TODAY -

Forests of Manipur during Pre-British Period (1826-1891)
- Part 2 -

Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh *

 Arrival of Mr. St. Clair Grimwood at Imphal 1888
Arrival of Mr. St. Clair Grimwood at Imphal 1888
Warning: These images CANNOT be reproduced in any form or size without written permission from the RKCS Gallery



Incumbency:

The table shows the period of reign of different kings and the corresponding Political Agents.

Sl No Name of Kings Period of reign
1. Maharaja Gambhir Singh 1826-1834
2. Maharaja Nar Singh 1834-1850
3. Maharaja Debendra Singh 1850 (3 mnths)
4. Maharaja Chandrakirti Singh 1850-1886
5. Maharaja Surchandra Singh 1886-1890
6. Maharaja Kulachandra Singh 1890-1891
7. Sir James Johnstone 1877-1886
8. Major Trotter 1886
9. Mr. Grimwood 1888-1991


Sl No Name of Political Agents Period of Service
1. Captain Gordon 1835-1844
2. Major Mc Culloch 1844-1862
3. Dr. Dillon 1862-1863
4. Major W. McCulloch 1863-1867
5. Dr. R. Brown, FRCSE 1867-1875
6. G.H. Damant 1875-1877


Demography

The massacre of men and flight of people that took place during the seven years devastation period, feud among the princes prior to this period has taken heavy toll on the population. A huge number of people were also taken away by the Burmese during their invasions in mid eighteenth century and during seven years devastation. Mr. Francis Hamilton reported that he saw 1,00,000 people as captives near Ava.

During the reign of Gambhir Singh in 1826, the male population has been reported to be "eight thousand souls only". In 1835 it has been reported to be 20,000 only. However, in the report of Political agency of the year 1868-69, the population has been recorded to be about 1.40 lakhs. The formal census of 1881 is said to have an element of irrelevancy but it has been quoted at 2.21 lakhs. The details of 1891 has been destroyed during the war before it could be documented and archived. For my this article, I am not very concerned of the population figure of 1901 census (population was reported as 2.84).

Forest land

As one can understand, the developments in the mainland India did not reach Manipur; one because it was an independent country, second, it was too landlocked for people from other lands to come and interact. It was well isolated, very sparsely populated. The legal implication of the term seems to be not thought of. All the hills except in and around the central plains were all abound in thick forests.

The hill lands were divided in to five lams, each of which were under the charge of an official assisted by eight lambus. The function of these officials has nothing to do with forestry. Forestry became more streamlined after British conquest only. The extraction was carried out without proper demarcation for sale to the British India, at Cachar Market (Silchar Bazar) from the parts of Forests of Kalanaga Hills (exchanged with Eastern Surma valley portion of Manipur under a treaty), Forests in the Jiri Borak Drainange Forests. These forests were mapped much later after British occupation.

The forests in the Kabaw Valley were not extracted commercially, by the state, whatever extraction that has been done must have been under arrangement through British Burmese Government, as there is no record of revenue accrued from that part.

The forests suffered a lot from Jhuming and burning recklessly. The descriptions of such fires are available in the Annual Administration Reports of the Manipur Agency, 1978-79 by Sir James Johnstone.

Climate

The climate of the central plain portion of the valley was stated to be good, but the temperature was stated to be higher than from the elevation, 2500 feet, would have expected. This excess in temperature may probably be owing to the reflection of heat from the sides of the lofty mountains surrounding. The months of November, December, January, and February, hoar frosts are prevalent. January is the coldest, and May and June are the hottest months in the year.

In May, the hill streams begin to rise, and they usually remain full until October. Storms are very rare, and those terrific peals of thunder, and brilliant flashes of lightning for which mountain countries are celebrated seldom occur. The remaining eight months are more or less rainy. Dew falls heavily, and before the sun has set, the grass is usually saturated.

The wind blows chiefly from the South-West, and whilst it does so, the country retains its usual healthiness. It was believed that an Easterly wind, continued for any time, brings with it sickness.

Composition of Forests

In his report, Captain Pemberton recorded that there were thick forest, dense and impervious from summit to the base. According to him, "I know no spot in India, in which the product of forests are more varied and magnificent". Mr. B.C. Allen also described the forests as " has lain across range after range of mountains, covered with forests so dense that it is seldom that he can see as much as a quarter of a mile before him."

In fact, there are nine ranges of hills between Imphal and Cachar. The eastern face of the hill, Laimatol (now a Reserved Forests) was covered with short grasses, Imom and Tumnou probably. There is also a small chapter on forests and vegetation in the report of R. Brown published in the Imperial Gazetteer in 1909.

It has been observed that the composition of the forests have never been studied and plants identified. Timber trees are plentiful, but those only near the Cachar Frontier have any commercial value, there Jarool (Lagerstroemia flosreginae, Nagesur (Mesua ferrea), Cham (Artocarpus chaplasa), Wang (Gmelina arborea), Toon (Cedrella toona), India Rubber (Ficus elastica) are found. Besides these, in the mountains are found oaks (Quercus species, Q. serrata, Q. dealbata, Q. semiserrata and Castanopsis hystrix), Indian fir (Polyalthia longifolia), Indian Ash (Lannea grandis) Alder (Alnus nepalensis), walnut (Juglans regia), teak (Tectona grandis), Kheu (Melanorrhoea usitata) and khangra (Dipterocarpus turbinatus) of which the last affords a black varnish different from the one before-mentioned.

The presence of Teak (Tectona grandis) as common species on the hills overlooking Kubo valley has been reported. There are also reports of occurrence of wild tea plants (Thea chinensis) in the hill ranges of Heirok and occurrence of Rhododendrons (Rhododendron arboreum) in the hills in the east.

Presence of willow (Salix tetrasperma) has been noticed in the plain area and northern parts of the state. There is also mention about Uningthou Dug out boats from Koubru Forests, Cham Timber from Laimaton Forests. There were many other species which were much used in house-building, and are very durable.

To be continued...


* Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on September 15, 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
  • Licypriya speech at East Timor :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Licypriya delivers Speech at East Timor
  • Tobacco epidemic continues...
  • Dry Manipur still Wet and 'High'
  • Insects as feed for aquaculture
  • Inflation worries real but a passing phase
  • Dealing with suspected forest encroachers
  • Morphine to heroin to WY
  • English phonetic sounds :: Book download
  • COVID-19 Status 21 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Rs 2,80,000 assistance to 6 Journalists
  • Manipur Roads: A rainy season Nightmare
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Workshop on "Research Ethics" at MU
  • Tacitly tacit
  • Gleanings from Buddhism
  • Thaopai Shithaine @ Phuba #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 May : Govt of Manipur
  • North-East Research (NER) Conclave
  • Fisheries development in NE Region #1
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • North East LSN Partners Meet 2022
  • Cold facial during Summer
  • Check gate closure: Boon or bane for driver
  • Covid free after 26 months: A brief look back
  • Wakhom Leikai Lairembi Haraoba #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Shija celebrates 26 years of surgery
  • International Webinar: Computing Trend in AI
  • New MAHUD for a new Imphal City
  • R&D initiatives of Ministry of Info Tech
  • PMFBY - Every cloud has a silver lining
  • Banking on Modi to eradicate plastic malaise
  • One step down from Greater Lim ?
  • Flood Watch: Nambul Turel [18 May] :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Ambassadors for Christ
  • "... where women are not respected"
  • Nursing as a career choice
  • Conquest of the last frontier
  • Dry Manipur among top 5 liquor states!
  • Scoring high on liquor consumption
  • Flood Watch: Imphal Turel [17 May] :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 May : Govt of Manipur
  • World hypertension day : 17th May 2022
  • Taking advantage of dying sedition law
  • Market innovations & vertical integration
  • Soram Oscar: Mr India Intl Tourism 2022
  • Cyber Security Lecture at Tamenglong
  • Involve village chief in Save Singda Movement
  • Reaching out to SC Jamir
  • Jalakeli Offering @ Govindajiu :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 May : Govt of Manipur
  • On 200th Anniversary of MK Binodini Devi
  • East Timor : Licypriya Kangujam invited
  • Carbon Sequestration in Dailong Site #2
  • Semiotic interpretations of traffic policing
  • Citrus Marcoptera: Rare Citrus species in NE
  • Same old healthcare issues for new minister
  • Rain : Bringing out the dirt of Imphalites
  • Art Exhibition @Imphal Art #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2022 #2: Gallery
  • Soil rejuvenation through plants
  • Harrowing memories of a blast victim
  • Pristine Death :: Poem
  • Odisha File
  • Anti-poppy vows: Govt shouldnt be taken...
  • After more than 2 decades of talks
  • River & River Based Communities
  • COVID-19 Status 14 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Second National Lok Adalat
  • Manipur Cabinet: Blurry representation
  • Tips for summer party make up
  • Harvesting Fest of Tarao #4 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 May : Govt of Manipur
  • The USP of Churachandpur
  • Pranks unloaded: From fiction to mundanity
  • Radio comes to our rescue in pandemic
  • 3rd North-East Foodtech begins
  • Irreparable damage done to environment
  • Promotion of nurseries for plantation crop #2
  • Issues staring at the face of Manipur
  • Yaoshang Thabal Competition #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 May : Govt of Manipur
  • International Nurses Day 2022
  • Carbon Sequestration in Dailong Site #1
  • Various voices on reduced areas of AFSPA
  • IBSD, Imphal signed MoU with CSIR
  • Stay on sedition case smack on political elite
  • Identifying a district with one group ?
  • Kakwa Lairembi Haraoba #1 :: Gallery
  • Understanding Environmental Problem
  • Pre Recruitment Training at Keithelmanbi
  • Three rain catchers feted
  • How India is empowering women...
  • War-era bridges amid development rhetoric
  • Aerial route over heart of Imphal ?
  • SN Chand: The father of Manipuri cinema #1
  • COVID-19 Status 10 May : Govt of Manipur
  • NPF Kohima consultative meeting
  • Market creating innovation & business model
  • The element of surprise
  • 3rd North-East Foodtech at Guwahati
  • Growing support to 'war on drugs' mission
  • Backing the War on Drugs call
  • Mao-Imphal Market @ Kabo Leikai :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 09 May : Govt of Manipur
  • We live in the best of times to preach
  • Mixed Marriages & our Heritage !
  • Review Meeting on National Lok Adalat
  • Road blocking for everything
  • Promotion of nurseries for fruits & crop
  • Cong vigil essential to expose Govt
  • Thangjing Hill : Mischievous restrictions
  • Student appearing HSLC Exam #3 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Workshop with Vice-Chancellors of NE
  • BJP's major challenge in Nagaland - Church
  • Motherhood : A symbol of Love
  • Song of spring :: Poem
  • Mother's Day at Tamenglong
  • Stringent only means to deter poppy grower
  • Congress : Uncharacteristically quiet
  • 4th Documentor Imphal [7 May] :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Being a scapegoat for ages in this disaster
  • Entrepreneurs invest 8 lakhs to documentary
  • 12th Mahousa Ima Ningsing Tha
  • Float Festival of Tamil Nadu Temples
  • Yaoshang Thabal Competition #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 May : Govt of Manipur
  • On custodial death of Arambam Nanao
  • Placating Sharmila : The Iron Lady
  • Service Engineer @Info Trade, Imphal
  • Integrated farming- 2x farmers' income #3
  • Tree Plantation Programme at Kangla
  • Greed blinding rogue police elements
  • War on Drugs : Give it more teeth
  • Artisan Lourembam Bino Devi :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 May : Govt of Manipur
  • The Truth Alone Must Triumph
  • ICU bed facility launched in Tamenglong
  • World Hand Hygiene Day 2022
  • Workshop on Climate Change at Lilong
  • Water education for food security
  • Torpid tourism sector
  • Separate flag & constitution
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta Golapati :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Lavish event management gone wrong
  • World Veterinary Day 2022
  • Condemnation on the killing of Nanao
  • Summer skin care tips for a natural glow
  • Centre's push for NSU commendable
  • Powerless power
  • Ole Wangkheimayum : Making a difference
  • COVID-19 Status 03 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Last surviving Naga regionalist- Shurhozelie
  • DoNER Minister visited NSU, Khuman Lampak
  • Market creating innovations & economic
  • Kuzholuzo takes charges as NPF Leader
  • Swachhata Pakhwada at IBSD Imphal
  • Jiribam Keithel #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Cheilaoba : A short story
  • A tribute to Asok Potsangbam
  • Id-ul-fitr :: From a book
  • Building India to be the world's master
  • Rapists don't deserve mercy
  • Taking the case to a higher Court
  • Cheirao-chingkaba #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 May : Govt of Manipur
  • May Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • Nirupa Sanjenbam, Woman Achiever NE Fest
  • Student Centre for Excellence at Bishnupur
  • MPSC : Re-recruitment of MCS/MPS officers
  • Integrated farming- 2x farmers' income #2
  • Alangtakhou waterfall @Tml #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Blood Donation camp @Keisampat : Gallery
  • Appeal in High Court against Zou acquittal
  • Jubilee Celebration of Manipuri Cinema
  • Labour Day (May Day) -Chennai Connection
  • 24th - 30th April is World Immunization Week
  • Yaoshang Thabal @Mongshangei #4 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Foundation Day celebrated at IBSD Imphal
  • Alone but not lonely :: Poem
  • Gender balanced workforce
  • Govt North East plan: Repealing AFSPA
  • AFSPA repeal vow galore as NE enjoys peace
  • Promise of AFSPA free NE
  • The hike to the summit of Koubru
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Documentor Lab concludes with Final Pitch
  • Interlocutor promises the impossible
  • Natural ways to maintain a Summer glow
  • 2024 polls: BJP eyeing to tighten grip
  • Manipur : A smuggling paradise
  • Lunghar in Ukhrul district #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Call for a face-lift for cross-border town Moreh
  • Project Coordinator for Shestrong Assn
  • Integrated farming- 2x farmers' income #1
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century:: Book
  • Inclusion of Chandel in aspirational district
  • No takers at Lamphel
  • Student appearing HSLC Exam #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • My 'Tragic Tryst' with politics & politicians !
  • Education embroiled in cultural nightmare
  • Creativity is must for Career Development
  • Is Mizoram smarter in promoting border trade?
  • Back in the examination hall
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #3 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Talk Series with Aribam Syam Sharma
  • Market Creating Innovations & Pull Strategy
  • Intl Conclave on Universal Happiness
  • Four Churches in one compound
  • Employees in dilemma over 'place of posting'
  • Delivering LPG at Rs 100 per cylinder
  • Tributes on Khongjom Day :: Gallery
  • Tongjei Maril (Old Cachar Road) :: Gallery
  • Painting Competition on 'Tribal' #2 :: Gallery
  • Floral tributes @ Cheiraoching #2 :: Gallery
  • Cheirao-chingkaba #1 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports @Bamon Leikai :: Gallery
  • Rules of English Pronunciation : Download
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa [Apr 14] :: Gallery
  • Shajibu Cheiraoba @Pune :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang @Bengaluru #2 :: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Shopping :: Gallery
  • Sub-Syllables in English : Book Download
  • Learn English pronunciation: Book Download
  • Learning calculating skills : Download Book