This exploratory study draws upon 16 qualitative interviews and as many first-person accounts conducted in Manipur in late 2017. The 16 respondents were cisgender women between 20 and 60 years of age. All were natives of Manipur, belonging to different ethnic tribes and residing in the hill and valley distrits of the state. (More demographic information in Annex 6, Of Sieges and Shutdowns).
- The region is facing an insurgency, armed conflict and political unrest
- The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) implemented in the state since 1980 has __
- There exists a long-standing conflict between different ethnic groups.
- Manipur has the third lowest per capita income in the country, and limited avenues for employment and economic growth.
- The rapid penetration of wireless Internet in Manipur since 2016, coupled with the availability of affordable mobile handsets in India has opened new avenues of business, income and education for entrepreneurs, professionals and students.
The strongest motivation for undertaking this study was to address the lack of information and human stories from the ground in Manipur. The region’s absence from national consciousness compelled us to delve into numerous social, political, economic and cultural complexities to enable the reader to view our findings in Manipur’s unique context.