The Notion of Umanglais amongst the Meiteis of Manipur: An Analysis
The paper tries to criticize the oversimplified way of employing the term ‘Umanglais’ as a generic term to denote all the pre-Hindu deities worshipped by the Meiteis. It argues that using it as an umbrella term is conceptually flawed and in fact, such as treatment misinterprets the essence of the categorization of deities in the pre-Hindu belief system in which ‘space’ plays an important role. With the help of the festival of Lai Haraoba, the paper attempts to manifest that Umanglais represent only those deities which are worshipped in spaces outside their residential premises (in the public space) participated by a larger collectivity of people, which in itself exemplifies that Umanglais are different from those deities worshipped in other spaces, more specifically, the household deities, worshipped in their private spaces by the families concerned.
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