E-Pao! Essay - Long live Leisemba

Long live Leisemba

By: Lt. Col. H. Bhuban Singh (Retd) *

In Britain, when a King died, people sang:-
'The King is dead
Long Live the King

It does not mean that the subjects wished the dead king should come back to life and rule again. The underlying meaning was that though for example King George had died, the British people wished kingship or monarchy to continue.

The last King means kingship. Taking the example of one particular case of recent (in terms of historical time) incident, when King George VI died in his sleep on 6 February 1952, his chosen and recognized successor was not readily available to assume power.

Queen Elizabeth and her Royal Consort Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh were holidaying in East Africa. They flew back and Elizabeth assumed charge of monarchy on 7th February 1952. Hence the date/dates of assumption of royal charge was put as 6-7 February 1952, just to have unbroken continuity.

The world is changing fast. Kingship is disappearing everywhere.

When King Faruq of Egypt, was dethroned by Major General Naguib (figurehead only) and Lt. Col. Nasser (the brain behind the Free Officers' Movement) in July 1952, King Faruq remarked that after a few years, the world would be left with only five Kings. His five permanent Kings were King of Spades, King of Hearts, King of Diamonds, King of Clubs (the four Kings in a pack of playing cards) and finally, the fifth and permanent King was the King of Britain.

In India too, all Maharajas, Nawabs, Gaikwads, Holkars, Nizams etc had disappeared. The leftover Maharaja of Sikkim had gone also. In Nepal too, His Majesty Maharajadhiraja Mahendra of Nepal is now becoming obsolescent and will soon become obsolete after a few months or days, when Nepal will declare itself a republic.

In Manipur, Maharajaship ended with Maharaja Okendra Singh. Now, we have Leisemba Sanajaoba.

Despite the serious threat to kingship, due to arrival of republican thoughts with democratic forms of governance, kingship remained in many countries.

For example, Emperor (Mikado) of Japan exists very strongly like a demi-God, King of Thailand exists, and royalty exists in many European countries. In Spain, royalty was even restored after General Francisco Franco, the Dictator of Spain, died. Why restore and go backwards?

There is an answer please.

I believe that the Manipur society is now sliding down a deep precipice. Everyday, we read in the newspapers about deaths of two or three young boys shot and killed or died in accidents. For a few hundreds of rupees, a young boy of ten got killed at Pishum hillock recently.

The vein on the head of a young boy was cut at Iroisemba Hill and blood in the raw form sucked. We have become real 'Hingchabas' (raw meat-eaters like tigers etc.). Two young students of Senapati were kidnapped for ransom and their skeleton dead bodies were found in jungles. An unknown and unpublished number of young ones are dying due to HIV/ AIDS and other drug abuses.

At this rate, more than a thousand young men will die every year and our population will dwindle and we will soon become a vanishing tribe. All these are happening due to moral degradation. A kind of moral renaissance is required in Manipur.

Monarchy teaches morality, manners and dos and don'ts. Even in a family, there must be one Head. A headless family is a wild family. A house where there is no Head is not a Home. The Queen is the Head of the British nation and Government and is also Defender of Faith.

Britishers are not fools to waste millions of pounds per year for maintaining the British Royal family. Restoration of Royalty in Spain was precisely because of the same reason discipline and social order.

The duties and functions of Maharajas of Manipur were not conquest, governance and protection of territory only but were also framer and arbiter of our social, cultural and religious orders, which included prevention of disorder as well. Even when Maharajaship is extinct now, royalty is involved in Kwak Jatra, Mera Haochongba, Sana Pala of Holi (Yaosang) etc.

So, to preserve the cultural and historical traditions of Manipur as a whole, I submit that Leisembaship be legalized and maintained just as Chiefships in hill areas are still vogue. You may be knowing that the Hundung Chief is always the elder brother of Maharajas of Manipur, notwithstanding their ages.

To implement the above, the Manipur Legislative Assembly may be kind enough to pass an act for institutionalizing our Leisemba as cultural and traditional Head and be granted a monthly remuneration equal, from time to time, to that of a Joint Secretary of Manipur Secretariat (not warrant of precedence) for his up-keep.

Let us now sing, 'Long Live Leisemba'.

* Lt. Col. H. Bhuban Singh (Retd) wrote this article for The Sangai Express. This article was webcasted on July 05th, 2007

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