Of, by, for women!

about 2 years ago
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There are so many things about India that we simply do not know. Probably, the North East is one of the most unexplored gem of India and it could teach us so-called modern people a lesson or two about living and treating people right.

Like this over 500-year old market in Imphal, the capital of Manipur. There is market, known as Ima Keithel or Mother’s Market and what makes it unique is that it is run exclusively by at least 4,000 women. No men own businesses here, and it has always been this way. It is the largest female only-run market in Asia, and perhaps the world.

Only married women are allowed to trade and run the stands here, and this tradition is passed on from one generation to another. The Union allows women to trade on credit - women traders can borrow the money from union for the purchase of goods and pay them back later.

In 1891, the market suffered from the stringent economic and political reforms enforced by the British who had complete control over the Manipur. Eventually in 1939, these stringent reforms led to ‘Nupi Lan‘ (or, Women’s War), a revolt against the unjust economic policies. Though the social movement died down, the pro-active role played by women in the Nupi Lan movement left an indelible mark in the society. Ima Keithel thus became a unique and memorable symbol of gender equality and women empowerment.

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