TODAY -

An intrepid and dynamic General - Sougaijam Balaram Singh
Of the time of Maharaja Chandrakirti Singh of Manipur
- Part 1 -

Waikhom Damodar Singh *

Seven year's Devastation - chahi taret khuntakpa
Seven year's Devastation II (1819-1825) : (chahi taret khuntakpa)
Warning: These images CANNOT be reproduced in any form or size without written permission from the RKCS Gallery



The sovereign kigdom of Manipur was found by the deitic king, Pakhangba in 33 AD, a very early time when only such a few indigenous kingdoms existed in the world. Pakhangba and his descendent 67 kings ruled the hoary hilly-land which shone as a little 'bright star' on the Eastern Political Horizon till it went most helplessly at the hands of the mighty British Imperialists on 27 April, 1891 after their defeat in the Battle of the Anglo-Manipuri war that took place on 25 April 1891 at Khongjom, some 20 miles from Imphal on the south, and then forcibly at the hands of the interim Authorities of the Dominion of India when the British ended their colonial rule over the continent, very sadly, never to rise and shine again of its own as the Independent kingdom.

Many heroic forefathers of the unique heavenly land ladi down their most precious lives for the cause of the 'up keep' of their age-od independence established de facto' led by the heroic kings, among whom, the most prominent and great were-Kiyamba of 1467 to 1508 AD, Mungyamba of 1562 to 1597 AD, Khagemba of 1579 to 1652 AD, Pamheiba (Garibniwaz) of 1709 to 1748 AD, Joy Singh (Bhagyachandra) of 1764 to 1798 AD, Gambhir Singh of 1821 to 1834 AD, Nar Singh of 1834 to 1848 AD, Chandrakirti Singh of 1851 to 1886 AD. These great and heroic Kings were indomitable because of the most courageous, loyal, dedicated and self sacrificed services rendered by their heroic people under the able commands of the very dynamic and enterprising generals like Sorokhaibam Apong, Thangjaba Chakrapani of Pamheiba's time, Sougaijam Balram SIngh and Thangal (Kangabam Chidananda Singh) of the time of Chandra Kirti Singh and so on.

Thge might of the military power of Manipur reached its highest 'peak' at the time of its most heroic and dauntless kinfs, Pamheiba, who, as was promised before the ascended the throne of Manipur after a cloud of 'suspect' of his origin of belonging to a tribal Thangal community was cleared and erased out for good, overran the mighty Burmese forces and had extended the territory of Manipur right up to Yewa (Ava) situation on the bank of the great Irradawy river where the capital of the Burmese was then located. Before that he fructified the promise of blodd thirsty vengeance of his father, Charairongba, in that he stormed with great devastations the palace of Samsok (Tangdaut) and severely punished its highly mischievous and very arrogant chief and his people and brought them down to their knees, who were however pardoned (To be contd)

The military power of the Manipuris so rose to its highest peak unparalleled in the South East Asia region, however 'waned down' rapidly after the most tragic death of Pamheiba in 1751 AD had taken place-to the breaking of every one's heart his son bron to Queen Gomti Devi, Chitsai older to Bharat Sai and Satrughan Sai, who was given the throne as was promised earlier to Gomti, who then had already a husband, for becoming one of hgis consorts though his eldest son, Shyam Sai, Khurailakpa was the rightful heir to the throne, go him assassinated by his youngest son, Satrughan Sai (Tolen-tomba) in Burma while returning from his banishment.

The death of the invincible Pamheiba reached the Burmese as one of the greatest 'boons' to them as theu waiting for such a moment to come and happen for enabling them to 'pounce' on the Meities by way of taking their great revenge on them for the most humilitating defeats that they had suffered at their hands in several occasions of war with them when they were led by the most heroic deceased Meitei king. The Burmese therefore lost no time and began their series of uncheckable devastating invasions in Manipur. The Burmese easily invadaded and carried out devastations as the ruling military power of the Manipuris became much weakened due to "in-fighting and disunity" developed amongst the heirs of Maharaja Bhagyachandra (Chingthangkhomba, Nongdrenkhoma, Joy Singh, Karta Maharaj), the third successor of Pamheiba.

The eldest son of Bhagyachandra, Labanya Chandra ascended the throne after the death of his father but reigned for three years, succeeded by his younger brother, Modhuchandra in 1800 AD, who at the end of his short reign was driven out from the throne by his younfer cousin brother, Chourjit Singh and he filled the vacant throne in 1803 AD. In the following year his brother Modhuchandra with the help of the British attempted to regain the throne from with a furious fight taken place at Sanapat, near Bishenpur which was put down with the help of his younger brother Marjit Singh with whom it was agreed to occupy the throne alternatively by each of them every three years. Chourjit however neglected the agreement and as such Marjit invited the king of Ava to invade Manipur. Thus a large column of Burmese invaded Manipur in 1812 AD.

As Chourjit could not face the overwhelming Burmese invading force, he fled to Cachar along with his cousin brothers, Gambhir Singh and Nar Singh. The Burmese placed Marjit on the throne as their puppet king who reigned from 1812 to 1810 AD. However a great strained relationship between him and the Burmese developed soon as he neglected and disobeyed the unacceptable directives and dictates of the Burmese king, as a result they invaded Manipur 1819 AD again with a large force and drove away Marjit to Cachar and the Meiteis becamse a deserted people without a proper king to rul and protect them during the period 1819 to 1826 AD. The period of seven years' devastation of the country is being known as 'chahi taret khuntakpa.'

During the period the helpless Meiteis lay bleeding and defiled at the feet of the Burmese. Never had such a period of small strength and population been subjected to the most dreadful vengeance taken by a more powerful enemy with outnumbering strength of forces as the Meiteis suffered at the hands of the Burmese during those fateful years from 1819 to 1826 AD. These brutal seven years have thus left deep imprints in the 'psyche' on the Meiteis-they, including their innocent were herded like animals and locked in houses and killed by the gas of burning chillies. Women were hunted and raped. Men were severely tortured-chained by lone cane ropes perforated through their palms and pulled like cattles.



To be continued ..


* Waikhom Damodar Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on June 21, 2013.



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