(Last Updated on : 12/08/2011)
Tribes of Manipur
are one of the most distinctive features of the state which are scattered over an area of 22,347 sq km, surrounded by Nagaland
in the north, Mizoram
in the south, Assam
in the west and Myanmar in the west. With its capital at Imphal
, Manipur is one of the most colourful states of India which has a moderate temperature. Manipur includes a wide area of 14, 365 sq km of area under natural vegetation which is about 64% of total geographical area. Broadly this area covers four types of forest which provide livelihood to its local tribal community.
Tribes of Manipur
Tribes of Manipur which represent a unique feature of the land include at least 29 communities that originated from Tibetan- Burmese tribal group of Mongoloids. The tribal community of Manipur is quite enriched that has travelled from all the surrounding areas of Assam and Meghalaya
. The state of Manipur is largely inhabited by four types of tribes along with other tribes. This includes the Meities and Pangals who inhabit the lower regions of the valley; while the hilly regions of Manipur are mainly populated by the Naga tribes
and Kuki tribes. Along with these tribal community of Manipur include 29 more tribal communities which are Aimal, Anal
, Chote, Gangte
, Kachanaga, Kairao, Koirang, Kom
, Lamgang, Mao, Maram
, Purum, Ralte, Sema
, Simte, Sabte, Tangkul, Thadou
, Vaipha and Zou.
Among these, the Naga group consists of Anal, Angami, Kabui, Kachanaga, Kairao, Koirang, Lamgang, Mao, Maram, Maring, Mizo, Monsang, Moyon, Ralte, Sema, Sabte, and Tangkul; while rest of the tribes belong to Kuki group. Broadly these groups are enlisted as Naga group and non- Naga group. While there exists a number of tribal groups in the Manipur they also include their own dialects which vary from region to region.
Naga and Non-Naga Tribes of Manipur
Tribes of Manipur also include a huge group of Kuki tribes who migrated to these regions from upper lands. The migratory habit of the people encourages the cultural practice of handing down leadership from the father to the son, who inherits the wealth of the deceased father. The Naga group tribes have great ethnic and cultural affinities with the people of Nagaland, whereas the Kuki group has the affinity with the Chin and Mizos of the south. The Naga group tribes have varied physical characters. They have the gold to brown colour of the Mongoloid trait. Among the Non-Naga group-the Aimol, Chote, Chiru, Kom and Purum are slim and dark.
Tribes of Manipur along with the major Naga group and non Naga group include many core tribal groups, among which Hmar is one of the prominent sub-tribes of Mizo. They are settled in Manipur since the year 1872. The Hmars are a distinct community with respect of their traditions, culture and social customs. Hmars claim their origin from the Singlung which is located in central or south-west China.
Kabui tribe are the second popular tribe which is one of the sub-tribes of the Naga tribe. They call themselves as Rongmei. They are divided into four clans-Kamai, Golmai, Gangmai, and Langmai. Manipuri and Hindi languages are spoken by them fluently. Roman script is also used by them. This is followed by Maram tribe which is one of the Naga tribes of Manipur and is only tribe of the state who has been included in the list of primitive tribal group of India. They are mainly found in Tabudi sub-division of Senapati district
of Manipur. Angami tribe
is another tribal group often found in Manipur who follow a simple lifestyle, quite similar to all the other tribes of Manipur. They are mainly farmers, cultivating almost 26 varieties of paddy. Exquisite woodcrafts and artefacts are important. Festivals are feted, with 10 day long Phousanyi, are considered important. Baite tribes are important which has a literal meaning signifying one who cannot walk properly due to injury.
Tribes of Manipur along with these include some more groups like the Tangkhul tribe
which resides in the Indo-Myanmar border occupying Ukhrul District
of Manipur. Paites are another group of tribes which are often fond in Manipur, Burma, Bangladesh and the surrounding areas. They largely concentrate on the north eastern part of India within the Lamka Town of Churachandpur
of Manipur state. Such are the Mao group of Tribes who are largely found in the state of Manipur along with other tribes.
Thus, the colourful state of Manipur is largely inhabited by the tribal communities which define the cultural traditions of Manipur and its strength of assimilation.