TODAY -

Manipur was never under British rule though defeated by the British
Merger Agreement Series
- Part 1 -

Dr Th Suresh *

The battle of Khongjom
The battle of Khongjom :: Pix - RKCS Art Gallery
Warning: These images CANNOT be reproduced in any form or size without written permission from the RKCS Gallery



Manipur was never under British rule though defeated by the British in the only 1st and last Anglo-Manipuri war.
Time to ignore pseudo-historians and ill-informed historians' false write-ups and come to true historical perspectives


It is time that Manipuri intellectuals and youths try to find out what is Manipur's real history. To understand this, one has to have a fair background of Anglo-Manipuri relationship. It all started with incompetent Chit Sai (Ajit Sai), who gifted Kabaw Valley to Burma earlier and flew to Tripura, and asking the British to restore his kingdom. King Bhagyachandra, the son of Shyamjai Khurailakpa and who was in his rightful Throne, sent one Bangali speaking Haridas Gosain to Chitagong to counter Chit Sai and briefed the real scenario.

Haridas met Mr. Verelst, rejected Chit Sai's plea and agreed to what Haridas said. Not only this, Haridas also told Mr. Verelst the need of British help for the frequent Manipur-Burma war and the advantages the British will have in trading with China through Manipur and Burma. This would be possible if there is peace in the region. Hence, Mr. Verelist agreed to the proposal and sent to Mr. Vansittart, the Governor General of Bengal and President of the Board of Directors of the British East-India Company, for final acceptance.

The Governor General accepted the proposal and decided to send 3 officers to study the situation. They stayed for 14 months in Manipur and sent a favourable report to the Governor General. The Governor General accepted the same and thus the 1st Anglo-Manipuri treaty was signed on 14th September 1762 at Calcutta rejecting Ajit Sai's plea. Haridas Gossain signed it on behalf of King Bhagyachandra. It was decided to send six companies of sepoys under 3 officers. Thus, under Mr. Verelist, the sepoys left for Manipur in January 1763, reached Kashipur of Cachar in April. However, because of unfavourable weather, rain, disease etc. they could not proceed to Manipur and returned to Bengal. Thus, the terms of the Ist treaty could not be executed.

The 2nd Anglo-Manipur treaty (terms and conditions same as the 1st one) was signed in Calcutta on 11th September, 1763 i.e. one year after the signing of the 1st one. It was executed between king Gaurashyam and the British. The salient features were : the 2 country will not execute an independent treaty with Burma without the consent of each other; in case of war with Burma, the two will help each other and will recover loss territories and Manipur will not levy any text in British trade and commerce.

Establishment of Gambhir Singh Levy : Meanwhile, the British-Burma relationship became worst. Burma had already occupied Manipur and Assam and demanded return of the princes of the two states (including Gambhir Singh) who were in British territory. The relationship worsened further and on 5th March 1824, Governor General Lord Armhurst declared war against Burma. Intense war broke out in the Cachar front with the Burmese having the upper hand in the beginning. In April 1824, Raja Gambhir Singh Levy (later on known as Manipur Levy) was formed based on two angles: a) from the British angle – it was important to have an independent and stable buffer state of Manipur to protect British interest and to check further advance of Burma. They already knew the courage, smartness and farsightedness of Gambhir Singh and firmly believed that he could execute the intended activities, b) from the Manipur angle – Prince Gambhir Singh, with the burning idea of recapturing Manipur from the Burmese yoke and driving them out beyond our fore-fatherly occupied Kabaw Valley and surrounding areas. His brother Nara Singh also had the same idea.

After Raja Gambhir Singh captured Kangla Fort on12th June 1825, he went to Sylet and returned on 23rd December. The levy terms and conditions were modified a bit as follows a) army strength will be increased from 500 to 1,500 and that of cavalry from 40 to 150 as agreed to by the British, b) the expenditure of ­clothing, fooding, ammunition, medicine etc. will be borne by the supreme council and c) the British will stock these materials at Chandrapur of Cachar as Arsenal (Chandrapur was developed by the Raja's father King Bhagyachandra). Details of Burmese campain leading to recapture of Kabaw Valley may be seen in the coming up Manipuri Edition of my book The Endless Kabaw Valley or the already published book.

Signing of Jiri Treaty of 1833 : Signed on 18th April 1833, it bears political, defence and trade marks. Politically - Gambhir Singh will withdraw his Thana at Chandrapur in exchange for transfer of Jiribam (Jiri) to Manipur. Barak River is the inter-state boundary between Cachar and Manipur. Defence wise - each other will protect their territory i.e. either Manipur or eastern frontier of British India in case of war with Burma. The Raja will get arms and ammunitions from the British for this purpose. And Trade wise - the Raja will not obstruct any British trade nor impose any heavy duty.

In clause 6, it is mentioned that "...In the event of war with Burmese, if troops be sent to Manipore, either to protect that country, or to advance beyond Ningthee..." (To be contd)

The underlying idea was that Manipur boundary extended to the far eastern frontier beyond east of Ningthee at that particular time. Hence such minute details are to be understood by those self- proclaimed historians and history writers.

Nullification of the arms and ammunition clause 8 of the Jiri Treaty: Meanwhile, 1 year after the death of Gambhir Singh, the Manipur Levy army consisted of 3000 Sepoys. British India-Burmese frontier had been stabilised to some extent. The Kabaw Valley had been handed over to Burma. The British (especially Governor General Lord William Bentinck), who was financing Manipur Levy, thought that financing such a large army is useless and wasteful of financial resources. Hence, on 7th February 1835, the British unilaterally stopped the arms and ammunition clause of the treaty.

Manipur could not do much on this selfish act of the pseudo-friend British. The writer, however emphasise that it is obsolete and cannot stand in an international court, the reason being - the British can't sign or abrogate any treaty without the consent of Manipur. That is as per the terms and conditions of various other Treaties.

Appointment of 1st Political Agent in 1834 : It was done so to bring good relation between Manipur-Burma-British relation and to avoid frequent war between Manipur and Burma. Captain Gordon, who was adjutant to Manipur Levy, was appointed as 1st Political Agent (PA). Ist, it was placed under Bengal Presidency; then recognising Manipur's independence, it was placed directly under the Government of India (GOI) up to 1836. Later on, seeing its border proximity with Assam, it was placed under Assam Govt. from 1879. It is worth seeing that Nagaland was part of Assam at that time. This arrangement was continued till Manipur merged to India in 1949.

1. Phase 1 of British-Manipuri relation : It can be read and discussed by clubbing together up to Nara Singh's reign. Up to this time, Manipur was a complete sovereign state. Purchasing some arms and ammunitions from British by signing some treaties should be seen from a different perspective. It is advantageous to both, the basic premier being the check-mate of Burmese invasion. In respect of External affairs and defence, though the British has a slight upper hand, it may be treated as equal footing. In spite of this, 2 incidences are worth analysing'! one is the 1834 Kabaw Valley Agreement + Kabaw Valley Compensation Agreement. For this write up, the 2 has been taken as one. It was done by the British using extra constitutional power in the realm of Defence and External affairs and without the signature of the Manipur Raja. That this cannot stand legal scrutiny in an International Court has been repeated time and again by your pen-driver in various write ups and in his book.

'The 2nd one is the famous 9 week Kohima campaign starting from 28th December 1832. Through this campain, Manipur frontier extended up to the dense forest lying between the Doyang and Dhansiri rivers. This was published in British official head. However, what Gambhir Singh wanted was capture of whole Naga Hills. The British did not want him to inter plains of Assam as that will have serious repercussions on their interest, hence objected. They were fearful of the Manipur Raja who was not only a famous campaigner but also a great visionary. Therefore, they agreed to hand over all areas south of Naga Hills to the Manipur Raja. Hence, these 2 incidences are to be seen from a different perspective. Up to Nara Singh's reign, Manipur continued to be a fully sovereign principality.

2. Phase 2 of British-Manipuri relation may be taken from Chandrakirti's to Kulachandra's reign (i.e. before capture of Kangla Fort, 1850-1891) : To understand this phase, we have to turn back to various historical pages and discuss threadbare. The most important event was the British self proclamation of Manipur as an "Asiatic Power in alliance with the Queen" in 1851. To protect British interest, the then PA Col. McCulloch recommended recognition of the new king and enforcing of more army to Manipur to the GOI. The above declaration was a sequellae of this recommendation. The Board of Directors of the East India put 5 conditions while declaring the same. Important ones are- the Raja should not torture his subjects, he will not invade beyond his frontiers and GOI will not interfere unnecessarily in the internal affairs of Manipur. The declaration was done in a public avowal. Worth to remember is that in spite of this declaration, Chandrakirti faced 10 revolts during his 1st 16 yrs of reign. From 1866 onwards, his reign was peaceful.

Thus sum total is that though the British had a slight upper hand in External affairs and Defence, they did not interfere in Manipur's internal affairs i.e. in Manipur sovereignty. It is also interesting to note that the king occasionally embarked independent path in these 2 realms e.g. his disastrous invasion of Kamhows (Shooties) and subsequent defeat in Dec-Jan 1856. The king fled with only 20 sepoys from the clutches of death ii) 1875 invasion of Kamhows leading to the surrender of their king Yatole to Manipur and iii) the famous Jiri Darbar meeting with India's Viceroy Lord North Brook on 11th August 1874 where he handed over Manipur's precious Thibomei (present Kohima) to the British. Also, for the benefit of the 2 countries as well as to bring stability to the frontier, the combined forces of the 2 countries would invaded neibours e.g ' the famous 2 month Lusai Expedittion (Dec/1871-Feb 1872) and the famous 3 months Kohima and Konoma Campain (Oct, Nov & Dec 1878).

Hence, British 'non-interference' in the sovereignty of Manipur, including infighting among the princes for the Throne, remained intact. This is also seen clearly in the infighting between Surchandra vrs Kulachandra for the Throne. After abdicating the Throne, on reaching Silchar and Calcutta, Surchandra complained to the British that it was a forced abdication and hence be enthroned again. The British rejected the plea and recognised Kulachandra as King. Worth to remember is that it was done at the request of Surchandra and not from British side.

Hence, in this 2nd phase of British-India relation, though the line of demarcation was unclear in respect of External affairs and defence, Manipur remained a sovereign and independent princely state without interference from any side. Hence, the readers, common people and future generation should know it thoroughly and discuss threadbare.

3. Phase 3 of British-Manipuri relation : The period relates from British capture of Kangla Palace Complex till they left Manipur i.e. Churachand's reign to British departure (Sept 1891 to midnight of 14/15 Aug 1947). Here one can find and see many changes. It relates to the reign of 2 kings - Churachand and Bodh Chandra. After defeating Manipur shoulders in the only 1st and last Anglo-Manipuri war, British intered Kangla Fort on 27th April 1891. Thereafter, they searched for a suitable candidate for Manipur Throne. The mantle finally fall to 6 yr old minor Churachand, grandson of Great Nara Singh. GOI order was issued on 18th Sept 1891. The minor was enthroned on 29th April 1892 by PA Major Maxwell. He was endorsed with the title of Raja in February 1908 and by another order on 1st January 1918 (10 yr later), again conferred the title of Maharaja.

To be continued ...


* Dr Th Suresh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer Ex- Director of Health Services, Manipur & WHO Fellow.
This article was posted on October 10, 2015.


* 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
  • A remarkable journey of a Thang-Ta exponent
  • Day 4 : Sangai Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Education & Teachers in Manipur
  • Its all about learning
  • Manipur- 6 medals at NSG Fencing at Gujarat
  • Coronavirus - A grave threat
  • Class X examination has started !
  • Modi's romance with NE states
  • NE has 60 most polluted river stretches
  • Eepan Thaba -birth ceremony : Gallery
  • Changpombi, Aihong, Ajonah : eMing
  • Flood Light at Khuman Lampak : Gallery
  • List of nominees : Manipur Film Awards 2020
  • Extending ILP to Manipur Needs A Review
  • The great cosmic discovery - IX
  • 36th Central Conference of ICI at Jiribam
  • Festival with a significant message
  • Sirarakhong Hathei Phanit #2 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Understanding dementia #1
  • The Old Man in the Afternoon :: Poem
  • Nurturing Peace
  • Historic Bodo Accord: Beginning of an era
  • Atrial Flutter treated with Radio Frequency
  • Condolence & prayer meeting held
  • Is accepting gift by newsperson unethical
  • Fashion Show @ Sangai Fest #2 : Gallery
  • 71st Indian Republic Day #5 : Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni - Naga Seed Sowing Fest
  • Revelation for the new decade
  • Beneath our hearts :: Poem
  • Makhol : Discussing Arts
  • Online for Inner Line Permit
  • Redefining mob violence
  • Wakching Thagi Sanarei #1 :: eRang
  • For the Love of Valentine
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Teach a Topic : Online Competition
  • Valentine's Day beauty tips
  • Street Vendor Restriction: Violation of Art 21
  • Community Radio Awareness Workshop - NE
  • School Fagathansi Mission: on Govt school
  • Re-thinking of the serious wrong
  • Amur Falcon Fest @Tamenglong #1 : Gallery
  • Wetlands & biodiversity: Promote actions..
  • Sexual & reproductive health key to SDGs
  • Maddening power of Dili
  • Nagaland BJP leaders joined NPF
  • 2019 review: Ministry of Renewable Energy #2
  • Enacting a farce, MPP style: Comical caricature
  • The silence breaks
  • Dzukou Valley Landscape #2 : Gallery
  • Day 4 : Sangai Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Can we dream of achieving Vision-2020 ?
  • The Ant :: Poem
  • Pulok Mukherjee take charge as Director IBSD
  • The Bodo Accord and after
  • Reqts at Birla Emporiums, Khurai
  • Third time in office for the AAP
  • Govt should stop harassing media
  • Thang Ta at JNMDA #1 : Gallery
  • pNTOgi peraH :: Seireng
  • Bodo accord: A hope for peace and stability
  • Endangered Legal Systems #2
  • A Wintery Song :: Poem
  • Career options in textile industry
  • Weekly Mao Market at Imphal
  • Education should eradicates superstition
  • Sirarakhong Village, Ukhrul : Gallery
  • National Master Athletics : Gallery
  • Dramas in Higher Education
  • Has Govt overlooked Bipartite Settlement?
  • RIST Talk -43 : Nobel Prize in Physics 2019
  • Cannabis in Parkinson's disease
  • Heed appeal of Chairman of COHSEM
  • Accord after IM cadres return from Myanmar
  • Nongmadi : Synopsis of the Shumang Leela
  • 71st Indian Republic Day #4 : Gallery
  • Investment on research & development
  • From Dawn till Dusk :: Poem
  • National Lok Adalat at Lamphel Court
  • India unites on wrong issues
  • Gandhari -Dance Drama #3 : Gallery
  • TwaI na_AosuM :: Seireng
  • Political will to solve climate crisis
  • Product Validation & Quality Control Training
  • Changemakers in Bio-Pharma : Lecture
  • Honey for radiant skin
  • NE ignored for many years stand of PM
  • The changing face of RIMS
  • Phisakol - Film Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • World Tourism Day at Noney #6 : Gallery
  • Dr Ng Brajachand - Reminiscence ...
  • The Strange Boy :: Poem
  • Reqts at PR Enterprises, Khurai
  • Interior Designer at Hatil Furniture
  • Need to restrict cross border interactions
  • The mental equation
  • Hentak - Indigenous Food Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Business Correspondent Model :: Book
  • Endangered Legal Systems #1
  • The great cosmic discovery - VIII
  • The Kaleidoscopic prism
  • Living in the age of nCoV & Swine Flu
  • Bloody battle for greed
  • Agaki Waterfall @ Tamei : Gallery
  • 71st Indian Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Community Policing in Manipur
  • Knitwear design as career option
  • Budget & wealth creation in Manipur
  • Visions sans missions & North East India
  • Free Speech & Expression in a Debacle
  • Apple Farm @ Kumbi : Gallery
  • Day 4 : Sangai Fest #1 : Gallery
  • World Wetlands Day 2020
  • Thounaojam Niranjoy breaks 'world record'
  • Discipline and students
  • 2019 review: Ministry of Renewable Energy #1
  • Academic activities paralyse in College
  • Yoga Instructor Training by MIT
  • FIR against MPSC
  • Manipur's Theatre is facing a dark time
  • NE festival to promote culture in Thailand
  • Highest priority accorded to NE in Budget
  • Maibam Nabakishore : Play-wright :: Profle
  • Right to die for people, terminally ill
  • Communities along Barak River #3: Gallery
  • Suresh Huidrom: Natl Architecture Award
  • The Chirp of a Sparrow :: Poem
  • India's last Governor-General
  • Vanishing wetlands: Anthropogenic pressures
  • Coronavirus prevention @ Moreh : Gallery
  • Tribute Rock Concert for (L) Hegin #3 : Gallery
  • Degradation of wetlands in Manipur
  • Tansen plays at Darbar
  • Water scarcity & stress
  • Computational Thinking (CT): Education
  • People have every right to know...
  • Maibi Jagoi @ JNMDA : Gallery
  • Novel Coronavirus outbreak : WHO
  • February Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Manipur : Champion at Vovinam National
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • CAT rank predictor: for an MBA aspirant
  • Delhi Fashion Club launched in Mumbai
  • MSAB Literary Meet at Benguluru
  • Sports- Making it to news for right reason
  • Judiciary on the rescue Indian Constitution
  • Mr. Khadang #1 :: eRang
  • 71st Indian Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Soraisam Keshoram : Natyabhusan (Drama)
  • Chasing a wonderland :: Poem
  • Manipur champion at 16th Sr Natl Jump Rope
  • Admission- Public Health Foundation of India
  • The Killing Fields 2013-20 : News Timeline
  • Padma Vibhushan for Mary Kom
  • The Changing face of Imphal Times
  • Conservation initiatives of Hornbills #2
  • Day 6 : Sangai Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Call for Proposal- Biotechnology Ignition
  • A Picnic by the Pond :: Poem
  • Year review: Min of Rural Development #2
  • Mumbai International Film Festival 2020
  • Nail care tips
  • Coronavirus: How prepared is Manipur ?
  • CMHT needs to be reviewed
  • 71st Indian Republic Day #1 : Gallery
  • Khangminashi - VI: Gallery
  • Custodial Death
  • Golden opportunity for a Speaker
  • Khangminashi - VI, Talk Series :: Report
  • 1000 trained in Fish Processing
  • Supports agitation call by CAF & PD Labourers
  • Medical camp at Thenjang, Churachandpur
  • Peace pact signed with the NDFB
  • A better and inclusive alternative
  • Gaan-Ngai at Kakhulong #2 : Gallery
  • Tribute Rock Concert for (L) Hegin #2 : Gallery
  • Mary Kom- Vibhushan, O Bembem- Bhushan
  • Felicitation of AMAND by Pune Municipal
  • Biotechnology Ignition Grant (only for NE)
  • Defence Academy & Naval Academy Exam
  • Condemn harassment of women IPS officer
  • On the assault of IPS Women Officer
  • Free Mock Interview Programme for UPSC
  • Replacing AR at check points
  • The way forward towards civility
  • Glass Painting by Khusbu: Gallery
  • Manipur Police Dog Squad : Gallery
  • Ethel's Wedding Journey :: Poem
  • India on 71st Republic Day
  • Supreme Court's ruling on Anti-Defection Law
  • Let the light lead to growth
  • Republic Day celebrated amid tight security
  • Angangdagi Mairen Onba :: Funga Wari
  • Day 6 : Sangai Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Public as leader in a Republic
  • 2020 :: Poem
  • Aung San Suu Kyi - 'The Lady with no Fear'
  • The endocannabinoid system in human body
  • Now CSOs started infringing to media freedom
  • Aerial- Imp to Tamenglong #2: Gallery
  • Pot Lannaba @ Houchongba #2 : Gallery
  • Chingda Satpi Engellei #4 :: eRang
  • 28th Imphal Book Fair #2 : Gallery
  • Hentak - Indigenous Food Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Tribute Rock Concert for (L) Hegin #1 : Gallery
  • AMWJU amends code of conduct- Jan 22 2020
  • Lalkansung - Natl Child Award for Achievement
  • Landscape of Purul, Senapati #2 : Gallery
  • Of bibliophile & Imphal Book Fair 2020
  • Constitutional protections to specific groups #2
  • Gaan-Ngai at Kakhulong #1 : Gallery
  • Children Adventure Sports Camp #2 : Gallery
  • Special Police Unit for NE in Delhi
  • Conservation initiatives of Hornbills #1
  • Day 3 : Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • Statehood Women's Polo : Gallery
  • 28th Imphal Book Fair #1 : Gallery
  • Winter Relief Program @Patsoi: Gallery
  • Of our Responsibility and our Rights
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai @Chingkham Kabui Khul: Gallery
  • Cultural @ Shirui Lily Fest #4 : Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Ramji Kabui Khul : Gallery
  • Thong Nambonbi broke apart: Gallery
  • 'Nongju Ahing' :: eRang Classic Photos
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1: Gallery
  • New Year picnic @Singda Dam : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #6: Gallery
  • Tolloi, Ukhrul :: 360 Panorama View
  • SPONSORED ADS