13 August : A day to remember the heroes of Manipur
- Part 1 -

Dr Budha Kamei *

 Yuvaraj Tikendrajit and General Thangal on the Gallows
Yuvaraj Tikendrajit and General Thangal on the Gallows
Warning: These images CANNOT be reproduced in any form or size without written permission from the RKCS Gallery

"When we can't see ourselves in our history, we begin to think that we are disconnected and suffering alone. Historical ignorance always precedes cultural imbalances and individual despair."

The state of Manipur observes Patriots' Day on 13th August every year to pay floral tribute to the heroes of the state who fought against the British during the Anglo-Manipur war of 1891. The 128th Patriots' Day falls on Tuesday. The Anglo-Manipur was a short, but momentous struggle between Manipur, a tiny hilly Asiatic state and the world's mightiest British Empire. It was a contest between unequal powers.

The war marked the end of an era and the introducing of a new one in the history of Manipur. Manipur lost her sovereign and independent status and new rule of the British established in this little kingdom. This particular event brought a total change in the historical process of the state. This war also marks the completion of the British occupation of Indian sub-continent.

Manipur was an independent kingdom during the whole of the 19th century. Truly speaking, Manipur was never occupied. She was not a Sanad state like other Indian states before 1891. She of course established diplomatic level contact with British India by signing treaties now and then. The first treaty signed in 1762 was essentially a defense alliance. It was an alliance between two separate powers.

As agreed upon, they helped each other during the first Anglo-Burmese war 1824-26. After the war, the treaty of Yandaboo was concluded by which British India and Burma recognized the independence of Manipur. It is true that the attitude of the British was friendly but they utilized this friendship for the expansion and consolidation of their hold over eastern India including Burma.

After the third Anglo-Burmese war of 1885, which formally completed the annexation of Burma to British India, the friendly relations between Manipur and British underwent a change. By fishing in the troubled waters of frequent factional conflicts among the ruling princes, the British colonial officials soon assumed the role of kingmakers by deciding as to who was to rule and who was not to rule.

Under these circumstances, war was inevitable. Maharaja Chandrakriti Singh died in 1886 and the political agency of Manipur after the departure of Sir James Johstone, which was 'Cinderella among political agencies' did not magnetize any proficient political agent who was able to maintain the "fine traditions of the British frontier officers"(Dena 1990:49).

Chandrakriti Singh was succeeded by his eldest son Surchandra, a good, friendly man with plenty of ability, but very feeble. After his succession to the throne, the royal household was divided into two opposing camps: one camp was led by Surachandra Singh and the other, by Koireng, popularly known as Tikendrajit Singh, the flamboyant and the most popular and capable prince, who was also the hero of the masses. In short, Manipur became a divided house.

During his short reign of four years, Surachandra Singh had to face a number of rebellions. On the mid night of 22 September, 1890 Angousana and Zilangamba suddenly attacked the palace. The dissensions, quarrels and mutual mistrusts and rivalry among the princes culminated in the palace revolution of 1890. But, the immediate cause was the order issued by the Maharaja on young prince Zilangamba not to sit in the durbar as result of his quarrel with Pakasana, the arch rival of Tikendrajit Singh (Grimwood 1984:138).

Without putting any confrontation, Surchandra and his brothers including Pakasana went out of the backyard of the palace and took shelter at the residence of political agency on that very night. It appears that the king and his brothers were demoralized and very much frightened at the revolution which they knew was engineered by Tikendrajit himself.

According to a note written on 16th July by Mr. W. E. Ward, the successor of Mr. Quinton, the Raja Surachandra, was never anything more than "a puppet Raja the real ruler of Manipur since 1886 had been Senapati Tikendrajit Singh," a man who had always been hostile to the British influence (Robert Reid: History of the frontier Areas Bordering on Assam From 1883-1941). In this way, with no bloodshed, the rebel party had taken the palace of Manipur.

The Maharaja expressed his wish to abdicate the throne in favour of his brother Kulachandra, the Jubraj and decided to retire to Brindavan for good. Accordingly, Kulachandra and Tikendrajit Singh were informed of the decision of the Maharaja and necessary arrangements were made for the Maharaja's journey to Cachar. Maharaja left Manipur on the same day (on the evening of 23 September, 1890); Kulachandra became king of Manipur with Tikendrajit Singh as Jubraj.

On 29 September, 1890, Kulachandra wrote to the Viceroy for his recognition as the king of Manipur. The British India Government at first declined his request. In the meantime Surachandra submitted an application to the British Government to restore him on the throne of Manipur (Jhalajit 1965:269).

After many consultations and correspondence the British India Government on 21 February, 1891 decided not to reinstate Surachandra Singh but to recognize Kulachandra as the Maharaja on the condition that Tikendrajit whom the British considered as the architect of the palace revolt must be banished from Manipur and to depute the Chief commissioner of Assam to announce the decision at the Manipur Durbar. This is a self contradictory decision.

By recognizing Kulachandra as the new ruler, it accepted the revolution as fail accompli. But by deciding to send Tikendrajit Singh away from Manipur, the British Government disapproved of the revolution (Dena 2008: 38). The attempt to implement the decision of the British Government sparked off the Anglo-Manipur war of 1891. Therefore, Mr. Quinton, the Chief Commissioner of Assam along with four hundred soldiers arrived at Imphal on 22 March, 1891.

He announced that a durbar would be held at the residency on the same day at noon where Kulachandra and his brothers including Tikendrajit Singh were required to attend. The aim of Mr. Quinton was to arrest Tikendrajit Singh at this durbar and to exile him to British India. Mr. Grimwood the man on the spot at Imphal learnt about this plan at Sekmai on the 21 March; he opposed to this plan of arresting Tikendrajit which would be a very difficult job.

Not only this objective was overruled, he was personally entrusted to arrest Tikendrajit Singh in the proposed Durbar room (Roy 1973: 117; Khenchandra: Battle of Khongjom). Kulachandra along with his ministers including Thangal general and Tikendrajit Singh arrived at the Durbar on time. But there was no one at the gate to receive them; they were kept waiting in the sun for several hours on the alleged reason that the translation of the order was not yet ready.

They were taken aback by the unusual security arrangement and the posting of soldiers here and there. Tikendrajit Singh complained of stomach aches and went back home. It was really a very ill-mannered treatment to the Maharaja and the royal dignitaries of Manipur to make them wait at the gate under the boiling heat of mid-day sun of late March.

On previous occasions, the chief commissioner would come down the residency bungalow to welcome the Maharaja and the ministers but this basic courtesy was not shown this time. Mr. Quinton displayed "his complete lack of courtesy and tactlessness. The disaster which followed might have been averted and the British India government could have easily realized its object peacefully if the regent and his brothers were not kept standing at the gate in such a way" (Roy 1973: 119).

After a long wait, the Maharaja and his ministers were permitted to enter into residency, and they were to wait for half an hour on the steps of the residency and then for another one and half hour on the Veranda. Kulachandra felt tired and wanted to sit, only then the political agent allowed him to sit in a room. This was really a shocking and atrocious reception to Maharaja in his own capital. For this insult the white officers had to pay a heavy price.

With the non-appearance of Tikendrajit, Mr. Quinton could not execute his plan so the durbar was postponed on 23 March, 1891 at 8 am at which Tikendrajit must be in attendance and the same was intimated to the Maharaja. Kulachandra who had suffered such humiliations and indignities did not come to the postponed durbar and informed Mr. Quinton that he could not come as Tikendrajit was still too ill to leave his house. Thus, the plan of Mr. Quinton was failed.

On the same day at half past four, Mr. Grimwood and Lt. Simpson went to the palace with a letter from Mr. Quinton which declared that the British India Government was to appoint Kulachandra as Maharaja but to take away Tikendrajit Singh from Manipur because of his role in the recent palace revolt. Mr. Quinton then informed Kulachandra to hand over Tikendrajit to him at once but it was strongly rejected.

Mr. Grimwood further sought an interview with Tikendrajit who met him at his residence on his sick bed. Mr. Grimwood explained the details of his exile that he would be given allowance and could come back to Manipur after the death of the Maharaja and become the king of Manipur. On the contrary, Tikendrajit questioned the authority of the British India Government to interfere in the internal affairs of Manipur.

The talks could not bring any result and Mr. Grimwood returned to the residency (Roy 1973: 121).

To be continued....

* Dr Budha Kamei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at budhakamei(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on August 14 2019.

* 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 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.

  • Vanijya Utsav @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Zeliangrong and Athuan Abonmai
  • Irawat the Legend #3
  • Three ladies :: Poem
  • World Tourism Day 2021
  • Low count of daily cases in last days
  • Harup Waterfall, Kangpokpi Dist #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Jadonang's Legacy : Talk- Rongmei Scholars
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2021 #4: Gallery
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Let it go :: Poem
  • Need a beauty fridge for skincare products?
  • Same old Imphal-Jiri road during monsoon
  • 'Taken note of camps' of the NSCN (IM)
  • Imphal Ring Road and violations
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Schools in Jiribam : Gallery
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Condemns attack on Student at B'lore
  • World Lung Day 2021
  • Equal pay for work of equal value
  • Training on Mushroom Cultivation
  • The sixth sense manifest :: Poem
  • Tarpon Katpa @ Loktak #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Land transfer commotion in Jiribam
  • Seminar On Youth & Environment organised
  • Irawat the Legend #2
  • 6 from Manipur cleared Civil Services Exam
  • World Pharmacist Day 2021
  • Scapegoating foot soldiers
  • The battered body says it all
  • World Alzheimer's Day : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • World Alzheimer's Day 2021 commemorated
  • MaolKeki Scholarship at St Stephen College
  • Condemnation on killing of Athuan Abonmai
  • Sana Leibak Manipur
  • Feelings :: Poem
  • Nominal monetary solace to Covid victims
  • Abducted from under the nose of cops!
  • Guru Leimapokpam Lakpati: Nata Sankritan
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Vanijya Utsav @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Truth should prevail over ethnic politics
  • Projects for Tamenglong & Noney
  • Changes :: Poem
  • Good road must to reap fruit of Act East
  • Rio, Sarma taken on board?
  • Discussion: Merger Agreement 1949 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Safe maternal and newborn care
  • Mourns demise of Naba Chakthekpi
  • Admin & Business Support @ R-Square
  • International Peace Day on Sept 21 2021
  • Customer Service Reps @ Amber & Arthur
  • Prioritising election, ignoring Covid-19
  • Not the time to let the guard down
  • Mova Cave, Hunpung, Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Irawat the Legend #1
  • Leishangthem Dhanachandra ..rears Sareng
  • Economic devpt & climate deterioration?
  • Detachment without Resentment
  • Wishful thinking for end to election-money
  • Drugs & manufacturing units within State
  • Kanglasha Kaba Khanba removal #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Sep 20, a crucial week for Nagaland
  • Lord's echo :: Poem
  • Jobs opening at Changerline, Imphal
  • In search of roots
  • Opposition cosy up as poll date nears
  • The end of RN Ravi's saga
  • 27th August 1965 : Birth of students force
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • World's largest adult vaccination program
  • 2nd State Level Yogasana Sports C'ship
  • Just survival is enough :: Poem
  • Add oats to your beauty regime
  • Thri Kappi Sanaba @Andro #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Legal Campaign [17 Sep] : Gallery
  • Demise of Padma Shri Thongram Haridas
  • Legal Awareness & Outreach Campaign
  • Changes that the time brings :: Poem
  • AMWJU Foundation Day [16 Sep] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Mapping the Changemakers of NE India
  • Will inclusion centrestage at Equality Forum
  • World ozone day & the living beings
  • Understanding CAT
  • Eternally struggling Manipuri women
  • Posers on the Interlocutor
  • Zeilad Lake, Tamenglong #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Report on 54th Engineers Day 2021
  • Social Media & Political Campaigning
  • What if ? :: Poem
  • Condolence prayer for Oscar Fernandes
  • Virus threat not over yet
  • The virus is still out there!
  • RIMS, Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Nagaland CM Rio calls Ravi 'genuine' man
  • Role of media in combating Covid
  • One day business shut-down in Dimapur
  • The warning bell is ringing loud & clear
  • Anxiety over arrival of train service
  • Choosing candidate the first step
  • Raghu Leishangthem : Manipuri Poet Biodata
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Memo to CM : Inclusion of Meetei in ST
  • Without you :: Poem
  • Lessons from the pandemic
  • ICS (IAS) viva voce of Khushwant Singh
  • Blaming predecessor till near end of term
  • Questioning truce pacts with others
  • ILP & COVID checking @Jirighat : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Webinar: Higher Edn & Career in USA & UK
  • Prostate Cancer: Know its warning signals
  • Hope heals crisis :: Poem
  • AFSPA in NE amid peace accords
  • TSE completes 22 years : 1999 to 2021
  • Pathetic Road @Imphal-Jiri : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • National Lok Adalat in High Court of Manipur
  • On tourism in the Northeast
  • The Dement Corona Avoids :: Poem
  • The prism of relationships
  • Reappraisal of early Meitei settlement
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Royal Charter Day celebrated
  • Poshan Abhiyaan : A people's movement
  • MTech in Defence Tech at Amrita Univ
  • Ethno-Veterinary medicine in livestock
  • Power dept employees eyeing soft target
  • Taking a look at issues in 2012, 2017
  • Meetei Leikai @, Silchar, Assam #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • The uncle conundrum
  • Himalayan Day : Science & Knowledge
  • Pandemic : changing dynamics of preschool
  • Common factors that enhance beauty
  • Another peace deal sans solution..
  • Rolling up sleeves ahead of Assembly polls
  • Development, Ethnicity & Gender : Book Rvw
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • World Suicide Prevention Day 2021
  • 'bob World' : Mobile application launched
  • Glimpses of Love :: Poem
  • How much more ordeal can Afghans take?
  • Tall claims on reforming agriculture sector
  • The commandments from WHO
  • Burma refugees yes or no ?
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Biotechnology Grant (BIG) for startups
  • Teaching as a career in India
  • Epitome of impeccable humanity & humility
  • Role of CSOs vital in preventing virus
  • Disturbing high TPR in some hill districts
  • Fine Arts Exhibition MU #3: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Immune boosting for lactating women
  • Give up on fear not dreams !
  • Stop plantation of Palm Oil Trees in NE
  • Another Perspective of Life :: Poem
  • ..right recipe for bitter electioneering
  • Debate over ST status for Meiteis
  • Jadonang in History :: Part 2
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Athokpam Kholchandra : Dr Kamal Kabiratna
  • Remembering Lord Krishna appearance day
  • Sustainable livestock farming
  • After 9 years, thirst to serve unchanged
  • Disturbing TPR in some districts
  • Saikhom Mirabai: Olympics #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • World Sexual Health Day in Manipur
  • Save The Peace : Conf on Indo-Naga peace
  • Teachers, I salute thee !
  • The Art of Living :: Poem
  • Bongbal Kholen, Kangpokpi #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Art Festival 2021 canceled
  • Towards a new Manipur Budget 2022-23
  • Inauguration of NPF Manipur Head Office
  • Natural facial at home for glowing skin
  • School yearning to resume normal class
  • The uproar over Urea 'shortage'
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Pundit Raja Atombapu : Doyen of journalism
  • Friends :: Poem
  • Meeting report at Cachar, Assam
  • Indigenous peoples & a new social contract
  • Pseudo-indigene permanent threat to native
  • Heavy rush for admission to Class XI
  • Jadonang in History :: Part 1
  • Memorial Stone & Shaheed Minar : Gallery
  • An officer and a gentleman
  • Mass production of biofertilisers
  • Kannappa Naayanaar - World 1st Eye Donor
  • Will election ruin gains made in virus fight
  • Signing off August with lowest TPR
  • Keidoubagi Kidoino on COVID #3: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • September Calendar for Year 2021 : Tools
  • Revisiting all alphabets of Article 371
  • Abdication :: Poem
  • Need a softer approach to language issue
  • 2022 polls: Tough task for Congress
  • Party hopping antics before the election
  • Death Anniv: Shimreingam Shaiza: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Khangminashi Lecture VIII : Electric Vehicle
  • Ardent Gardener :: Poem
  • Vision Correction doesn't need a doctor
  • No place for Meetei in Heritage Museum?
  • Ordinary testing rate can't beat the virus
  • Why not make it a poll call
  • 90th Martyr Day- Haipou Jadonang : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Cycle Rally- Natl Sports Day, MU : Gallery
  • Looking beyond the next 4 months
  • Laonii Fest of Poumai #2 : Gallery
  • Phuba Khuman, Senapati #2 : Gallery
  • 13th August @BT Park #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur Olympians reception : Gallery
  • Mary Kom reception- Aug 20: Gallery
  • Hijam Gourashyam : Manipur Sahitya
  • 13th August @BT Park #1 : Gallery
  • Sushila Likmabam reception- Aug 18: Gallery
  • S Nilakanta / P Sushila [Aug 11] #2 : Gallery
  • 13th August by CSOs : Gallery
  • 13th August @Thangal Complex : Gallery
  • 13th August @Hicham Yaicham Pat : Gallery
  • RK Sanayaima on 13th August : Gallery
  • S Nilakanta / P Sushila [Aug 11] #1 : Gallery
  • Mirabai felicitated truck drivers: Gallery
  • Saikhom Mirabai @Imphal #3: Gallery
  • Saikhom Mirabai @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • HSLC 2021 Result: Statistics Abstract
  • HSLC 2021 Result: 1st Division
  • HSLC 2021 Result: 2nd Division
  • HSLC 2021 Result: 3rd Division
  • HSLC 2021 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2021 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2021 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • Saikhom Mirabai @ Kakching: Gallery
  • HSE 2021 Result: Statistics Abstract
  • HSE 2021 Result: Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2021 Result: District-Wise Pass %
  • HSE 2021 Result: Science Stream
  • HSE 2021 Result: Arts Stream
  • HSE 2021 Result: Commerce Stream
  • Shanglakpam Nilakanta: Olympics #2: Gallery
  • Sushila Pukhrambam :: Olympics : Gallery
  • Saikhom Mirabai : Tokyo Olympics 2020
  • Pukhrambam Sushila : Tokyo Olympics Dream
  • Sushila Likmabam: Olympics Dream: Gallery
  • Lalginsei, Radamchui, Ngaworpei: eMing
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar :: 2021