Manipur is a unique land where women are regarded as the mother. Women in Manipur stay awake guarding the locality whole night at designated local Meira Sang (a night vigil house for Meira Paibi- torch bearer women) while men sleep peacefully at home.
Since the colonial era, Manipuri women have been playing significant roles in the society. They fight against the ruler against the unconstitutional export and import policies; confront the armed personnel while their sons or husband are arrested. It is their voice that rises when a daughter is being raped. Freedom fighter Rani Gaidingliu; an icon of modern day Satyagraha, Irom Sharmila Chanu and Olympic champion, Mary Kom are among the proud daughters of Manipur.
Even if men freed unmarried women to go half –unclothed, they are subjected to some forms of subjugations.
In many societies, the place is generally regarded as the confining place for women. Like in many parts of the globe, in this state too, wife and daughter prepare foods in the kitchen as per the palates of the head of the family (husband). If the husband doesn’t eat potato, his wife and daughter have to forget how the potato taste looks like.
A popular saying in Manipur is women are the Secretary of Home, but men are the de facto Commander-in-Chief with an additional charge of Home. Men eat first and women serve them, sometimes they (women) need to prepare again if the “residue” is not enough for them to fill the stomach.
Eating together in a plate and touching off a husband while having lunch or dinner is strictly forbidden in Manipur mainly practice by predominant community Meitei.
In general, the Manipuri society has no practice of ‘untouchability’, but the society peculiarly forbids the male from touching cloth of women.
If rain comes suddenly and the mother is not in the home then her clothing must be remained hanging outside till she collects them.
Characteristically Manipuri women are laborious, economically self-reliance and they good in trade and commerce; they are found engaging themselves in one or another form of income generation trades. Salaried women selling clothes, cosmetics, handloom, handicraft and other items to her colleague is a common sight in the state.
The biggest and oldest market of Manipur- Khwairamband Keitehel- is run only by vendor women. But as per the customary law of the land, women are not entitling to inherit properties from their parents. According to a recent research, only 10 percent of the women own properties while men control over the economy.
THEIR PRIDE IS A CURSE
Menstruation is a sign of womanhood and pride for them. But periods in Manipur symbolise unclean and untouchable. When they are menstruating women are literary isolated from the male community and even restricted to enter the kitchen and touch their husband.