The Birth Of Students Force
A tribute to the Hunger Marchers and
Founding Fathers of the AMSU

Seram Neken *

Hunger Marchers' Day Observation (Chaklam Khongchat) on 27th August 2012
Hunger Marchers' Day Observation (Chaklam Khongchat) on 27th August 2012 :: Pix - Bunti Phurailatpam

The erstwhile drama "Chaklaam Khongchat" produced by AMSU is still known to be very effective in moulding patriotism among the youths and students of the state. Unfortunately, the unique creation of the Director Birjit Ngangomba on the script of G. Joykumar Sharma has been off the stage for the last few years. Students were trained and made to act in the play. During the long training and rehearsal, the actors and actresses were made to fast in order to show off the real hunger in them. No wonder, the play was so real that a number of acting students fell down unconscious during the show.

The drama certainly enlivened the spirit of patriotism and sacrifice among the students of the state. If the AMSU revives the Drama for continuous show on every Hunger Marchers' Day, it will help instill the sense of patriotism among the new generation. An endeavor may also be made to document the play during the lifetime of its only director Birjit Ngangomba.

It was on this very day forty eight years ago that students protesting against the artificial famine created by the then government were brutally charged and some of them even killed inside the compound of the then Chief Commissioner. Nabakumar, Nilamani and Pramodini sacrificed their life on the spot for the cause of the people. Laishram Chaobhal Singh succumbed to his injuries a month later. Among those who sustained bullet injuries were Laishram Mangi, Kumar and Budhi while N. Ibohal Singh was seriously injured in lathi-charge. The rightful demand of the students for food was responded with bullets of the then government. The unfortunate event gave birth to the All Manipur Students Union (AMSU).

On 28th August 1965, a meeting of students presided by Nameirakpam Madhusadan Singh was held at the residence of Leihaothabam Saratchandra Sharma at Keishampat Laisom Leirak, leading to the formation of AMSU. Next day, the first Executive Council of AMSU was constituted at a meeting held at Uripok Tourangbam Leikai (residence of Gurumayum Jatishwar Sharma) and presided over by N. Birendrakumar.

Shri Thiyam Gambhir and Loitongbam Tombi Singh were elected as the President and the General Secretary of the 36-member Ad-hoc Executive body of AMSU. Shri N. Birendrakumar, H. Joykumar and M. Manikumar were the Joint Secretaries. Members were Y. Brojen, Pukhrambam Kullachandra, Seram Mangi Singh, L. Ibohal, Y. Dijen, Ng. Sankar, L. Saratchandra, Syamkumar, Loitingbam Kanhai, Khwairakpam Subash, N. Sarat, Ksh Nabakumar and G. Yaima.

Among those who took active role in the formation of the union were Md. Abdul Shah, M. Sanajaoba, L. Kaminikumar, O. Nabakumar, Gokul Singh, Salam Ibohal, A Basudev, P. Ibohal, S. Kirankumar, Shyamsundar, A. Yaima and L. Ibohal. The main agenda before the first Executive Council were the institution of judicial enquiry on the 27th August incident and release of the arrested student activists.

On 12 September 1965, a meeting of all the students of Manipur held at M.D U hall elected the second Executive Council of AMSU. 17 student leaders who were released from jail on that day were also present in the meeting. Shri Sanajaoba Naoriya, Shri Thiyam Gambhir and Shri Gurumayum Joykumar Sharma were elected as the President, the Vice-president and the General Secretary of the Council respectively. Shri Loitongbam Iboyaima and Shri Meinam Manikumar were the Finance Secretary and the Publicity Secretary respectively.

Shri Seram Mangi Singh, Loitongbam Tombi, Soyam Lokendrajit, Y. Rajen Singh, Laitonjam Ibopishak, Th. Ibohal Singh, L. Raghumani Singh, Ksh Iboyaima Singh, Kh. Joysakhi Devi, Laishram Jugobala Devi, Kh. Ibetombi Devi, Ch. Devola Devi, Ksh Kunjalata Devi and AK Santi Devi were the members of the council. A four member Advisory Board was formed with Shri N. Ibohal Singh, KN Singh, S. Ibotombi Singh and N. Birendrakumar Singh.

A five member Civil Defence Board was formed with Shri Seram Mangi Singh as Chairman and Shri L. Saratchandra Sharma as Secretary. Shri H. Joykumar Singh, Kh. Subash Singh and Kh. Ibetombi Devi were the other members. The members of the Board of Editors were Ibohal Singh, G. Joykumar Sharma, H. Joykumar Singh, L. Iboyaima Singh, W. Ibempishak Devi, Y. Sabitri Devi, G. Sobita Devi and S. Lokendra Singh.

On 10 February 1966, the Constitution Drafting Committee of AMSU was constituted with seven members namely Thiyam Gambhir, Y. Rajen, A.Birendra, Kh. Joysakhi, Jadumani, N. Ibohal and Ksh. Iboyaima. A meeting held at Aryan Theatre on 14th August 1966 took the decision to install a memorial site at Pishum Ching and to observe the "Hunger Marchers Day" on 27th August every year. On 26 December 1966, the Constitution of AMSU was adopted at the 20th Executive Council meeting of the Union held at Paradise Club, Wangkhei.

Shri Leihaothabam Saratchandra Sharma, Huidrom Yaima and Seram Mangi Singh were the President, the Vice-President and the General Secretary of the Union duly elected by the students under its new Constitution. Other members were L. Khuarileima Devi as Finance Secretary, Moirangthem Santikumar as Publicity and Information Secretary, Kullachandra Singh as Secretary–at-large, and Sanjenbam Sangita Devi as Asst. General Secretary, while G. Gunamani Sharma, RK Memsana Devi, RK Premlata Devi and Momon Devi remained as Executive Members. (Reference: Souvenir published on the Silver Jubilee Celebration of AMSU,1965-1990)

As an apex body of students of Manipur and as a pressure group protecting the indigenous rights of its people, AMSU has been involved in various reformations and development works. On 28 July 1967, a conference of all students (hills and valley) held at DM College raised issues such as emotional integrity among the students of Manipur, role of students in social development, Grievances of students. Paite, Gangte, Zeliangrong and representatives of other Naga student organizations participated in the conference.

In 1968, AMSU strongly condemned the efforts of some Naga leaders for unification of Naga inhabited areas into Nagaland and its endorsement by the then Nagaland Chief Minister T.N Angami. The Union submitted its memorandum to the Prime Minister of India with its rigid decision to safeguard the territorial integrity of the state.

Among the landmark endeavors of the AMSU during the last five decades, mention may be made of the demands for statehood, establishment of Manipur University, conversion of RMC into a regional institute, set-up of State Human Rights Commission, inclusion of Manipuri language in 8th Schedule of Constitution, checking of influx of foreigners and rise of prices of essential commodities. The birth of All Manipur Students' Union on 28th August 1965 was indeed a turning point in the journey of the Manipuris towards identity reconstruction. Still, AMSU has a long way to go.


AMSU has been instrumental in effectively safeguarding the territory of the state for the last many years. It was the first pressure group of Manipur to object to the efforts for unification of Naga inhabited areas into Nagaland in 1968. On various other occasions, the students' body rose in revolt against the tendencies of splitting the state's territory. Today, AMSU is also expected to raise its voice on the burning issue of border fencing in Manipur's Myanmar border.

* Seram Neken wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao as part of "The Voiceless Speaks"
This article was posted on August 27, 2013.

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