Manipur is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. The state is sometimes referred to by alternative names such as Kangleipak and Meeteileipak. It is bounded by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Burma lies to its east. The state covers an area of 22,327 square kilometres (8,621 sq mi). Its people include the Meetei, Kuki, Naga, Pangal, Gorkhali and Bishnupriya Manipuri, who speak different types of Sino-Tibetan languages.
Manipur has been at the crossroads of Asian economic and cultural exchange for more than 2,500 years. It has long connected the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia, enabling migration of people, cultures and religions. It has also witnessed many wars, including fighting during World War II.
The Kingdom of Manipur was one of the princely states of British India. Between 1917 and 1939, the people of Manipur pressed for their rights against the British Raj. By late 1930s, the princely state of Manipur negotiated with the British administration its preference to be part of India, rather than Burma (now Myanmar). These negotiations were cut short with the outbreak of World War II. On 21 September 1949, Maharaja Budhachandra signed a Treaty of Accession merging the kingdom into India; this merger is disputed by various groups in Manipur as having been completed without consensus and under duress. The dispute and different visions for future has led to a 50-year insurgency in the state for independence from India, as well as to violence between different ethnic groups within the state. Over 2010-2013, the militant insurgency was responsible for the violent death of about 1 civilian per 100,000 people, each year.The world’s average annual death rate from intentional violence has been 7.9 per 100,000 people.
The Meetei, who live primarily in the state’s valley region, form the primary ethnic group (27% of the total population). Tribal people constitute 30% of the state population. The term Meetei includes Meetei Sanamahi, Meetei Christians, Meetei Hindus and Meetei Brahmins (locally called “Bamons”). The language of Meetei people, Meithei (or Manipuri), is the lingua franca in Manipur and is one of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Other than Meetei people, Manipur has a diverse group of ethnic groups speaking different languages and dialects, variously practicing Hinduism, Christianity, Sanamahism, Buddhism, Islam and other folk religions.
Manipur is primarily an agrarian economy, with significant hydroelectric power generation potential. It is connected by daily flights through Imphal airport, the second largest airport in northeastern India.
Manipur is credited with popularising the horseback sport Polo to Europe; it is the Indian state where Captain Robert Stewart and Lieutenant Joseph Sherer of British colonial era first watched locals play a rules-based pulu or sagolkangjei (literally, horse and stick) game in 1859, rules they spread as Polo, first to Calcutta and then in England.