TODAY -

Meetei Tribe Bears More Tribal Characters Among The Indigenous People Of Manipur

Dr. Thangjam Ranjit *

 46th Nongkhrang Ehanba at Lilong Erong :: 19th February 2019 .
46th Nongkhrang Ehanba at Lilong Erong on 19th February 2019 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



Meetei Community is one of the main tribes of Manipur and North East India and possesses all the characteristic of becoming a tribe living in permanent society. Though, the majority of Meetei population embraces Hindusim/Vaishnovism, they do not give up their age-old traditions, cultures, way of life, etc, of their fore fathers.

They have been following the rituals of birth, marriage, death etc in the way their fore-fathers were practicing, even before the time of their conversion into Hinduism during the reign of King Pamheiba(1709-1848). This is again confirmed by the census of India 1931,vol-I page-430, it records “Manipuris” as wholly “Hindu Tribe” but retaining their distinctive language and culture”.

Followers of Sanamahism/Meeteism which constitute over two lakhs population also have been strictly following traditions and cultures of their forefathers till date similar to other Meetei Hindus.

The fact that Meeteis are living in a permanent tribal society are borne out by the historic resolution of the International Labour Organization(ILO), a specialized agency of UNO, which adopted its Convention No. 169 in 1989, based on general attitude of respect for the cultures and way of life of indigenous and tribal people, and the fundamental assumption that indigenous and tribal people constitute permanent societies. This landmark resolution, however, contradicts ILO convention No,107 of 1957 which is based on temporary tribal societies but obsolete now,

The fact that Meetei (Manipuri) is tribe/Principal tribe of Manipur and N.E. India is authenticated by many official records, gazetteers, publications, memoirs books, etc.

Mention may be made of Census of India 1891, 1901 and 1931; Imperial Gazetteer of Bengal and Assam (1909); Gazetteer of Manipur by Caption EW Dunn (1886), Gazettter of Bengal and N.E. India (1909); Statistical Accounts of the Native State of Manipur, the Hill Territory, under its Rules by Dr. R. Brown, Political Agent in Manipur (1873); the New Encyclopedia Britannica; Ethnicity and Social Change by Prof,. Gangmumei Kamei, among others.

History of the Tangkhul Nagas written by A.S. W. Shimray mentions Tangkhuls and Meeteis are descendants of the same progenitor and that ancestors of the Tangkhuls and Meeteis are brothers. The Meiheis” written by T.C. Hodson, late Political Agent of Manipur (an Anthropologist) mentions Meitei as a tribe, so on and so forth.

On the other hand, people in the hills, except few thousands Zeliangrongs, almost 99% of the population have embraced Christianity but have abandoned their traditional cultures and ways of life. In other words, the old rituals of birth, marriage, death, etc,. of their forefathers which were in practice before embracing Christianity are no longer in practice.

They are living in the way true Christians of the West are living, forgetting the old tradition and culture of their forefathers. However, in the midsts of strong influence of Christianity in the hills and Hinduism in the valley area of the state, sizeable population of the Meitei and Zeliangrong are still following their all cultures and traditions of their forefathers, in the name of “Sanamahi” and Tingkao Rangwa.

That is why, UNO describes such communities, who have been following the old cultures, tradition and way of life of their ancestors as “Permanent Tribal Society”. Again, Meetei being a bonafide indigenous people of the state and following old cultures and traditions of their forefathers are scheduled tribe, according to the Supreme Court of India, the highest Court of the country, as per its judgment(Criminal Appeal No.11/2011(Special) Leave petition No. 10367 of 2010) of 5th, 2011, which state “Scheduled Tribes or Adivasis are the original inhabitants of India and constitutes about 8% of our total population.

Again, Meetei qualifies the old and new criteria laid down by the Govt. of India/ Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

The old criteria are:

1. Indication of Primitive traits.
2. Distinctive culture.
3. Shyness of contact with the community at large.
4. Geographical isolation.
5. Backwardness.

The new criteria (under consideration) proposed by Panda Committee 2014 are:

1. Autonomous religious practices, although practicing the Hindu way of life would not be a bar.
2. Marital relationship with other tribes (majority in the tribe should marry within the tribe or with other tribes not with non Tribals).
3. Distinctive culture.
4. Historical and Geographical isolation.
5. Socio- economic and educational backwardness.
6. Distinctive language.

Meeteis having been officially documented as a tribe or principal tribe earlier, qualify both the old and new criteria of being a tribe in the context of Article 342 (1) of the Indian Constitution, and accordingly Meetei can be enlisted in the ST list of the state/country and receive constitutional safeguard for Manipur Valley where Meeties can inhabit in scheduled Area in the same manner as that of the hills areas of the state by hill people. This way fertile Imphal valley area which is producing tasty and substantial food grains, vegetables, fishes, etc. can be saved for livelihood of both the people living in the hills and valley.

Had Meetei is been enlisted in the ST list along with our brethren in the hills, without indulging in corruption by the then so called educated people of the state to the visiting members of Minority Commission of the Govt. of India in 1950, the present situation of mistrust and seemingly hill-valley divide among the people in the state would not have been existed but a peaceful, progressive and harmonious tribal society of a hill state called Manipur.

We can achieve this status of Manipuri society in near future if the Meetei are given ST status by Government of India under Article 342(1) of the Indian constitution. We should remember that the indigenous people in the state are looked upon as tribes by the people of North East, India and world over except few immigrant STs.


* Dr. Thangjam Ranjit wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer is a resident of Sinam Leikai, Thangmeiband
This article was posted on April 01 2019.


* 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
  • Laibi Oinam : Lady Auto Driver ...
  • Covid-19 Status 03 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Relief @ Bungte Chiru Village: Gallery
  • Impact of childhood exposure to environment
  • Who to blame for CCpur COVID +ve explosion
  • Covid-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Govt Update on Stranded Manipuri- 03 June
  • Interior Designer at R-Square (Imphal)
  • Disqualification of 7 MLAs (NPF), Nagaland
  • Webinar on mental health during COVID-19
  • Battle for RS seat
  • Factors for spread of COVID-19
  • Train @Jiri [May 28] #2 : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 02 June : Govt of Manipur
  • World Bicycle Day - 3rd June
  • Delimitation exercise in Manipur
  • Deputation of manpower from IBSD, Imphal
  • Relief Services at Bungte Chiru Village
  • Open Letter to CM
  • 'Baseless allegations against Congress'
  • Webinar on Community Engagement (RCCE)
  • Need to keep virus contained
  • Geographical Indication, Leirum Phee & others
  • Covid-19 Status 01 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Lockdown 5.0 : Guidelines [01 June]
  • No excuse for inaction: #EndTobacco
  • Open Letter reg. Faumei Gonglin
  • Date of Poll : Deferred Rajya Sabha Poll
  • Hearing of suo motu criminal contempt case
  • Dedicated COVID-19 hospital
  • Lockdown phobia
  • Relief Services in 5 dists #1 : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 31 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Lockdown Relief Services in 5 districts
  • COVID Saab & Brain Gain
  • Tech Determinism: Privacy vs Surveillance
  • Covid-19 Curfew Violators - 31 May
  • Gulmohar :: Poem
  • 'COVID-19- broken governance in Nagaland'
  • COVID-19 : Trace, Test and Treat
  • Thang Ta at Sangai Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 30 May : Govt of Manipur
  • June Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Consent in Medical Practice
  • India-Taiwan/ Global Bamboo-Tech Forum
  • Rise in gender-based violence during COVID
  • Covid-19 : Govt Order - 30 May
  • Another blessing in disguise
  • Rajkumari Muktasana - Artiste : Gallery
  • A novitiating criminal lawyer's reflections
  • Childline Thoubal, frontlines during lockdown
  • Webinar on 'Dynamics of Online Education'
  • Share market as career options
  • The Beauty of It :: Poem
  • Countdown to May 31
  • Contemplating on the impending changes
  • Train @Jiri [May 28] #1 : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 28 May : Govt of Manipur
  • 'Fisabishiing Thabak Suhanbiyu'
  • Thoughts random: In times of coronavirus - V
  • Appeal to CM from Students in Delhi
  • Deadly Darkness :: Poem
  • 'Avoid stigmatization against Returnees'
  • Martin Ennals Award 2021 : Nominations
  • Make information come more freely
  • Need for greater aggression & sterner actions
  • Stuctures @ Willong Khullen, Maram : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 27 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Discussion with tribal leader- 27 May : Gallery
  • A walk to remember :: Poem
  • School at Senapati as quarantine center
  • Delhi Declaration- environmental conservation
  • Letter to Governor on Lhukhosei Zou's case
  • Increase of COVID-19 +ve cases in Nagaland
  • Dialogue: Inequality-Bridging the Divide
  • Learning to live with COVID-19
  • I Rise :: Film Synopsis & Biography
  • Covid-19 Status 26 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Legal framework behind Lockdown, Curfew
  • Furnishing of Fees Info from Private School
  • Curfew Violators - 26 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Continuing woes of people in Manipur
  • Increasing positive cases of COVID-19
  • Measures @ Imphal Airport - 25 May : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 25 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Modified SOP for Air Traveller- 25 May : GOM
  • Haoginlun, Chingdakoiba: eMing
  • Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Manipur
  • COVID-19 & ecology, environment in Manipur
  • Vegetable flood at Wabagai during lock down
  • Technology to the rescue
  • M.K Binodini Devi's Sense of Beauty
  • Covid-19 Status 24 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Monkeys seen on the streets of Imphal
  • Id-Ul-Fitr :: Book
  • Make in Manipur, try Yu
  • SOP for Air Traveller- 24 May : Manipur Govt
  • Economic Relief package for small business
  • Manipur Muslims stranded in Gujarat
  • Bracing up for arrival by air
  • Motsillaba Mingsel : Film Synopsis
  • Covid-19 Status 23 May : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 emergency response- observation
  • Ugly side of lockdown during COVID-19
  • International Day of Biodiversity 2020
  • Requests for Orders on 7th UGC Pay
  • Mother - A Deity :: Poem
  • Preparing for the inevitable change
  • Phisakol #3 :: eRang
  • Covid-19 Status 22 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Two students at 'Model Conference of Parties'
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • It's a cup of my Tea - International Tea Day
  • Govts' accountability in response to COVID-19
  • Online Faculty Development Program at RGU
  • Verse for Schoolchildren :: Poem
  • Growing number of positive cases
  • Tending to the trivialities in time
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
  • Covid-19 Status 21 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Issues of Manipuri nurses in Kolkata
  • Item Distribution to Quarantine centres
  • Orders/Memo - 21 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Workshop On Writing Research Paper
  • Appeal to all the Stranded Denizens
  • 'Reverify the lists of evacuees'
  • Helpline for Women Entrepreneurs of NE
  • Focus on quarantine centres
  • Counting on our collective responsibilities
  • Art has no gender & neither do Artists
  • Covid-19 Status 20 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Medical assistance to journalist awarded
  • 13th Manipur State Film Awards, 2020
  • Power loom weave intricately designed cloth
  • Dilemma after High School
  • Quarantine Centre- Negligence at Saitu, Kpi
  • 'This is no time to politicize the pandemic'
  • Highest spike on single day with 16
  • Foresight & vision - need of the hour
  • Distribution for Manipuri @ Blore: Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 19 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Hand sanitizer to Journalists : Gallery
  • Manipur Migrants in Bengaluru's Safety Net
  • Orders/Memo [19 May] : Govt of Manipur
  • A Forbidden Love : Poem
  • Social advocacy as career choice
  • Total curfew : Confusing the people
  • Preparing for the long haul
  • Tungjoi Glory Day #2 : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 18 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Gandhi's talisman.. to reform public health
  • A view of the Thames
  • COVID-19 knocks our education system
  • Clarification from Mumbai Returnee [May 18]
  • Nagaland : Demand for Special Trains
  • Beating China on the tally
  • Turning threat into opportunity
  • How Lockdown impact Textile Industry
  • Covid-19 Status 17 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Fight COVID-19 !! :: Poem
  • Thoughts random: In times of coronavirus- IV
  • Webinar series with a focus on COVID-19
  • COVID-19 gi matangda suggestion khara
  • Urges to impose curfew on Eid-ul-Fitr
  • Hundreds and hundreds returning
  • Emotional reverberations during COVID-19
  • Covid-19 Status 16 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Ningombam Sunibala : NE Success Stories
  • Home Sweet Home vis-a-vis Lockdown Exodus
  • Issue of Curfew Pass [May 16]
  • e-Videos Learning should be made in English
  • The Old Man in the Evening :: Poem
  • The silver lining
  • Kabui Lai of Kakching
  • Covid-19 Status 15 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Have you ever sanitize your mind ?
  • Challenges in the new normal
  • We Real Brave :: Poem
  • Know our health care system
  • How about the 14 days quarantine ?
  • Psychological side of COVID-19 epidemic
  • Associates & Junior Associates at MaolKeki
  • Know our health care system & shortcomings
  • Quarantine Centre @Thangmeiband: Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 14 May : Govt of Manipur
  • The Princess & The Political Agent : Preview
  • Self-Sufficiency: A Shibboleth ?
  • Running business not just to survive lockdown
  • A Symphony on Spring :: Poem
  • 'No concrete roadmap by Nagaland govt'
  • Coronavirus, lockdown, stranded people
  • Unattended struggle of Phige Weavers
  • Covid-19 Status 13 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #2: Gallery
  • Relief exchange- Moidangpok & Keikao, Tml
  • Unheeded Balance :: Poem
  • Arsenal's new home
  • Getting ready for lockdown 4.0
  • Preparing for the shifting battle line
  • Barak River, Tamenglong #1 :: Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 12 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Bishnupur Dist. Orders / Memo [May 12]
  • Vaccination of cattle at Khumbong
  • Bus for Stranded Manipuris in Guwahati
  • Startups in the time of corona crisis
  • Naming children after pandemic
  • Growing number of infected
  • Adversity to opportunity
  • The Princess & the Political Agent : eBook
  • Covid-19 Status 11 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Huishu village, Chingai, Ukhrul Dist. : Gallery
  • Nurse unite to demand universal public health
  • Transport of stranded students from Shillong
  • Of kombirei and daffodil
  • Impact of lockdown on economy of Manipur
  • Opening the doors amid the lockdown
  • Preparing for the inevitable future
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Quarantine Centre @Kwakeithel : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 10 May : Govt of Manipur
  • SOP : Returning by Train to Manipur
  • Foreign Nationals stranded in Northeast
  • The International Mother's Day 2020
  • Lonely Days at Home :: Poem
  • Keep helping the poor amid COVID-19
  • From chinky to coronavirus
  • Rajkumari Muktasana : Dance Artiste
  • Covid-19 Status 09 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Impact on children during lockdown
  • Movement Pass Register - Resident Govt
  • Mother, The Giver ! :: Poem
  • Improving English during lockdown
  • Nagaland Govt to bring back stranded citizen
  • Road to unity
  • Paoki Fest @ Purul, Senapati: Gallery
  • Taja mgidi ya_Aodbr :: Seireng
  • A view on soccer training
  • Covid-19 Status 08 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Wetlands of Manipur : Documentary Film
  • Contribution of AR in Empowerment of women
  • Understanding stranded persons
  • nuHsi K_waHceY :: Seireng
  • Covid-19 Status 07 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Vagabond :: Poem
  • Best materials for homemade mask
  • E-Learning during COVID-19 Lockdown
  • Our careers and COVID-19
  • Need to expand commercial centres
  • Normalizing the act of humanism
  • Landscape to Dzukou Valley #4 : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 06 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Our part in the coronavirus lockdown
  • Quick nutrition garden during COVID-19
  • Lockdown Order from 6 May: Manipur Govt
  • Relief material to families at Keibul Lamjao
  • What to foresee from a Free Haircut ?
  • May 6, 2020 : Yet another day of drama
  • For Manipur, it is not COVID-19 alone
  • Luira Phanit @Kamjong #2 : Gallery
  • Distribution @Benguluru -2 May : Gallery
  • Manipur Looks Flat - Hingminnasi Eikhoi
  • MK Binodini Book Reading : Gallery
  • Europe zooms MK Binodini Devi's Literature
  • Why not carve out a future in Chakhao #2
  • Bangladeshki Sana Tampha #2 :: eRang
  • Thang Ta - Sangai Fest 2018 #2 : Gallery
  • Pallel & Kakching Keithel : Gallery
  • Tangkhul Forum vegetable for valley: Gallery
  • Items distributed to Tarao -Apr 23 #2: Gallery
  • Covid-19: Impact in Manipur :: Photos/News..
  • Language affinity betn Meiteis & Tangkhuls
  • Helpline Number for Students/ people from NE
  • SPONSORED ADS