Conservation Practices of Plants within the Socio-Religious Context of the Meiteis in Manipur

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Huidrom Chitra Devi
Akoijam Nirmala Devi
Thiyam Rabikanta Singh


This study explores the conservation efforts of plants within the socio-religious framework of the Meitei community in Manipur, India’s easternmost state internationally bordering with Myanmar. Amidst environmental threats and anthropogenic activities, indigenous communities play a crucial role in preserving biodiversity. The Meiteis, indigenous to Manipur and surrounding regions, have a profound understanding of plant species intertwined with their religious beliefs. Through a mixed-method approach involving scientific observation, photography, plant inventory, and in-depth interviews, this research investigates how the Meiteis integrate religious practices into the conservation and sustainable management of plant diversity. Sacred groves, particularly the sylvan site of goddess Konthoujam Lairemma in Imphal West, exemplify the Meiteis' conservation ethos, harbouring 84 different plant species. Additionally, specific plants such as Ocimumsanctum and Bambusa sp. are accorded special care, with taboos prohibiting their disturbance on certain days, ensuring their preservation for future generations.

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