Monday, December 12, 2005

Today is Nupi Lal

Today is Nupi Lal. It is a state Holiday in Manipur.

It means Women's War or A War fought by Women. I had written about it earlier in my Blog on Manipur .
Women have also played major roles in the politics of Manipur. Not that there have been many many politicians, but women groups do have a say in many matters. This can be dated back to 1931, when a very important event took place called the Nupi Lan. Nupi Lan marked an important event in the history of Manipur. Nupi Lan means the women's war, Nupi meaning women and Lan meaning war, when women stood up in an uprising againts what we called chak tangba( inflation of food ie rice). The war or uprising started at the said Ema Keithel, when women protested against exports of Rice to Assam to feed the Brittish when Rice itself became scarce in Manipur. But since the British were paying, more local prices shot up making it very expensive in Manipur thereby causing a lot of problems for the local populace. We rememeber the brave women who fought in nupi lan with state holiday every december the 12th. More.........


It marked a very important event in the History of Manipur and on empowerment of Manipuri Women. I don't know of any other war on a War or uprising solely by women other than for a cause solely feminist[ eg. Bra Burning]. We have also heard of Women Warriors in Jhansi Ki Rani or Joan of Arc, But Nupi Lal, was uprising by women solely for a social cause. We call elderly Manipuri women by the loving word "Ema" meaning Mother and the uprising was led by most elderly women. Even today, women groups are very strong today in Manipur as everybody must recall the Manorama Incident[Read more], when some elderly women had protested in front of the military. Even today, an informal network of local Emas (motheras) roam the streets of manipur with improvised torches. These women are called Meira Paibis or torch bearers. Started out as an informal group to punish drunkards and other social evils, they are now a very strong force who even have a say in political matters. Read about Meira paibi here.

And I believe seeds of the empowerment of women in Manipur was sown during the Nupi Lal. Everybody could learn a lesson from this historic event that equal participation of sexes can only but uplift a society. Note that, Manipur is not a Matriarchal society and the Men are not lazybums and have a history of being fierce warriors. But women have been very effective in many an event. In Manipur, women don't beg or fight for their rights and respects, they earn it and the men are fiercely protective about their women and vice versa. Do link this post and let the world know.. Crossposted at my Blog on Manipur.

# Update:
Had an eventful day, couldn't do justice to the post. It was written in less than 10 minutes, that I managed to squeeze out my schedule today. Many things had to happen today. Believe me I took 10 minutes to finish my lunch and back today, but I had to write this post. And I had to give a paper too, fortunately I passed. It indeed was a historic event for the Manipuris, and I had almost forgotten about it when my father called me up from home and told me today was Nupi lal. It is spelt as Nupi lan too. I am not so good in linguistics but both the words are used interchangeably.. You will get google results for both Nupi Lal as well as Nupi Lan. We say "Lal-hou" for uprising but "Lan-mi" for Soldier. But, now I realise we use Lan for war, but somehow I felt that Nupi Lal was what had registered in my head than did Nupi Lan.

More about Women of Manipur.

I have mentioned that Manipur is not a Matriarchal Society. But let me take this chance to explain more about the Women of Manipur. Manipuri women are not very outspoken either. In Manipur also women leave men to do the job of men, and you will find it very rare when you see a women joining in the discussions of affairs considered to be of Men. Not because, we are sexist and don't allow women to enter a converstaion of the elderly male, out of respect. The respect for men is women is Manipur is also awe-inspiring , and Men return the respect and women are not restricted by society to do anything. I have never seen a women without a head cover in front of his husband's elder brother, and I have never seen them talking too. But where it matters, women have shown enormous courage and men have never stopped them.

Women groups form small imformal credit unions and do what could be termed as microfinancing at the most grass root of levels. Though the interests are huge, there have been no case of suicide and since most the imformal financiers are women who lend to women business women, they are much more responsible and I have seen debts in lakhs written off. The knowledge of Finance like returns and yield that mother demonstarted to me made me dumdfounded. I promised my mom, if I turned entrepreneur, she will be the Finance consultant. I learnt the concept of amortization from my mother, not the definition but the concept. She who doesn't know who the Finance minister of India is.

I was just thinking what made Manipuri women what they are today. they learnt the strength of unity early on. If Shri Mahila Griha Udyog could do a lijjat papad, which was no mean feat, why can't the rest of India follow.

Manipur today is in a very bad shape, embroiled in unimaginable problems, yet I always say that I haven't lost hope. Our women are empowered.

And then things like this do happen, still.[Read at mumbaigirl's]

What do you say in Hindi, "ek se bhale do, do se bhale chaar". Unite Women Unite!!!!! Take on the World..

##Update:
This post is linked at IndianWriting , Globalvoices and our beloved Desipundit. My Heartiest thanks.

BTW, I just found out that this is my 50th post here on A Journey called Life, of course I haven't counted my posts on my old blog and other blogs. I am becoming a blog fanatic and more than 2 yrs old .. Silverine also had her 50th post.

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10 Comments:

Blogger visithra said...

One minute im reading this beautiful post on ur side and then im reading the one on mumbai girls blog- sigh mixed emotions

but ive heard of acheh (or somewhere else in indonesia) women protecting their town against the dutch - if i remember will tell ya

13/12/05 1:58 PM  
Blogger anthony said...

please do...

And Yes, two sides of a coin huh!

13/12/05 9:50 PM  
Blogger silverine said...

I have read so much about the gutsy Manipuri women and their fight against social evils like alcoholism and the recent protest against the Assam Rifles. These women are made of different mettle.

13/12/05 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Sakshi said...

Real good info.

Be careful...you might be attacked by the 'Shaming Indian Family' aka. 'Saving Indian Family' folks. :)

14/12/05 3:05 PM  
Blogger MumbaiGirl said...

Had known about Nupi lal but then forgotten-thanks for the inspiring and informative post.

14/12/05 9:47 PM  
Blogger Lizard Queen said...

i'd like to be manipuri next birth..

15/12/05 9:51 PM  
Blogger aquamarine said...

I think that is phenomenal. The case of Manipuri women should serve as an example to the rest of India and the globe, where women are abused and relegated to the background.
Seriously sounds very Utopian!

16/12/05 11:15 AM  
Blogger anthony said...

@ Silverine.. Maybe be its something every women could do. This was just a display of what women could do if stand united.

@Sakshi: LOL I am not one to get afraid of a bunch of ^%&%&^.

@ MumbaiGirl: Pleasure was mine.

@ Lizardqueen: On behalf of all manipuris, we are delighted.

@ Aquamarine: I wish, i sincerely wish...

17/12/05 8:59 PM  
Blogger anthony said...

I believe that the rest of India could take pointers in how to treat women as human beings and not as cattle from Manipur and other Northeastern states. Good to read about Nupi Lal
hathirpithi | Homepage | 12.18.05 - 1:22 am | #

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

cattle??
tony | Homepage | 12.19.05 - 12:40 am | #

4/1/06 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PETITION - JUSTICE FOR RAPE VICTIMS IN MANIPUR

Show your support: http://one.aidindia.org/manipur
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Friends,

This is an appeal for your attention towards the plight of the victims of rape and molestation in the villages of hmar region in Churachandpur district, Manipur, India that were uncovered in mid January 206. More than 20 women, many of them very young tribal girls and some as young as 13-14 years have been mass raped by miltants but the national media coverage has been deplorably scant and consequently the victims have not received proper medical treatment nor emotional support from the government till date.

Volunteers at AID Baton Rouge have drafted an online petition to be sent to the Government of India and various ministries appealing for immediate intervention and requesting more attention to this issue and the region on the whole. It will also be sent all the media entities in India.

Please visit http://one.aidindia.org/manipur to view the petition and show your support.

Media links about the incident here: http://batonrouge.aidindia.org/manipur.htm

Our volunteers are also in touch with various local NGOs and organizations, collecting more information and exploring possibilities for help for the affected women. If you wish to help in anyway or can give us any further contacts, please get in touch with any of us Manoj@ manojtammiraju@yahoo.com/(225) 614 3184. or prathyusha @ prathyushadasari@yahoo.com, supriya @ supriya_gunasekaran@yahoo.com

There is also a mass protest by student and women organizations of several ethnic groups of NE in Delhi on April-4th and we are trying to get as many forces as possible to join them and also bring it to the attention of media. Your help in this regard would be of great value - please send us any relevant contacts or information.

We also request you to forward this appeal to as many people as you can.
For more information on the incident you can contact SIPHRO, Hmar Students Association or Hmar Women's Association.

Thanks,
Manoj

PS: Little insight into situations in manipur http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manipur

1/4/06 12:41 PM  

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