TODAY -

Biography of His Highness Maharaja Bodhachandra (Last King of Manipur)
- Part 3 -

Wahengbam Pathou *

Jila Durbar in the Kingdom of Manipur in early 1900s
Jila Durbar in the Kingdom of Manipur in early 1900s
Warning: These images CANNOT be reproduced in any form or size without written permission from the RKCS Gallery



On 21 September, 1949 Maharaja Bodhchandra appended his royal signature on Merger Agreement. The stroke of His Highness pen on the merger agreement paper dealt a death blow to the sovereignty of Manipur. Committing a tragedy of errors, Maharaja Bodhchandra ceded sovereignty of Manipur to Dominion of India by signing the merger agreement under state of duress. In fact, the merger agreement document was the graveyard of Manipur's sovereignty that Maharaja Bodhchandra was forced to sign under unremitting coercion.

On hearing the news that Maharaja Bodhchandra had signed merger agreement, Chief Minister Capt. M.K. Priyabrata convened a session of Manipur Legislative Assembly on 28 September, 1949. The Assembly passed a resolution to denounce the undemocratic and illegal manner in which the Government of India had concluded merger agreement with Maharaja Bodhchandra. The resolution clearly underlined that 'the Assembly will not abide by the agreement' and 'Manipur will have no relation with India'.

On 15 October, 1949, Manipur was merged to Dominion of India. The administration of Manipur was taken over from Maharaja Bodhchandra by the Government of India. On this fateful day, Manipur lost sovereignty that it had recently attained and enjoyed for a brief spell of two years after the lapse of British paramountcy.

Curtains came down on the two millennia old institution of monarchy in Manipur on 15 October, 1949. Maharaja Bodhchandra was dispossessed of his royal powers as ruler of Manipur. Government of India abolished institution of monarchy and Maj. Gen. Rawal Amar Singh was made Chief Commissioner of Manipur on the day Manipur was merged to India. Soon after assuming office, Rawal Amar Singh unceremoniously dismissed democratically elected government of Manipur led by Capt. M. K. Priyabrata and dissolved the elected assembly. All the powers vested in the council of ministers and legislative assembly were usurped by the Chief Commissioner.

15 October, 1949 was a sad day for democracy in Manipur. Dismissal of Capt. M. K. Priyabrata government was travesty of democracy. Dissolution of the elected assembly was bonfire of democracy.

Manipur was made a Part C state by Government of India having no elected government and legislature in stark contrast to constitutional monarchy having a democratically elected government and legislature under Maharaja Bodhchandra's rule. Entire Manipur was placed under the hands of one man Chief Commissioner who would in turn unleash autocratic rule over the people of Manipur. The raw deal meted out to the people of Manipur in their first tryst with Indian democracy is crude and shocking.

Loss of kingship set in twilight years for Maharaja Bodhchandra. Gripped by devastating grief and agony, His Highness renounced the world, went on a self exile in an ashram at Nongmaiching hills and led the life of an ascetic. He was deeply saddened by loss of Manipur's sovereignty and was extremely guilt ridden that he was responsible for this sad plight of Manipur.

He strongly felt that future generations would cast aspersions on him for surrendering the sovereignty of Manipur. To atone for the sins he imagined to have committed on Manipur, he became ascetic and renounced worldly pleasures. The splendour of regal life no longer attracted him. Whenever he returned to Imphal from his hermitage at Nongmaiching hills, he refused to stay at royal palace. Inside the premises of Sana Konung, Maharaja Bodhchandra had a straw and bamboo hut constructed for him where he would stay and lived with bare necessities completely detaching himself from the pomp and comforts of royal life.

Thus, the twilight years of Maharaja Bodhchandra was indeed tragic. Having once strode over as the ruler of Manipur in his heydays, Maharaja Bodhchandra plunged into deep distress and agony over his decision to sign the merger agreement, the death warrant of Manipur and as a result went on a self imposed exile leading an isolated, secluded existence renouncing the world.

Finally, Maharaja Bodhchandra expired in his palace ashram in the morning of 9 December, 1955. The cremation of His Highness was however deferred from early morning to late evening because according to Meitei tradition, the funeral rites of a deceased king could not be conducted until an immediate successor to the deceased king is publicly announced. So a hunt went on to find the immediate successor to Maharaja Bodhchandra.

A marathon meeting was convened at the residence of the then Chief Commissioner P.C. Matthew attended by Capt. M. K. Priyabrata, former Chief Minister of Manipur and Customs Secretary to His Highness the Maharaja of Manipur and Waikhom Chaoba former Durbar Member and guardian tutor to Maharaja Bodhchandra during the time of his Yuvrajship to select the immediate successor.

The succession issue was decided in favour of machaibungo Okendrajit, eldest son of Maharaja Bodhchandra born to Rani Kamlavati (popularly known as Papal Sangai) who was accordingly recognized by Government of India in a crash wireless message flashed from New Delhi.

After the successor was announced, the mortal remains of Maharaja Bodhchandra was laid to rest. The lifeless body of His Highness was cremated at Kangla. An unprecedented huge crowd thronged to witness the last rites of the Maharaja.

The pala singers chanted the following hymns in sad remembrance of the departed Maharaja:
'Chatloko hey! Athouba, pukphaba, dharma chenba, Iningthou
Nahakna chatkhibadi khunai asigi aroiba numit takhibanido'

'Hey noble and religious and courageous king of Manipur!
We all bid adieu to you on your great soul's departure journey to heaven
Your departure from us do mark, indeed, the setting of the last monarchical sun of this hoary land'
.

A biography of Maharaja Bodhchandra was long overdue. The saga of Maharaja Bodhchandra was long waiting to be told. If M.K. Binodini or better still M.K. Priyabrata had written his biography recounting their memories of association with Maharaja Bodhchandra, it would have been a lot more insightful than the present work.

Concluded..


* Wahengbam Pathou wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on December 05, 2013.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Lembi Leima: Best Film at 1st NE Film Fest
  • COVID-19 Status 26 March : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Process of lifting AFSPA : From 2004 to 2023
  • My Memories of Imphal #15 : Download
  • Q&A with Babloo Loitongbam at Netherlands
  • Job Vacancy @ Makok Tech, Bishnupur
  • Drought :: Poem
  • Law as a career choice
  • COVID-19 Status 25 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Day 2 : Punjab students' tour to Manipur
  • Sajibu Cheirao-chingkaba : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Central Univ Punjab exposure tour to Manipur
  • Question of Survival
  • lived without love, not one without water
  • World Tuberculosis Day at Arunachal
  • Pulling out of SoO pact with 3 groups
  • Legal hurdles in nailing drug peddlers
  • Sangai Fest: Moyon Dance : Gallery
  • Will lessons from COVID vaccine rollout ...
  • Of water scarcity: Beyond class room teaching
  • COVID-19 Status 23 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Univ to host students from Punjab
  • Mangrove, the magical tree
  • Ban plastics or set up recycling plants
  • Enforcing ban on single use plastic
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Tri-Nation International Football Tournament
  • Modern Cancer Treatment in Manipur
  • International conference on Natural farming
  • Importance of farm pond for agriculture
  • Drowned :: Poem
  • Poireiton Khunthok (Abridged Translation) #1
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba (Meitei New Year) : Book
  • COVID-19 Status 21 March : Govt of Manipur
  • 'Implement NRC must precede delimitation'
  • Yuva Samvad - India@2047 organized
  • Serum for hair
  • As you sail through the noises
  • Seizure of PDS rice amid erratic distribution
  • Studying with a purpose in mind
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #3 : Gallery
  • Liquor prohibition in Manipur
  • Lifting Bhagyachandra and elephant
  • COVID-19 Status 20 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Bishnupur Cricket Association meeting
  • Fake News & Disinformation New Challenges
  • Prospect, feasibility of natural farming in state
  • Manipur and water crisis
  • Lamta Thangja @Kangla Gate : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Kabui Dance : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Oil and gas scenario in Manipur
  • NPF's 'Gandhigiri' gestures towards NDPP
  • Spreading happiness as a career choice
  • Afforestation campaign: Test of Govt resilience
  • Poppy plantation & agents of desertification
  • My Memories of Imphal #14 : Download
  • Imphal Turel condition [18 Mar] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Seminar on Awareness about lifestyle diseases
  • Pole Star :: Poem
  • Blunting of AIDS epidemic: zero-complacency
  • Conduct of election to Municipal in Nagaland
  • Saroi Khangba @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel, a yearlong tourist's destination
  • COVID-19 Status 17 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Her Struggle
  • In Nagaland, NDPP rises & NPF falls
  • Dream Zone - School of Creative Studies
  • Sluggish project works abetting water crisis
  • Taking the NRC call to Delhi : Unifying factor
  • Nongmaithem Tombi Singh's contribution #2
  • Highways of Life :: Movie Review
  • COVID-19 Status 16 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Farewell Maharashtra student : Gallery
  • How healthy is your relationship ?
  • G20: Driving women-led development
  • Yogini Temple of Hirapur, Odisha
  • Holistic laws must to cleanse rot in exam
  • All thunder & lightening but no rain
  • Bora Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Deepika Mayanglambam : Felicitated by Y20
  • COVID-19 Status 15 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Will shorter TB regimen reach those in need
  • From a student, Dear Dhanamanjuri University
  • An inspiring story of a fish farmer journey
  • British Council announces STEM scholarship
  • State's reputation at stake as drug...
  • Briefing Union Home Minister
  • Thabal Competition #1 : Gallery
  • International River day at Lairouching
  • COVID-19 Status 14 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Lembi Leima : Film Premeire at Melbourne
  • Ballad For Gloom :: Poem
  • Dialectics of identity & development #2
  • Patriarchy opting for Gender Equality
  • Demand for NRC, panel testifies restive state
  • All set for HSLC 2023 exams
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Railways acts as engine of development
  • The Book of Ichigo Ichie :: Review
  • Platform for women to re-start their careers
  • The rising threat of forest fires
  • Land allotment scam amid uproar over eviction
  • Noting stand of Forest Minister
  • English Pronouncing Skills : Book Download
  • Day 5: Yaoshang Sports : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Representation to PM seeking appointment
  • Condemnation of CM N Biren's interview
  • Eco-friendly management of fall armyworm
  • Honesty is the worst privacy
  • Resistance to Govt efforts to protect forests
  • Tough times call for tough decisions
  • My Memories of Imphal #13 : Download
  • Day 4: Yaoshang Sports : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Why COVID-19 continues to be a pandemic?
  • International Women's Day
  • 'Electricity collaboration' diplomacy in BBIN
  • Day 3: Yaoshang Sports : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports: Yubi Lakpi at Khongman
  • COVID-19 Status 10 March : Govt of Manipur
  • UNHHRC access to Mizoram & Manipur
  • Govt to withdraw from SOO agreement
  • 4 Filmmakers invited for Indie8 Fest
  • Dialectics of identity & development #1
  • Thabal Chongba @Mongsangei #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2023 #1: Gallery
  • International Women's Day 2023
  • COVID-19 Status 09 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang Sports at Khongman
  • International Women's Day at IBSD, Imphal
  • Nakatheng Chatpa @Kakwa : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Sports item distributed at Bishnupur
  • Parents :: Poem
  • Call for world peace & harmony
  • Tips to play safe Holi
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba @Imphal : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba @Nabadwip : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang : Nostalgia, tradition & identity
  • GOI pressure on CM Rio to deliver solution
  • Update gun license otherwise
  • Art Exhibition @ RKCS #1 : Gallery
  • NE Convention on Indigenous Peoples Land
  • COVID-19 Status 06 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang (Holi) Festival :: Book
  • Railways: Engine of new growth in NE India
  • Precautionary measures during Yaoshang
  • Persons suffering from Sickle cell disease
  • Training on mushroom at Khangabok
  • Floodlight boon for state's sportspersons
  • Act not think for the future of Meiteis
  • Yaoshang Sen Khaiba : Gallery
  • Students Tour to Nagpur #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Lampak is calling
  • North East endorses Modi but with conditions
  • Elephanta Caves
  • After village chief, anti-poppy vow by legislator
  • The good & the bad of Yaoshang
  • My Memories of Imphal #12 : Download
  • Sangai Fest: Khutpak Chatkoi #2 : Gallery
  • 538th Birth Anniv of Cheitanya Mahaprabhu
  • COVID-19 Status 04 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Gender gap in STEM: Its impact & solution
  • On Rethinking Corruption
  • How sports help in development of women
  • Lanna Thouram of Chaoren #2 :: Gallery
  • Water use during water crisis: Hunphun/Ukhrul
  • COVID-19 Status 03 March : Govt of Manipur
  • World Wildlife Day : Awareness Cycle Rally
  • Farewell to students from Maharashtra
  • Bodoland International Knowledge Festival
  • Startups & NE India connect
  • Minister Biswajit's anti-poppy stand
  • Show no leniency to poppy growers
  • MANITEX @ Nilakuthi #3 : Gallery
  • Dr Surpriya Hawaibam: Ophthalmology Award
  • Time to get back to basics to end TB
  • In light of reintroducing Damodar Swami
  • Can Myanmar-Bangladesh promote ASEAN
  • Play organic Holi with natural colors
  • Must prepare to derive benefit of border trade
  • ST demand has come a long way
  • Likon Sanaba @Ningthoukhong #2 : Gallery
  • State Project Co-ordinator for Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 01 March : Govt of Manipur
  • National Science Day at Lilong
  • Lessons from the inferno @Sainik School
  • Messi -- The Name Is Enough -III
  • Tourism is a cross cutting industry
  • Spike in electricity demand
  • Lungnila : Long wait for justice
  • Hiyang Tannaba @ Loktak #4 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Owner of Translucent Umbrella :: Poem
  • Scope of Pentatomidae as bio-control
  • Water shortage, sip on the rocks
  • 'Nagaland Poll- voter turnout of 85%'
  • Challenges to fruition of rice procurement
  • State needs Old Cachar Rd & more highways
  • Nongmaithem Tombi Singh's contribution #1
  • March Calendar for Year 2023 : Tools
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Indigenous Peoples & Forest Rights
  • MPSC Civil Services Aspirants concerns
  • Bridal Beauty Sustainable Show @ Delhi
  • Student delegates from Maharashtra
  • Perennial apathy hallmark of Imp-Jiri road
  • Irrigation & agricultural productivity
  • Saroi Khangba @ Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • The delimitation issues of Manipur
  • Smoking rates decline in Cambodia but...
  • Plenty of money; Famine of leadership
  • Leader versus Boss
  • Fermentation tech of Beauveria Bassiana #2
  • Ugly side of competitive exams comes to fore
  • Economic development & investment
  • My Memories of Imphal #11 : Download
  • Sangai Fest: Cherry Blossom @Mao : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • The drunken 'Nagaland'
  • Who made who
  • Phone pe Panchayat
  • Lanna Thouram of Chaoren #1 :: Gallery
  • Singarei :: Poem
  • Singju Festival @Heingang #1 :: Gallery
  • Students Tour to Nagpur #1 :: Gallery
  • 6th Intl Women's Polo #1 :: Gallery
  • Lui-ngai-ni Fest @ Chandel #1 :: Gallery
  • Mangani Leihun of Chaoren #2 :: Gallery
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri :: Gallery
  • 74th Republic Day @ Kangla #5 :: Gallery
  • Jiribam Keithel [June 2022] #2 :: Gallery
  • MK Binodini's centenary - oral literature
  • Aribam Syam Sharma :: Filmography
  • Chinese New Year @Bangkok 2023 :: Gallery
  • Olympians & National awardees of Manipur
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar for 2023