Manipur, one of the eight sisters of the North Eastern Region of India, is an isolated hill-girt state stretching between 92°58´E to 94°45´E longitudes and 23°50´N to 25°42´N latitudes. It is a charming place encircled by nine hill ranges on all sides with a small and beautiful oval shaped valley at the centre. The State has 352 kms. long international border with Burma (Myanmar) to the south-east and 502 kms. long border with the adjacent states of Nagaland on the north, Cachar District of Assam on the west and Chin Hills (Myanmar) and Mizoram on the south and the south-west and Surma Tract and upper Chindwin of Myanmar (Burma) on the East. The altitude of the State above the mean sea level varies from 790 metres to 2020 metres. It has sub-tropical temperate climate. The State has a salubrious climate. The actual rainfall recorded by the India Meteorological Department (IMB) for the Sub-division constituting of Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura in 2005 was 1612.4 mm as against the normal rainfall of 1920.7 mm.
Manipur, though tiny in size, has a distinct history of its own. The recorded history of Manipur can be obtained from the State Royal chronicle called the Cheitharol Kumpaba which covers the period from 33 AD to 1890 AD. During this period, altogether 74 (seventy four) kings ruled the State, of which Nongda Lairen Pakhangba (33 AD to 121 AD) was the first and last was Kulachandra. Manipur was then a tiny independent kingdom.
Manipur lost her independence to the British India in the year 1891. From 1892 onwards it became a princely native state under the political control of Government of British India. Accordingly, the administration of the state came under the influence of a political agent by vesting all executive powers in him. This British Paramouncy continued till 1947 in which India got independence.
According to a merger agreement signed on 21st September, 1949 between Maharaja Budhachandra, the then king of Manipur and the government of India, the state was merged into India as a part “C” State on the 15th October, 1949 and administered by the President of India through a Chief Commissioner. Manipur ceased to be a part “C” State on the 1st November, 1956 and became a Union Territory under the Union Territorial Council Act, 1956. The Territorial Council consisting of 30 elected members and 2(two) nominated members was constituted on 16-8-1957. However, the Territorial Council was replaced by a Territorial Legislative Assembly of 30 members and 2(two) nominated members from 23-7-1963. Manipur became a full-fledged state within the Indian Union with a Governor as the Head of the state on the 21st January, 1972 and the members of the Legislative Assembly were increased to 60. The first popular Ministry, after attaining statehood, was installed on March 20, 1972.
Manipur has a geographical area of 22,327 sq.kms. which constitutes 0.7 percent of the total land surface of India. Ninety Percent of the total geographical area of the state i.e. 20,089 sq.kms. is covered by hills, the remaining area is a small valley covering only 2,238 sq.kms. and accounting for only one-tenth of the total area of the state.
According to 2001 Census, the population of the state is 22.9 lakhs registering a population density of 103 per sq.km. The population has increased by 4.57 lakhs during the decade 1991 to 2001. Out of the total population of the state, 11.6 lakhs were males and the rest 11.3 lakhs were females. There are 7 (seven) scheduled castes communities and 33 (thirty three) different scheduled tribes of different ethnic groups presenting complicated socio-economic phenomena. There is apparent disparity in the level of income and consumption between the rich and the poor, between the urban elite and the rural poor, between the haves and have-nots and between the public living in the hills and in the valley.
The state has 33 towns (28 statutory towns and 5 census towns) and 2,391 villages (2315 inhabited and 76 uninhabited) as per 2001 census. Imphal is the capital city of Manipur. It has a population of about 2.46 lakhs and has almost all the facilities of a modern city. About 48 kms. away from Imphal towards south-east lies the Loktak Lake, the largest fresh water lake in the North-Eastern Region of India. This lake which covers an area of 216 sq.kms., is the biggest natural source of fish supply which is one of the important food items of the people of the state.
The state of Manipur splits up naturally into two tracts viz. the hills and the dales. The hill comprises of five districts namely (i) Senapati (ii) Tamenglong (iii) Churachandpur (iv) Chandel and (v) Ukhrul, while the valley consists of four districts viz., (i) Imphal East (ii) Imphal West (iii) Bishnupur and (iv) Thoubal. The valley areas of Manipur has two constituent parts, one of which is the Imphal valley in the heart of the state and the other is Jiri valley in the west beyond the pale of hill ranges bordering the Cachar District of Assam. The districts were further divided into sub-divisions. There are altogether 38 (thirty eight) sub-divisions. Of all the districts, the Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur and Thoubal districts together have a population of about 14 lakhs. With only about 10 (ten) percent of the state’s total area, these four districts together provide habitation to about 62 percent of the total population of the state. As a result, the valley is a thickly populated area with a density of 631 persons per sq.km. as against 44 persons per sq.km. in the hills. As per 2001 census, the average density of the state is 103 persons per sq.km. as against the all India average of 313 persons per sq.km.
Population of a country is its most important asset and demographic indicator. The population of Manipur as per 2001 census was 22.9 lakhs comprising 11.6 lakhs of males and 11.3 lakhs of females. The sex ratio for the state as a whole has improved from 958 females per 1000 males in 1991 to 974 females per 1000 males in 2001. Population of Manipur constitute nearly 0.22 percent of the total population of India. As on 1st March, 2008, the population of the state is estimated to be 26.4 lakhs which is likely to reach 27.9 lakhs in the year 2011. The density of population of Manipur as per 2001 census was 103 persons per sq.km. as against 82 persons per sq. km. in 1991 census.
The progress of urbanisation in the state is found to be very slow. The number of towns and cities has grown at a low rate. It rose from 1 (one) town in 1951 to 33 towns in 2001. But Manipur ranks second among the North Eastern States of India in respect of urbanisation. The urban population has increased from 5.06 lakhs in 1991 to 5.76 lakhs in 2001.
In terms of literacy, Manipur ranks second among the North Eastern States of India as per 2001 census. The literacy rate has increased from 59.89 percent in 1991 to 70.53 percent in 2001. Among the males, it has increased from 71.63 percent in 1991 to 80.30 percent in 2001, whereas among females, it has increased from 47.60 percent in 1991 to 60.50 percent in 2001. The literacy rate for the rural areas is 67.30 percent and for the urban areas it is 79.30 percent as per 2001 census.