Anal people

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For the psychological condition, see Anal retentive.
Total population
92,123 (2011 census)
Regions with significant populations


Predominantly Polytheist. Christian minorities
Related ethnic groups

The Anal people are a scheduled tribe found in Manipur, India and in Myanmar. They speak their own language, Anal. They are closely related to the Naga people

According to the 2001 census, there are 21,242 Anal in India. They are traditionally farmers, carpenters and weavers, although modernization has caused the traditional methods to be abandoned.


The origin of the name Anal is not clear. One hypothesis is that the group name comes from the surname of R.D. Angnal. Another suggested explanation is that the name derives from the Meitei word anan, which means "clean," suggesting that the group had a reputation for cleanliness. However, the Encyclopaedia of North-East India points out that the Myanma refer to them as Khon, which means "dirty people." The Anal generally describe themselves as the Pakan.[1]


Anal legend states that the Anal, together with the other Pakan tribes, originated in Mongolia. They lived in a cave guarded by a man-eating tiger. Two Anals, Hanshu and Hanta, killed the tiger with the help of some birds. After the tiger's death, the tribes left the cave, travelling through China, Tibet, and numerous other areas before settling in Manipur.[2] The Anal are divided into two groups based on who they believe they are descended from, Hanshu or Hanta.[3]

The Anal, along with the Lamkang, Moyon, and Monsang, are an offshoot of the Pakan tribe. They are thought to be descended from R.D. Angnal, the founder of Anal Khullen village. They are believed to be among the. first settlers in Manipur.They have also been linked to the Naga people.[1]


The Anal live in the Manipur region of north-east India, which is surrounded by the Imphal valley to the north, Churachandpur to the west, the Chin Hills to the south and Kabaw valley to the east. The area is very hilly, with thick jungles and many wild animals.[4] According to the 2001 census, there are approximately 21,242 Anal in Manipur.[5] In 1981 they were living in 45 villages.[4]


The Anal traditionally live in windowless wooden houses with thatched roofs, erected above ground level. The houses have two doors of different sizes and two rooms, a bedroom and a storeroom (Anal: zuhmun).[6]

Anal men traditionally wear a lungi (similar to a dhoti) and a simple shirt, called a pakan lungum; they also strap on a basket (Anal: vopum) for carrying dao and other tools.[7] Women wear undergarments, a skirt, blouse, and shawl, which cover them from their heads to their knees; they also carry a basket.[7] Both sexes can wear jewellery, including rings, necklaces, and bracelets, as well as special long earrings made from insect wings.[8] Traditionally clothing is made by the women.[8]

Anal are traditionally monogamous, although cases of polygyny have been reported. In order to marry, an Anal man must pay a bride price (Anal: min); after marriage, the wife moves to the husband's home. Divorce (Anal: ithin) is permitted among the Anal, although a fine may be incurred.[9]

The Anal are traditionally polytheistic, believing in a supreme creator named Asapavan, as well as a secondary deity named Wangparel and numerous spirits. The largest Anal rite is called Akam, which is divided into six stages (Judong, Bhuthawsing, Hni, Sapia, Akapidam, and Dathu) and takes six years to complete. During the Akam, the Anal sacrifice mithan and pigs and offer a feast to the community. Some Anal have converted to Christianity.[8]

Traditionally, Anal men work as carpenters, particularly the manufacture of bamboo furniture, and in basketry. Women traditionally specialized in weaving and spinning cotton, which is grown locally. Due to modernization and competition from factory-produced goods, many traditional methods have been abandoned.[10] They are also farmers, harvesting rice, corn, soybeans, pumpkins, tomatoes, and gourds.[11]

The Anal have many traditional musical instruments, including the khuwang (drum), sanamba (three-stringed fiddle), dolkhuwang (gong), pengkhul (trumpet), tilli (flageolet), rasem (a pipe instrument), and diengdong (xylophone[8] They are good dancers and their traditional dances include the kamdam, which is performed by young people for the akam festival, and the ludam, which celebrated victorious headhunting.[12]

The Anal are omnivores, eating fish, eggs, beef, pork, and other kinds of meat as well as fruits and vegetables.[13] Although traditionally they do not drink milk, some families now drink it with tea. A form of rice beer, known as zupar or zuhrin, is also drunk.[13]


  1. ^ a b Prakash 2007, p. 1515
  2. ^ Prakash 2007, pp. 1515–1516
  3. ^ Bareh 2007, pp. 119–120
  4. ^ a b Bareh 2007, p. 120
  5. ^ "Manipur Data Highlights: The Scheduled Tribes" (PDF). Census of India. 2001. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Prakash 2007, p. 1516
  7. ^ a b Prakash 2007, pp. 1516–1517
  8. ^ a b c d Prakash 2007, p. 1517
  9. ^ Bareh 2007, p. 122)
  10. ^ Prakash 2007, pp. 1517–1518
  11. ^ Bareh 2007, p. 125
  12. ^ Ghosh & Ghosh 1997, p. 52
  13. ^ a b Bareh 2007, p. 121