Women’s Movement in Manipur
Women play a very important role in the social life of Manipur. A study of social life and social change of Manipur will be incomplete without a study on women. Women participate in multifarious activities of socio-economic and political matters. They does not raised only women’s issues, but raised all others social issues such as discrimination of the minorities, negligence to culture, language , marginalization due to developmental process leading to displacement, violation of human rights etc. Social movements are an effort to change institutions and practices. In Manipur the role of women in social movement can be traced back to the pre British period when Manipur was under monarchical system. Women’s movement emerged in a more organized manner with a creative ideology from the early part of the 20th century. Women’s movement in Manipur is norm oriented type and connected with reformations. Social movements came into being as reaction to the discontent, dissatisfaction and contradiction in the then society of Manipur. The first Women’s movement of 1904 was a reaction to the contemporary social problems. The immediate cause of the movement was the revival of Lallup. The Political Agent ordered the villagers to collect bamboos, thatch, reeds and other materials for the construction of the bungalow. All the people of Imaphal at least one male member of the family were ordered to extract teak wood from the kabow for the construction of the house of the Assistant Superintendent which the people protested and assembled at bazaar. The Meitei women took main part in the protest. From the side of the government all sorts of means were used for controlling the movement, using army, lathi charged, even more than five people were not allowed to assemble etc but the women did not stop their movement, they disobeyed the orders, entered into the residence of the Political Agent and Superintendent. They were injured but their relentless activities were unable to control by the British officers. So the system of lallup was stopped and peace restored in the state. Another important and remarkable women’s movement during the British period was the movement of 1939. The immediate cause of the outburst of the women’s movement of 1939 was the economic important arising out of the scarcity of rice in Manipur. The rice export was exclusively controlled by the Marwari traders during that time. They had the monopoly of purchasing of rice and paddy from the cultivators and local traders. As a result local people suffered a lot. The nature of the movement was quite democratic, but the authority tried to control the movement by using forces. The women were not ready to stop but became more serious which leads to closure of the rice mills by the concerned authority. This was a clear example of the spirit of women’s movement touching the economic aspect of the society before independence. When the British left Manipur and the state became a part of the Indian Union in 1949, the earlier hopes of protection internally and externally were shattered as in the name of protection and maintenance of law and order, their basic rights have been robbed constantly. The people of that time believe for a developed and welfare society under the different constitutional provisions. But in the name of maintenance of law and order of the state, different military forces arrived in the state along with different Acts and Bills, which hampered the rights of the people even including all human rights. The role of women in the civil society of North East India generally has a significant record. By the late 1970s and the beginning of 1980s the entire state of Manipur was under heavy combing operation by the army in order to flush out the extremists. During the operations a number of innocent people suffered a lot including women. During that women who were directly affected by the actions of the police and paramilitary forces...
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