Manipur is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. Manipur is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south and Assam to the west; it also borders Myanmar to the east. It covers an area of 22,347 square kilometres (8,628 sq mi). Geographically, it falls under the Southeast Asia region. It's location gives a strategic advantage to international relations which can help in boosting it's economy by enhancing trade and commerce and political ties with the countries of Southeast Asia and nations like China and Bangladesh, which otherwise is a sleepy and backward region devoid of actual developmental programmes or a region which survives on grants and sympathy rather than on talent and human resource.
Places to visit
Imphal is the capital of the Indian state of Manipur.In the heart of the town and surrounded by a moat, are ruins of the old Palace of Kangla. Kangla Fort used to be the home of the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force and on November 2004 it was handed over to state of Manipur by Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. Another place of historical interest is the Polo Ground which is the oldest existing polo ground in the world. Near the Polo Ground is the Manipur State Museum, which has a collection of old artifacts and pictures depicting the history of Manipur. 'Ima Keithel' at Khwairamband Bazar is the only market in the world where, as the name suggests, all the stalls are run by women
Keibul Lamjao National Park
The Keibul Lamjao National Park is a national park in the Bishnupur district of the state of Manipur in India. It is 40 km2 (15.4 sq mi) in area, the only floating park in the world, located in North East India, and an integral part of Loktak Lake.
The national park is characterized by many floating decomposed plant materials locally called phumdis. To preserve the natural refuge of the endangered Manipur Eld's Deer or Brow-antlered Deer (Cervus eldi eldi), or Sangai also called the Dancing Deer, listed as an endangered specie by IUCN, the park which was initially declared as a Sanctuary in 1966, was subsequently declared as National Park in 1977 through a gazette notification. The Act has generated local support and public awareness.
Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in northeastern India, also called the only Floating lake in the world due to the floating phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition) on it, is located near Moirang in Manipur state, India.The etymology of Loktak is Lok = "stream" and tak = "the end". The Keibul Lamjao National Park, which is the last natural refuge of the endangered sangai or Manipur brow-antlered deer (Rucervus eldi eldi), one of three subspecies of Eld's Deer, covering an area of 40 km2 (15 sq mi), is situated in the southeastern shores of this lake and is the largest of all the phumdis in the lake.
This ancient lake plays an important role in the economy of Manipur. It serves as a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply. The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fisherman who live in the surrounding areas and on phumdis, also known as “phumshongs”. Human activity has led to severe pressure on the lake ecosystem. 55 rural and urban hamlets around the lake have a population of about 100,000 people.
The Meiteis (Meeteis), who live primarily in the state's valley region, form the primary ethnic group. Their language, Meiteilon (Meeteilon), (also known as Manipuri), is also the lingua franca in the state, and was recognized as one of the national languages of India in 1992. The Muslims (Meitei-Pangal) also live in the valley; the Kukis and Nagas live in the hills of the state. Manipur is considered a sensitive border state.
Foreigners entering Manipur (including foreign citizens born in Manipur) must possess a Restricted Area Permit, which can be obtained from the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office in the "metros" (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai) or certain other state government offices. Permits are valid for only 10 days, and visitors must travel only on tours arranged by authorised travel agents, in groups of four. Furthermore, they may come to Imphal only by air and are not permitted to travel outside the capital.
Manipur came under British rule as a princely state in 1891 and existed until 1947, when it acceded to the newly independent Union of India. During the Second World War, Manipur was the scene of many fierce battles between the Japanese and the Allied forces. The Japanese were beaten back before they could enter Imphal, and this proved to be 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 and an elected legislature. In 1949, Maharaja Budhachandra was summoned to Shillong, capital of the then Indian province of Assam. The legislative assembly was dissolved on the controversial annexation of the state with the republic of India in October 1949. Manipur was a union territory from 1956 and later became a full-fledged state in 1972.
Manipur became a Union Territory in 1956 and later, in 1972, a full-fledged state of India with Muhammad Alimuddin becoming the first statehood Chief Minister (1972–74).
There has been a separatist movement in Manipur since 1964 with the establishment of United National Liberation Front, with several violent groups desirous of a sovereign Manipur.Special permission must also be obtained for those who wish to enter Manipur, as it is considered a "sensitive area" on account of its political troubles and geographical location.
Manipur has a population of 2,388,634. Of this total, 58.9% live in the valley and the remaining 41.1% in the hilly region. The hills are inhabited mainly by the Nagas, Kukis (Chin-Mizos) and smaller tribal communities and the valley mainly by the Meiteis, Pangal, and "Bhamons" who are literally non-Meiteis). Some Naga and Kuki settlements are also found in the valley region. Racially, Manipuri people are far more similar to Southeast Asians than to mainland Indians. The distribution of area, population and density, literacy rate, etc. as per the 2001 Census
Theatre and society in Manipur are intimately linked, as in many parts of the world. Manipuris are a culturally enthusiastic people. Cultural spirit has never been allowed to be blown out despite the area's remoteness from the outside world. This is why it still thrives in the Manipur valley.
Theatre has always been part of the Laiharaoba festivals since time immemorial. Theatre in Manipur today can be broadly divided, based on the texts, into religious and secular. The former is the adaptation of religious epics or some episodes from them, performed mainly in the sacred sphere such as temples. Within this Gauralila (the story of the childhood days of Caitanya Mahaprabhu), Sanjenba (an episode from the play between Krishna and his cows and his Gopis), and Udukhol (an episode from Krishna's childhood days) can be incorporated. They are seasonal performances commanding spiritual devotions among the audience.
Secular theatre is mostly confined to themes that are not religious and is performed in the secular or profane spheres. Within these are Shumang lila and Phampak lila (stage drama). Though the religious genre is loved profoundly by the audience, the torch of theatre is being held aloft by the secular ones. Among the latter also Shumang lila commands a very wide rustic popularity among the audience though the stage drama still does not lack its serene and dignified position mostly because of its community-based themes and styles. Etymologically Shumang lila is the combination of "Shumang" (courtyard) and "Lila" (play or performance). It is performed in an area of 13/13 ft in the centre of any open space, in a very simple style without a raised stage or any set design or heavy props such as curtains, background scenery, visual effects, etc. It uses only one table and two chairs, kept on one side of the performance space. Its claim to be the theatre of the masses is underlined by the way it is performed in the middle of an audience that surrounds it, leaving only one passage as both entrance and exit.