Purum - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Purum sibs are socially graded. Status may also be obtained by the performance of certain gennas (magicoreligious ceremonies). The khullakpa (village headman) and luplakpa (assistant to the village headman) are expected to perform the to-lai-kong genna in order to legitimize their community standing. Average citizens may perform the thien-hong-ba genna when they have attained wealth and wish to establish their place within the Community. One of the distinguishing features of this celebration is the stone platform upon which the sponsor of the genna sits during the first day of the observance.

Political Organization. The village is the primary political unit in Purum society. Its affairs are managed by a council of elders and eight political officers: the khullakpa (headman); the luplakpa (assistant to the headman); khunjahanba (chief performer in magicoreligious rites associated with the god Nungchungba and the third most powerful political official); the zupanba (official who makes arrangements for the Production of zu, "rice beer," on public occasions and in some instances acts as liaison between the village and the state) ; the keirungba (official who selects animals to be slaughtered in connection with the payment of fines); the selungba (official who collecte fees for the performance of religious rites and acts also as the khullakpa's porter); and the changlai (official who collects rice at magicoreligious rites for the manufacture of zu).

Social Control. Traditional means of control have been limited largely to a system of fines for social offenses. Activities punishable by fine include theft, assault, marital infidelity, rape, divorce (in certain instances), violation of contracts, and damage to property by domestic animals.

Conflict. Das noted that there is an absence of warlike tendencies among the Purum. He gives no indication as to the nature of their relations with neighbors before his fieldwork. There are indications (e.g., the economic interdependence of the Purum and Meithei economic systems and the Purum reliance on Manipuri markets for essential and luxury items) that the Purum maintain cooperative relationships with neighboring peoples.

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