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Our houses

This is called historical writing. Ranita Sinha wrote Sweet Home - encapsulating the changes in structure and in the designing of the houses in villages. Now, Rebati Mohan Sinha has gone even farther, to the pre-independence era.

We can expect article like 'Sweet Home' only from Mrs Ranita Sinha. Anyway her last two words sentence ‘Do share’ had inspired me to take you all a decade and a half century back i.e., pre-independence era to apprise how people were living then. First of all I would like to discuss on house lay-out, then to material used for roofing and boundary-walls and at the last a brief on people’s life style in those days.

Quite often, elders were heard discussing about the sizes of the house, when some one liked to build, say ‘noi-e-sotoroi’(breadth- nine haat, length- sotero haat), one haat=18`` inches, means really no partition required, as mentioned in the article ‘sweet home’. A peculiarity was there, the main entrance doors of Bishnupriya Manipuri houses always opened to eastward, very seldom one could see houses having doors opened to either south or west; but not to north. In those days, there were never used to be “L” or “H” type houses, only rectangular type, standing easterly, called chaar-challigo (Tongigo) owned by rich and another one standing on north-south, called dwee-challigo, owned by poor, both having no windows and no back doors. The kitchen used to be always at the corner of rear end of the house. The Tongigo type houses had bigger verandahs as compared to Dwee-challi type.

The houses were having varieties of thatched roofs, called ‘Shonor Chaal’, khapakor chaal, Torjaar chaal (made of split bamboo)and the roofs of corrugated tin sheets, called Tatar tin (Tinor chaal); but very rare. The boundary walls were of either split bamboos or type of shrubs grown on marshy lands, called ‘eekor’ and was more durable than the split bamboo. The shrubs, ‘shon’ are grown on high lands; but ‘khapak’ grown on marshy land. The final coat of best wall-plastering was of special river clay, named ‘aathali maati’, which was shining very much. The primary coat for the wall plastering was an adhesive paste of cowdung and mud which was easily available.

Now let me write something about the people living in those houses: the people had very much community feeling. They help one another at the time of house building or house repair, in fact in paddy reaping time also. In those days, people had never charged for the services rendered to their neighbors, unlike these days. People always showed their respect to elders. There are plenty of things could be written, but people may feel boredom, so let me draw a line of ending here.

Read all the articles written by Rebati Mohan Sinha.Click here.


  1. I exactly saw this happening, when i was small. it was my grandmother's house my father had built for her and it was done with the help of mutual understanding and cooperation (penny less labour). Time was 1980 (around) in my grandmother's village Chamtilla, Dullabhchara. karimganj.

  2. REBATI KAK NIce job by bringing back memories of older days thanks for reminding me to go to india once


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