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The Megalithic Culture of Manipur

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Item Code: AZG779
Publisher: Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi
Author: Potshangbam Binodini Devi
Language: ENGLISH
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788173201134
Pages: 292 (Throughout B/w Illustrations)
Other Details 11.00x9.00 inch
Weight 1.15 kg
Book Description
About the Book
This book contains the results of exploration work pertaining to the megalithic culture of thirteen different tribes of Manipur. On the basis of the exploration conducted in almost all the districts of Manipur (except the Thoubal district). It can be safely said that the megalithic culture in this part of North-East India flourished from the time of yore and continues till date in the same way or in some modified forms. In this book, the various types of megaliths and the ceremonies connected with them are documented on the information narrated by the elderly persons of each tribe (under study) who have the first hand knowledge about the procedures of erecting those structures.

About the Author
Potshangbam Binodini Devi (born 1959). Graduated DM College Science, Imphal (1979). Completed M.Sc. University, 1982). Awarded Ph. (Gauhati University, 1994) Conferred Malti Ethnoarchaeology Award 1998. Identified distinguished scholar Indian Archaeological Survey of India, Govt. India, 2009.

Explored Poumai District Senapati, Manipur in Associate Director.

Served Co-Ordinator Resource Person EMMRC under HRD, of India 2011). Completed projects, published fifteen research Presented papers in International Congress Conferences: Manila (2006), Mumbai (2006), University (2007) Lucknow University (2010).

Member Pacific Prehistory Association (IPPA, Australia). Members Indian Society for Prehistoric Quaternary Studies (ISPQS, Pune) Society of Asian Archaeology. (SOSAA, Pune). Executive Member of ISQPS three 2011). Worked as Curator, Manipur University Museum, (1989-1990), Project Fellow (1992 1995), Guest Lecturer, M.U. (1995 2002).

Construction of certain kinds of structures, mostly of undressed stones of various sizes, either to bury or to commemorate the dead or to commemorate certain important events, that was a widespread practice in the Old World from the Neolithic to Early Iron Age times. Such structures are known as megaliths and are found in large numbers in many countries, including India, and they have been investigated by archeologists for a long time. However, since in most societies, we do this practice went into disuse along ago, we do not always know the exact function of the structures, much less the rituals, ceremonies and processes involved in their construction.

Fortunately, in parts of eastern and northeastern India the raising of megalithic monuments continues to be a living practice among certain communities speaking Dravidian, Austro Asiatic and Tibeto Burman languages, and so archaeologists and anthropologists have an opportunity to study the entire process of the construction of these structures and learn their true functions. Miss P. Binodini Devi has carried out such a study among several tribal communities of Manipur, one of India's easternmost states which borders on Myanmar. She conducted extensive and intensive field work among a number of communities in all the nine districts of the state, but particularly in the Bishnupur, Chandel, Churachandpur, Imphal East and West, Senapati and Ukhrul districts over period of six years stretching from 1988 to 2010. The communities studied by her include the Anals, the Chakhesangs, the Kabuis (Rongmei), the Kharams, the Koirengs, the Liangmais, the Maos, the Marams, the Poumais, the Tangkhuls, the Thangals and the Vaipheis.

Miss Binodini Devi personally visited a larger number of tribal villages, examined a number of megalithic sites and the nature of their location in relation to the inhabited part of the village, listed the various types of megaliths present there and took their measurements. Besides making her observations at each site, she has collected valuable data from informants who have firsthand knowledge of the megaliths of their community.

This book is substantially based on the findings of my doctoral field work. has been partly to its present form. The basic concept of this work the study of the megalithic traditions found among the different tribal groups of Manipur. Realizing the archaeological potentialities of these traditions, it is proposed to conduct investigations into the different aspects connected with the raising of these monuments by different tribal communities of this state. The first chapter presents a brief note on the origin of the term megalith, its application and distribution pallirn, and the report of the previous workers. The scope of the subject and its problem along with our aim and object are also outlined in this chapter.

The second chapter deals with the geographical background of the area (Manipur). It includes a brief account of the geographical features of the region, its geology, drainage system, soil type, climate, fauna and flora. In the third chapter an attempt has been made to give a brief ethnographical and historical notes on different ethnic groups. Much importance is given to those eleven tribes which are associated with the living megalithic traditions.

The fourth chapter deals with different megalithic aspects based on the structural and functional types. This chapter has two parts. The first part (Part-I) includes the description of different megalithic structures classified into seven types on the basis of morphological features. The second part (Part-II) deals with the megalithic monuments which have been classified on the basis of their functions. Functionally, the megalithic monuments are broadly divided into eight types.

The fifth chapter contains a report on the investigation carried out by the author among the eleven tribes. The investigation report is presented fewer than eleven units.

India has been often referred to as the land where there is fundamental unity in the midst of diversity. Perhaps this statement is true in the field of religion or with reference to certain basic values of life, but in the field of material culture which develops in response to environment, there is bound to be great diversity among different regions for such a vast country. The reasons for such variance are to be sought in the geological and physiographical diversities of the subcontinent. The most fruitful method under the circumstances seems to be the study of different geological and physiographical regions separately to correlate them with those of neighboring regions on the basis of common diagnostic traits where they are discernible and obtain a reasonable outline of the cultural map of the entire land.

During the earlier ages of human existence in India, we expect to get a more or less uniform cultural pattern for large parts of the country. During the Paleolithic period, we use only two basic cultural traditions tit, the Soan complex of northwestern India and the great handaxe cleaver tradition of peninsular India. During Mesolithic period, we have a more or less uniform pattern for the whole country. But from the Neolithic onwards, the cultural diversity becomes more and more pronounced. To understand such a diverse pattern of cultural development, we have to look into the diverse geological and physiographical features of these regions.

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