responsible for the violent deaths of over 1000 people.[17]

The Meitei ethnic group[18] represents around 53% of the population of Manipur state, followed by various Naga tribes at 24% and various Kuki-Zo tribes at 16%.[19] The main language of the state is Meiteilon (also known as Manipuri). Tribals constitutes about 41% of the state population(according to 2011 census)[19] and are distinguished by dialects and cultures that are often village-based. Manipur's ethnic groups practice a variety of religions.[20] According to 2011 census, Hinduism is the major religion in the state, closely followed by Christianity. Other religions include Islam, Sanamahism, Judaism etc.[20][21]

Manipur has primarily an agrarian economy, with significant hydroelectric power generation potential. It is connected to other areas by daily flights through Imphal airport, the second largest in northeastern India.[22] Manipur is home to many sports and the origin of Manipuri dance,[23] and is credited with introducing polo to Europeans.[24]

Alternate names

Manipur is mentioned in historic texts as Kangleipak (ꯀꯪꯂꯩꯄꯛ) or Meeteileipak[25] Sanamahi Laikan wrote that officials during the reign of Meidingu Pamheiba in the eighteenth century adopted Manipur's new name.

According to Sakok Lamlen, the area had different names in its history. During the Hayachak period, it was known as Mayai Koiren poirei namthak saronpung or Tilli Koktong Ahanba; in the Khunungchak period, it was Meera Pongthoklam. During the Langbachak era, it became Tilli Koktong Leikoiren, and finally was known as Muwapali in the Konnachak epoch.[26][page needed]

Neighbouring cultures each 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 British discarded the name Meckley. Later on, the work Dharani Samhita (1825–34) popularised the Sanskrit legends of the origin of Manipur's name.[27]

The term Kanglei, meaning "of Manipur/Kangleipak", is used to refer to items associated with the state where the term Manipuri is a recently given name.

Examples using the term "Kanglei" Translation
Kanglei of Kangleipak/Manipur
Kangleicha People of Kangleipak/Manipur
Kanglei foods Foods of Kangleipak/Manipur
Kanglei style Style of Kangleipak/Manipur

History

 
The Kangla Sha, the state emblem

The history of Manipur Meities is chronicled in Puyas or Puwaris (stories about our forefathers), namely, the Ninghthou Kangbalon, Cheitharol Kumbaba, Ningthourol Lambuba, Poireiton Khunthokpa, Panthoibi Khongkul, etc. in the archaic Meitei script, which is comparable to the Thai script. The historical accounts presented here were recordings from the eyes and the judgment of the Meitei Kings and Maichous (Meitei scholars).  Hill tribes have their own folk tales, myths, and legends.  Manipur was known by different names at various periods in its history, such as, Tilli-Koktong, Poirei-Lam, Sanna-Leipak, Mitei-Leipak, Meitrabak or Manipur (present day). Its capital was Kangla, Yumphal or Imphal (present day).  Its people were known by various names, such as Mi-tei, Poirei-Mitei, Meetei, Maitei or Meitei.  The Puwaris, Ninghthou Kangbalon, Ningthourol Lambuba, Cheitharol Kumbaba, Poireiton Khunthokpa, recorded the events  of each King who ruled Manipur in a span of more than 3500 years until 1955 AD (a total of more than 108 kings). Ningthou Kangba (15th century BC) is regarded as the first and foremost king of Manipur.  There were times when the country was in turmoil without rulers and long historical gaps in between 1129 BC - 44 BC. In 1891 AD, after the defeat of the Meiteis by the British in the Anglo-Manipuri war of Khongjom, the sovereignty of Manipur which it had maintained for more than three millenniums, was lost. In 1926, it became a part of Pakokku Hill Tracts Districts of British Burma until 4 January 1947. It regained its freedom on 14 August 1947 AD. On 15 October 1949, Manipur was unified with India.[28]

Medieval

By the medieval period, marriage alliances between royal families of the Manipur kingdom, Ahom (Assam) and Burma had become common.[28] Medieval era Manipur manuscripts discovered in the 20th century, particularly the Puya, provide evidence that Hindus from the Indian subcontinent were married to Manipur royalty at least by the 14th century. In centuries thereafter, royal spouses came also from what is now modern Assam, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh along with ancient Dravidian kingdoms, and other regions.[29] Another manuscript suggests that Muslims arrived in Manipur in the 17th century, from what is now Bangladesh, during the reign of Meidingu Khagemba.[29] The socio-political turmoil and wars, particularly the persistent and devastating Manipur-Burma wars, affected the cultural and religious demography of Manipur.[30]

Imperial period

In 1824, the ruler of Manipur entered into a subsidiary alliance with the British Empire in the Indian subcontinent, which became responsible for Manipur's external defence. The British recognised that the state remained internally self-governing, as a princely state.[31] During World War II, Manipur was the scene of many fierce battles between Japanese invaders and British Indian forces. The Japanese were beaten back before they could enter Imphal, which was one of the turning points of the overall war in South Asia.

Modern history

After the war, British India moved towards independence, and the princely states which had existed alongside it became responsible for their own external affairs and defence, unless they joined the new India or the new Pakistan. The Manipur State Constitution Act of 1947 established a democratic form of government, with the Maharaja continuing as the head of state.[32] Faced with Burma's ambitions to take over the state, in 1949, Maharaja Bodhchandra went to Shillong, where he signed an instrument of accession to merge the kingdom into the Union of India instead. Thereafter, the legislative assembly was dissolved, and in October 1949 Manipur became part of India.[33] It was made a Union Territory in 1956.[34] and a fully-fledged State in 1972.[35]

 
Kangla Gate, the west entrance to the Kangla Fort

Manipur has had a long record of insurgency and inter-ethnic violence.[36][37] 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 from 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.[16]

From 1980–2004, the Indian government referred to Manipur as a disturbed area. This term (designated by the Ministry of Home Affairs or a state governor) refers to a territory where extraordinary laws under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act can be used. The laws allow the military to treat private and public spaces, in the same manner, detain individuals up to 24 hours with unlimited renewals, to perform warrantless searches, and to shoot and kill individuals that break laws, carry weapons, or gather in groups larger than four as well as giving legal immunity to the military.[38] 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 forced disappearances. Its continued application has led to numerous protests, notably the longstanding hunger strike by Irom Sharmila Chanu.[39][40]

In 2004, the government lifted the disturbed status after a violent attack on a local woman. The rape of a manipuri woman, Thangjam Manorama Devi, by members of the Assam Rifles paramilitary had led to wide protests including a nude protest by the Meira Paibis women association.[41]

Geography

 
Loktak Lake, the largest lake in the state.

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 22,327 square kilometres (8,621 sq mi). 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 (2,590 ft) above sea level.[42] The slope of the valley is from north to south. The mountain ranges create a moderated climate, preventing the cold winds from the north from reaching the valley and barring cyclonic storms.

The state is bordered by the Indian states of Nagaland to its north, Mizoram to its south, Assam to its west, and shares an international border with Myanmar to its east.

 
A tree amid Manipur hills.

The state has four major river basins: 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.[43] The 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.[44] (By comparison, India receives 400 Mham (million hectare meters) of rain annually.[45])

The Barak River, the largest of Manipur, originates in the Manipur Hills and is joined by tributaries, such as the Irang, Maku, and Tuivai. After its junction with the Tuivai, the Barak River turns north, 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.[citation needed]

Almost all the rivers in the valley area are in the mature stage and therefore deposit their sediment load in the Loktak lake.[42] The rivers draining the Manipur Hills are comparatively young, due to the hilly terrain through which they flow. These rivers are corrosive 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.[citation needed]

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 landforms. These two areas are distinct in physical features and are conspicuous in flora and fauna. The valley region has 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. Tempü (Esü) peak along the border with Nagaland.

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 varied. On the plains, especially flood plains and deltas, the soil is quite thick. The topsoil 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.[46]

Flora

 
Flowers carpeting the foothills

Natural vegetation occupies an area of about 14,365 square kilometres (5,546 sq mi), nearly 64% of the total geographical area of the state,[citation needed] and consists of short and tall grasses, reeds and bamboos, and trees. Broadly, there are four types of forests: Tropical Semi-evergreen, Dry Temperate Forest, Sub-Tropical Pine, and Tropical Moist Deciduous.[citation needed]

There are forests of teak, pine, oak, uningthou, leihao, bamboo, and cane. Rubber, tea, coffee, orange, and cardamom are grown in hill areas. Rice is a staple food for Manipuris.

Climate

 
The Dzukou Valley lying on the border of Manipur and Nagaland has a temperate climate.

The climate of Manipur is largely influenced by the topography of this hilly region. Lying 790 meters above sea level, Manipur is wedged among hills on all sides. This northeastern corner of India enjoys a generally amiable climate, though the winters can be chilly. The maximum temperature in the summer months is 32 °C (90 °F). The coldest month is January, and the warmest July.

The state is drenched in rains from May until mid-October. It receives an average annual rainfall of 1,467.5 millimetres (57.78 in). Rain distribution varies from 933 millimetres (36.7 in) in Imphal to 2,593 millimetres (102.1 in) in Tamenglong. The precipitation ranges from light drizzle to heavy downpour. The normal rainfall of Manipur enriches the soil and helps in agriculture 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. The climate is salubrious with approximate average annual rainfall varying from 933 millimetres (36.7 in) at Imphal to 2,593 millimetres (102.1 in) at Tamenglong.

Demographics

Population


Manipur has a population of 2,855,794 as per 2011 census.[47] Of this total, 57.2% live in the valley districts and the remaining 42.8% in the hill districts. The hills are inhabited mainly by the Nagas, and Kukis, and smaller tribal communities and the valley (plains) mainly by the Meiteis, Manipuri Brahmins (Bamons) and Pangal (Manipuri Muslims). Bishnupriya Manipuri, Naga and Kuki settlements are also found in the valley region, though less in numbers.

The distribution of area, population and density, and literacy rate as per the 2001 Census provisional figures are as below:[citation needed]

Demographics of Manipur (2011)
Total Population 2,855,794
Male Population 1,438,586
Female Population 1,417,208
Rural Population 1,736,236
Urban Population 834,154
Child Sex Ratio 936 female to 1000 male
Density (per km2) 115
Literacy 1,768,181 (85.4%)
Towns 33

People

The Meitei[18] (synonymous to Manipuri) constitute the majority of the state's population. In 1901, the Meitei were recorded as the main ethnicity of Manipur.[48]

Nagas and Kuki/Zo are the major tribe conglomerates. The Nagas in Manipur are further sub-divided into sub-tribes like Anāl, Liangmai, Mao, Maram, Maring, Poumai, Rongmei, Tangkhul, Zeme, etc.[49][50][51]

Languages

The official languages are Meitei language and English.

The term Meitei includes Sanamahis, Meitei Christians, Hindus, Meitei-Pangals and Manipuri Brahmins (locally called "Meetei Bamons"). The Meitei language (or Manipuri) is the lingua franca in Manipur and is one of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Manipur has a diverse group of ethnic groups speaking different languages and dialects, practising Hinduism, Christianity, Sanamahism, Buddhism, Islam and other folk religions.[20]

The languages spoken in Manipur(2011 census) are Meitei (1,522,132), Thadou (223,779), Tangkhul (183,509), Poula (135,349), Kabui (Ruanglat and Inpui) (109,611), Mao (89,011), Nepali (63,756), Paite (55,031), Hmar (49,081), Lianglad (45,546), Vaiphei (39,902), Kuki (37,805), Maram (32,098), Hindi (31,703), Bengali (30,611), Anal (26,508), Zou (25,841), Maring (25,657), Zeme (18,795), Kom (14,528), Gangte (15,274), Chiru (8,475), Khezha (6,977), Mizo (6,500), ), Zeliang (2,727), Assamese (2,453), Monsang (2,381), Dogri (1,853), Tamil (1,657), Marathi (1,583), Malayalam (1,519), Punjabi (1,370), Khasi language (670), Others (37,636).[52]

Religion

Religion in Manipur (2011)[20]

  Hinduism (41.39%)
  Christianity (41.29%)
  Islam (8.40%)
  Sanamahism (7.78%)
  Buddhism (0.25%)
  Heraka (0.23%)
  Judaism (0.07%)
  Sikhism (0.05%)
  Jainism (0.06%)
  Not religious (0.38%)

Hinduism

The Meitei people are a majority in the state of Manipur. According to the 2011 Census of India, about 41.39% of the Manipuri people practice Hinduism, and 41.29% Christianity. A large minority of the Meitei practices Sanamahism. The Hindu population is heavily concentrated in the Manipur valley, among the Meitei people. The districts of Bishnupur, Thoubal, Imphal East, and Imphal West all have Hindu majorities, averaging 67.62% (range 62.27–74.81%) according to the 2011 census data.[53]

Christianity

 
St. Joseph's Cathedral at Imphal

Christianity is the religion of 41.29% of the people in the state. It was brought by missionaries to Manipur in the 19th century. In the 20th century, a few Christian schools were established, which introduced Western-type education. Catholic schools such as Little Flower School in Imphal, Don Bosco High School in Imphal, St. Joseph's Convent, and Nirmalabas High School continue to operate in Manipur. A majority of the population in the Hill districts are Christian.[53]

Meiteism and Sanamahi

 
Sanamahi temple at Kangla

Folk religions are practised by the Meitei people. These religions have a long history in Manipur. Sanamahism is the ancient indigenous animistic religion.[54] Sanamahi worship is concentrated around the Sun God/Sanamahi. The early Meitei worshiped a Supreme deity, Lainingthou Soralel, and followed their ancestors. Their ancestor worship and animism was based on Umang Lai – ethnic governing deities worshiped in sacred groves. Some of the traditional deities (Lais) whom Meiteis worship are Atiya Sidaba, Pakhangba, Sanamahi, Leimaren, Oknarel, Thangnarel, Panganba, Thangjing, Marjing, Wangbaren, and Koubru. Out of the 233,767 people who opted for the "Other religion" option, 222,315 were Sanamahism, 6,444 were Heraka, 2,032 were Jewish and 1,180 were from other tribal religions such as Tingkao Ragwang Chapriak.

Islam

Manipuri Muslims, known locally as Meitei Pangal, constitute about 8.3% of the state population as per 2011 census. Sufi saint, Shaikh Shah Jalal d-Dīn al-Mujarrad al-Turk al Naqshbandi, came to Sylhet,[citation needed] and Azan Fakir Baghdadi arrived in 1690 AD in Assam.[citation needed] They influenced Manipuri Muslims. They belong to the Sunni group of Hanafi school of thought and there are Arab, Bangladesh, Turani, Bengali and Mughal or Chaghtai Turk sections among Manipuri Muslims.[55]

The literacy rate among Muslims is 58.6 percent (male 75 percent and female 41.6 percent) below the state's average of 70.5 percent (male 80.3 percent and female 60.5 percent). In 1995, out of 135,000 Muslims, 5,704 had matriculated from secondary school. There was a total of 1,822 who had graduated in addition to 86 technical and professional graduates. There were 51 Class I Muslim officers including three women, 101 Class II officers and 1,270 and 1,663 employees belonging to Class III and IV categories respectively.[56]

Government

The government of Manipur is a collective assembly of 60 elected members, of which 19 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and 1 for Scheduled Castes.[57] The state sends two representatives to the Lok Sabha of the Parliament of India. The state sends one representative to the Rajya Sabha. The legislature of the state is Unicameral.[58] Representatives are elected for a five-year term to the state assembly and India'a parliament through voting, a process overseen by the offices of the Election Commission of India.[59]

The state has one autonomous council.

Security and insurgency

The violence in Manipur extends beyond the conflict between Indian security forces and insurgent armed groups. There is violence between the Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis, and other tribal groups.[16] Splinter groups have arisen within some of the armed groups, and disagreement between them is rife. Other than the UNLF, PLA, and PREPAK, Manipuri insurgent groups include the Revolutionary Peoples Front (RPF), Manipur Liberation Front Army (MLFA), Kanglei Yawol Kanba Lup (KYKL), Revolutionary Joint Committee (RJC), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), Peoples United Liberation Front (PULF), Manipur Naga People Front (MNPF), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-I/M), United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF), 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).[60][16]

The Meitei insurgent groups seek independence from India. 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 organisations: the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United Peoples Forum.[61] The Nagas wish to annex 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 have been many tensions between the tribes and numerous clashes between Naga and Kukis, Meiteis and Muslims.[16]

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).[17] From 2010 onward, about 25 civilians have died in militant-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 in 2012. Different groups have claimed responsibility for the explosions, some claiming they were targeting competing militant groups, others claiming their targets were state and central government officials.[62] As a point of comparison, the average annual global rate of violent death between 2004 and 2009 was 7.9 per 100,000 people.[63]

The CM Biren Singh used the National Security Act on a journalist who criticized him by calling him as 'puppet'. NSA is meant to be used when there is grave danger to society not to stifle dissent. These acts further cement isolation and insurgency among locals.[64]

Economy

 
Bamboo is common in Manipur, and an important contributor to its economy as well as cuisine. Above is soibum yendem eromba, a bamboo shoot cuisine of Manipur.

The 2012–2013 gross state domestic product of Manipur at market prices was about 10,188 crore (US$1.5 billion).[65] Its economy is primarily agriculture, forestry, cottage and trade driven.[66] Manipur acts as India's "Gateway to the East" through Moreh and Tamu towns, the land route for trade between India and Burma and other countries in Southeast Asia, East Asia, Siberia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Manipur has the highest number of handicrafts units and the highest number of craftspersons in the northeastern region of India.[67]

Electricity

Manipur produced about 0.1 gigawatt-hours (0.36 TJ) of electricity in 2010 with its infrastructure.[68] The state has hydroelectric power generation potential, estimated to be over 2 gigawatt-hours (7.2 TJ). As of 2010, if half of this potential is realised, it is estimated that this would supply 24/7 electricity to all residents, with a surplus for sale, as well as supplying the Burma power grid.[69]

Agriculture

Manipur's climate and soil conditions make it ideally suited for horticultural crops. Growing there are rare and exotic medicinal and aromatic plants.[67] Some cash crops suited for Manipur include Lychee, Cashew, Walnut, Orange, Lemon, Pineapple, Papaya, Passion Fruit, Peach, Pear and Plum.[66] The state is covered with over 3,000 square kilometres (1,200 sq mi) of bamboo forests, making it one of India's largest contributor to its bamboo industry.[67]

Transportation infrastructure

 
Imphal airport is the second largest airport in India's northeast.

Tulihal Airport, Changangei, Imphal, the only airport of Manipur, connects directly with Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, and Agartala. It has been upgraded to an international airport. As India's second largest airport in the northeast, it serves as a key logistical centre for northeastern states.The Tulihal Airport has been renamed Bir Tikendrajit Airport.[22] 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. However, the road condition throughout the state is often deplorable.[70][71] In 2010, Indian government announced that it is considering an Asian infrastructure network from Manipur to Vietnam.[72] The proposed Trans-Asian Railway (TAR), if constructed, will pass through Manipur, connecting India to Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Tourism

The tourist season is from October to February when it is often sunny without being hot and humid.[citation needed] The culture features martial arts, dance, theatre and sculpture. Greenery accompanies a moderate climate. The seasonal Shirui Lily plant at Ukhrul (district), Dzukou valley at Senapati, Sangai (Brow antlered deer) and the floating islands at Loktak Lake are among the rarities of the area. Polo, which can be called a royal game, originated in Manipur.

Imphal (capital)

 
A view of Imphal City

The city is inhabited by the Meitei, who predominate, also Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) and other tribes. The city contains the Tulihal Airport. The district is divided into East and West. The Khuman Lampak Sports Complex was built for the 1997 National Games. The stadium is used for a sports venue. It also contains a cyclists' velodrome. Most of the imported goods are sold here at its Paona Bazaar, Gambhir Singh Shopping Complex and Leima Plaza. Shree Govindajee Temple, Andro village, and the Manipur State Museum are in the city.

Lakes and islands

Rare birds and flowers include: Nongin[73] is the state bird (top) and Siroi Lily[74] is its state flower (middle). Leimaram falls, bottom, is a local attraction.

48 km (30 mi) from Imphal, lies the largest fresh water lake in northeast India, the Loktak Lake, a miniature inland sea. There is a tourist bungalow atop Sendra Island. Life on the lake includes small islands that are floating weed on which live the lake people, the blue waters of the lake, and colourful water plants. There is a Sendra tourist home with an attached cafeteria in the middle of the lake. Floating islands are made out of the tangle of watery weeds and other plants. The wetland is swampy and is favourable for a number of species. It is in the district of Bishnupur. The etymology of Loktak is "lok = stream / tak = the end" (End of the Streams).[42] 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 (3,022 ft) above sea level. It is a sacred place for Manipuri Hindus. The legend is that, 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. It is 29 km (18 mi) from Imphal. The Dzükou Valley is in Senapati district bordering with Kohima. There are seasonal flowers and number of flora and fauna. It is at an altitude of 2,438 metres (7,999 ft) above sea level, behind the Japfü Peak in Nagaland. The rare Dzükou lily is found only in this valley.[citation needed]

Eco tourism

 
Sangai, the state animal, at Keibul Lamjao National Park. In the wild, it has a habit of waiting and looking back at viewers.[75]

Keibul Lamjao National Park, 48 km (30 mi) away from Imphal is an abode of the rare and endangered species of brow antlered deer. This ecosystem contains 17 rare species of mammals.[42] It is the only floating national park of the world.[76][citation needed] Six kilometres (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) are housed there.

Waterfalls

Sadu Chiru waterfall is near Ichum Keirap village[77] 27 km (17 mi) from Imphal, in the Sadar hill area, Senapati district. This consists of three falls with the first fall about 30 metres (98 ft) high. Agape Park is in the vicinity. It is owned and managed by Kamlun Telien of Ichum Keirap.[citation needed]

Natural caves

Thalon Cave (around 910 metres (2,990 ft) above sea level) is one of the historical sites of Manipur under Tamenglong district. It is around 185 kilometres (115 mi) from the state capital and around 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Tamenglong district headquarters in north side. From Thalon village, this cave is 4–5 kilometres (2.5–3.1 mi).[78] Khangkhui Cave is a natural limestone 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, villagers sought shelter here. This cave is an hour's trek from Khangkui village.[79]

Education

Manipur schools are run by the state and central government or by private organisation. Instruction is mainly in English. Under the 10+2+3 plan, students may enroll in general or professional degree programs after passing the Higher Secondary Examination (the grade 12 examination). The main universities are Manipur University, Central Agricultural University, National Institute of Technology, Manipur, Indian Institute of Information Technology, Manipur, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and Indira Gandhi National Tribal University.

Manipur is home to India's first floating elementary school: Loktak Elementary Floating School in Loktak Lake.

Transportation

Air

Imphal International Airport is situated in the capital Imphal which connects direct flights from Imphal to Kolkata, Guwahati, New Delhi, Bangalore and Agartala.

Roadways

Manipur is connected to all its neighbour states with National Highways.

Rail

Manipur has one railway station, Jiribam.

Art and Culture

 
Manipuri dance, one of eight the classical dances of India
 
Thang Ta, the martial art form of Manipur
 
Pena is an ancient Manipur musical instrument, particularly popular among the Meitei people.

Secular theatre is mostly confined to themes that are not religious; it is performed in the secular or profane spheres. In 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, and visual effects. 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 entrance and exit.[citation needed]

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 Manipur 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 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).[citation needed] These groups started experimenting with types of plays apart from historical and Puranic ones. Today Manipur theatre is well respected because of excellent productions shown in India and abroad. Manipur plays, both Shumang lila and stage lila, have been a regular feature in the annual festival of the National School of Drama, New Delhi.[citation needed]

 
The Chorus Repertory Theatre, Imphal, founded by Ratan Thiyam

Iskcon led by Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami started a network of schools in Northeastern India, where more than 4,000 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 20 dancers, musicians, singers, martial artists, choreographers, and craft artisans.[citation needed] Some of them have received international acclaim.

Manipur dance (Ras Lila)

 
The Shrine – the main theatre

Manipur dance also known as Jagoi,[80] is one of the major Indian classical dance forms,[81] named after the state of Manipur.[82][83] It is particularly known for its Hindu Vaishnavism themes, and exquisite performances of love-inspired dance drama of Radha-Krishna called Raslila.[82][80][84] However, the dance is also performed to themes related to Shaivism, Shaktism and regional deities such as Umang Lai during Lai Haraoba.[85][86] The roots of Manipur dance, as with all classical Indian dances, is the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text Natya Shastra, but with influences from the culture fusion between India and Southeast Asia, East Asia, Siberia, Micronesia and Polynesia.[87]

Chorus Repertory Theatre

The auditorium of the theatre is on the outskirts of Imphal and the campus stretches for about 2 acres (8,100 m2). It has housing and working quarters to accommodate 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.[citation needed]

Sports

The rules-based Polo game in 19th century Manipur (above), and modern Polo in the 21st century.

Mukna is a popular form of wrestling.[88] Mukna Kangjei, or Khong 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.[89][90]

Yubi lakpi is a traditional full contact game played in Manipur, India, using a coconut, which has some notable similarities to rugby.[90] 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.[91] 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.[92] It is like the game of rugby,[93] or American football.[94]

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).[90] Hiyang tannaba, also called Hi Yangba Tanaba, is a traditional boat rowing race and festivity of the Panas.[90]

Polo

Captain Robert Stewart and Lieutenant Joseph Sherer[95] of the British colonial era first watched locals play a rules-based pulu or sagolkangjei (literally, horse and stick) game in 1859. They adopted its rules, calling the game polo, and playing it on their horses. The game spread among the British in Calcutta and then to England.[24][96]

Apart from these games, some outdoor children's games are fading in popularity. Some games such as Khutlokpi, Phibul Thomba, and Chaphu Thugaibi remain very popular elsewhere, such as in Cambodia. They are played especially during the Khmer New Year.[97]

First of its kind in India, National Sports University will be constructed in Manipur.[98]

Festivals

 
The Lai Haraoba, a dance festival showcases the folk dances of Manipur.

The festivals of Manipur are Lui-ngai-ni Ningol Chakouba, Shirui Lily festival, Yaoshang, Gan-ngai, Chumpha, Cheiraoba, Kang and Heikru Hidongba, as well as the broader religious festivals Eid-Ul-Fitr, Eid-Ul-Adha and Christmas. Most of these festivals are celebrated on the basis of the lunar calendar. Almost every festival celebrated in other states of India is observed.

On 21 November 2017, the Sangai Festival 2017 was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind in Manipur.

Sangai Festival 2017 is held for 10 days. It is named after Manipur's state animal, the brow-antlered Sangai deer. ii. The Sangai Festival showcases the tourism potential of Manipur in the field of arts and culture, handloom, handicrafts, indigenous sports, cuisine, music and adventure sports.

Ningol Chakouba

Held on 9 November,[99] this is a social festival of the Meiteis and many communities of Manipur where married women (Ningol) are invited (Chakouba, literally calling to a meal; for dinner or lunch) to a feast at their parental house accompanied by 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 women married away and the parental family. Nowadays, other communities have started celebrating this kind of a family-bonding festival.

Kut

Held after the Harvest festival in November,[100][101] this festival predominantly celebrated by Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribes in Manipur has become one of the leading festivals of the state. Kut is not restricted to a community or tribe — the whole state populace participates in merriment. On 1 November of every year, the state declared holiday for Kut celebration.

Yaosang

Held in February or March,[102] Yaosang is considered to be one of the biggest festivals of Manipur. It is the Holi festival (festival of colour) but Yaosang is the regional name given by the people of Manipur.

Khuado Pawi

Khuado Pawi is the harvest festival of the Tedim people who were recognised as Sukte and Zomi in India and Myanmar respectively. The word Pawi means festival in Tedim Zomi language. It is celebrated every year in the month of September–October after harvesting.[103][103]

 
Cheiraoba is a celebration of the new year during the spring season. People feast (top), then climb up a hill together later in the day to signify overcoming hurdles and reaching new heights in the new year.[94]

Cheiraoba

Also known as Sajibugi Nongma Panba and held in March or April, Cheiraoba is the new year of Manipur.[94] 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. People of Manipur immaculate 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 ritual, people climb hilltops; in the belief that it would excel them to greater heights in their worldly life.[94]

Gaan-Ngai

Gaan-Ngai is the greatest festival of the Zeliangrong people. It is a five-day festival and is usually performed on the 13th day of the Meitei month of Wakching.

Notable people

See also

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Bibliography

External links

Government

General information