TODAY -

The Merger Of Manipur Into India And The Manipur State Congress
- Part 2 -

Dr. N. Joykumar Singh *



In the meantime a new proposal for the formation of a new state comprising of Manipur, Cachar and Lushai Hills began to emerge in the political scenario of the State. It is said that this plan in reality was direction of the Indian Government and was instantly a plan of Bengali in Cachar who migrated from Sylhet (Memorandum submitted by Congress in 1955 to State Reorganization Committee) and so the proposal was initiated by the Cachar District Congress to safeguard their interest quite adequately (Ibid).

It is further said that the proposal was received with mixed reaction and only a small section of the Manipur State congress led by E. Tompok and his party supported the proposal. (A memorandum on the creation of new state Pt-I). Whatever the case it may but it can be suggested that the emergence of this proposal gave a very good opening to the Manipur State Congress for the establishment of a direct contact with the leaders of the Congress Party of India.

In order to give a proper shape to their plan they invited Dr. Praffula Chandra Ghose, an eminent Congress leader of Bengal to Manipur. A public meeting was arranged for him by the Manipur State Congress on 22nd August at Imphal Pologround.

In the said meeting, Dr. Praffula Chandra Ghose, by supporting the Purbachal theory stressed that "Manipur State in order to make equilibrium, according to the motto of the Congress required to be amalgamated with the three places, Tripura, Cachar and Lushai Hills" (Report of the police regarding the Public meeting held on 22.8.48 at Pologround). After this meeting, the political situation of the country became very tense. A large section of Manipur was not in favour of the proposal.

On the 18th September, a large public meeting was held in which all the leaders of both hills and plain strongly opposed the proposal of Congress party and declared that the people of Manipur would resist any type of imposition of proposed province. (Resolution No.1 of the meeting of both hills and plain leaders held under the chairmanship of Mr. M. Panjat Singh).

The Government of Manipur was also not in favour of this proposal. As a result of this strong opposition of the majority of the people, the people of Manipur State Congress for the creation of Purbachal State were not materialized.

However, in a way it was not a serious setback to the aim and objectives of the Congress party. Rather it can be treated as a great success in their policy and programme because it produced a positive indirect impact in favour of their political line. In fact the idea of Purbachal movement produced two important positive results in favour of Congress party.

First it opened a direct contact route between A.I.C.C. and Manipur State Congress and after this they were able to place all types of their political movement in Manipur to the knowledge of leaders of the Congress party of India.

Secondly, such type of relationship also gave a great advantageous position to the political leaders of the India as well as to the India Government to interfere to the internal political affairs of Manipur State.

In the meantime the people also witness a series of political development in the relationship between the Government of India and Manipur State particularly their repeated interference in the internal affairs of the State. The proposal for the appointment of 'Dewan' was the glaring example of their direct interference in the internal affairs of the state. His duty, according to the letters of the India Government, was to watch the treaty obligation between the State and the India dominion. (Letter of Akbar Hyder to the Maharajah Budhachandra of Manipur 2.8.1948).

It is also quite obscure to know that under which special relationship, sir Akbar Hyder expressed his desire to give the responsibility of 'Dewanship' to Maharajkumar Priyobarta Singh who was the younger brother of the King. However, his proposal was not materialized, in the meantime, due to sudden expiry of Akbar Hyder, the responsibility of Government of Assam was given to Shri Prakash.

Like his predecessor he also pressed the Maharaj of Manipur to appoint a 'Dewan' Maharaj Budhachandra was not happy and he wanted to know the administrative power of the propose office (letter of the Maharaj of Manipur to the Governor of Assam vide D.O. No. 1986 P 11-1 dt.23.3.49).

On the 10th April the Maharaj received a telegraphic message from the Governor about the appointment of Major General Rewal Amar Singh as the Dewan of Manipur and in a letter to the Maharaj the governor of Assam also mentioned the power and function of Dewan. In this respect we can observe serious question which could not be ignored very easily that when the proposal of the appointing 'Dewan' was made by the Government of India through the Governor of Assam why did neither the Maharaj of Manipur nor the member of other political parties make any type of opposition to the move of appointment of 'Dewan' because it was not a part of the Constitution of the Manipur State. Such type of the immature political atmosphere among the political leaders of the State of Manipur also gave a very good opportunity to the Government of India.

In due course the Secret political intrigue between the Manipur State congress party and all India Congress Committee for the integration of India became an open secret and other political parties began to think such movement as serious threat to the political identity of Manipur. The Members of Praja Samitte Sabha in the Legislative Assembly took a strong resolution against the policy of the Manipur State Congress.

The Resolution stressed that "If integration or merging be imposed here irrespective of our unfortunate (and) helpless circumstances and (against) the principle of Bapuji without the consent of the people, the present moral submission of the Manipur into India, which is most precious, may disappear bidding good bye to the physical control by imposition and the bitter experiences thereof may be a shortly handicaps in the political races of India with other countries a double loss for India and Manipur. If the people have been sinned against and wronged the people themselves have to be watch over in addition to across the frontier" (Resolution of the meeting of MLA's belonging to the Praja Samiti Sabha. on 25-8-49 under the chairmanship of Kh. Ibotombi).

Thus the members of Praja Samiti has tactfully stood against the merger. But Manipur State Congress gave three points arguments in favour of their pro-merger stand.

The points were
(i) the inability of the Government of Manipur to tackle the law and order situation of Manipur
(ii) the apprehension from the communist movements in Burma. (3) the integration of Manipur and India would bring peace and development.

Keeping this view with consideration, they even decided by the meeting of the 29th April 1949 to send a delegation of three members to meet the leaders of AICC for immediate integration of Manipur into India.

From these above evidence it can be observed that the role of the leaders of the Manipur State Congress was the pre-dominant factor for the coming direct interference of the India Government in the internal administrative offices of the State and integration of Manipur with India. And the congress parties of Manipur adopt a different stand, the India Government and leader of AICC could not be able to adopt such kinds of undemocratic policies towards Manipur.


(This write up is re-produced with prior permission from the publishing authority of the Book called Annexation of Manipur - 1949)

Concluded....


* Dr. N. Joykumar Singh (of Manipur University) wrote this article which was later published at Imphal Times
This article was posted on 22 August, 2018 .


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