Glimpses of women empowerment: 16th Century Bazar in Manipur is run by all women vendors

In the far flung region of Imphal, the capital of Northeastern state of Manipur, there still survives a 400 years old vintage market also called Nupi Keithel or Women‘s Market. Market is inhabited by around 5000 vendors which makes it Asia’s largest all women market.Most of the women vendors are over 60, selling myriads of  handcrafted, decorative and food items. 
 
Historically, the Nui Keithel was established in the 16th century during the tribal kingdom of Monarch Kangleipal, Manipur was a sovereign state at that time and  Women undertook both household and trade while men served the monarchy in frequent wars with hostile neighbors.
 
By and by, the market flourished and the number of women traders increased and the market became the agent for social and economic  empowerment of women who are in the thick of economic activities.
 
Market had also provided the strong grounds for some  events which marked the political awakening of people during women‘s protest against oppression and gender equality. But Nupi Keithel reflects an unsurpassable legacy of women empowerment and leadership.
 
Cover pic by Grand Eastern Holidays

 

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