TODAY -

The Martyrdom of Tikendrajit Bir Singh & Thangal General
- Part 6 -

By Lt Col (Retd) M Ranjit Singh *

But remarkably he completed the trial within four working days time. The statement of Yengkhoiba, the Manipuri official who supposedly brought the execution order directly from Thangal General was not recorded in spite of him being available to the court. Thangal General put up a mercy petition on 18th June 1891 to the Viceroy.

The petition was however rejected by the Government of India. On close scrutiny of the statement of Thangal General recorded during the trial and his mercy petition, it will be observed that the contents does not match with the known character of him. If he had given order for execution of the British officers, he would have surely owned up. But in the statement he did not do so. In all probability most of the statements recorded in the trial must have originated from the pen of Maxwell.

The Special Court for trial of Jubraj Tikendrajit commenced on June 1st 1891. The authority for this court also originated from the general directive issued by the Government of India on 14th April 1891. It must however be remembered that the Special Court was in no way a court established on the basis of British law in India, nor were procedures of British law followed.

As per the directive of the Government, the court consists of three members including one Political Officer. The court was presided by Lt Col St John Fancourt Michell, AAG originally from 1st Regiment of Bengal Lancers (now the Skinner's Horse in Indian Army). The other two members were Major Richard Kirly RidgeWay, VC, Commandant 44 Gurkha Rifles (now 3 Mechanised Infantry earlier 1/8 GR ) and AW Davis, DC Naga Hills.

Lt Col Michell was a senior officer of the Army being commissioned on 1st December 1869. Earlier he as a Captain had written an authoritative book on North East India. Being AAG in the Assam District, he was dealing all legal cases of the Army and was conversant with law. His last known address was Danecroft, Stowmarket, Suffolk in UK. He died on11 June 1917.

It is irony that Major Ridgeway one of the members of the Court got his VC while fighting along with Tikendrajit against the Nagas at Khonoma, Naga Hills in 1879. Davis being a DC of a District, he already had the authority to pass capital punishment. The interpreter during the trial was Subedar (Retd) Partho Singh. Subedar Partho served under Maj Maxwell for five years in the Garo Hills Military Police. He was earlier working as drill instructor with Tikendrajit for some time.

Due to some difference of opinion with Tikendrajit he quitted the job and joined the service of Pakasana, the bitter enemy of Tikendrajit. His capability to translate Manipuri into Urdu so as to be understood by the British is very much doubtful.

On 2nd June 1891 the Foreign Secretary in structed General Collet to advise his officers to make records of trial as complete as possible. He further instructed that Records should show larger array of witnesses and fuller judgments. By the time the trial of Tikendrajit commenced, the prosecuting officer had a fair idea on the happenings on 22nd March and subsequent days.

Maxwell produced 14 prosecution witnesses. The aim of the prosecuting officer was to prove that Tikendrajit revolted against the Queen and he also gave the order for execution of five British officers. Till the completion of statement of 10th witnesses, Tikendrajit did not have any defending lawyer for him.

On 2nd June he was allowed to have Babu Janaki Nath Bysack as his defending lawyer. Janaki Nath was not a lawyer. He was a trader in Manipur who happened to know a bit of English and Manipuri. Janaki Nath complained to the court on many occasions on the incorrect translation made by Subedar Partho.

On the conclusion of recording of the statement of 15th witness, the Court further charged Tikendrajit for murder of 5 British officers also. After the arraignment, the court cross examined the accused by asking many questions. Tikendrajit later produced six defence witnesses. Interestingly, the statement made by the witnesses were published verbatim in the next day's edition of The Pioneer, a newspaper then published in Allahabad.

The first charge of waging war should have been rejected out rightly as Manipur was an independent country then. There has never been a recorded treaty between Manipur and Government of India where Manipur had agreed to be under them. The previous history of Manipur makes it clear that Britain never acquired Manipur by conquest, Manipur never paid tribute to Britain, and it was all along governed by its own law with its Government ruling independently of the Government of India, and its Maharaja as sovereign.

When British captured Kanhai for waging war against Manipur in 1866, he was charged under Section 125 of IPC for waging war against any Asiatic Power in alliance or at peace with the Queen and convicted to 7 year's imprisonment. Between 1866 and 1891, there was no fresh treaty signed between the British and Manipur regarding subjugation of Manipur to the British.

Further, all the official correspondences of Manipur with the Government of India till 1891 was dealt through Foreign Department. The following extract of the Minute Sheet prepared by HM Durrand, Foreign Secretary, for the Viceroy on 16th May 1891 will make an interesting reading:
"I don't think I would delay the cases to bring Counsel to Manipur certainly not in any case but that of the ruling family...... The first point raised by the Counsel would almost certainly be the competence of the Court, which would not do much harm, and then the point would be raised whether war by Manipur against us is 'revolt'. This might be troublesome especially as Manipur, I do no know why, has never had an Adoption Sanad. If it had one it would have accepted overtly or tacitly the obligation to be "loyal to the crown".

The second charge of murder also cannot be proved against Tikendrajit. All the sentries and officials present on the night of 24th March near Darbar Hall says that the orders for execution of British officers on both the occasions were given by Thangal General. The first order for execution was counter-manded by Tikendrajit.

On the second occasion he was unaware of the order passed by Thangal General. If the court wanted to confirm this fact, they should have called Thangal General as witness. They did not do so in spite of the availability of Thangal General in their custody. They were probably scared that Thangal General may own up the passing of order for execution of the British officers and in the bargain they would not have been able to hang Tikendrajit.

On 10th June, the court sentenced Tikendrajit to death by hanging. Manmohana Ghose, a famous lawyer from Calcutta fought the case for Tikendrajit. Ghose had received his legal training in London at Lincoln's Inn, and on his return to India became a barrister at the Calcutta High Court. His photograph is still prominently hung inside Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata.

To be continued.....




* Lt Col (Retd) M Ranjit Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express . This was webcasted on January 02, 2009.

* 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
  • Heikat-Leikat [13 Aug] #2 : Gallery
  • 13 August: Day to remember the heroes #2
  • Dynamic groundwater resources...
  • Lukanand Ksh & Langpoklakpam Melody
  • Meiraba winner @ All India Badminton
  • Archers win at World Police & Fire Games
  • 73rd Independence Day: One Constitution
  • Preparatory Revision Course at Sanakeithel
  • IIT Guwahati's half marathon
  • Getting the best out of Govt schools
  • Babysana: Student - Aug 10 #2: Gallery
  • Jhulon @ Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • A Soldier speaks over Timeline of Kashmir
  • Tamenglong not be used as a money field
  • Food intolerance - Diagnosis & tests
  • That Jungle of a Garden :: Poem
  • International Day of Indigenous People
  • Saving future Manipur- need of the hour
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #9
  • Independence Day : Gallery
  • Suicide: how it looks like & what is
  • Manipur's 1st photojournalist, Santosh Ph
  • Mutum Ramo : President's Police Medal
  • A Letter to my Mother
  • Candle Light at Delhi for Babysana
  • In search of the elusive unity
  • Naga solution anytime soon, says Ravi
  • Landscape Dzukou Valley #1 : Gallery
  • Indigeneity: Expression & Experience : Book
  • Cry of a Dying River - 89 :: Poem
  • Career in youth development
  • The Wind Will Carry Us : Film screening
  • Communication Course for Development
  • Impact of Christianity among Vaiphei #1
  • Dolaithabi Barrage: An emerging failed Dam
  • Chamba, Ayung, Paomilal :: eMing
  • New India in Konung Lampak
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • High Court & Workers on Sand Quarrying
  • Niranjoy attempt to break Guinness Record
  • Scripting Congress Mukt slogan
  • Bharat Mata has no place on August 13
  • Heikat-Leikat [13 Aug] #1 : Gallery
  • 13 August: Day to remember the heroes #1
  • Jallianwala: Manglen Onkhraba Lamjao
  • Lets us preserve indigenous languages
  • Hepatitis and pregnancy
  • On statement by Hoho & Naga Mother
  • Thangmeiband : Distasteful politics
  • Remembering patriots
  • UN Human Rights: Manipur Experience #5
  • Patriots' Day @ Pune : Gallery
  • Historical War fought by Manipur :: Articles
  • Police adapting to challenge by trafficking
  • Preventing TB is rooted in medical ethics
  • In the name of Love :: Poem
  • Expensive motor laws on the way
  • 13th August observed at Pune
  • Youth conclave with a difference
  • Alarming State of Students Life in Manipur
  • Babysana: Student - Aug 10 #1: Gallery
  • On Manipur Handlooms: A Clarion Call
  • Dzuko - A piece of heaven on earth #2
  • Of Colours and Sunset
  • A Beautiful Mind :: Poem
  • An apple a day keeps wrinkles at bay
  • From hostels to the school
  • Renaissance of Meitei Hinduism
  • Babysana: State bandh - Aug 9 #2: Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Azha - Id Festival :: Book
  • Would any journalist dare to stand up #2
  • Artic Haobam won 1st ArP championship
  • Invitation : RIST Talk - 40 @ MU
  • Condole demise of Phanjoubam Santosh
  • Making a New India & fate of Manipur
  • Babysana: State bandh - Aug 9 #1: Gallery
  • Some basics that many people ignored
  • House building of the Zeliangrong #2
  • Condolence : Photo Jounalist Ph Santosh
  • World Indigenous Peoples at Khumulwng
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Zo Forum celebrates Indigenous day
  • Lukanand Ksh wins at Mister North East
  • Post mortem reports fail to cut ice
  • Babysana: Student protest- Aug 8: Gallery
  • Counterpoints: Transgender Rights Bill #2
  • Manipur topped rankings in Breastfeeding
  • Cry of a Dying River - 88 :: Poem
  • World Indigenous Peoples Day
  • Criticizes scrapping of Article 370
  • Naga leader compromise Naga future
  • Free Children Heart Surgery Camp
  • Another bandh after 12 hours bandh over
  • Babysana death: What ails this society
  • Folklore of Hao communities #3
  • Programm @Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • 'Tamenglong & Manipur' Amur Falcons #2
  • Haris Adhikari: Finest Whiskey in Writing
  • Manipur bag 6 medals at National Fencing
  • Agriculture and skill training
  • Resolutions on Naga Political Issue
  • Need for Imphal to reach out to hill CSO
  • ..should be justice for 1000s babysanas
  • Ibudhou Pakhangba Haraoba #2: Gallery
  • Mob Culture in Manipur
  • Dzuko - A piece of heaven on earth #1
  • Abrogation of Article 370
  • Issue of illegal mining of minor minerals
  • Annual Legal Awareness Program at Pune
  • Power, Works back to Biswajit
  • Redefining India
  • Gandhari (Dance Drama) #1 : Gallery
  • Would any journalist dare to stand up #1
  • The Truth Lie :: Poem
  • An opportunity to end AIDS & TB
  • Soft skills?? What are soft skills
  • Community - Road to healthy environment
  • Scrapping Articles 370, 35A
  • Matsyanyaya: Law of the Fish
  • Babysana: protest @Khuyathong : Gallery
  • Road from Haochong to Noney : Gallery
  • House building of the Zeliangrong #1
  • The World We Want
  • My Lil' Hamlet :: Poem
  • CM meet with CSO: Naga solution at hand?
  • Aliyah #2 (Film Scenes) :: eRang
  • Old Age Home Kumbi : Gallery
  • Counterpoints: Transgender Rights Bill #1
  • 'Tamenglong & Manipur' Amur Falcons #1
  • Vocationalisation of education in Manipur
  • Tourism Festivals & Tourists in Manipur
  • The World Turned Upside Down :: Poem
  • Think about the future
  • Nachom : used traditionally by Meitei
  • Kanglen Kang Chingba #2 : Gallery
  • Trend of private drug rehabilitation centre
  • Saffronites unhappy with power politics
  • IABP (Balloon Pump) saved life
  • Mega Mister & Miss North East
  • Anti-terror laws & victimization of innocent
  • The state today: blame the representative
  • Will remain true to Framework : IM
  • Laonii Fest @Phuba #1 : Gallery
  • No #endAIDS without #endTB
  • Cry of a Dying River - 87 :: Poem
  • Green your skills for green jobs
  • Ji Ingobi Chingtham: Bicycle tour
  • Will surrogacy law be really effective?
  • Vacancies at Hadron Techs, Imphal
  • 14 hours out of 24 hours
  • When people turn violent against HC order
  • Babysana's last rites performed: Gallery
  • August Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • Parade @ Manipur Police, Pangei: Gallery
  • War with Climate
  • Matric, UG & PG days of an aerobiologist
  • Invitation : Workshop on Mathematica
  • Job vacancies at Makok Technologies
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Arrested but not on murder charge
  • Threatened future and the way out
  • Downside of Khuga Multipurpose Project
  • Manipur State Drug Policy #2
  • Scope of career in legal field
  • Demising the Adolescent Miss :: Poem
  • Threats against Rights defender Sobita
  • Demands action against scribe-assailants
  • Back home after Delhi's suggestion
  • Babysana's death and its questions
  • Licypriya: Abdul Kalam Children Award 2019
  • Two positives attracting each other
  • Kakching World War-II Memorial Run
  • Assessment your Tax for ITR
  • Who is responsible ?
  • Rejoinder to branding me as Fortune Teller
  • From Dec 8, 2016 to July 29, 2019
  • Of faith and failed justice
  • Neli Chachea: Doll Maker : Gallery
  • Traditional Practices of the Kukis: Book
  • Zero HIV transmission is must to #endAIDS
  • North-East students of Aryans Group shine
  • Th Tababi: gold at Asian-Oceania Judo
  • Mary Kom: Gold at President Cup, Indonesia
  • Rio on contribution of Himalayan States
  • Stand off to Babysana's death
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Haraoba #4: Gallery
  • CMHT cards to journalists : Gallery
  • Understanding land for peace
  • Politics & farmers waiting for a downpour
  • An Endless Summer :: Poem
  • Tobacco harm reduction - A realistic option
  • NDPP reacts to statement of NPF President
  • The fools think we can be fooled easily
  • Twinkle Twinkle Scientists Star
  • Rohan Philem Reception @Pune : Gallery
  • Keisham Geenita : tops AIEEA-PG-2019
  • Are we putting efforts on grassroot football
  • Condemns insensitive attitude of police
  • Skin problems that arise during monsoon
  • Countdown to Year 10 of Weekender
  • Light at the end of peace process
  • Of human rights and open world
  • General strike on Babysana : Gallery
  • Manipur State Drug Policy #1
  • Kindness - A Virtue
  • L Sarita nominated at AIBA commission
  • We don't lack talents :: Hidam Rajeev
  • Cry of a Dying River - 86 :: Poem
  • Courses on Information Technology
  • Three decisions vis-a-vis Babysana's death
  • Corporal punishment - violation of RTE
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Haj pilgrims send-off : Gallery
  • Is Lack of rain a problem for Paddy ..
  • Mission 'School Phagat Hanshi'
  • Labour Codes threaten Press Freedom
  • Program for IHGF Delhi Fair at Kakching
  • Heart Camp at Health Centre, MU
  • Questions on safety of school hostels
  • Babysana's case, safety of our children
  • Nupi Pali @ Kang festival: Gallery
  • Some Chase Goal, Some Hunt Goal
  • Himalayas: Where India Meets China..
  • Preventing TB is critical to #endAIDS
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Career option in Anthropology
  • Deafening silence of Govt
  • BJP's image in serious trouble
  • Gandhari (Dance Drama) : A synopsis
  • Social service @Ibudhou Thangjing: Gallery
  • Sanamahi Cheng Hongba #2: Gallery
  • Weaving at Nongpok Sanjenbam : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #3: Gallery
  • Social service @ Moirang : Gallery
  • World Music Day @Yaiskul #3: Gallery
  • 3rd Singcha Wuyawon Festival 2019
  • seL tiHZakaNdta nuHZa_Iba :: Seireng
  • Cracks at Thong Nambonbi : Gallery
  • Yumnam Shamu : Natbhusan (Duhar)
  • The Great June Uprising #5: Gallery
  • Tolloi, Ukhrul :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • SPONSORED ADS