Ima Keithal

Ima Keithal

Author: TG Contributor
Date: 2020-05-09

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Ima Keithel which literally translates to Mother's Market is a market place run and operated exclusively by women. It’s also known as Nupi Keithel or women’s market which is lesser known. The market place has three buildings today with more than 6000 women selling household goods from textiles to groceries to fruits and vegetables. Besides these buildings there are temporary stalls under tin and tarpaulin sheds along the road side. This market is also a good place to source out local handicrafts and handlooms. The market is located in the heart of Imphal town just a kilometer away from the Kangla Fort in the Khawairaband Bazaar area. Ima Keithal also hold the record for being the largest only women operated market in Asia which is managed by cooperative of vendors from the market place.

The idea behind this enterprise started when 1533 Kangleipak state imposed the law of lallup-kaba, this law decreed that the male members of the meitei community between the age of 17 to 60 years must go for work in distant lands and join the army. The women folk left behind were forced to take over the managing the day to day life chores from tilling the fields to gathering the produce and selling in market place. These improvised market places were collectively called Ima Keithel and kept on shifting from place to place. During the British rule the with their economic and social reforms the operations of the market place suffered leading to revolts by women locally known as Nupi Lan or Women’s wars in 1933 to 1945. These revolts and agitations eventually evolved into a movement for constitutional and administrative reforms. Post Independence Ima Keithal again became the hub of all commercial activities. In 2010 the Imphal Municipal Corporation constructed the present buildings making the market once again the centre of commercial activities and a hub for socio political discussions.

Imphal,_Manipur

Ima Keithal


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