TODAY -

Ema Market represents lives of Manipur

OC Meira *

Ema Keithel 2 (Located at the North-East side from Shamu makhong) as seen sometime in the second week of November 2010
Ema Keithel 2 (Located at the North-East side from Shamu makhong) as seen sometime in the second week of November 2010



It is easy the guess the identity and conditions of all communities in Manipur when one traverses through any of the markets in the Kwairamband area. The markets here amply showcase the condition and lives of the communities in Manipur.

The Kwairamband Keithel comprised of Leimarel Shidabi Ema Keithel, Emoinu Keithel and Phouoibee Keithel and one temporary market.

Ema Keithel has a long history and rich folklore associated with it. It is said that even the gods and deities of the land came to this market to be with humans.

From a structure made of wood and bamboo and the recent establishment of a concrete structure, the areas in Ema Keithel have also been representing the empowerment of women and the might of mothers of Manipur.

The concept of mother here transcends strict demarcation of communities and hence it has now become imperative for all to preserve its pristine character. This is why there is a need to shoulder responsibilities by the people cutting across ethnic origins.

On several occasions, many powerful politicians and even Chief Ministers had adopted numerous resolutions. Just to cite an example, it is said that there has been a resolution on disallowing sticking of bills or posters in and around the Ema Keithel area. However, it is difficult to recall any incident of prosecuting or convicting anyone who had violated certain orders or resolution on the same.

Over a period of time and due to increasing commercialisation of the spaces available in the market areas, there has been an increase in the number of roadside vendors along the footpaths near the Ema market. Even the flower pots kept to beautify the space have dried up due to the failure of the authorities to water the flower plants.

However, it is heartening to note that fact that there have also been youths who have voluntarily opted to improve the total improvements of the market by forming an association. This in turn has helped in dealing with many issues - both economic and social.

Since the launch of the first and second women's agitations (1904 & 1939) and even the killing of Thokchom Rabina (2009) in recent history, the Ema Keithel has remained deeply embedded with history, culture and identity of Manipur.

Come Yaoshang (March festival) and Ningol Chakkouba (feast for married women) every year, the Ema Keithel still continues its grip on the culture of Manipur.

There is a need to keep the Keithel clean both in terms of its sanitation and also the cultural values ingrained into the space.

Keeping the space reserved exclusively for the mothers clean will indeed help preserve the society and its culture. This requires the unstinted support of all Kagleichas.


* OC Meira wrote this article to Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on May 12, 2015.


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