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E-Pao! Manipur - Merger of Manipur with the dominion of India

Merger of Manipur with the dominion of India - III
Manipur Constitution Act, 1947

By: Waikhom Damodar Singh *



Consequently, the Indian troops under Major General JN Choudhury of the cavalry marched into Hyderabad on 13 Sept, 1948 and had very ably and promptly diffused the critical situation that was developing quite alarmingly. The Govt of India declared that it was not an act of 'war' but purely a 'police action', intended to restore peace and order in the State. Kasim Razvi was arrested, the Razakar organisation was dissolved, and the Nizam submitted.

Eventually Hyderabad acceded to India in November 1949. As for the two small States, namely Benaras and Tripura, they quite tamely came in within the Dominion of India with effect from 15 October, 1949 along with Manipur for which they had already and smoothly signed the merger agreement on 5 and 9 September respectively.

Thus Manipur, though small in her physical territory, was the last native State which remained unsettled, just as she was the last native State conquered by the Mighty British, as she had presented some but quite delicate issue and problems in regard to her smooth and immediate merger to the new-ly established independent Congress led Govt of India under the Premiership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallavbhai Patel as the Union Home Minister.

The then King of the State, Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh, the eldest son of Maharaja Sir Churachand Singh, KSCI CBE Knight Commander Star of India Commander British Empire) took over the 'reins' of the independent sovereign power from GP Stewart, the Political Agent who was earlier President Manipur State Darbar (Chief Minister's rank) under the Maharaja and succeeded Cristopher Gimson, ICS of the erstwhile British Govt, signed the withdrawal and handling over document on behalf of the British Crown and handed over to Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh on the 14th of August 1947 at midnight at the official room of the Imphal British Residency, now the Imphal Raj Bhavan.

In this regard, there is an interesting episode ha-ppened, in that when Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh was conveyed of a message from the Political Agent for his (the Maharaja) coming over to the British residency for the little ceremony of the histor-ic event to be performed, Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh, being of quite an adamant and obstinate character of not tolerating such insubordinate attitudes forthcoming from the subordinate types of authorities, at first was quite annoyed with and flatly refused to go to the British residency to keep-up his royal dignity of being the King of the State but later on, has been well convinced by the Political Agent who himself rushed up to the Imphal palace and offered his honest explanation saying that he could not carry out the power handling and taking over ceremony or function at the palace since he had to do it on behalf of the Viceroy and his Majesty, the King of the British Empire, and it was only after that Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh, fully convinced of the very delicate situation faced by the Political Agent, went to the British residency and took over the power from the political agent, GP Stewart who, of course, immediately after the short function was over, resumed paying his normal courtesies to the king of Manipur, which be-came again an independent kingdom as before from that very midnight of the 14th of August 1947 for which a very befitting function was organised at Kangla in the next morning of the 15th of August, 1947 with hoisting of Pakhangba embedded Manipur's Royal Flag in place of the British Union Jack Flag which had since been flying high till that time at the Kangla Fort since the year 1891, April 27 when the State was compelled to come under the mighty British power as a result of its defeat suffered at their hands in the main battle taken place at Khongjom and its nearby areas where many of the heroes and great generals of Manipur, Yaiskul Lakpa along with his young son, Sengoi Sana, Paona Braja Bashi, Chongtham Mia, Yengkhoiba, Wangkhei Meiraba, Chinglen Sana etc most heroically sacrificed their lives for the defence of the integrity of their beloved age-old independent mother-land country.

Thus Manipur being free from the yoke of the British Power and had attained again the status of an Independent Sovereign States began in the right earnest to run her own administration, and in doing so, the first and immediate step that was very thoughtfully and rightly taken up was that the administration of the State was carried out in a 'democratic line' for which an Act named as the Manipur Constitution Act, 1947 was immediately drafted and got approved and according to which, in April 1948, the Manipur State Election Rules, 1948, was also adopted and accordingly election on the basis of 'universal adult franchise' for 53 Manipur State Assembly seats consisting of 30 for general, 18 for Hills, 3 for Muhama-dans, 1 for Educational interest and 1 for Commercial interest was carried out in which were elected 14 from the Manipur State Congress, 18 independents from the Hills, 12 from the Manipur Praja Santi Sabha, 5 from the Manipur Kris-hak Sabha and 3 from the Socialist Party, and a new Council of Ministers comprised of Maharaj Kumar Priya Brata Singh as the Chief Minister and Home and Revenue portfolios, Arambam Ibotomcha Sin-gh as the Finance Minister, Ayekpam Gourabidhu Singh, as Commerce and Industries Minister, Major R Khating, MBE, MC as Mi-nister, Hill areas, Teba Kilong as Forest and Agriculture Minister and Md Alimuddin of Lilong as Jail and Medical Minister started functioning.

to be continued


* Waikhom Damodar Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on October 05th, 2006


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