Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Meitei's

The Meiteis are the majority ethnic group of Manipur, India, and because of this are sometimes referred to as Manipuris. The Meitei people are made up of seven clans, who trace their written history back to 33 A.D.
The Meitei society has shared with the nagas and kukis, the other two dominant communities settled mainly in the hills. The seven clans of the meiteis ruled in different principalities, mainly in the valley. The Meitei feudal Kingdom started at around 33 AD when King Pakhangba of the Ningthouja Dynasty or so called Sagei, united all the seven clans and ascended the throne.
The term Meitei now refers to four social groups now - the Meitei marup (believe in only Meitei culture and God), Meitei goura (believe in both Meitei and Hindu gods), the Meitei Brahmins (locally called Bamons) and the Meitei Muslims (called Meitei Pangal or just Pangal). All of them speak Meiteilon or the dailect as their mother-tongue.

The majority of the Meiteis follow Vaishnavite Hinduism, mixing it with their ancient Meitei religion, known as "Sanamahi or the Sanamahism". Although, most of the Meiteis view Sanamahi as a part of their livelihood. Vaishnavaism was made the state religion much later at around in 18th Century by King "Pamheiba" and it remained as that till the defeat of Manipur by the British in 1891. Close to one-fifth of the Meiteis follow Sanamahism,estimated from the 2001 Census where nearly 11% of the population of Manipur were catagorised under 'other ' religion.

On 14th of May, 1945, the Meitei Marup (Organisation of Meitei Body) was formed in Manipur, which led to the revival of Meetei traditional, cultures, scripts(Meitei Mayek), customary practices, and traditional religious ceremonies related to the Meitei society. Old beliefs and religious bindings were untied and the beliefs of emerging movement began to take their place.
According to the Sanamahi mythology, the Meiteis are the descendants of the Lord Pakhangba, one of the Son of the Meiteis Almighty God Sidabamapu, the creator of the Universe.
In the olden days men used to wear Khudei a short knee length wraped a round and for women phanek. But as time changed and people converted into vaishanavism and started contacting with other societies. They changed their dressing sense also and adapted with pheijom with printed called "khamenchatpa". And for women , phanek mayek naiba or masarai phanek with enaphi. As time pass by people started making such cloth in different fabric.

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