TODAY -

Ideals of Lamyanba Irawat

Chingakham Basanta Singh *

117th Birth Anniversary of Lamyanba Hijam Irabot at Palace Compound and at Lamyanba Shanglen :: September 30 2013
117th Birth Anniversary of Lamyanba Hijam Irabot at Palace Compound on Sep 30 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



Hijam Irawat was a promethean figure of Manipur. He was an artistic achiever, sportsman, social activist and communist revolutionary, all into one. He was born in 1896, 30th September at Pishum Oinam Leikai in a poor family. Be became an orphan in childhood.

Therefore, Irawat, the leader of Manipur, had a difficult life. He earned his living and bore the cost of his education by doing manual labour. He was not just a good student but was also excellent in the field of games and sports. This brought him to the notice of the ruler of Manipur.

As a result of his social reform and political activities particularly, his participation in the Second Nupi Lal; he was exiled from Manipur and lodged in Sylhet jail, where a number of communists were incarcerated. He was released from the jail in March, 1943 but not permitted to enter Manipur. So, he began political work amongst the peasants and workers of Manipur community in Cachar and the importance of his work spread far beyond the borders of the state.

Meanwhile, he was appointed as a magistrate by the ruler of Manipur. Ignorance in the law and jurisprudence, he worked hard to learn them, and he was always anxious to reform them so that the inequalities might be eliminated. Simultaneously, remembering his hard days, at school, he devoted himself to the spread of education in Manipur. Primary Schools began to spring up all over the hills despite the unsympathetic attitude of many of the state officials. High Schools were also opened in Imphal.

An organization uniting all the Manipuris was necessary for large scale reform in the state, so he took the initiative in reforming the Nikhil Manipur Mahasabha with the clear aims of striving for national unity and social uplift. The Nikhil Manipur Mahasabha built under the patronage of the Raja turned into a liberal body, in the ensuing tug of war between loyalists and reformists, the reformists won and Irawat was elected president by an overwhelming majority. But the reformist character of the movement soon gave away to more radical mass demands.

With the outbreak of the war in 1939, people’s movement got in touch with the Congress in Assam mainly through the initiative of Irawat. The growing economic crisis hit the people and prices went up. Big monopolists and rice mill owners started grabbing all the stocks of paddy, the poor Manipuris were threatened with famine.

The Nikhil Manipur Mahasabha demanded the control of the rice monopolists. But this was ignored by the authorities. However, Irawat never discouraged to face any difficult. By hook or by crook he reformed barbaric society in Manipur and made it a glorious one.

Therefore, his popularity become brighter even today and will continue to do so in future.


* Chingakham Basanta Singh wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
The writer is a Class-XI (Sc) student at Comet School, Imphal and is a resident of Andro Khuman Leikai
This article was posted on September 20, 2014.


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