Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The present study seeks to investigate the processes of socio-economic change that have affected the major ethnic groups in Manipur, mainly the subsistence level tribals and the Meitei peasantry; the strategies adopted by these groups, and individuals within the groups, to cope with the changed environment; and the spatial expression of these processes of change in varying patterns of development. Manipur, a polyethnic state in northeastern India, is currently the scene of hostilities among the different ethnic groups. The study tests the hypothesis that the underlying cause of these conflicts is the difference in the levels of development of the three major ethnic groups, the tribal, the Meitei, and the Nepali immigrants, and their differential access to scarce resources. This meso-level investigation focuses on a one-third sample of all villages in Manipur. The study is based on published Census data, supplemented by field work. Spatial variations in the levels of development, mapped and described using simple statistical and cartographic techniques, reveal a distinct disparity between the hills and the valley of Manipur. Since these two physiographic units correspond with the two ethnic groups, the tribal and the Meitei, these regional differences also reflect ethnic differences. These differences are further substantiated using multivariate statistical techniques. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) reveals that, on the basis of the selected indicators of development, significant differences exist among the tribals, Meiteis, and Nepalis. The subsequent procedure of discriminant analysis used to identify how the selected variables combine to distinguish one group from the other, also highlights the differences in the levels of development of the three groups. Population pressure, accessibility, and geographical proximity to an urban center appear to be important factors in determining the intensity of change. The four clusters of development identified in Manipur: in the Manipur valley, in the Khuga valley, in the northern foothills along the Dimapur-Imphal highway, and in Jiribam, all share these three attributes.