Women of Manipur are not to be ruled upon by mere men. They are meant to be independent and live freely as a global citizen and not forcibly stay under the control of men.
By Marjing Mayanglambam
If you are a Manipuri then you must have surely heard of Manipur being aptly described by a Japanese Captain who came to Manipur during the Second World War as “Takane No Hana”, which means ‘A Flower on Lofty Heights’ and this small state is known to the outside world for its exquisite dances and the origin of modern polo. Such a beautifully praised land situated in the northeastern corner of India is “supposed” to be wonderful and full of surprises that soothe the mind and the heart. But indeed, it is true that expectations kill people when you get to experience Manipur starting from a small aspect to a broader view. There will be no need to sugarcoat the already deteriorated situation of this palm-shaped land by stating some beauties such as the Loktak lake where its dwellers are being driven away from their floating huts and other wonders like Ema Keithel (women’s market) where you see the sidewalk women vendors being chased and their vegetables thrashed. A short introductory paragraph of Manipur which is stated above does not make me a hater of my motherland but rather it is being voiced to spread awareness among the mass and especially the debased powerful elites of Manipur.
Patriarchy, not a big fan of it since it does no good to our society and creates chaos in the family and the society. When you know more about the world and get properly educated with a huge moral value, it will make you feel bad to adopt or support patriarchy. Women of Manipur are not to be ruled upon by mere men. They are meant to be independent and live freely as a global citizen and not forcibly stay under the control of men. If it were not for Queen Linthoingambi who saved the then Kingdom of Manipur, the present Manipur might not have been what it is now. It might have been a different scenario with a different history. There will be no further dive into history since the present situation needs to be settled and discussed upon. We know for sure that the society of Manipur is pretty much managed well by the women folk for a long period in a good and sensible way. Not just the Meira Paibi (Women torch bearers) can get all the credit for raising and protecting our society. We must not forget the extraordinary Manipuri women who belonged to many other walks of life. There won’t be a better taste of a love story than ‘Bor Saheb ongbi Sanatombi (The Princess and the political agent)’ written by the late Ebokshi M.K. Binodini. A Khullang Eshei sung by Mabok L. Bedabati will touch your heart and can let you feel romantic in a moment.
The most eye-raising situation which happened and is happening in Manipuri society is that most of what women do for the betterment of their society, they get criticized so bad by the couch seating social media using men. Hence, one can easily say that our society is “raised by women and criticized by men”. Surely some women do take part in this criticism but purely out of sheer jealousy and hatred since they cannot do what the amazing women are doing. Let us bring some recent cases where the works of women are being criticized. The decorative head gear called Urikset are worn by women as a part of their costume while dancing and even for fashion purposes but now it is being criticized and many weird rules are being imposed on how and where to use this headgear, and this case happened after a well-known Meitei film star of Manipur used the Urikset in the Lai Haraoba (Merrymaking with Gods) festival. The criticism came with a Facebook post where photos of other figures of Manipur were uploaded, and a long caption was written.
It was forced labour of the Manipuri men and man-made famine that caused the famous Nupi Lan (Women’s war) two times in Manipur, and we must be careful that such a war does not occur again. The sleeping lioness must not be woken up for they will bring destruction stronger than before. Feminism is getting popular in Manipur and women cannot be discriminated against any longer by men. Still, there are many cases of women being tortured, raped, forcibly eloped, and deprived of their fundamental rights by men. Is this because the government is not taking measures to control and prevent such incidents? Or is the patriarchal society the main reason for all these? Dear Women! Raise your voice, claim your rights, fight injustice, and take what is yours given by God and democracy. You are the one who shall be responsible for bringing peace and the development of our society. It is in your beautiful and strong hands whether to start a Nupi Lan or not!
(Marjing Mayanglambam is a Pena Balladeer and a writer)