Loi communities of Manipur – Naoroibam Indramani

The “Lois” were communities which took major part in the development of Manipur in ancient times. The “Loi” (literally tributary) paid tributes to the king in kind instead of “Lallup”, the forced labour during the monarchical period. Indeed, the Loi population of different Loi villages were exceedingly useful in producing several consumable and nonconsumable items for both the king and for the public. Normally, the Lois were hard working communities, amongst them were the distillers of country spirit, the manufacturers of earthen utensils for containing water and cooking, the silk manufacturers, the smelters of iron, the manufacturers of salt, fishers, the cutters of posts and beams and canoes, the payers of ‘Sel’ (the bell metal coins of the countiy), etc.

At one time, the Loi communities were independent but they were reduced by the Meiteis, hence the term “LOT (subdued) was given to them after their subjugation.’ It is generally accepted that the Lois are of two kinds, namely – (I) the tributary tribes, conquered by the Meiteis, (2) men who were outcasted from Meitei society and banished to the Loi villages. There was no distinction between Loi villages and other Meitei villages so far as administration was concerned. As regards the functions of the Loi villages they had no military functions but they had only civil functions. The Loi population

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