Manipur as a part of India during Lord Krishna's time: Comical and idiosyncratic

Samarjit Kambam *

Some years back, I stumbled across a quote pasted in front of a grocery shop which was printed as "It's better to keep your mouth shut and let others think that you are a fool rather than to open it and remove all doubts". Well, following that quote as a part of my idealism in real life situation saved me from a lot of embarrassments in front of others.

As is said, "Silence is Golden", there were many occasions where I had to keep mum and even though others showered remarks galore upon me that I hardly speak, shutting my mouth comes as a handy tool for me at crucial times. The nature in which our Hon'ble Chief Minister sold the identity and culture of Manipur on a platter at the Madhavpur Fair in Porbandar, Gujarat held on 28 th March by giving errant and off-beam speech on the history of Manipur has taken the people of Manipur aback by surprise leading to high degree of acrimony.

The flat-out wrong statement poured out by our Hon'ble Chief Minister stating that Manipur was bound to India during Lord Krishna's time bringing out to the fore distorted and twisted facts of history of Manipur mentioning that after marrying Rukmini, Lord Krishna had bound the North East in India has been the sole reason for him to get lambasted by the people of Manipur.

What the heck! Dear Chief Minister, you have opened a Pandora's Box in Manipur with your statements by deforming the historical facts and defaming the historical sanctity of Manipur. Wasn't it you, Hon'ble Chief Minister who announced a few months' back about bringing out copies of our ancient scripture "Puya" in English and even articulated to make it a part of syllabus in the school curricula in Manipur.

You opined that the project for bringing out copies of Puya in English is for the sole aim of inculcating the unique history of Manipur, its identity, culture and established norms to the budding school going tots of Manipur. While we are eagerly awaiting for the book to be released, you have brought down the house, turning things topsy turvy.

Let me bring forth that Lord Krishna is a creation of Ved Vyasa during the Vedic age. Even though the Mahabharata was written centuries back, in Manipur "Mera Wayungba" is older than Lord Krishna's entry in Manipur through religious pathways subsequent to a huge portion of the populace of Manipur being forcibly converted into Hindu Vaisnavites by then King Pamheiba who later changed his name to a Hindu name "Garibniwas" after he was brainwashed by the chemical dexterity of a Bengali preacher known as Santidas Gosai from Sylhet, Bangladesh.

Only after the forceful conversion of more than 60% of the populace of Meiteis into Hindu Vaisnavites did the people of Manipur, especially the Meiteis, begin to embrace Hinduism and started to worship Lord Krishna. Prior to that, Manipur was totally cut off from Hinduism.

Luckily, our true deity "Sanamahee" could not be wiped out completely as some of our braveheart forefathers took great pain and risked their lives by secretly embracing it and preserved copies of the Puya even though the original Puya was burnt to ashes by King Garibniwas, the day of which is observed as "Puya Mei Thaaba Numit" (The Day Puya was Burnt).

Now, the number of Sanamahists has increased considerably among the Meiteis of our state as they want to preserve their real cultural identity. Hon'ble CM, don't you know that Manipur which was known as Kangleipak remained as a princely state for more than a millennium until Kangleipak merged into the Indian Union with the controversial "Merger Agreement".

Kangleipak was such a unique kingdom with unique identity, culture, heritage and customs. Kangleipak, the erstwhile Manipur is an archetype of being an independent princely kingdom for the longest duration among all other states or kingdoms of the past. Kangleipak was not under the influence of any outside elements be it religion or other otherwise except for the invasion by the Burmese called "Awa" wherein the "Seven Years' Devastation" took place.

However, the Awas were pushed back and Kabaw Valley was ours until the first Prime Minister of Independent India Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru gave the resourceful and bountiful valley away to Myanmar, the erstwhile Burma to flaunt that India has embraced a liberal system called "Democracy" (sic).

The ironic as well as a histrionic scenario was that almost all the Chief Ministers and Governors of North East states towed in line and made their statements in tandem that North East region was binded with India by Lord Krishna.

The incumbent Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu relayed our CM's statement by mentioning about Lord Krishna's marriage with princess Rukmini bringing to the conclusion that Arunachal Pradesh has been part of India for the past 5000 years.

Could it have been co-incidence or could it have been high level allegiance given to our Hon'ble Prime Minister to win accolades or could they have been forced by the Hon'ble PM of India to give such droll historical statements?

If it was, then the CM of Manipur can honestly confess to the people and can even approach the Supreme Court for making one to make a statement forcibly for such acts go against the very norms of a democracy. That way, the people of Manipur will easily forgive our Hon'ble CM. Manipuri Students Federation has every palpable and logical reason to demand a clear cut clarification from our Hon'ble CM on the issue or give up the seat of Chief Ministership.

Misleading the people and giving false message to the people by subverting the unique history of our state in a stone-cold errant way is tantamount to committing a crime. Such an act was not representing the people but 'misrepresenting' the people of Manipur. There was no period such as 'Dwapur Yug' in Manipur for Manipur was an independent kingdom with its own unique identity, culture and established norms with the Meiteis living the tribal way of life for two to three millenniums.

He acted as a polymath yet ending up as an idiosyncratic omnibus of drolls and misnomers reflecting thin epistemic in terms of history of Manipur. It could have been more appropriate if he gave the statement that Manipur became an integral part of India in 1949 after it merged with India. Nowadays, due to advancement in education and information technology, the youth of today can make informed choices and can come up with unique decisions of their own by doing away with any influence or pressure from any angle thereby leading to majority of the people of Manipur longing and yearning for their roots.

An example is culmination of ongoing demand for ST status to Meiteis by members of Manipur Schedule Tribe Demand Committee (MSTDC) to protect our identity and culture.

Our Hon'ble CM embarrassed himself, made a cuckoo of himself in front of the people of Manipur by being a wrong guy at the wrong time and place. It is obvious that a clear clarification of the rabble-rousing statement he had made at Porbandar, Gujarat is doubtful from the part of our Hon'ble CM. He needs an autopsy of his disheveled Porbandar speech and offer an apology from his side to the people which is very much essential to pacify the people of Manipur.

Asking for forgiveness, making confessions and apologising are qualities of a true leader. Incredulous way or attitude will further lower his credentials and get himself more embarrassed in front of the people of Manipur making him looked upon as 'a symbol of a neophyte and a nerd' in terms of the history of his own motherland as well as reflecting vacillated thinking from his part.

The issue cannot be quelled by using shilly-shally delaying tactics or buying time. Well, to err is human. We all make mistakes as we are all humans and nobody's perfect. There are also times where mistakes are committed deliberately due to pressure or influence from higher and more powerful authorities.

Our Hon'ble CM might have been in a Catch-22 situation. Nevertheless, he needs to come up with an apology to the people of Manipur citing that the Porbandar speech was an ad hoc speech from his side.

* Samarjit Kambam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at kambamsamarjit0(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on April 08 , 2018.

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