Traditional rice-husking technology of the Kukis of Manipur, India


  • Dr Lalginthang Khongsai Department of Anthropology, Manipur University, Imphal 795 003, India
  • Dr Mayanglambam Manibabu Department of Anthropology, Manipur University, Imphal 795 003, India



Kuki, Leg-operated husking, Mortar, Pestle, Traditional rice-husking technology, Water-operated husking


The traditional method of rice husking remains one of the indispensable household activities of the indigenous Kuki people living in the remote areas of Northeast India in general and Manipur in particular. Their husking technologies include hand-operated mortar and pestle (sum leh suh-tum), leg-operated husking lever (chot-lep) and water-operated husking lever (tui-sum). They have been using these technologies for pounding different kinds of foodgrains since time immemorial. However, with the introduction of modern rice mills, traditional methods of husking have been drastically reduced. Currently, traditional husking technologies remain in use only in those remote areas where there is no modern rice mill facility. Mortar-pestle is the most common traditional husking technology when compared to leg-operated and water-operated husking technologies. The present ethnographic study was conducted in four hill districts of Manipur, namely- Kangpokpi, Noney, Churachandpur, and Kamjong. This paper studies the age-old traditional rice-husking technologies of the Kukis by mainly focusing on the raw material procurement, manufacturing process, use, maintenance, and discard patterns.