Monday, July 13, 2020

The People

▪ Introduction ▪  Meiteis ▪ Kukis ▪ Naga Tribes ▪ Lois ▪ Bishnupuris ▪ Sikhs
▪ Nepalis ▪ Muslims ▪ Biharis ▪ Punjabis ▪ Marwaris ▪ South Indians ▪ Bengalis


There is no original population of Manipuris as Muslims. they entered Manipur from Sylhet and Cachar. Some entered along with the royal troops. They settled in Manipur and most of them married the Meitei girls. Muslims of Manipur were divided into four classes on the basis of labour. They are sepoys, gardeners, turners and potters. The Muslims from Cachar were employed as labourers in the agricultural fields. Some of them started their own cultivation. At present the Muslims are living in several villages at Mayang, Imphal, Yaripok, Lylong, Thoubal etc. Their main occupation is agriculture. Some educated ones also seek official jobs in state and central government service. They are intelligent and hard-working persons. They have mixed characters of Mongoloid and Aryans in their features. They follows all norms of the Muslim society.


The Sikhs settled in Manipur are of Punjab origin but most of them have come from Burma where they had gone from Punjab in earlier times. Some of them entered Manipur after the Second World War and some others after the Burmese government disallowed them the citizenship. They have Gurudwaras at Imphal and Moreh. At these two places only they are largely concentrated. All Sikhs keep beard and wear turban. They are strict in keeping the five "ks", the kesha, kangha, kripan, kara, kachha i.e. to grow hair, keep comb, keep sword, keep armlet and wear shorts. All Sikhs are businessmen dealing in transport, cloths and contracts etc. They are pioneer transporters in Manipur. Salwar-Kurta or Sari-blouse is the common dress among Sikh women. They speak Punjabi among themselves but are also fluent in Meitei and even tribal languages. The Sikhs of Moreh also speak Burmese. They are an adaptable society. They keep their culture and are very particular about their faith and the ritualistic performances in the Gurudwaras and their homes. Sikhs believe in the gurus, the great religious teachers who got the inspirations from the God and taught the masses to follow the right path. For  the Sikhs the guru is the guide tot he religious path.


Nepalis started settling in Manipur after the Second World War. The retired army personnel were settled at Senakaithal near Singmei. Most of the Nepalis entered Manipur as servants and labourers and settled here. They went into the interiors of the hills and found a suitable climate for grabbing land. Some started cultivation of the tribal chief's land as tenants with sufficient share of the crops. They were known for cattle rearing. Most of the settlers started dairies along with their agriculture. Nepalis have scattered into small valleys in Mao, Maram, Karong and Kangpokpi areas. This is the main belt of Nepalis and they have improved agriculture and crops in Kangpokpi, Tomei-Tamenglong areas. Their thick population is between Tomei and Kangpokpi. The greatest contribution of the Nepalis is to transform the habitat to their advantage.


Some people of lower caste entered Manipur and they got good promises for their labour and jobs. Safaiwalas, cobblers, watermen, gardeners, washer men etc were not available. Manipur being a casteless society was unmindful of these requirements. In Manipur these jobs are done by all. There are some Sudra Manipuris who are supposed to be the descendants of immigrants who married Manipur women. This is also a class called Kalacheiya or Bishnupuris which consists of descendants of Doms and other Bengalis of low castes. They have played an important role in the society. In Manipuri society they are respected. There is no concept of untouchability. Those who are declared bona fide citizens of Manipur get the reservation benefits.


Most of the labour class comprises people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. They have come here to earn their bread. They are fluent in Meitei as well as in Tribal dialects. They have established themselves throughout the valley on all routes. Biharis speak their Hindustani and also learn tribal dialects. This linguistic exchange is a great social advantage to both sides. The Biharis have maintained their culture. Their Hindustani dress will never change. They are all Hindus. Some are from upper castes and some from scheduled castes. Some Muhamadans have also migrated from Bihar in search of jobs or to run shops in Manipur. The curious character of Biharis is that they get adapted to any society. They are very good at business. They give due respect to the tribal and Meitei social custom and take part in the social ceremonies. The Biharis help each other and they are known for their unity.