Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Artform in news: Shumang Leela


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Shumang Leela

Mains level: NA

shumang leela

This newscard is an excerpt from the original article published in TH.

Shumang Leela

  • Shumang Leela is a unique traditional form of theatre in Manipur.
  • The tradition is believed to be descended from Lai Haraoba, a ritual of the Meitei community of Manipur.

Types of this dance

Shumang Leela is of two types:

  1. Nupa Shumang Leela: It performed only by men. Here the roles of women are all played by men, called Nupi Shabis.
  2. Nupi Shumang Leela: It performed only by women and the roles of men are played by women.

Performance details

  • The plays serve as a medium to spread awareness among people of social, political and economic issues. Shumang Leelas may also discuss moral values, unity and integrity.
  • This theatre form has for long been trying to strengthen the bond of brotherhood and friendship among various communities in the State.

Significance of the art

  • In a society marked by heteronormativity, the gender-bending nature of Shumang Leela makes it a unique art form that is fraught with complexity.
  • The men who take up female roles or vice versa are highly appreciated and laughed at.
  • The traditional theatre form has preserved its original form, and its aim to inform and entertain has remained unchanged.


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