Culture of India

Manipur’s ‘torch-bearing’ Meira Paibis Activists for Women

  • During his visit to Manipur in the midst of ongoing unrest in the state, the Home Minister met with several civil society groups, including the Meira Paibis.
  • This article examines the Meira Paibis’ significance in Manipur’s civil society, their social function, and key activities they have made.

Who are the Meira Paibis of Manipur?

  • The Meira Paibis, also known as Imas or Manipur’s Mothers, are Meitei women who are a strong moral force in Manipur’s civil society.
  • They are from various social groups in the Imphal valley and are well-known for their activism.
  • They Paibis are a loosely knit group managed by senior women, with no fixed hierarchy or overt political leanings.

Meira Paibis’s Social Position

  • Meira Paibis established in 1977 as a grassroots movement largely focused on combatting drinking and drug misuse.
  • Their mandate grew throughout time to include addressing human rights violations as well as working for the overall development of society.
  • They function as Manipuri society’s conscience guardians and have a permanent and perceptible presence in civil society.

Major Actions:

  • The Meira Paibi women strongly supported Irom Sharmila throughout her 16-year hunger strike against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which offers protection to armed forces in “disturbed” communities.
  • Advocacy for the Inner Line Permit (ILP) System: In 2015, Meira Paibis played a big role in requesting the implementation of the ILP system, with the goal of protecting local interests, culture, and business prospects.
  • Bandh Protests: The Meira Paibis organised bandhs and market shutdowns to protest perceived injustices, such as an elected official breaking a marriage pledge.
  • Recent Actions: During the present crisis, Meira Paibis reportedly influenced the release of 12 KYKL cadres (an extremist group) detained by the armed forces, demonstrating the power of female activists in facing security officials.


  • Manipur’s Meira Paibis play an important part in the state’s civil society.
  • Their activism covers a wide spectrum of social and political topics, and they have persistently battled for justice, human rights, and societal improvement.
  • Regardless of the recent controversy regarding their alleged participation in security operations, their role as a potent force for social change should be recognised and praised.
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