This is a documentary by Kaushik Gupta Ray from 2011 about the shamanistic/animist religion that prevails amongst the Meitei in Manipur, which culturally is Tibetan, but politically is now part of India. The film is about the largest ethnic group in Manipur, the Meitei, and their traditional religious practices which have seen a revival in recent years, and are now flourishing in the state.
The religion is a mix of shamanism, with female shamans in the forefront of the ritual proceedings; and animism, which holds all of earth, and especially the waters, sacred. This latter outlook has seen to the preservation of large areas of the country as sacred lands which cannot be harmed in any way.
The film follows and speaks to some of the prominent shamans, the Maibi, by looking at their ritual life, the induction of new candidates, and their training in established centres. There are also male practitioners, the Maiba, who play a lesser role and who need to impersonate women if they want the gods to speak to/through them.
The film is quite fascinating as giving a glimpse into what many societies in the ancient east must have been like, before being subsumed by male dominated religions during historical times. As such it presents some lessons for the modern world, in giving women a greater role in society on the one hand, and making the relationship to nature central on the other.
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