Religion and Village Economy: A Model of Village Development for the Meiteis of Nongpok Lourembam Village, Manipur

Previous ethnographic studies have shown that community-level village organization for general welfare is widespread. In Nongpok Lourembam, Manipur, the Meiteis have maintained such traditional organization uniquely for over a hundred years. The village has established an income-generating mechanism through agriculture. This economic system is significantly shaped and sustained by the village’s religious institution, centered around the local deity “Arong Ningthou.” His name is linked to the fields where agricultural activities take place. A village committee manages the funds derived from annual harvests, which are allocated for development and distributed among households, ensuring economic stability and growth. The study aims to analyze the village’s economy in the context of its religious institution, exploring how it acts as an adaptive mechanism for survival, both biologically and culturally. Ethnographic data from key village informants involved with both religious and economic affairs is collected using non-probability sampling methods. The study concludes that the local deity’s religious institution significantly impacts the village’s economy, exerting a considerable influence on its economic affairs.