Nupi Lan Day in Manipur Date in the current year: December 12, 2024

Nupi Lan Day in Manipur Nupi Lan Day is one of the official holidays in the state of Manipur. It is celebrated annually on December 12 to commemorate a women’s movement against the British colonial authorities in the first half of the 20th century.

Manipur is a state situated in Northeast India and bordered by the states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Assam, as well as by Myanmar. The Manipur Kingdom managed to remain independent for a long time, but this changed in 1824, when the ruler of Manipur agreed to a subsidiary alliance with British India because the British had offered Manipur military protection. In 1891, Manipur was incorporated into British India as a princely state.

Having gained control over Manipur, the British authorities were not particularly concerned about the welfare of the local population; they mostly cared about accumulating wealth. When the bungalows of two British officials were ravaged by fire in 1904 and needed to be rebuilt, the British decided to temporarily reintroduce Lallup-Kaba, a forced labor system that required all men between the ages of 17 and 60 to work 10 days for free after every 30 days.

This system was a heavy burden for Manipuri women as well as for men, because in the absence of men they had to do all the housework and work in the fields. In October 1904, about 5,000 women gathered at Khwairamband Bazar to protest against the reintroduction of Lallup-Kaba. Although the British authorities suppressed the protest in a week, they ultimately did rescind the order.

The protest of Manipuri women was christened Nupi Lan, which loosely translates to “women’s war”. The second Nupi Lan took place three and a half decades later, in December 1939. This time, widespread protests were triggered by a significant growth in rice export, which was beneficial to wealthy traders and the colonial authorities, but put ordinary people on the brink of starvation during the harvest season.

Once again the women of Manipur, who played an important role in the princely state’s agrarian economy, came out on the streets to demand the reduction of rice exports. The colonial authorities responded by deploying police and military force against the unarmed protesters, who only had rocks to protect themselves. The second Nupi Lan lasted for several months and began to subside following the outbreak of World War II.

The Nupi Lan movement was an important milestone in the history of Manipur because it contributed to the struggle for social, economic and political reforms and inspired many freedom fighters and social activists, including, for example, Hijam Irabot, the future leader of the Communist Party of India.

The anniversary of the outbreak of the second Nupi Lan, December 12, is an official holiday in Manipur. It is marked by remembrance ceremonies honoring women who were not afraid to protest against injustice and oppression and paved the way for administrative and constitutional reforms. Held throughout the state, the ceremonies are organized by the government of Manipur and various NGOs.

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