Musings from Manipur: Crime and Punishment

Every culture has its positive and negative points. During my trip to Manipur, I discovered that they have their own system of dispensing justice. I found it to be unique and thought of sharing on this forum the punishments that are meted out for serious offences in Manipur.

* Theft and rape: A village head in Manipur told me that thefts do not occur. There have been a few cases of rape. He described the punishment as ‘very severe’. The accused is fined anywhere between Rs 5000 to Rs 50000. The money collected goes towards the welfare of the village. Buffalo meat is cooked and a treat is given to the entire village out of some of the money collected.

* Lies: In case of a dispute between two parties, they are taken to a holy lake to detect which one is telling lies. Both parties are asked to dive into the water. It is believed that whoever has been telling lies will float and cannot go much deeper beneath.

* Property dispute: In case of a property dispute, both parties are taken to the land concerned. The village head picks up a handful of mud from the disputed land. It is believed that whichever party is in the wrong will receive bad news within a year such as an accident, death or illness.

P.S: Please be careful with your comments to this piece. I do not wish to hurt the feelings of anyone from Manipur.


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