TODAY -

The resurgence of Hijam Irabot

Emelda Ahongshangbam *

115th Irabot Birth Anniversary at Mapal Kangjeibung on 30 September 2011
115th Irabot Birth Anniversary at Mapal Kangjeibung on 30 September 2011 :: Pix - Bullu Raj



Hijam Irabot Singh, also known as Jana Neta Hijam Irabot, was a freedom fighter, politician and social activist. He was one of the founder leaders of communist party of India in Manipur. He wrote journals and poetries as well as plays in which he also acted.

He was a sportsman. He showed leadership against social injustice since his school days.

Irabot was born to Hijam Ibungohal Singh and Chongtham Ningol Thambalnganbi on 30th September, 1896 at Pishumthong Oinam Leikai, Imphal. After his father’s death, he moved with his mother to stay with his aunt at Moirangkhom Saogaujam. He studied at Johnstone Higher Secondary School till Class-VII and there he founded two student bodies, Bal Sangha and Chhatra Sanmelan.

In 1913, he went to Dhaka with his cousin Sougaijam Somorendro and got admitted at Pugoi HighSchool to study till Class-IX. In 1915, he dropped out due to shortage of money and went to Agartala.

Later that year, when he came back to Manipur, he found his mother had died. Then he stayed with a friend at Wangkhei, called Maibam Shamden who worked in the court of king church.

It was then that he came in good relation with royal family. Then he married to Khomdon Sana, daughter of the king’s elder brother Chandrahas and he was appointed as member of the Sadar Panchayat.

IRABOT AS POLITICIAN (1934-1938)

Originally known as Nikhil Manipuri Hindu Mahasabha, Nikhil Manipuri Mahasabha was founded under the patronage of Maharaja Churachand as President. Irabot was the Vice-President and all the works were carried out under his guidance.

In the last session held at Chinga, during king’s absence, Irabot changed the name of the Sabha by dropping Hindu from the original name. Then Irabot and Elangbam Tompok, a clerk at the Revenue Department resigned from the Sadar Panchayet.

IRABOT AS POLITICIAN AND SOCIAL REFORMER (1938-1951)

In 1939, when the 2nd Nupilal broke out in Manipur, a section of NMM, called as Praja Sanmelan split off the mother party to join the Nupilal and gave a speech at Yaiskul policelane in 1940. Consequently, Irabot was arrested under the State Durbar criminal case for 3 years imprisonment and deported to Sehlet Jail.

During the stay at the jail, he met some renowned communist leaders like Hemanga Biswas and Jyotimoynadi on 20th March, 1943. He was released from the jail but was not permitted to enter Manipur. So, he stayed at Cachar District and worked for the unity and welfare of the Manipuri community.

There he also joined the Kishan Movement and kept in touch with C.P.I. leaders and attended the first party congress of C.P.I. held at Bombay (23rd May to 1st June) in 1943 as special invitee from Cachar.

Irabot was finally permitted to come and stay at Manipur in March, 1946. He organized a new party called Manipur Praja Mandal in April, 1946. He was expelled from Nikhil Manipuri Mahasabha on the charge of being a member of C.P.I.

Irabot contested election and won from the Utlou Constituency as a Krishak Sabha candidate in Manipur Assembly election in 1948, June/July. A meeting was called by Irabot on behalf of the Manipuri Praja Sangha and Krishak Sabha at M.D.U. Hall on 21st September, 1948 to protest against the proposed formation of Purbachal Pradesh comprising Manipur, Tripura, Cachar and Lushai Hills.

A scuffle took place at Pungdongbam when the state police prevented a group of citizens who come to participate in the meeting in which a police officer was killed on the spot.

Then the Manipur State Council declared the Manipur Praja Sangha and Manipur Krishak Sabha as unlawful organisations. Irabot could not attend the first meeting of the Manipur Legislative Assembly held on 8th October, 1948 because of the warrant against him.

Then Irabot formed an underground communist party of Manipur on 29th October, 1948 and carried out armed struggle against the government. He died on 26th September 1951 at the foothills of Anggo Hills.


* Emelda Ahongshangbam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer is D/o A. Aken Singh & A (O) Surjalata Devi
Of Sagolband Moirang Leirak, Imphal
Class –XII (Science)
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Lamphelpat
This article was posted on September 23, 2013.


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