GUWAHATI: In ethnically-sensitive Manipur, some NGOs and civil society groups are creating awareness among the Meiteis (Manipuris) on raising more children.
On its third anniversary on Sunday, the “Iramdam Kanba Apunba Lup” (homeland protection group) rewarded 13 women with cash prizes and citations for having more children and providing them with quality education. One of the awardees is a mother of 15 children, another of 11 while two others are mothers of nine each. Some teachers were also feted for excellence.
Wangoi MLA, Oinam Lukhoi Singh of the Trinamool Congress, who attended the function as the chief guest, insisted the Meiteis raise more children given their low population. “The Meiteis should thoroughly analyse family planning as their population is very low,” he categorically said According to the 2011 census, the Manipuris have around 40%-45% of the state’s 28 lakh population. Various tribal groups and the “outsiders” make up rest of the population.
Former Minister N Biren said the Meitei population was less than the non-Meitei population. The non-Meiteis include tribal communities such as Nagas, Kukis and other ethnic groups, besides the outsiders.
“Of the state’s 28 lakh population, the population of the Meiteis will be around 12-13 lakh. Around five to six lakh will be outsiders. The tribals make up rest of the population,” he told Express. The awareness for Meiteis to raise more children is being created locally by some NGOs and civil society groups.
They are trying to mobilise public opinion about it.
“It’ll be very difficult to convince people as it wholly depends on their economic condition. Certainly, those who are not economically sound, will not like to raise more children,” Biren argued.
The Meiteis are settled in Imphal Valley and the tribals live in the five hill districts of Ukhrul, Senapati, Chandel, Tamenglong and Churachandpur. The Nagas have a large population in the first four districts and the Kukis in Churachandpur.
The Imphal Valley has 40 of the state’s 60 Assembly seats and is surrounded by the hills. The Manipuris are constantly worried over their territorial integrity.