Key Facts About Meitei Community

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Overview:

Tensions erupted in several parts of Manipur recently after a solidarity march organised by a tribal students’ union to oppose the demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by a section of the majority Meitei community in the state.

About Meitei Community:

  • The Meitei people, also known as the Manipuri people, are the predominant ethnic group of Manipur State.
  • They speak the Meitei language (officially called Manipuri), one of the 22 official languages of India and the sole official language of Manipur State.
  • Distribution:
    • The Meiteis primarily settled in the Imphal Valley region in modern-day Manipur, though a sizable population has settled in the other Indian states of Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram. 
    • There is also a notable presence of Meitei in the neighbouring countries of Myanmar and Bangladesh. 
    • The Meitei ethnic group represents about 53% of Manipur's population.
  • Clans: They are divided into clans, the members of which do not intermarry.
  • Economy: Rice cultivation on irrigated fields is the basis of their economy
  • Religion: A majority follow Hinduism, while more than 8% are Muslims.

What is Yaoshang Festival?

  • It is celebrated by the Meitei people at the same time as Holi and is known as ‘Manipur’s version of Holi’.
  • The five-day-long celebration begins with the burning of ‘yaoshang’ (a small thatch hut/straw hut), which is constructed with bamboo and straws on the first day.
  • The highlight of the festival is the ThabalChongba, a traditional Manipuri folk dance where boys and girls hold hands and sing and dance in a circle. 
  • The festival marks the rejuvenation of the spirit of life and commemorates the birthday of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

 


Q1) Which are the major ethnic groups in Manipur?

Broadly speaking, three main ethnic groups are found in the State viz. Meitei, Naga and Kuki-Chin-Mizo or Kuki-Chin or popularly the Kukis in short. The tribal groups (Scheduled Tribes) in Manipur are classified into two- the Naga and Kuki.

Source: Manipur: After Violence During Protest Marches, Curfew Imposed, Mobile Internet Suspended