TODAY -

General Suldham's planned invasion of Manipur abandoned
- Part 4 -

Prof Gangmumei Kamei *

On February 1, 1826, Gambhir Singh at the head of the Manipur Levy arrived at the western bank of the Ningthee (Chindwin) river, the natural boundary between Manipur and Burma.

The Burmese fled from the entire area. The inhabitants fled. They allowed the Manipur prisoners to escape. They left behind their cattle. A historian writes, “From the standpoint of Gambhir Singh and his Manipur Levy, the liberation of Manipur was complete on February 1, 1826 with the occupation of Kabaw valley”.

And the First Anglo-Burmese was concluded by the Treaty of Yandabu signed on February, 24, 1826. Art 2 of the Treaty recognized the independence of Gambhir Singh as the King of Manipur.

The Manipur Levy which was increased to 3000 men was equipped, trained and commanded by the British military officer, FJ Grant and Francis Jenkins. The soldiers of the Levy were paid by the British. The Manipur Levy was used for the subjugation of the hill tribes of Manipur 1826-29, the defeat of the Khasi rebels 1830.

The conquest of Kohima (Thiboma) in the military expeditions to Naga Hills 1832-1833. However, after the death of Maharaja Gambhir Singh, the British Government changed their policy. They withdrew their military and financial support from the Manipur Levy.

And Lord William Bentinck the Governor General refused to sanction the Levy and instead established the office of Political Agent in Manipur. George Gordon the adjutant to Manipur Levy was appointed the first Political Agent.

Strength of Manipur Levy, 1835 :

At the end of the British support, the Manipur Levy, according to RB Pemberton, had the following strength.
1. Infantry : 3000 men
2. Cavalry : 100 troops
3. Golandauz (artillery) : 100 men attached to four 3 punders

3 Battalions of Infantry consisted of 10 companies each were commanded by native officers. In lieu of pay, grants of lands were made to men and officers. The arms and ammunitions were supplied by the British government. Up to the death of Maharaja Gambhir Singh ammunitions were given free of expense.

Deployment of the forces:

6 companies were centred in the villages immediately around the present residence of the Maharaja at Langthabal.
4 companies were constituted of the refugee Manipuri from Ava territory and they were posted to guard the eastern frontier.
2 battalions were distributed in companies through different villages under the immediate control of the native officers.

The people of Manipur remain grateful to the great king, Maharaja Gambhir Singh and his famed Manipur Levy for the liberation of Manipur from the Burmese rule and expanding the hegemony of the state over the hill people and neighbouring hill regions, Gambhir Singh was the maker of modern Manipur.

Concluded...

o Browse picture gallery on Manipur Levy March on 5 Jan 2009 from Silchar to Imphal here.




* Prof Gangmumei Kamei wrote this article for The Sangai Expres . This article was webcasted on May 08, 2009.

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