TODAY -

Emerging manifestation of armed violence and nationalism as reflected in Manipuri literature
- Part 1 -

H. Ibotombi Khuman *



Introduction

The states comprising Northeastern region of India are inhabited by people who share similar physical attribute and speak different language. In early precolonial history, they are all self-determined people and have resided in self-governed territories. After colonization by the British, Naga Hills, Lushai Hills and Khasi Hills were created as a district within the state of Assam.

Manipur had existed as an independent Asiatic sovereign. Manipur became a 'British Protectorate' following her defeat in Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891. Manipur became independent following the lapse of British Paramountcy on the intervening night of 14 August 1947 [N. Sanajaoba, 1997: 8].

Under Manipur Constitution Act, 1947, elections were held for 52 Assembly Constituencies (ACs) in the month of June and July, and for Mao AC where election could not be held, it was represented by a nominated member. On 21st September of the same year, all the members took oath of office and the assembly was inaugurated by the titular king of Manipur, His Highness, Maharaja Bodhchandra.

The Merger Agreement of Manipur to India was signed between Maharaja of Manipur and Government of India on 21 September 1949. It came into effect on 15 October 1949. Following Merger, Manipur became a Part C State of India. Manipur then had to go through a status of territorial Council and afterwards the Union Territory before attaining statehood. It was only in the year 1972, Manipur was granted a full-fledged statehood.

In the year 1953, Manipur National Union under the leadership of Sagolsem Indramni, in a mammoth gathering attended by thousands, at Pologround declared that Manipur should be a 'Buffer State'. For declaring so, he was and put into prison. In the year 1954, Praja Socialist party, also launched the agitation for demanding responsible government in Manipur [Ibid., 10].

Many organisations and political parties also launched an intense agitation demanding the installation of full-fledged assembly [Ibid.]. There was also a prolonged movement for demanding statehood by the Manipur State Demand Coordinating Committee.

In the case of erstwhile Naga Hills and Lushai Hills, with the rising armed violence by the Naga National Council (NNC) and the Mizo National Front (MNF), two new states, Nagaland (1963) and Mizoram (1987) was created to appease and pacify the rising armed insurrection.

In the case of Manipur, Manipur was granted statehood after the emergence of Meitei State Committee which was founded in 1960 and remained active till 1969, and United National liberation Front (UNLF) which is still a force to reckon with since its inception in 1964, and Revolutionary Government of Manipur founded in 1968.

Thus, history is a witness that without resorting to armed violence, likelihood of getting regional aspirations fulfilled through democratic means is remote and almost ruled out.

Manipur's unrepresented 'Fourth World State' armed liberation movement' which continued uninterrupted from the last decade of the Twentieth Century to the present Twenty-First Century had started to gain recognition in the international arena. This important phase in the history had also started reflecting in Manipuri literature.

Non-State Armed Insurgent Groups in Manipur: Profile and History

Manipur has a more than 2000 years old recorded and documented history. Its existence as an independent East Asiatic sovereign power and the precursor effort for the regaining of its lost political status through armed revolution was made by Hijam Irabot by founding 'Manipur Communist Party' and 'Armed Red Guard' in 1948 and continued the movement till 1951.

An assembly constituted by the duly and democratic elected government had by taking a resolution denounced the Merger Agreement signed between the Government of India and Maharaja Bodhchandra on 21 September which came into effect on 15 October 1949 as null and void.

Accordingly the resolution of denouncing the Merger Agreement was let known to the Dominion Government of India by sending a signed statement.

Subsequent to it, in the year 1960, Meetei /Meitei State Committee under the leadership of Wangkheirakpam Tomba actively carried out violent armed struggle till the time their President, Secretary and other leaders got arrested and imprisoned in 1967 and accordingly waned down [ Ibid., 11].

On 24 November 1964, the United National liberation Front (UNLF) was founded under the leadership of Arambam Samarendra and started the revolution struggle. After assuming the charge of leadership by Sanayaima aka Meghen, the movement of UNLF gained prominence and became more and more in the limelight.

As of now, Sanayaima aka Meghen was arrested by the security forces from Bangladesh and after handing him over to India, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had prosecuted him and accordingly imprisoned by awarding 10 years imprisonment.

At present, UNLF is under the leadership of Mr. Pambei. UNLF, as a constituent member of Co-ordination Committee, a conglomeration of Underground groups of Manipur, better known by its acronym CorCom, have been relentlessly engaged in a joint revolutionary struggle under the banner of CorCom.

Some of those who wanted to accelerate the pace of the revolutionary movement deserted the UNLF and join the Consolidation Committee Manipur (ConsoCom) under the leadership of Oinam Sudhir [Hanjabam, 2011: 102]. ConsoCom, started the 'Manipur liberation struggle' by forming a Government in Exile in the year 1968.

The activity of this revolutionary group continued till 1972 but after most of its leaders got arrested in Tripura and Manipur, and imprisoned accordingly, it no longer continued.

Sequel to it, on 9 October 1977, a People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) was founded by RK Loyataba aka Tullachandra. The party launched the armed Self-determination movement of Manipur with a hoisting of flag.

The founding leader, Tullachandra, was killed in an encounter with the Manipur Rifle's security personnel at Kabow Wakching on 12 November 1985. At present, the party is led by Sathi aka Heera. This party, also, as a constituent coordination member of CorCoM, is actively engaged in joint armed struggle.

PREPAK – Progressive, another faction from PREPAK, under the leadership of Longjam Suresh aka Paliba has also been very active and still continuing the armed struggle as constituent coordinating member of CorCom.

On 25 September 1978, People's Liberation Army (PLA) under the leadership of Nameirakpam Bisheswar was founded. In the subsequent year, on 25 February, 1979, its political wing, Revolutionary People's Front (RPF) was set up.

RPF claimed itself as conforming to the United Nations' Indigenous People's Charters in their sustained armed struggle for right to national self-determination for the complete decolonization of Manipur representing the Meitei and the Meitei cognates viz, the Nagas, the Kuki-Chins from the present 'colonial administering power of India which has occupied Manipur, since 15 October, 1949 till today.

At present, RPF is taking a big role in the joint struggle as Coordination member of CorCom [Ibid., 104].

Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), another potent armed revolutionary group was formed on 24 April 1994 under the leadership of Namoijam Oken and Achou Toijamba, by those who parted from UNLF owing to differences in the ideology and style of working. The party also had been carrying out sustained armed struggle for the stated cause of liberating Manipur and regaining her lost independence without retreat.

After the demise of Achou Toijamba, KYKL, under the leadership of Namoijam Oken had tied up and joined hands with Kangleipak Communist Party – Noyon (KCP–N). Both the two parties have earlier been constitutent members of the conglomerate groups, Revolutionary Joint Committee (RJC), Manipur People's Liberation Front (MPLF), and CorCom.

At present, both the parties have joined hands with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) and continue with the armed uprising.

To be continued...


* H. Ibotombi Khuman wrote this article which was published at Imphal Times
This article was webcasted on June 02 2019.



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