Manipur and The Manipuris


Manipur is a small landlocked province of the Republic of India in its extreme north-eastern region. The conglomerate of people of various creeds and cultures inhabiting Manipur are called the Manipuris. During its three millennia old history Manipur’s territory pulsated expanding sometimes to several hundred kilometers into Burma in the east and into provinces of Assam and Tripura in the west. Historically, this land was known to various people by various names such as, Moglei, Mekhlee, and Cassay etc. and also in modern times as Kangleipak. The present day Manipur can be located under the geographical coordinates: 240° N and 940° E. Its capital is Imphal.





Various anthropological and ethno-cultural accounts point to the south-central ancient China as the origin of the Manipuris constituted by the majority Meitei (or Meetei) and 29 other tribes that are grouped into the Naga, Kuki and Mizo. They speak various languages and dialects that have oriental origins. About 3 million Manipuris live in the present world about 10 % of them in Bangladesh, Burma, other provinces of India and as expatriates scattered all over the world. The Manipuris in Bangladesh and Burma are the historical migrants still persevering to preserve the Manipuri culture under the sweeping influence of an ocean of alien culture of the land where they live.

Accounts of Manipuri civilization date back to a millennium B.C. Recorded history however started around 33 A.D. when Nongda Lairen Pakhangba the first chronicled king ascended the throne. The vicissitudes of the prowess and glory of the several rulers in the hundreds of years that followed coiled around their encounters and dealings with peoples in China, Burma, Bangladesh and neighbouring principalities. The Kingdom of Manipur felled in the hands of the British Empire in 1881 and was eventually annexed to free India in 1949. Manipur became a province of the Republic of India in 1972.

Manipur has been a cradle of a unique civilization crafted from assorted elements of the orient and the Indian sub-continent. The vibrant population in the kaleidoscope of classic, tribal and modern cultures in this “paradise on earth” is visible to the world through their colourful dances and other performing arts, excellence in sports and martial arts, and unparalleled hospitality. Manipuris gave to India its classical dance the “Raas”. Manipuris gave to the world the game of “Polo”. This tiny province with a miniscule population is the breeding ground of India’s medal winners in many international sports events.

The scenic beauty of Manipur and the rich culture of its people remained hidden to foreign visitors for the past five decades as their entry in the region was restricted by the controversial Protected Area Permit (PAP). A concerted effort of the world Manipuris led by Manipuri Association of Canada (MAC) and supported by local think tanks caused removal of PAP by the Government of India from Manipur and some neighbouring provinces on December 30, 2010. This thoughtful act of India will bring a new era of development to the region free from socio-political strife. Explore Manipur.