TODAY -

Meitei Diaspora In Assam Stick To Traditions, Cultures, Roots
Hojai Meiteis continue to preserve identity

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 25 2013: Meiteis settled at Hojai, Assam, though marginally influenced by neighbouring communities, have been successfully preserving their identity of being Meiteis.

Around five lakh Meiteis are settled in different parts of Assam and Hojai AC in Nagaon district has around 25,000 (18,000 voters) Meitei population.

Even though customary and religious rituals of the Meiteis like wedding, Shrada, Ipan Thaba etc have been influenced to some extent by practices of neighbouring communities, language, culture and dressing style have not been corrupted.

Students can now study Manipuri as a Major Indian Language up to class X in schools of Assam.

In Cachar, students can study up to Class X in Manipuri medium.

Talking with some media persons from Manipur , Dhopukhri Gram Panchayat Ward No 2 Member Birchand Nandeibam said, "We must preserve and promote our own culture, tradition and language for no other people would come forward to preserve our traditions" .



Meitei women at Hojai
Meitei women at Hojai


After autonomous councils have been set up for Karbi and Bodo communities, the Hojai Meiteis have set up Manipuri Development Council.

A separate council has also been set up for the Bishnupriyas.

The Manipuri Development Council was set up after two rounds of agitation in front of Assam State Assembly.

The Government of Assam directed the United Manipuri Association to set up the council.

During the last financial year, the Government of Assam sanctioned Rs 1.50 lakh to the Manipuri Development Council.

For the current financial year, the Government of Assam has earmarked Rs 2.30 crores for the Manipuri Development Council, Birchand said.

Whereas the council is being run as an ad-hoc committee, many Manipuri candidates were elected in Panchayat elections.

In Lakhipur, Cachar, a Manipuris were elected MLA for two terms.

Most of the Manipuris settled in Hojai joined armed forces for their professional career.

The second most popular career option is teacher.

At present, there is one Manipuri DIG and two/three SPs and Inspectors in Assam Police.

Ratio of total population to Government employees is higher among Meiteis as compared to other communities.

However, Meiteis have little presence in trade and commerce.

Most of the land in Hojai belong to Meiteis and each Meitei household owns five to six Paris of paddy fields on the average.

Other communities settled at Hojai came at later periods but the 61 Meitei villages were set up as early as 1927 by Meiteis coming from Cachar valley.

A four-lane highway which starts from Gurjarat, also known as East-West Corridor passes through Bhalukmari village of Hojai which is a big settlement of the Meiteis.

The highway is expected to bring certain benefits to Meitei villages located along the super highway.

Meanwhile, a new institution christened Loungak Marup has been established with the primary objective of saving agricultural land and discourage of sale of land to other people.

Unlike Manipur, the security environment of Hojai is much better than Manipur and Meiteis settled there have been receiving whatever benefits entitled to other communities, Birchand said.

Yet, Meiteis scattered in different parts of Assam including Hojai have been enduring a sad experience caused by the inability to communicate regularly amongst themselves.

"We are deeply worried whenever Manipur falls into a difficult situation", Birchand added.


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