Knowledge Corner

Manipur  is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. Manipur is sometimes called alternative names such as Kangleipak orSanaleibak. It is bounded by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Burma lies to its east. The state covers an area of 22,327 square kilometres (8,621 sq mi). Its people include the Meetei, Kuki, Naga, and Pangal peoples, who speak Sino-Tibetan languages. Manipur has been at the crossroads of Asian economic and cultural exchange for more than 2,500 years. It has long connected the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia, enabling migration of people, cultures and religions.

During the British Rule, the Kingdom of Manipur was one of the princely states. Between 1917 and 1939, the people of Manipur pressed for their rights against the British Rule. By the late 1930s, the princely state of Manipur negotiated with the British administration its preference to be part of India, rather than Burma. These negotiations were cut short with the outbreak of World War II. On 21 September 1949, Maharaja Budhachandra signed a Treaty of Accession merging the kingdom into India. This merger is disputed by groups in Manipur as having been completed without consensus and under duress. The dispute and differing visions for the future has resulted in a 50-year insurgency in the state for independence from India, as well as in violence between ethnic groups in the state. Over 2010–2013, the militant insurgency was responsible for the violent death of about 1 civilian per 100,000 people, each year. The world average annual death rate from intentional violence has been 7.9 per 100,000 people.

The Meetei ethnic group, represents 53% of the population of Manipur state. The main language of the state is Meeteilon (Manipuri). By comparison, indigenous tribal peoples constitute 20% of the state population; they are distinguished by dialects and culture that are often village-based. Manipur’s ethnic groups practice a variety of religions. According to 2011 census, Hinduism andChristianity each represent about 41% of the population, while Islam, Sanamahism, Buddhism and other religions account for the rest.

Manipur has primarily an agrarian economy, with significant hydroelectric power generation potential. It is connected to other areas by daily flights through Imphal airport, the second largest in northeastern India. Manipur is home to many sports, the origin of Manipuri dance, and credited with introducing polo to Europeans.


Manipur is mentioned in historic texts as Kangleipak or Meeteileipak. Sanamahi Laikan wrote that officials during the reign of Meidingu Pamheiba in the eighteenth century adopted Manipur’s new name.

According to Sakok Lamlen, the area had different names in its history. During the Hayachak period, it was known as Mayai Koiren poirei namthak saronpung or Tilli Koktong Ahanba; in the Khunungchak period it was Meera Pongthoklam. During the Langbachak era, it became Tilli Koktong Leikoiren, and finally Muwapali in the Konnachak epoch.

The ancient history of Manipur is unclear and disputed. According to one tradition, the Manipuri people are the Gandharvas – musicians and dancers – in the Vedic texts, and historic texts of Manipuri people calls the region as Gandharva-desa. The ancient Sanskrit texts such as the Mahabharata epic mentions Manipur, where Arjuna meets and falls in love with Chitragada. Shiva and Parvati are part of the legendary Khamba-Thoibi love story in Manipur tradition.

Another tradition describes the history of Manipur to be one of a trading route between Indian subcontinent, China and southeast Asia, where it witnessed not only economic activity, but also wars, along with movement of people, culture and ideas that made it a melting pot of Indo-Burman culture. By the medieval period, marriage alliances between royal families of Manipuri kingdom, Ahom (Assam) and Burma had become common. Medieval era Manipuri manuscripts discovered in 20th century, particularly the Puya, evidence that Hindus arrived from the Indian subcontinent with royal marriages at least by the 14th century, and in centuries thereafter, from what is now modern Assam, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Dravidian kingdoms, and other regions. Another manuscript suggests that Muslims arrived in Manipur in the 17th century, from what is now Bangladesh, during the reign of Meidingu Khagemba. The socio-political turmoil and wars affected the cultural and religious demography of Manipur, particularly the persistent and devastating Manipur-Burma wars.

Manipur was annexed and became a part of the British Empire, but as a princely state. During the World War II, Manipur was the scene of many fierce battles between the Japanese invaders and the British Indian forces. The Japanese were beaten back before they could enter Imphal, which was one of the turning points of the war. After the war, the Manipur Constitution Act of 1947 established a democratic form of government, with the Maharaja as the executive head. In 1949, Maharaja Bodhchandra was summoned to Shillong, where he signed the instrument of accession to merge the kingdom into India. Thereafter the legislative assembly was dissolved, and Manipur became part of the Republic of India in October 1949. It was made a Union Territory in 1956 and a fully-fledged State in 1972.

A separatist movement has been active in Manipur since 1964, when United National Liberation Front was founded. Several groups have used violence toward achieving their goal of a sovereign Manipur. In addition, tribal peoples have demanded division of the present state into two or three Indian states along ethnic lines. This is considered one of India’s “sensitive areas”, due to its political troubles and isolated geography. Foreign travellers must gain permission from the government to enter the state.

Manipur has had a long record of insurgency and inter-ethnic violence. The first armed opposition group in Manipur, the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), was founded in 1964, which declared that it wanted to gain independence from India and form Manipur as a new country. Over time, many more groups formed in Manipur, each with different goals, and deriving support from diverse ethnic groups in Manipur. For example, in 1977 the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak(PREPAK) was formed, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was formed in 1978 which Human Rights Watch states as having received arms and training from China. In 1980, the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) was formed. These groups began a spree of bank robberies and attacks on police officers and government buildings. The state government appealed to the central government in New Delhi for support in combating this violence.

In 1980, the central government brought the entire state of Manipur under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) because its state government claimed that the use of the Armed Forces in aid of the state and local police is necessary to prevent violent deaths and to maintain law and order.

Since 1980, the application of AFSPA has been at the heart of concerns about human rights violations in the region, such as arbitrary killings, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and enforced disappearances. Its continued application has led to numerous protests, notably the longstanding hunger strike by Irom Sharmila Chanu.


The state lies at a latitude of 23°83’N – 25°68’N and a longitude of 93°03’E – 94°78’E. The total area covered by the state is 22,347 square kilometres (8,628 sq mi). The capital lies in an oval-shaped valley of approximately 700 square miles (2,000 km2) surrounded by blue mountains and is at an elevation of 790 metres (2,590 ft) above sea level. The slope of the valley is from north to south. The mountain ranges create a moderated climate, preventing the cold winds from the north from reaching the valley and barring cyclonic storms originating from the Bay of Bengal.

The state has four major river basins: the Barak River Basin (Barak Valley) to the west, the Manipur River Basin in central Manipur, the Yu River Basin in the east, and a portion of the Lanye River Basin in the north. The water resources of Barak and Manipur river basins are about 1.8487 Mham. The overall water balance of the state amounts to 0.7236 Mham in the annual water budget. (By comparison, India receives 400 Mham (million hectare meters) of rain annually.)

The Barak River, the largest of Manipur, originates in the Manipur Hills and is joined by tributaries, such as the Irang, Maku, and Tuivai. After its junction with the Tuivai, the Barak River turns north, forms the border with Assam State, and then enters the Cachar Assam just above Lakhipur. The Manipur river basin has eight major rivers: the Manipur, Imphal, Iril, Nambul, Sekmai, Chakpi, Thoubal and Khuga. All these rivers originate from the surrounding hills.


Manipur has a population of 2,721,756. Of this total, 58.9% live in the valley and the remaining 41.1% in the hilly regions. The hills are inhabited mainly by the Kuki, Naga, and Zomi, and smaller tribal communities and the valley mainly by the Meetei Sanamahi,Meetei Hindu,Meetei Christian, Meetei Brahmin and Meetei Pangal (Meetei Muslim).Naga and Kuki settlements are found in the valley region. Racially, Manipuri people are unique; they have features similar to Southeast Asian.

The Nagas are the second largest people in population next to the Meetei. Few of them live in the plain area; most of them live in the hill area from generation to generation.


About 41.4% of Manipuri people are Hindus. Hinduism is mostly professed by Meetei people, who are majority in the state. However, a large minority of Meetei people practices Sanamahism (traditional Meetei religion) and Christianity. Vaishnavism school of Hinduism became a dominant force in Manipur in the eighteenth century when the king, Garib Niwas (1708–48), declared it as the official State religion. This was the Vaishnavism of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Bhakti preacher of Bengal, which stressed Krishna Bhakti. The Hindu population is heavily concentrated in the Manipur valley among the Meetei people. The districts of Bishnupur, Thoubal, Imphal East and Imphal West are all Hindu majorities averaging 67.62% (range 62.27–74.81%) according to the 2011 census data.


The official languages are Manipuri (Meeteilon) and English.

The term Meetei includes Meetei Sanamahi, Meetei Christians, Meetei Hindus and Meetei Brahmins (locally called “Meetei Bamons”). The language of Meetei people, Meithei (or Manipuri), is the lingua franca in Manipur and is one of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Manipur has a diverse group of ethnic groups speaking different languages and dialects, practising Hinduism, Christianity, Sanamahism, Buddhism, Islam and other folk religions.

The languages spoken in Manipur are Manipuri (1,266,098), Poumai language/Poula (179,189), Thado (178,696), Tangkhul (139,979), Kabui (87,950), Paite (48,379), Hmar (43,137), Vaiphei (37,553),Liangmai (32,787), Bengali (27,100), Hindi (24,720), Maring (22,154), Anal (22,187), Zou (20,626), Kom (14,558), Gangte (13,752), Kuki (12,900), and Simte (10,028).

Skill Test

1. What is the number of districts present in the state of Manipur?
2. Which state is to the north of Manipur?
3. Who was the governor of Manipur in the year 2014?
4. According to the census of 2011 what is the population of Manipur?
5. Who is the Chief Minister of Manipur in the year 2014?
6. What is the official language of Manipur?
7. Which is the capital of Manipur?
8. Who was the Chief Minister of Manipur in 1995?
9. In which year did Manipur become a state?
10. What is the rank of Manipur in India interms of Area?
11. Which lake is the source to the Manipur River?
12. Which country is to the east of Manipur?
13. According to the census of 2011 what is the density of Manipur (people/ 110
14. Which is the second most followed religion in Manipur?
15. What does Manipur mean?
16. What is the total area of the state of Manipur?
17. What is the rank of Manipur in India according to the area?
18. What is the rank of Manipur in terms of Population in India?
19. Which is the state bird of Manipur?
20. Which state is to the west of Manipur?
21. According to the census of india of 2011 what is the literacy rate of Manipur?