The Coils of Pakhangba-A Cultural History of Meeteis

The Coils of Pakhangba-A Cultural History of Meeteis

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The Meeteis established their kingdom in Manipur at the beginning of the Christian era. Situated on the ‘borderlands’ between the Mongoloid civilizations of China and the Hindu world of India, the Meeteis developed their own quite distinctive culture, which radically adapted those influences which it absorbed. The Coils of Pakhangba traces the evolution of that culture, paying special attention to the oral traditions alongside the written manuscripts in the indigenous script, among which the Court Chronicle (Cheitharol Kumbaba) is preeminent. In this cultural development the role of the traditional Meetei religion and the subsequent adoption of Hindu Vaishnavism were critical. The author examines the ways in which these religions shaped social structures, sports as a preparation for warfare, arts, and music and dance. He concludes with an assessment of the current resurgence of Meetei traditions. This book is the only comprehensive survey of Meetei culture history since Hodson’s The Meitheis published in 1908.

About the Author

John Parratt was previously Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Birmingham, U.K. He has taught and researched widely in Africa and the Pacific, and also in Manipur. He is the author of numerous books on the interaction of culture, religion and politics in the non-western world. His previous books on Manipur are Wounded Land: Politics and Identity in Modern Manipur (Delhi 2005), and in conjunction with his late wife, Dr Saroj Nalini Arambam Parratt, Queen Empress vs. Tikendrajit, the Anglo-Manipur Conflict of 1891 (Delhi 1992), The Pleasing of the Gods, Meitei Lai Haraoba (Delhi 1997), and a collection of essays The History and Culture of Manipur (Imphal 2010 and Kirkby Stephen 2011). He has also edited the colonial papers of two former Political Officers in Manipur, Lt-Col. John Shakespear and J.C. Higgins.

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