TODAY -

Trade connection of Manipur with Southeast Asia in the Pre-British period
- Part 2 -

Dr Budha Kamei *

Women Market (Ima Keithel) :: RKCS Art Gallery
Women Market (Ima Keithel) :: RKCS Art Gallery
Warning: These images CANNOT be reproduced in any form or size without written permission from the RKCS Gallery



External Trade:

Manipur had trade links with other states since ancient time. It happens to be the trade routes between South Asia, South East Asia and Central Asia.(Kabui 1988: 11) The Neolithic culture of Eastern India has revealed that Manipur had close relations with Burma, China and other Indian states.

The discovery of blue porcelain bowls, bell metal coins and guns, etc. in the excavation of the Kameng village and the palace of Maharaja Jai Singh also gave evidence of having relations between Manipur and other Indian provinces at various periods.(Annual Administrative Report of Manipur 1940-41). As native coin was circulated within the state only, external trade was done through barter system.

Trade with China:

Trade between China and Manipur was conducted by the merchants of Yunan province of China. They reached Manipur through Burma and brought the goods viz. raw silk, paper tea, and various kinds of fruits. They took away wax, ivories, clothes, cotton and ponies. (Gazetteer of Burma 1983: 453) The royal chronicle records that in 1630 the Chinese merchants of Yunan province visited the kingdom, and from them was learnt the art of manufacturing gun powder. The trade continued as late as 1813. (Kabui 1991: 13-14)

However, the trade between the two states could not be developed due to certain factors: trade with China depends on the attitude of Burma, because Manipur traders had to pass through Burma and secondly China had shifted her interest of trade towards the western countries since the beginning of 19 century.( Ali 1988:174)

The development of trade with Dutch, Portuguese and English by sea was reduced the volume of China export to Manipur through the hilly routes. (Ahmed 1981: 178-181) It is fact that China's trade with Manipur has brought about certain economic innovations like the introduction of silk and silk worm and gun powder. This is the influence of Chinese commercial contact with Manipur.

Trade with Burma:

Burma is one of the countries, which Manipur has commercial contact since ancient time. Though there had been a number of military aggressions on each other from either side, off and on trade link continued to be maintained between the two countries. Trade was done mainly through three land routes. (Pemberton 1979:51)

During the reign of Maharaja Labanyachandra (1798-1801), there was brick trade and commerce between the two states. It was during the reign of Marjit Singh (who ruled for 6 years peacefully) that commercial ties was brought closer and developed further. This friendly relationship with Burma felicitated external trade. During this, silk was exported to Burma (Dun 1981: 61)

This relationship could not last due to misunderstanding developed between the two kings. Marjit Singh permitted his people to cut teak timber in Kabaw valley which naturally offended the friend. Bagyidaw invited him to attend at the ceremony of his accession to the throne of Burma, but Marjit Singh did not attend on some excuse. King Bagyidaw ordered an expedition to Manipur with one hundred thousand armies under the command of Maha Bandula (Kamei 2015: 5-6) and the trade was suspended between the two states.

Manipur imported the bell metal from Burma. Other goods imported from Burma, but again exported to other Indian states included bullocks, ponies and tea seeds. (Annual Administrative Report of Manipur 1875)

The Thadou Kukis used to take salt, iron, ornaments, cotton, etc to Burma to exchange with cane and bamboo products at Yazagyo, an important market in the Chin Hills of Burma. (Roy 1973: 59-60). The important item of export of Manipur was raw silk. Moreover, finished clothes, the leaves which cover the cob of maize which was used in making cigarette were also exported to Burma.

Trade with Assam, Bengal, Naga Hills and Tripura:

Manipur was self-reliant in her traditional economy, but she had commercial contact with the other Indian states. The neigbhouring Indian states with which Manipur exchanged goods are Assam, Cachar, the Naga Hills, the Lushai Hills, Tripura and Bengal. However, the traders of Manipur had closer contact with Cachar because the Manipuris used to exchange goods for the products of other states mostly through Cachar.

The important goods exported by Manipur were like cotton, chillies, tea seed, elephant, buffalo, silk, clothes, wax etc. While, the main import goods were betel nuts, coconuts, iron, brass goods, bell metal, etc. (Annual Administrative Report of Manipur 1873 to 1877-78; Hunter 1975: 175 and 428)

The villagers inhabiting in the western border of Manipur took the advantage of exchanging their products for salt with Cacharis. The trade with Lushai Hills was mostly carried on by the Kuki tribes of Manipur. They took iron from the valley and bartered it for guns and clothes with the people of Lushai Hills. (Hunter 1975: 428)

The villagers of the state near the Naga Hills used to exchange salt for brass vessel with the Nagas. In the cold season, Maharaja Gambhir Singh (1832-33) conquered different Naga villages of the Naga Hills including Kohima; this gave opportunity to the Manipuri traders to visit Naga Hills safely. (Roy 1973: 73)

There was trade with Tripura and Manipur. During the reign of Khagemba, there was trade with the people of Tripura whose influence was extended over Cachar and northern Mizoram. (Kabui 1991:215).

Conclusion:

After observing the above facts, one can say that Manipur had extensive trade relations with Southeast Asian countries even before the British occupation. Since the external trade was conducted through the hilly routes, the volume of trade was found to be limited. Another difficulty was that when Manipur was at war with some other countries the external trade of Manipur disturbed during the period.

But, since the product of Manipur itself served almost all the necessities of Manipur, the people suffered scanty even when Manipur stopped its external trade. This clearly indicates that Manipur had self-sufficient economy in the pre-British period.

The above routes were used by the people of Manipur and other kingdoms since ancient time. Pilgrims, immigrants, and traders travelled these routes. Laden animals and ponies were the main means of transportation.

Concluded....


* Dr Budha Kamei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on March 10, 2017.


* 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
  • Nongmai Kainou Chingsomba #1:: Gallery
  • Governor Cup Polo tournament #2:: Gallery
  • World TB Day @JNIMS :: Gallery
  • Manipur Highway: Lifelines or Death-lines
  • Chanu Creation contribution to skillful India
  • Manipur & democracy of the "others"
  • Extend your support to your Ministers
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • 4th WIM CUP 2016 [rescheduled]
  • Manipur titular king gets guard and escort
  • NSCN-IM silent on Centre's reaction
  • Compelling need to study outside
  • Tragic, but a wake-up call
  • Hangmila Shaiza: First Woman MLA
  • 'The Wishess' @Tanglei Festival :: Gallery
  • Cheiraoba : Great festival of the Meiteis
  • Stop Saying-Manipur not have resources
  • JRF position at Pachhunga Univ, Aizawl
  • Governor Cup Polo Tournament Concluded
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Solar Lights presented to Longdi Pabram
  • Understand history to resolve issues of NE
  • Rise in crime worries citizens
  • Mary Kom eyes comeback at Asian C'ship
  • Reaching out to the Naga community
  • Towards sustainable self-reliance
  • Mix Media Festival #3:: Gallery
  • Khurumjei eethou eekan :: Radio e-pao
  • Shaheed Manoranjan football :: Gallery
  • Birth Anniversary of Maharani Dhanamnjuri
  • Buddha advised to follow the moderate way
  • A hope of second meeting with dear mum
  • Sadar Hills Demand 2011-2017 : Timeline
  • Killing Culture in Manipur
  • Lingering allure of lotus after polls
  • 30 mn trafficking victims worldwide: CJ
  • Tough for some to be out of news
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #3 : Ooba
  • Yaoshang Sports #3 (Mar 16) :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Glimpses of Puppets in India
  • NE important part of 2nd World War
  • Strategic place branding of Manipur
  • Non-biodegradable solid wastes mgmt
  • Skill oriented vocational training
  • No pact on integration of Naga areas
  • Nobody is a fool, introduce Lok Ayukta
  • Khoupum Valley Expedition #5:: Gallery
  • 36th World TB day Rally :: Gallery
  • Veteran Cricket Tournament :: Gallery
  • And thus she became a fast learner
  • Coalition Government & its periphery
  • Know your test: Uric acid
  • No compromise on territorial integrity
  • Ten meritorious students sponsored
  • Anti Corruption Cell to be set up
  • Centre, State: Put RIMS back on track
  • Minister promise on Imphal Jiribam road
  • Students for HSLC Exam :: Gallery
  • Governor Cup Polo tournament #1:: Gallery
  • Blast of Md Kora & his shadows
  • A Drunken Dream :: Poem
  • Downfall of Congress party in Manipur
  • Corruption a part and parcel in our society
  • Hangkhanlian, Radheshyam, Nemcha ...
  • Lecture on TS. Eliot's contribution
  • Naga integration via FA: Game of word play
  • Almost perfect team...missing "Lok Ayukta"
  • Miss Manipur Queen 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Yangkholet, Somatai, Mangaleima :: eMing
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #3 :: Gallery
  • Lanmei Thanbi Re-imagining the Light Spirit
  • Did we glorify the UNC highway blockade?
  • Career penchant in Anthropology
  • The formation of new BJP-led Government
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Nagas safe under Framework : NSCN-IM
  • New fish species discovered in Assam
  • Making Manipur bandh & blockade free: Guv
  • Politicking the politics
  • Photo : Governor with all Elected MLAs
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 3 activities #2 : Gallery
  • Kanchan Soibam in Femina Miss India 2017
  • RIST talk 28-Transition in amorphous solid
  • Formation of Gender Champions @RGU
  • Free spectacle distribution at Loktak Station
  • Naga history of transition stands unique
  • Delhi warn NE against shady land deals
  • Screen kids' films in NE languages
  • Looking at the pre-poll promises of BJP
  • State govt- perceptions & premonitions
  • MLAs took oath of office : Gallery
  • SundarGopal Condolence @Ghy : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabal at Pune #2 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang: Journalist Sports #2 :: Gallery
  • What Term of Negotiation btn GoM & UNC?
  • Class 12 marks may decide your college..
  • N. Biren led Govt won the floor test
  • Job @ VK NRL Hospital at Numaligarh
  • Cycling from Jessami to Mantripukhri
  • Lifting the longest ever blockade
  • Hope amid the hesitations
  • Tenwa Chandrasakhi :: Funga wari
  • Yaoshang Day 5: Sports #2: Gallery
  • Day 3: Yaoshang activities #1 : Gallery
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #2 : Gallery
  • Drinking bottled mineral water culture
  • Condolence meeting for friend of Assam
  • Food Outlet at DM Community College
  • APFEJ urges Delhi to be respectful to media
  • TSA Ceremonial Rite to its Former SG
  • Statistics not telling the whole story
  • Kangleipak Kang Trophy #1 : Gallery
  • Day 5: Yaoshang Activities #4: Gallery
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #2 :: Gallery
  • Insurgency as reflected in Chagi Khuji
  • Yaoshang Meithaba @Uripok: Gallery
  • Women Empowerment
  • Construction as career choice
  • Condolence meeting for Sundar Gopal
  • Manipuri group to stall trains
  • Manipur State Archery Championship
  • Miss Manipur Queen 2017 #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Halankar celebration : Gallery
  • 2nd phase Polling @Nungba #2 :: Gallery
  • Art of Lamangdong's stone bowls & Toupokpi
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Loukhatpa #2: Gallery
  • Pabung Sunder Gopal funeral at Mandalay
  • Emotional integration of all communities
  • Training on Traditional Snacks
  • How to take along disparate parties
  • Yaoshang Day 5: Sports #1: Gallery
  • Meetei Pokpi :: Radio e-pao
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #4: Gallery
  • Letter: Manipur Public Service Commission
  • Career as Chef
  • HQ IGAR celebrates 14th Raising Day [upd]
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #1 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabal at Pune #1 :: Gallery
  • Mix Media Art exhibition #2 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang: Journalist Sports #1 :: Gallery
  • Nongthombam Biren sworn-in CM, Mar 15
  • Glaucoma Week : March 12 - 18, 2017
  • Annual Yaoshang Thabal 2017 at Pune
  • Course in Butterfly Studies at BNHS
  • Yaoshang- with DJ @Sekmai :: Gallery
  • Kangleipak Football Trophy 2017 :: Gallery
  • Thabal chongbagi Peisa khaiba #2:: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #3: Gallery
  • Cue card for the new Chief Minister
  • International Rivers Day at Tamenglong
  • What kind of Nagaland are we moving..
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Loukhatpa #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #2: Gallery
  • Election: Counting & Winnners #2:: Gallery
  • Holi Pala performance at Raj Bhavan
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: AMWJU Sports : Gallery
  • 2nd phase Polling @Chandel :: Gallery
  • Bangladesh Meetei leisabi at Sylhet
  • Churchill Brothers vs Shillong Lajong
  • Election: Counting & Winnners #1:: Gallery
  • Mamliba maikeise :: Radio e-pao
  • Saroi Khangba #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang :: A flash presntation
  • UNC in Manipur Electoral Politics #3
  • The Election Trap :: Poem
  • Mix Media Art exhibition #1 :: Gallery
  • Mountain Division Polo #2 : Gallery
  • Breast Cancer Conference :: Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #2 : Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #1 :: Gallery
  • Exam Centers for HSE 2017 : Download
  • 'Thammoi Tahoure' : Muslims' musical
  • Gita-Govinda- Dance Drama #2: Gallery
  • Rahul Gandhi @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • PM Narendra Modi #3: Gallery
  • Maphou Dam :: 360 View Panorama
  • Laisram Birendra Kumar: PadmaShri Award
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Biju Ningombam (Photos) #3 :: eRang
  • Laihui @Tanglei Music Festival :: Gallery
  • Landscape of Manipur #5: Wallpaper
  • Wareppa Naba :: Profile of Theatre Actor
  • Meiteilon Folk & Tangkhul duet : Ooba
  • Khunung Eeshei/ Ema Emoinu #3 : Radio
  • SPONSORED ADS