TODAY -

E-Pao! Opinion - Rethinking Women's Power in Manipur

Rethinking Women's Power in Manipur

By: Otojit Kshetrimayum *



Manipur has witnessed the successful role of collective women's power in the past and also in the present day. This is something, which we can celebrate. However despite their major contributions in the socio-economic and political life of the state, they are not given their due position in society. Thus there is a mismatch between women's role and status. This is indeed a matter of great concern, which we all need to ponder over.

Manipuri women's role in the socio-economic and cultural life of Manipur is significant. Manipuri women do not stay behind the veil. They also do all the buying and selling of goods in the market. Women dominate the markets in the rural and urban areas. Their unique role in the market will be known if one visits Khwairamband Bazar at the heart of Imphal. They are greatly involved in the agricultural related activities. They are artistic and creative which they prove in the field of handloom and handicrafts and dance. Their dominance in the field of sports not only in the national level but also in the international level is remarkable. One significant observation that we find today in Manipur is the rise in the number of women entrepreneurs and women self help groups. The numbers of workingwomen in different sectors are increasing.

Manipuri women have always played a very vital and active role in social movements. The role of women in these movements can be traced back to the pre British Period when Manipur was under monarchial system. But women's social movements emerged in an organized manner from the early part of the 20th century. One was in 1904, which was popularly known as the first Nupilan (women's agitation). It was against the unjust British administration. Because of their high spirit struggle, many administrative reforms were then made, and women leaders emerged in Manipuri's traditionally male-dominated sphere of business, trade and commerce. The second was the Nupilan of 1939. It was a spontaneous eruption of the suppressed energy of the exploited people. The main cause of the movement was directly related to the irregularities and malpractices in the administration of the state and the economic exploitation by the authority. In the agitation some of the women leaders and along with their sympathisers were sent to jail. All the womenfolk expressed their deep concern over the matter. They stopped business in the market and the Khwairamband Bazar remained devastated for three years. Ultimately they succeeded in bringing reforms in administration. The outbreak of women agitation was a turning point in the emergence of new trend of political and national consciousness in the state.

Meirapaibi (torch bearer) movement is a new women's movement in Manipur. It exemplifies another collective women's power in Manipur. It began in the 1980s and is still gaining momentum. The womenfolk to save people from the clutches of liquor and drugs launched the movement. This movement has become a major struggle for human rights. The role of the Meirapaibi is gaining ground due to the rapid increased in the human rights violation and other social problems like HIV/AIDS. As one of the important social institutions, Meirapaibi group has got the potential to become a very significant instrument of progressive social transformation.

Marup or cooperative movement is another movement spearheaded by women for generating income. From the early days the Manipuri society has inbuilt system of socio-economic cooperation known as Marup which continues till now successfully throughout the state. Marup, a type of self help group, is a group or association of individual with common economic needs who undertake an economic activity by participating directly in decision making and sharing the benefits on an equitable basis. It strengthens the existing income generating activity of members and also helps the members to start a new activity of members. This not only makes them economically independent but also helps their families with their financial contributions. It also acts as the financial intermediaries. The members are engaged in both service and production activities. Some of the main incomes generating activities of the groups are - Agarbati making, Papad making, Doll-making, Handloom/Handicrafts, preparation of different sweet items, fruit and vegetable preservation etc. The Marups (cooperatives) are the best vehicles for empowerment of women in Manipur. They are the major force for the economic development of the state. Another important sphere, which is in the limelight, is the political participation of women. The level of Manipuri women's political participation is not quite up to the mark. However their participation in the local self-government is a positive signal for the success of democracy at the grass root level. This will bring a major thrust in the process of rural development and women empowerment.

Manipur women have thus contributed immensely in the socio-economic transformation and upliftment of the society. The above glaring instances of collective women's power in Manipur - Nupilan, Meirapaibi and Marup movements will surely make a reader believe, that womenfolk in Manipur are accorded high status. But unfortunately the reality is somewhat the other way round. The society is still in the womb of the patriarchal system. Women have no much say in the decision making process. Their representations both in the secondary and tertiary sectors are quite minimal. The preference of male child is still prevalent. There are certain rituals where women's involvements are considered profane and restricted their participation. Women produce children; they are mothers and wives; they do the cooking, mending, sewing and washing; they take care of men and are subordinate to male authority; they are largely excluded from high status occupations and from positions of power. In terms of the reward of prestige, wealth and power attached to gender role, women almost invariably come off worst. According to the 2001 census, Manipur has a total population of 2,388,634. Out of these the numbers of males and females are 1,207,388 and 1,181,296 respectively. The literacy rate of the state is 68.87 %. For males the literacy rate is 77.87 % while for females it is 59.70 %. Thus there is a gap of 18.17 % in the male-female literacy rate, which clearly indicates the prejudices of the society towards the female child. It is also worth noting that 40.30 % of the female populations are illiterate. Here, education is crucial because it is said that if you educate a man, you educate an individual whereas if you educate a woman you are educating the entire family. One interesting fact is that the sex ratio of Manipur is much above many other Indian states. It is 978 as compared to all India ratios of 933. Though the cases of dowry deaths, rape and molestation are not so high in Manipur, there are incidents of eve-teasing and domestic violence which are symptomatic of a larger malaise where Manipuri women are not given due position in society.

There is a need to change the attitude of the society in general and men in particular. It is high time that we respect and reflect on the contributions of women not only in the socio-economic sphere but also in the fields of cultural, political and sports. Women of Manipur deserve a higher status, for the development of any society the status of women is a key factor determining progress.


*Otojit Kshetrimayum is a research scholar in the Centre for the Study of Social Systems; JNU, New Delhi. He can be contacted at otojitk@yahoo.co.in

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Imphal #1 :: Gallery
  • 15th Mega Miss North East :: Gallery
  • Cyclist have Rights on the roads
  • International Day Against Drug Abuse
  • Mary Khyriem is Mega Miss North East
  • Felicitation of Thangjam Guneshwar
  • Corruption of lairik-laisu
  • Approaches towards NE development
  • Jobs at Thangjam Agro (Likla)
  • Militarising a place of learning : AR in MU
  • ..Liangmais to withdraw from Zeliangrong
  • Scientist Thangjam felicitated
  • Idd-ul-Fitre celebrated in NE
  • Konung Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Suman Ningthoujam is Mega Mister NE
  • Kang Chingba (Rath-yatra)
  • Baptism of pugilist Sarita Devi..
  • President of India from Manipur, when?
  • Conditions leading to birth of Marxism
  • Meeting on oil Exploration at Tupul
  • Condoles death of Palal Haokip
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Diabetes Detection - Medical Camp
  • Dzukuo: SAYO refutes Mao CSO allegation
  • Cong to Delhi: Lift lid on Naga pact
  • Manipur man to contest presidential poll
  • Three Mothers Art Gallery :: Gallery
  • U 14 Subroto Football :: Gallery
  • Environment Day: Loktak Ema Laments
  • Khangchiu/Liuchiu: Liangmai institution #2
  • Value based education in schools
  • Yoga and dress
  • Bengal Govt repressing Gorkha people
  • Media appeals management to obey..
  • Recreation- a Serious Business
  • Reintroducing MST bus service
  • Subhadra chhuri huranba :: Funga Wari
  • Kanglei Haraoba Festival #3 :: Gallery
  • Angkor Wat - Cambodia #6 :: Gallery
  • Traffic Jam gigs on home ground
  • Cheiraoba Ching Kaba #6 :: 360 ° View
  • Preserving Macha Ebemma Khudithibi area
  • Life in some hill villages
  • Paramedical Courses Admissions
  • NPF responds to Congress diatribe
  • Surrogate teachers
  • ..on re-signing cease-fire with NSCN (K)
  • Seminar weighs army act compulsions
  • Mary Kom bows out
  • Great June Uprising #2 :: Gallery
  • Road Condition @Senapati :: Gallery
  • Achoubi, Nengneikim, Areni :: eMing
  • School on Phum: Innovative Learning Place
  • Sketches of the Countryside :: Poem
  • Why MBA in Business Analytics ?
  • Grand finale of Mega Miss North East
  • Rehabilitation of Villagers affected by Mora
  • Making NFSA meaningful: Life into MSFC
  • Expecting some appreciable act
  • Earth crack at Kangpokpi #2 :: Gallery
  • Yoga Day @Khuman Lampak :: Gallery
  • Finance Capitalism & the Naga Question
  • Alumni 1998 Batch Ki Ningai
  • Manipur Univ's CMS awarded 4.5 out of 5
  • Legal Training for Justice Workers
  • Career Counselling for Bishnupur students
  • International Yoga Day
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Noting the SOS from the DC of Kpi
  • For that little bit more
  • Lai Khong Chingba @Thangjing #4
  • Landscape of Kangpokpi :: Gallery
  • Yeningthagi Wari Kumhei :: Gallery
  • Beyond beef eating
  • World Father's Day :: Poem
  • Bereavement of Khaplang & can of worms
  • Union HRD Prakash Javadekar at Imphal
  • Jobs at basicP, Singjamei
  • Job at Escent Diagnostics, Imphal
  • Treating patients with a human touch
  • Deliberate mistakes
  • Yu Thongba by Loi of Awang Sekmai #2
  • Junior Girls District Football #1 :: Gallery
  • Dialysis Programme @JNIMS :: Gallery
  • Pukhri Macha at Kangla :: 360 ° View
  • Khangchiu/Liuchiu: Liangmai institution #1
  • Mass awareness on congress grass
  • Shut down in hills, Unity Day in valley
  • Sever pol ties: Where does this leave NPF ?
  • June in Manipur
  • Crimes against NE people rising in Delhi
  • Mao CSOs rake up Dzuko issue with CM
  • June 18 effect
  • Great June Uprising #1 :: Gallery
  • The Great June Uprising 2001 :: Photos
  • Stalls @Barak (spring) Fest #2 :: Gallery
  • Farmers: Occupation or a Game?
  • Food, nay tobacco, for thought
  • Paris climate agreement & India's role
  • The day to pay tribute to our own father
  • Annual Iftar Gathering at Konthagram Masjid
  • Compositeness of settlers of Manipur #3
  • The Great June 18 Uprising :: Tribute
  • Flooding at Kangpokpi :: Gallery
  • Robert Naorem collections at Milan Walk
  • Peace in post-Khaplang North-East
  • My Manipur: A tryst with ground reality
  • Ignoring the parallel Government
  • Call to IM leadership to wake up
  • Talk offer from Naga outfit: Delhi should..
  • Regulating private schools
  • Arbind Soibam (Singer) :: Erang Photos
  • Tha, Tha Thabungton: Reviewing a Lullaby
  • No More WW2 Bridge at Heingang
  • Women in Khasi & Jaintia society
  • My Song :: Poem
  • Mind boggling job interviews
  • Researchers from Kerala & Maharashtra..
  • Ripe opportunity for awareness & action
  • Flood in Imphal- June 14 :: Gallery
  • Dr. Asha Sougaijam, short stories winner
  • Wari Jalsa : storytelling series at Delhi
  • 6th Thang-Ta Federation Cup at Agra
  • Cheiraoba Ching Kaba #5 :: 360 ° View
  • Know your test: Electrolytes
  • Signal to climate change: Rise of methane
  • Chance to win guided tour to NASA : IIT Ghy
  • Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas Sammelan
  • Mr. CM, it should be Rivers in Imphal...
  • Yu Thongba by Loi of Awang Sekmai #1
  • Yaipan, wild flower @Ukhrul :: Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs Southern Samity #5:: Gallery
  • Buddhism in Manipur
  • PDS : Proven Deceitful System
  • Love thy neighbour as thyself
  • B.Tech admission in NIT Manipur by JoSAA
  • Resolution adopted by Naga People Front
  • Iftar with locals at Lilong
  • Doubtful sincerity
  • Film Personalities #3 :: eRang Classic
  • U17 District Subroto Football :: Gallery
  • India's troubled region evades scribe-killing
  • Agenda of the BJP led Government #7
  • Sendra Park & Resort #3 :: 360 ° View
  • Career options in Education #2
  • Feverous Earth :: Poem
  • Create the right ambience for the kids
  • Reposing the trust
  • Compositeness of settlers of Manipur #2
  • Moirangthem Arup at Marathon, Africa
  • For the love of football
  • .... Moirang Sendra is for Moirang
  • Counselling for DU admission
  • Congratulate candidates from Thadou
  • North East - Delhi Consultancy
  • Jobs at PR Enterprises, Keisampat
  • Discussion on Oil Exploration at Chandel
  • Crucial period for parents/guardians
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #5 : Ooba
  • RKFD Sangai Trophy Veteran #2 :: Gallery
  • Achingliu Kamei at Half Marathon, St Albans
  • Sleepless night :: Poem
  • Arambam Boby Singh felicitated at Guwahati
  • Vice-free campus beckons Manipur student
  • Meeting on Stop Oil Exploration at Maklang
  • Shillong Lajong Signs Players For U-15
  • Need for a strong Congress ..Opposition
  • Lai Khong Chingba @Thangjing #3
  • 2nd Hill People's Day by CM :: Gallery
  • Barak Festival at Senapati #2 :: Gallery
  • Phynyx coming up with new original songs
  • Goods & Service Tax & its role in Manipur
  • Oil Exploration Consultation at Khangabok
  • Condolence for Khaplang :: Nagaland CM
  • To each his own
  • Earth crack @ Kangpokpi #1 :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • ..any Minister know about Azurama village
  • Mass communication: Then and now
  • Mapal Kangjeibung :: 360 ° View
  • The Toad and the Snake :: Poem
  • Consultation on Oil Exploration at Heirok
  • Created for administrative convenience
  • The number of MPs must be increased
  • Major David Manlun :: Gallery
  • Investigate 100-cr Khuman Lampak Scam
  • CM Biren Speech at 66th NEC meeting #2
  • Pottery by Thongjao, Kakching :: Gallery
  • Working Of Panchayats In Manipur #3
  • Gurumayum Robert (Archer) :: Profile
  • Lai Khong Chingba @Thangjing #2
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel :: Gallery
  • Nampanliu Riamei : Ningtingale Award
  • Flood in Imphal [May 31] #2 :: Gallery
  • HSLC 2017 : Result
  • HSLC 2017 : Stats/Subject Toppers
  • HSLC 2017 : Result (External)
  • HSLC 2017 : Top 25
  • Lai Khong Chingba @Thangjing #1
  • Shirui Lily Festival, Ukhrul #4 :: Gallery
  • Sendra Park & Resort #2 :: 360 ° View
  • Human Microbiome Project launched in NE
  • Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics Forum
  • India lost third journalist to assailants
  • BJP pre-poll promise : Banning bandh
  • Drainage system: draining resources
  • Art exhibition at Ukhrul :: Gallery
  • Canadian Jobs & the crafty scammers ...
  • Lamjing : Mobile App for academic info
  • President presents Award to Prof Subadani
  • Nachom Arts Residency #2 :: Gallery
  • Camping @ Phangrei, Ukhrul #1 :: Gallery
  • State Level Boxing C'ship 2017 :: Gallery
  • Kanchan Soibam :: eRang Photos
  • HSE 2017 : Toppers in Science :: Gallery
  • Class XII result announced :: Gallery
  • Nungbi Chaphu - Ukhrul Pottery :: Gallery
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Science Toppers
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Arts Toppers
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Commerce Toppers
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Science Stream
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Arts Stream
  • HSE 2017 Result :: Commerce Stream
  • Ksh Bhaktakumar- Mr India 2017:: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #2 :: Gallery
  • Landscape of Manipur #6: Wallpaper
  • 'Nura Pakhang'(Video) @Portugal:: Gallery
  • Purul, Senapati :: 360 View Panorama
  • SPONSORED ADS