Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Earning activities of rural manipuris in Bangladesh

Manipuri people are renowned as laborious. Both males and females involve themselves in earning activities. It is very rare to find a Bishnupriya Manipuri or a Manipuri Meitei person who is not economically engaged in an earning activity. Among 378 residents of studied villages 261 was found to be involved in different earning activities. Except for dependents such as children, ill and elderly people almost all are working for survival.

Although agriculture is their traditional and prime earning source, Manipuris are involved in different earning activities. Over the course of time, many are changing their occupation due to different circumstances e.g. scarcity of land for agriculture, less demanding traditional work, less benefit, lack of available work in rural areas, lack of capital etc. Those who are receiving higher education have started to involve themselves in different mainstream earning sources. They are involving both in government and non government organizations. Manipuris have gained positions as Government high Officials. The researchers found a number of primary and high school teachers who are respected and have a good reputation.

Although both males and females are involved in earning sources, most of their earning activities do not produce high incomes. Therefore they have to involve themselves in different activities simultaneously. Among our 80 participants we found 78 individuals who were involved in earning activities. Two of our participants who were not involved in any direct earning activity were very aged and retired from service. But they contributed to their families by gardening vegetables for family use. The earning sources were not consistent and we found different earning sources according to availability or work and the capacities of the earners. These activities can be ranked on the basis of the number of villagers involved including participants by the following table:

Listing 1.1: Earning activities of the Manipuris
  1. Agriculture
  2. Handloom weaving
  3. Government Service
  4. Non-government Service
  5. Teaching
  6. Carpentry
  7. Automobile mechanics
  8. Goldsmith
  9. Business
  10. Ayurvedic treatment
  11. Livestock rearing
  12. Cultural activist
  13. Priest
  14. Tailoring
  15. Religious work

To be contd...