Ghost warriors of Manipur

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Manipur is a small state in the North-eastern frontier of India bordering Myanmar, consisting of a fertile valley surrounded by nine ranges of hills. Once famed for its beauty, it was aptly nick named ” Switzerland of the East” by Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India, during the British reign in India. Before it was overrun by the British and subsequently annexed to India after the British left, Manipur was a sovereign kingdom ruled by the Meitei Kings. The Meiteis were a small martial race skilled in the art of warfare and combat, their bravery and courage far more formidable than their meagre number. It was only a handful of warriors with swords and spears that stood up to the British might and fought valiantly to their death. Inevitably the entire Meitei army fell to the guns and canons of the powerful British army, getting completely annihilated, so goes the folklore and ballads that is sung even today. Today, Manipur is overrun by changes inevitably brought by passage of time and very little is left of the what once it epitomized, even its famed martial art called “ThangTa”. But every Manipuri still carries with him the pride, bravery and courage that their forefathers had, so I believe. In a traditional festival of the Meiteis called “Laiharaoba”, one can get a glimpse of the time gone by. Youths dressed in traditional costumes ride out mounted on their agile ponies followed by a huge crowd, young and old, attired in traditional costumes. It is a lovely sight to see. The images below is a small attempt on my part to take you back in time. Hope you all like it.

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