As a team of Manipuris and westerners, we have the benefit of experiencing the best of both cultures. The west has made many technological advances, but it has gone too far in its interventions with the earth. Animals, plants, and humans are all suffering from a lack of balance or true collaboration with nature. We believe if we work with respect for the needs and contributions of all the living beings around us, we will all benefit, and balance can be restored.
Our guiding principle for all elements of the centre is to work with local people to share and develop their skills in ways which facilitate growth, provide purpose and a sustainable income in an ecologically sustainable and socially responsible way.
The traditional doctors of Manipur are called maibas and maibis (male and female, respectively). They are highly valued in Manipuri culture for their medical and spiritual abilities.
Many maibas and maibis practice independently with a small circle of patients and students. The clinic will provide the opportunity for these doctors to come together to share practices and techniques, collaborate on patient care, and participate in preserving the traditional arts by training the next generation.
Bringing maibas and maibis with diverse specialties together will also increase our ability to serve patients with different conditions using a variety of techniques and natural medicines.
FARMERS, PLANTS AND CROPS
As part of both the sub-Himalayan and Indo-Burman biodiversity hotspots, Manipur has the richest reservoir of plant life in the entire subcontinent. Some of the plants are the raw materials for the medicines that form the basis of Maibarol, the indigenous Manipuri healthcare system.
Unfortunately, it is common practice for farmers to burn and destroy tracts of land and their indigenous plants and replace them with short-term, income-yielding crops and then move on to a new tract of land to do the same.
We plan to help establish new routes to market for more traditional crops – both medicinal and food – creating incentive for farmers to preserve the native plants and local eco-systems.
The Manipuri Polo Pony, or Meitei Sagol, is in danger of becoming extinct. Increased urbanisation and encroachment of wetlands has wiped out most of their traditional habitat, forcing these semi-wild animals to wander the city streets and forage for food in the garbage, where they are often victims of malnutrition, a range of diseases and road accidents.
The centre will employ local veterinarians to improve the condition of the existing population and work to provide a secure, natural habitat for them.
“The worth of a civilization can be judged by the place given to women in the society" K.S. Bhalla
The women (or Ima) of Manipur play a central role in the social, cultural and political life of local communities. In ‘Ima Tales’ we will share some of the Manipuri women’s homegrown wisdom, bringing you stories about the traditional remedies, recipes and other indigenous practices that make Manipur such a distinctive place. Click here to find out more…
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