A time when the world is for empowering women, a 500 year old market in Manipur has a different story to tell. The Khwairmband Bazar in the capital city of Imphal is the only unique market in the World, where women are all powerful. It is the only market where women run the market.
Also known as mothers Market, no men is allowed to run a shop here. They can just come and buy things. Moreover, men are also taken as labourers for picking heavy things from the parking lot to the shops. Otherwise, men are out of this unique all women market.
This market is also called as Imakeithel. Ima means Mother and keithel means market in Manipuri language. The market with its 5000 women shop owners stand tall as a unique example of an equal society.
The market has many specialities and one of them is that the shop owners can only sell one particular thing. For example if a shop owner is selling handicrafts, he cannot encroach on any other person who sells clothes. The women shop owners have licenses and they are handed over from one generation to another. Any women, irrespective of their community or religion can run a shop here, provided they get license.
Earlier, the market was in an open space. Now the market is housed in three buildings- Ema Market, new Market and laxmi Market.