Monday, 12 April 2021

The seven salais of the Meiteis have further divisions into Sangeis (surnames). The components of Meitei confederacy are:

  • Ningthouja (Mangang) (with 125 sageis)
  • Moirang (67 sageis)
  • Khuman (67 sageis)
  • Angom (62 sageis)
  • Luwang (58 sageis)
  • Chenglei (sarang-Leisangthem ) (35 sageis) and
  • Khaba-Nganba (21 sageis)

There are 44 tribes in the state speaking different dialects. Twenty-nine such groups have now become the constitutional categories under the label "Scheduled Tribes". The non-Hindu, Meiteilon speaking population has been placed under the "Scheduled Caste" category. The Meitei Hindus constitute the largest ethnic group of the state.

In a total geographical area of 22,327 sq km, a population of 18,37,149 (1991 census) is distributed at an average density of 82 persons per sq km. However, the distribution pattern is very much skewed in the plains as the density in the valley works out to be 529 pesons per sq km. While it is as low as 32 per sq km in the hills against the all-India average density of 267 people per sq km in 1991. The sex ratio is 978 females for every 1000 males. In the pluralistic ethno-religious complex, the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes constitute 34.41 p.c. and 2.02 p.c. of the total population respectively. The Hindus outnumber other religious groups having a share of 58 p.c. followed by the Christians (34.11 p.c.) and the Muslims (7.26 p.c.). The other religious communities whose migration from other parts of India aflux during the sixties. The Christian population in the state also showed a high growth rate during the decade 1961-71. The population escalation during the last three decades has been helped by the insidious infiltration of illegal foreigners from Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma etc. Among the hill tribes, the Tangkhuls (Naga) of the eastern hills and the Thadous (Kuki) of the North-western and Southern hills constitute the largest tribal groups. The Angamis, Semas and Saltes form insignificant populations in the state. While the hills are the natural demarcated habitats of various tribal groups, their phenomenon of migration towards the plains in the recent years have assumed demographic and socio-economic concern since there is already a demographic imbalance featuring 67.5 p.c. of the people in the valley which is 1/10th of the total area of the state and only 32.5 p.c. live in the Hills comprising as vast an area as 9/10th of the total area. If this is the prognosis of the Nature's disharmony with the heritage bound hill-mode-of-life of the tribals, all concerned need by geared up to ferret out the cause and remedy of it.

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