Government of India's past mistakes committed in the Merger of Manipur with the Domination of India
- Part 2

Waikhom Damodar Singh *

Regarding containing of the NSCN(IM) organisation, the main creator of "insurgency" he said, since revolutionary activities of waging war against the State etc cannot be allowed to take place in Democratic India the out-fit should be "banned immediately" instead of harbouring them with appeasing policies and the leaders punished in the toughest manner. Like done earlier all the top leaders of the NSCN must be severely harassed so that they run away from India and die like I Phizo in foreign countries.

On 20 September 1949 Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh wrote another very frank and touching letter but containing the facts from Red Lands, Shillong to the Governor, Shri Prakasa, the excerpt of which is reproduced as below:­

"Letter dated 20.9.1949. From the Maharaja to Shri Prakasa—I thank Your Excellency for your letter of 19.9.1949. The subject for discussion was thought to be of internal affairs of the State. But Your Excellency in spite of my prior request for an opportunity of hearing me first, has disclosed the decision of India Government to be the topic.

Unfortunately, therefore, for me it has rather unhinged me. Direct dealing with me was feasible when sovereignty was vested in me but, after the "introduction of the State Constitution Act", the sovereignty and administration of the State has been shifted to the people. Under Rule No.28(ii) of the Manipur Administration Rules now in force in the State as approved by the Government of Assam on behalf of the British crown, the Maharaja of Manipur and the Council of Ministers have joint-responsibility for such matters.

I am merely a Constitutional Head of a full responsible Government under the Constitution Act approved by the Government of India (British India) and the voice of the Majority is my voice and it shall be constitutionally and legally binding on me not otherwise.

The question of Tripura and Cooch Bihar and that of Manipur are different in as much as the administration and responsibility of the former lay, if I am right, solely in the hands of the Rulers whereas in the case of Manipur, by virtue of the Constitution Act, Adminstration Rules and other agreements between the Government of India (His Majesty's Govern ment) and the Manipur State responsibility and adminstration is vestec in the "people" based on full responsible government with fully elected House on "adult suffrage and joint electorate" highest form of government of democracy of which I am proud as having made a glorious contribution to the realisation of India's long expected goal. Our common end is dependent on the "voluntary and conscious co-operation of the people. I am for the people and the Government in my State is the "people's Government for the people by the people".

(1) I have to finalise the matter it should be done jointly with the Council. (2) In any major transmission like this, if not supported by the people's Council and sentiment, the relation between the people and myself is severed and consequently it amounts to having a Ruler without people. Your Excellency will kindly well surmise how delicate and difficult is my position in between the wishes of the Government of India (Dominion Government) and the people whose will is considered as the "deciding criterion" as is evident 'from Pandit Nehru's remarks on treaty rights of Princess in his Presidential address : "The only final authority and paramount power that we recognise is the will of the people..." Your Excellency may rest assured that I shall try my level best to secure the fullest co-operation with the Councilor the representatives of the people within the shortest time possible.

Lastly I pray for Your Excellency's kind permission to release the full text of the correspondences between Your Excellency and myself to the Press

In spite of all of his efforts made to convince his very "unathoritative position" to take a final decision on the most vital issue of Merger or accession of the State, the Ministry of States of the Dominion under the "dictate" of the Home Minister, Sardar Patel insisted by putting all out pressure and the helpless Maharaja finally "succumbed" to the immense pressure put with threats of dire consequences and tactics of the Dominion Government and thus he signed the "Merger Agreement" anyhow on 21st September 1949 and Manipur, with very sad and highly sulking feelings of the majority of the helpless people, became merged with the Dominion of India with effect from the same date as a mere part "C" State of the Dominion of India under the rule of a mere Chief Commissioner, Major General Rawal Amar Singh, who on 15th October 1949 issued an order of ceasing the functioning of the Ministers of the State and dissolving the Manipur Legislative Assembly.

Earlier, on 28 September 1949 the Manipur State Legislative Assembly met in the Assembly Chamber in the Johnstone High School premises at 2.30.p.m. and in the special sitting hold the "merger agreement signed" in between the Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh and the representatives of the Dominion Government, States Ministry, New Delhi at Shillong government House was fully discussed and the House unanimously passed the resolution "protesting" the "illegal and unconstitutional merger" done on the basis of signing it unauthoritatively by the Maharaja, who was no more the "plenipotentiary of the State" by that time as he had already pointed out earlier.

The excerpt of the Assembly proceedings as was published in the Manipur State Gazette, part IV, dated 14 October 1949 is reproduced. The Assembly met in the Assembly Chamber in the Johnstone High School premises at 2.30.p.m. on the 28th September, 1949. Presentees—The Hon'ble Mr. T.C. Tiankham, in the Chair, the Hon'ble 6 Ministers and Hon'ble 43 Members. The 4th sitting of the 3rd session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, held on 28.9.1949 resolved and adopted the following resolutions in protest against the "Merger Agreement signed on 21st September 1949".

1. As per Adult-Franchise regulations, the General Election held in June 1948 of Manipur State Legislative Assembly had taken accord of the Law-orders, Administration, Financial assessment, Foreign Affairs etc of the then Maharaja of Manipur.

2. The State of Manipur will have no relations, Foreign/relations with Indian Government without any agreement signed with MSLA though may it be the declaration of the then Maharaja.

3. The ex-Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh under immense pressure and "duress" from Prakas Shah, Governor of Assam, VP Menon, Minister of State Affairs and Sardar Ballabhai Patel was forced to sign the merger Agreement on 21st September 1949 at Shillong without any consignment from the Manipur State Legislative Assembly".

The agreement is being dropped by the MS Legislative Assembly ie it will not abide by the agreement. Lastly, the Manipur State Legislative Assembly has taken the resolution that the merger agreement is totally dropped and that it will not consider such agreement that had been "signed whereabouts". —Sd/- P.B. Singh, Chief Minister, T.C. Tiankham, Speaker, Arambam Ibungotomcha Singh, Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs.

As per the Notification issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law, dated the 22nd January 1950, paras 1(1) (2), 2(1) the States Merger (Chief Commissioners' Provinces) Order, 1950 shall come into force only with effect from the 23rd January, 1950, and therefore the State of Manipur should have become administered under a Chief Commissioner only from that date onwards and as such the orders issued by the Ministry of States, New Delhi, dated the 15th October 1949 hurriedly merging Manipur with the Dominion of India and the order issued by the Chief Commissioner, Major General Rawal Amar Singh on 15th October 1949, who was appointed on the same day, ceasing the functioning of the Ministers of the State and dissolving the Manipur Legislative Assembly were clearly "ultra-vires" and "null and void" orders ie they were illegal and invalid orders issued prior to having the "authority to do so".

Moreover, the hurried actions of the Dominion Government of India, Ministry of States were not only "hanky-panky" but also quite flagarantly "violated" the mandatory provisions of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, para 9(5) which say that "no order shall be made by the interim Government of the Dominion after 31st March, 1948" pertaining to any Political issue so long the Paramountcy is deemed "to be continuing to exist and its directives and orders issued earlier remaining quite valid till the interim Dominion of India becomes a fullfledge sovereign Power of her own with Laws framed under a Constitution adopted enabling to supersede all the Laws and orders framed and issued within the ambit of the Paramountcy ie till the 26th day of January 1950 and therefore it was in this very context that the Notification of the Law Ministry in the name of the Governor General appointed by the British Government, C Rajagopalchari was issued.

It is really pity that Manipur, which was once a Land of very "peaceful and enjoyable living", a Little Paradise on Earth has become now the "greatest Hell on Earth" with most terribly burning problems and unprecedented events of untold suffering of the people "taking place one after another" as a routine matter, more sadly and most alarmingly, of the beginning of the breaking up of the "age-old communal harmony, Love and Unity" that have been existing amongst all the groups of the indigenous peoples of the Hills and the valley, after she became a "forced democratic State of India", whose, also of the local, highly egoistic, partisan and bigoted Political leaders, particularly of the Congress, and later on of the BJP like LK Advani and others thoroughly misguided by self-interested and narrow minded ex-bureaucrats like former Union Home Secretary, P Padmanabhaiah etc with their very much prejudicial ideas and scanty Political and Historical knowledge and experience, are definitely responsible, as is very deeply felt in the minds of the majority of the people, for having completely "messed-up" things and brought such a "hellish and burning" situation as is prevailing today in the most unfortunate State, which once existed gloriously as a very peaceful, heavenly and independent ka Godly Land of her own for the past many years under the regimes of the true leaders, the deitic and heroic kings who always dedicated and sacrificed their lifes for the welfare and integrity of the people and the Land.

It has been rightly commented in the "Hoi Polloi & Mundanity column (Yenning)" of The Sangai Express, Sunday special of 9 October that - The relationship between the two political entities of India and Manipur "forged" (deceived) by the Merger Agreement needs re-visit in the backdrop of Delhi's utter failure to respond to the prolonged blockade which caused "untold sufferings and miseries" to the very unfortunate people who have been forced to live as "underdogs".

Manipur was a proud "sovereign nation" when it was merged under "force" with the Dominion of India but 60 years after the "controversial merger", it has been turned into a sort of a "captive State".

It is not "untrue" to say that in the so called democratic political set up of India, Manipur finds no place except as a buffer zone or a "neo-colony" after its "de facto sovereign" peoples' very rightfully formed self-Government was "overthrown" by a "coup d'etat like" very unlawful and unconstitutional "action" of the then interim Dominion Government in a very "deceitful manner" under tne "dictates" of the ad-hoc Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, very arrogant Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and others, the very undemocratic role of whom in this regard will remain as their "darkest part" played I in the dark chapter of the History of Manipur, including their careless "unilateral decision" of giving away a large area of its very precious land, the Kabaw Valley to Burma without bothering to adjust the "lost" occurred by adequate compensations.

Now that the ex-Union Home Secretary, GK Pillai has opened up the "Pandora's Box" of illegality committed, it remains to be seen as to whether the same will continue to be concealed, suppressed and disregarded, or else, get "rectified" even by a "judicious verdict of the Jury" of the International Legal Forum of the United Nations


* Waikhom Damodar Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer teaches at Department of Geography, Oriental College, Imphal
This article was posted on November 14, 2011.

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