Dissertation Abstracts

Socio-Religious Movements among the Meiteis of Manipur: A Study of Sanamahi and Meitei Christian Movements

Author: Khogen, Yumlembam , ykhogen@gmail.com
Department: Sociology (Centre of Advanced Study)
University: Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
Supervisor: Prof. Rajesh Gill
Year of completion: 2014
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Socio-Religious Movements , Sanamahi Movement , Meitei Christian Movement , Manipur, Meiteis
Areas of Research: Historical and Comparative Sociology , Social Classes and Social Movements , Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations


The thesis presents a detailed and systematic analysis of two prominent socio-religious movements that have of late transformed the demographic and socio-religious profile of the state of Manipur in India. The study delves deeply into the history and dynamics of the Sanamahi movement asserting the indigenous identity of Meiteis, the most dominant community in Manipur, successfully having caused a process of “reversion” (a conceptualization formulated in the study). It also brings out the nuances of Meitei Christian movement that has led to massive conversions in Manipur in the recent past. The import of the study lies in the extensive qualitative data in the form of narratives and focus group discussions, apart from personal interviews, case studies, capturing the micro, meso and macro dimensions of these two movements. While reversions to Sanamahism are caused mainly by an urge for a separate cultural identity, conversions to Christianity have been primarily an outcome of an effective preaching, promising a better and secure future. Both the movements however are thriving on a strong critique of Hinduism. Further, findings underline the patriarchal ethos of both the movements, where women, though playing very important role, lie on the margins, out of the powerful positions. The study presents an extensive review of existing perspectives on the subject, making important conceptual and theoretical contributions to the literature on social movements.

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