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

Merger of Manipur with the dominion of India - VI
Merger and Territorial Integrity

By: Waikhom Damodar Singh *



Anyway, it was God's kindness that no untoward incident in this regard had happened and that Maharaja Bodh- chandra Singh regained his good and calm senses and finally signed the Merger Agreement on 21 September, 1949 and it was after that Manipur was merged with the Dominion of India with effect from 15 October 1949, though in a very petty status of a mere part "C" State (third class status) reducing her to a mere State under the ruling of a petty officer of the rank of Chief Commissioner - what a downfall brought by the then Political leaders of Manipur, very much unlike that of the neighbouring State of Nagaland whose leaders lifted their land from the mere status of a district to a full-fledged State (first class status) by dint of their far sighted and very bold policies adopted.

For the stunning anti-climatic downfall in the status of the State which had been once indomitably existing as an independent State and age-old kingdom the sulking of the people still continues, and according to many legal experts the merger agreement so carried out under "duress" is highly unconstitutional and illegal 'ab initio'- which is very much "impugnable or refutable" from the point of existing laws, particularly of the International ones.

In this regard, it may be of quite an interesting piece for the readers to find, an extract of points of the analytical comments of Lt. CoI (retired) and an ex-Minister, Haobam Bhuban Singh of Singjamei Chingamathak given in his book written and entitled, The Merger of Manipur.

He says, in page 133, that even a big State like Hyderabad could not withstand the Indian Military Action of September 1949, how could a tiny State, Manipur face the violent music that was to be played by India against it in case she had made efforts for going against her merger with the former, and to remain as an independent State of her own. He says further that there is no Native State either in India or in Pakistan which declared independent and remained of her own.

He however very boldly criticised the Government of India for being not 'tactful and patient enough', while handling the merger issue of Manipur as in page 138. Also he denounced the treacherous act of India carried out at Shillong by which all the insurgents of Manipur are made still angry - page 139. He also highly praises Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh for his sincere spirit of being a thorough nationalist and not an arrogant autocrat though he could have been so as he could have exercised very wide autocratic powers immediately after the withdrawal of the British paramount powers from the State - page 140.

Now to continue the writing as its last part, it may be said that - whatever happened has happened, nothing could be done now to reel back to the days gone-bye and get back the things that had occurred and had been destroyed in an eternally lost nature, due to the great "blunders and narrow sights of the leaders", just as nothing can be done to retrieve the milk in bulk that has been splashed on the ground or the glass that has been smashed and broken into pieces except to remain calmly and thoughtfully in 'solace' by believing to the divine saying that all things of events in the world do happen or ordained to happen due to God, Almighty's doings for the ultimate good and welfare of men and also due to their destined fates ;

Such was a quick answer given by witty Birbal to Emperor, Akbar when he got a serious cut-injury in one of his fingers and profusedly bleeding to the great alarm of all the royal companions except Birbal during a hunting expedition, and because of that cut suffered with a mark left on the emperor's finger he was saved later on from being sacrificed before deity goddess by human sacrificers (chandalas) who caught him and carried him away overpowered while he happened to be in an all alone and helpless situation as he was separated from his entire party suddenly due to loss of way in the mist of the thick jungle during a subsequent outing for hunting;

Had it not been for the cut mark bored on the finger of Akbar he would not have been saved from the human sacrifice that was to be done by the priest of the deity's temple who on seeing his cut mark suddenly refused the sacrifice and released him immediately ;

The event so happened was really a mysterious and absolutely unbelievable one to the great emperor but it did make him good to realise of the naked truth spoken earlier by his most-trusted and witty companion Minister, Birbal who was well rewarded by the emperor instead of sulking further on him for his "couldn't care attitude" shown earlier at the time of occurrence of the serious injury to the emperor.

So also had it not been due to the precious loss of life of Thangjam Manorama Devi occurred in the year 2004 on 11 July for which, of course, the majority of the people of Manipur deeply share the profound grief of her parents, family members and close friends, the people of Manipur would not have, perhaps, got back still their most sacred place, Kangla.

Whatever may be the drawbacks and faults that may be there in the merger of Manipur with the Dominion of India the best part that lies in its "Merger Agreement" signed most trustfully on 21st September 1949 by both the sides is the "safe-guard" that may be said to have been laid down in respect of its jurisdiction i.e. the territory of Manipur comprising of both the hills and the valley which had been "ceded-enbloc" by Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh to the Dominion of India as mentioned at the outset as the first and foremost of the instrument of the Merger Agreement under Article I;

The Article I, which is a term of trustful agreement that may not be violated or set aside now by the present Government of India merely for fulfilling their partisan politics of appeasing only a few highly communal sections of people who are very adamantly insisting and threatening time and again for causing an ethnic-disintegration and also disintegration of the "age-old" territory of the hoary land of Manipur, the existence of which, even though say, it becomes the so called south-Nagaland, cannot be "dreamt of at all" without the "peaceful co-existence" of both the peoples of the hills and the plain as one as had been so from time immemorial - "Chingda taba mahaige, tamda taba mahaige, wakon tanoi noi..." "be it the settlers of the hills, be it the settlers of the valley, both are one from the same primeval stock" - this is how the Manipuri Lai Haraoba (merriment of gods, the progenitors of all the indigenous people) folk song sings in the very ancient and primeval tune indicating of the ever inseparable one-ness relationship existing in between the two groups of people.

Actually, it was only from the time of the British rule that the seeds of feelings of division in between the two indigenous blood-related groups of people were "sown" for carrying out a "divide and rule" policy for strengthening their position taking the full advantage of the inferior treatment done by the plains' people, the Meiteis, to the people of the Hills as if they were of some alien and untouchable peoples by virtue of the former's becoming orthodox Hindus at the much later stage, and also by their having a much better and advanced living conditions - it is the very fruit of the seeds of division so sown by the British for achieving their partisan goal that is being "reaped" now by both the sects of people of the hills and the plain of Manipur, in particular the Meiteis, by which is made all of them living presently under a very very uncertain and uneasy atmosphere with quite a unpeaceful and ever fearful "psyche".

In case the present Government of India happens to violate or discard the agreement so trustfully signed earlier unduly subverting it under their unchallengeable powers provided in Article 3(a) of the Constitution, which are powers actually meant to be exercised very sparingly and rarely as very special cases related to solving only the problems of highly administrative inconveniences that happen to be faced by two or more states, and not "sweetly" otherwise simply for serving "communal or religious" purposes destroying the very spirit of "Secularism" and "non-Communalism", on the basis of which the great country had been founded and built up and is smoothly carrying on till date - the people who may be aggrieved then, of course, should have every right to fight it out taking the due course of law".

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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