By: Sanatombi Angomcha
I personally do not have any idea about the origin of chit-fund in Manipur- what we usually call ‘marup’ in Meiteilon. However, I find it one of the interesting cultural norms passed on from one generation to another since time immemorial. From my childhood’s memory bank, Leisabis (unmarried girls) used to start various chit-funds in and across the various leikais. Sometimes a fanek marup, sometimes a mompaak fidak marup or sometimes a paisa marup, I have personally come across many elderly leikai eche (s) helding many ‘marups’ on monthly basis. Ney Indira from Kshetrimayum Kolup of Wangkhei Meihoufam Lampak used to be one of the pioneer marup houbi leisabis in our leikai (as per my memory bank). I remember her visiting our koijam kolup almost every month to collect the marupki-senkhais. My mom even had two-three shares of marup that was held by ne Indira. If we minutely study the norms of marup culture in Manipur, it is an interesting and exciting subject of discussion. For an unmarried leisabi, marup is more or less a preparedness for her D-day- ‘the luhongba numit’. Luhongba Marups serve the purpose for various leisabis and their awunpot requirements. Though it would not mean much for a rich family, for a leisabi from a middle or below middle class, a luhongba marup or any marup means a lot to her as she cannot readily afford all the necessities during her ‘luhongba’.
In modern Manipur, Marup-culture has gone through various drastic changes. The essence of conventional marups has gradually faded. And there is a dearth of elderly leisabis who are keen to organize many marups. Modern chit funds are mostly official ones (held in the various offices amongst the employees mostly money-centric ones).Que sera sera, with whatever trails of this culture left behind, I am glad to associate myself with this passed-on norm of gathering up every month at a particular place, getting excited whether it would be one’s turn to take home the anticipated ‘amount or commodity’- what we call ‘marup faoba’. Once I am in Manipur, I am pretty sure to join many marups to be held amongst my ‘etas’.