Manipur

Manipur (mənĭpŏrˈ) [key], state (2001 provisional pop. 2,388,634), 8,628 sq mi (22,347 sq km), NE India, bordered by Myanmar on the south and east. Imphal is the capital. The terrain, mostly jungle, is on a high plateau, about 2,600 ft (790 m) above sea level. The Manipur Hills have peaks rising to 8,500 ft (2,590 m) and are mainly covered in jungle. Agriculture and forestry are the major sources of income.

The inhabitants are predominantly of Mongolic stock and speak Tibeto-Burmese languages. The majority are Hindu Methei, with Naga (25%) and Kuki (15%) tribespeople making up the remainder of the population. Long-standing animosity between Nagas and Kukis has resulted in hundreds of deaths. Nagas have declared their goal is to extend the state of Nagaland to include Manipur and the two other bordering states, as well as a portion of Myanmar. In 2010 Naga groups mounted a blockade of the roads into the state that lasted some four months in several phases.

The raja of Manipur signed (1762) a treaty of protection with the British, who provided forces against invading Burmese. The area was administered from Assam state until 1947, when it became independent as British rule ended in India. In 1949, however, the raja signed under pressure an accession agreement with India, and Manipur became a territory under the direct control of the central government of India. Manipur became a state in 1972. It is governed by a chief minister and cabinet responsible to an elected unicameral legislature and by a governor appointed by the president of India.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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