This Market in Manipur is Empowering Women by Throwing Men Out

This Elite Daily video shows a market where no men are allowed.

1 min read
A still from the Elite Daily video. <a href="">facebook/elitedaily</a>

An animated bustle of vegetable sellers, a crack of a coconut here, a fish sliced there, and the fragrant aroma of oestrogen in the breeze. This is the Mother’s Market in Imphal, Manipur, where the women seem to have thrown out the men.

A video posted by Elite Daily, documents this unique market where no men are allowed. While women in other parts of the country fight for entry into spaces traditionally reserved for men, this market is a testimony to an incredible support system these Manipuri women have built for each other. Mother’s Market is so called after the Imas or the mothers of the community. According to the video, in the 16th century when the men were away on war, the women controlled the local trade. It is an interesting aberration, where women have taken control of the market and continue to do so.

It brings to mind Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain’s feminist story titled Sultana’s Dream (1905) – where the protagonist Sultana doses off and re-imagines a repressive patriarchal Indian society transform into a matriarchal one. The idea is not to alienate men, or to put them behind the purdah. But as millions of Indian women continue to be oppressed by patriarchy, for now it looks like somewhere in Imphal, Sultana’s dream is coming true.

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