The Maram habitat falls under the Senapati district of Manipur. The Main Maram area falls under Tadubi Sub-division and the rest under Kangpokpi.
According to 1981 census, the total Maram population was 5972. But the census of the Maram tribe, carried out by the Tribal Development Staff In 1988 for all 28 (twenty eight) villages reported 10,911 Marams distributed through 1846 households.
The average height of Men is about 165.25 cm while female statute is About 153.75 cm.
Even though they belong to the Mongoloids, remarkable strains of Caucasoid are also observed. Wet cultivation is adopted by the Marams whose main stay is rice and whose main occupation is cultivation. It Has been noticed among the Marams that women folk do most of the chores.
Thus fetching water and firewood, cooking and looking after children are responsibilities of women. The men folk cut trees for firewood and indulge in the harvesting and cultivation. But womenfolk also help in digging the field for sowing and harvesting.
The Marams of Senapati villages do not speak the same dialect. Though understandable, the totality and mode of expression are quite different. They are constructing a common language based on the spoken language of Maram Khullel.
However, their folkloristic traditions are similar. In their cosmogony, God (Paramhaba) created heaven and earth joined together at the horizon, He created creatures one after one naming them tiger, bear and so on.
The exhausted God went to a place and stood by catching hold of a tree and bending over it. He thought for a while and spat in his right fingers with a murmur and pick up an Nchet (a stem borer insect) out of the tree (mandung bang) and threw it on the ground.
A man in his likeness stood up. The God was overjoyed and named him Madiingkasii. After a while he spat with murmur in his fingers fetching water from the pond and he created sam ongpui. Again he murmured and threw it down over ground and there stood up a women. He gave her the name of Samotingdungpui.
By the union of these first Man and woman, they begot three sons Karambungsa, the eldest, Makikangba and Kela Sanglang, the youngest. The three brothers depart from Meikhel. The eldest brother is considered progenitor of the Marams and his four sons became 4 clans of Maram Khullel.
The descend and inheritance of Marams follow Patrilineal ways. Their village is divided into ‘Sadung’ or ‘Khel’.
Each Khel draws its own name from a common ancestor for instance, Rangnamei means descendants of Rang. In other word, Khel is based on consanguine relatives.
The Maram Society is divided into 3 exogamous social groups, which are again subdivided into lineages and sub-divided into lineages and sub lineages. The three groups (Clans) according to Maram Khullen dialect are
1. Ng’kukui (makha or lower section)
2. DikaKuina (Khullakpa or chief’s group) and
3. Rangbung raiyinamai (mathak or upper section).
Each lineages in Maram Khullen has its own sagong but they are subject to the sagong of Lamkhana (or Dikakhuina/khullakpa Sagei) in matter of cult and morals and referred to as the Great Cheif.
Sagong was the de-facto and de-jure head of the village. Every Khels have their own gates and dormitories. Boy’s dormitory is called Rehangki whereas that of the girl’s is Rulaki.
According to Maram custom, when a child is born for ten days’ regulation of genna the child remains inside the house. But naming ceremony is done after five days or a week by turning the child towards the sun.
The child is blessed by the father of the family after searching a crab within ten days by the father of the child. To be a full fledged member of the society, a rite of Purification is also carried out. Engagement is the ideal form of marriage.
The Maram man wears a black cotton kilt embellished by three or four rows of white cowries which at present are replaced by buttons.
The ladies wear an inner loin cloth usually just like the Kilt of men without cowries. They also use a white rug like cloth. Now-a-days this piece of cloth is replaced by shawls which is a mixture of black and white colour.
These people are pantheon worshippers. Their deities are Akrkot (House deity), Sara Kachinu (to witness oath its name is mentioned) and powmungba (wind deity) and Paranhaba is the supreme god.
Relating to their social and religious life, they construct houses
- Sbaki (Simplest form without ritual)
- Ratsangki (roofing with thatch reaches the ground)
- Kinaboi (adorn with horns)
- Ziileki (several gennas are associated to construct it)
- Rafiiki (roof with plank) and
- Pungtaki (highest form of house).
Their houses also determine the social status of a person. This group of people refrains from taking the pork. They perform three main festivals
2) Kanghi and
During festivals, they dance with no segregation of sexes. But their songs are sung by one person or two or group as their norm indicates.
Manindra Konsam from Sanathong wrote this article.