70-year-old Bimalarani Devi is one of the oldest women hawkers of Ema Market of Manipur. Every morning she arrives at 10 am to sell her handmade food items like sweets made out of jaggery and rice pellets, jaggery etc. She says that the economic blockade which has crossed more than 100 days has not only hit the economy of the state but has also created trauma in the minds of its people. Although Manipur is a patriarchal state, women hold a very strong and respectable position in the history of the state.
The Ima of worlds’ largest women-dominated market popularly known as the Ima market of Manipur have been in the forefront of public life, but their representation in the state assembly has been a dismal as of now.
So, what do the mothers of Manipur want this election season?
“A new government should remove corruption, give education, it should be people’s government, it should remove corruption. Don’t want a Congress government. The economic blockade is too much and should be lifted. A new representative should come we don’t want congress or BJP.” Said Chalembi Devi.
“We didn’t get materials due to the blockade which led to decrease of sale in their product. Only 2/3rd of total sale is taking place”. Added Sarita Devi one of the Imas of the market.
Another lady working at the market also said “the daily essential commodities including pulses, wheat, etc have been increased. Our government didn’t do anything to regularize the prices. There is no administration at all. One of my neighbours was injured when he was coming through the blocked national highway. Some miscreants ambushed them while they were driving. Now he can’t drive anymore. Who will be responsible for this.”
The Mothers also complained that there is no fixed rate for all the commodities in Manipur. “It also seems like government has hidden links with the miscreants who is holding the blockade. So if the police have relations then how can we survive,” she asked.