TODAY -

Story of Manipur from Independence to Merger
The dream remains a dream
- Part 2 -

Shantikumar Moirangthem *



True, every great dream begins with a dreamer. And there were dreamers galore on the eve of the merger with Manipur - the students who found themselves entrapped in a timeless contradiction between what they learned and what they experienced in the feudal Manipur; the civil society who were burdened by the obscurantism of the pseudo-monarchy; and the peasantry whose marginal agrarian economy had been exploited by the colonial greed.

Like any other citizen who had borne the burden of autocracy and gone through the horror of a world war, the people of Manipur dreamed of a state with freedom and democracy. They admired their neighbourly freedom fighters of India so emotionally that each one of them had become an icon in Manipur. It is no wonder that when the bell was tolled for freedom in India, there was a parallel movement in Manipur - for freedom from the autocracy of the king and a cry for peoples' government.

Leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan and Dr Ram Mohohar Lohia were in the loop when political agitations for a representative government were in progress in Manipur. In 1955, Dr Ram Monohar Lohia came to Imphal and was arrested on 11-4-1955 while delivering speech at Tikendrajit Park for violating prohibition under Sec.144 CRPC.

The students of Manipur were deeply influenced by the role taken by their counterparts in India's freedom movement. In 1946, on the eve of independence, Manipur had a total number of 178 schools including 4 high schools of Johnstone School, C.C. School, Tombisana School and Tamphasana School. The total number of school going students in the state were 20,000 including 2322 High School students.

Thus, there were a sizeable number of students sufficient to create an impact if involved in Manipur politics. Involve - they did actively, during the crucial period up to 1949 and went beyond. The entire community of students were covered under the single banner of All Manipur Students' Federation.

A conference was organised on 30th October,1946 at CC High School which highlighted the demands of the Federation: Establishment of responsible government in Manipur; Combined administration of the hill and plain; Human rights and other student related developments. The projected objective of the Federation was to work for the "Unity of students, community of Meiteis, Muslims and … the hills" which are still true and relevant.

The students gathered at the residence of Oja Thokchom Modhu Singh for the next annual meeting of the Federation where a lot of cultural and literary activities in addition to discussion on the political issues were organised. Some of the leading participants were Saarvasri H. Ranbir, Chandrakumar Sharma, Bhagabat, L.Achou, Manihar, N. Tombi, R.K. Maipaksana, Naorem Birendra Kumar, N. Jugindro, L. Joychandra and among the ladies - M.K. Binodini, Pramodini and Tamubi were prominent. After some time, the Congress and Socialists have separated from the organisation and the Federation was left to the Communists.

The wartime generation of the state was the pioneer of modern Manipur. They were dedicated, brilliant and above all unquestionably patriotic. Their ideas and concepts moulded the matrix of our future society. Their virtues created our assets; and the mistakes our liabilities. They were born and brought up in the colonial period, initiated in western education and inspired by the post war idealism: they grew up with a dream to reform their ignorant society with a vengeance.

The exposure to various academic circles outside the state in places like Calcutta, Dhaka, Syllet, Shillong and Gauhati gave them opportunity to imbibe and assimilate new ideas. It is rare in one's lifetime to encounter and pass-through such a multiplicity of growth stages of a particular society or state as they did in Manipur. Here, the pioneers not only passed through but also joined the struggle at every phase of the state's metamorphosis.

My father, late Shri Moirangthem Gojendra, who belonged to this generation, was born during the height of the Colonial rule in Manipur - 1922 to be exact. He joined a primary school wearing a traditional Dhoti and learned Bengali lessons by rote. His political status was that of a "Native" living in a "Regency State".

While studying B.A. in D.M College - after independence on 15th August, 1947 - he became a free citizen of a sovereign state. Then in October 15, 1949 after merger, he became an Indian citizen. He returned back from Calcutta University in 1952 as an M.A.LL.B dressed like a Bengali Babu in pants and shirts with a pair of gleaming oxford shoes and a beaming pride that his generation had accomplished what they wanted to be - a proud citizen of a democratic country.

But it was not to be - before he died in 1992 he saw the frustration and disillusionment of the teeming younger generation in Manipur who had lost their pride and had a crisis of identity. I overheard him murmuring to Dr Noren who was attending him on bed - "Doctor, as you are passed out from Calcutta –you might have seen the beauty of Calcutta and the pride of the Bengalis."

He was being nostalgic of the Bengali intellectual society of the 50s in Calcutta which was nationalistic to the core and idealistic in their approach to the society - a dream of the pre-merger Manipuri youth which they thought could replicate in Manipur.

After the coronation of Churachand Maharajah in 1907, the administration was divided into Hills and Plain. Mark it –the divide had started. Maharajah ruled the plain with the help of his Durbar and the Hills were the jurisdiction of the President of Manipur State Durbar (usually an ICS officer); but the real power was with the British dominion as "each and every rule or law had to be approved by the Governor of Assam."

Manipur again regained her independence in 1947 as the British dominion lapsed. But it was an independence with a difference. Manipur had already signed the Standstill Agreement and the Instrument of Accession on 11 August 1947, just four days before the independence, whereby Manipur retained internal sovereignty but agreed to hand over, the subjects of common concern including Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communication, to the new state of India.

Completely oblivious to the scheme of things being planned in Delhi, a democratic constitution for Manipur had already been drafted on the model of the British constitution. The drafting committee, with M.K. Priyobrata and J.F. Pearson, the PMSD in the lead, was assigned to finalise the constitution before the Independence Day. However, the date line could not be met and hence, an Interim Council was set up to function on the eve of the Independence Day from 14th August, 1947.

It lasted up to 7th October, 1948. As Controversy arose over the nomination of constituent members of Interim Council, the Congress Party of Manipur was split into two rival camps of Tompok Congress and Tomal Congress.

Tompok Congress started an agitation on 19 August 1947, under the leadership of Elangbam Tompok and R.K Maipaksana, with several demands: the dissolution of the Interim Government and its reconstitution based on election; finalisation of the constitution drafting process; suspension of the "pass system" which restricted the entry of outsiders into Manipur and last but not the least - "the Indian flag and the wearing of the Gandhi cap should be allowed in the temple of the palace, which had been disallowed even after the Manipur State had joined the Indian union."

To be continued...


* Shantikumar Moirangthem wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a retd IPS
This article was first published on 11 Oct 2018 in the Souvenir, 94th Birth Anniversary of RK Maipaksana
This article was posted on 08 November, 2018 .


* 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
  • Sangai Day 5: Fashion parade :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Thangal Dance :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Masterclasses add value to 53rd IFFI at Goa
  • 7th Charuangc 2022 : Rongmei of Delhi-NCR
  • Miss India from Manipur
  • Startup Innovation Conclave 1.0
  • National Constitution Day at Lilong
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Sangai Day 4: 3 Types Of Drums :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Chothe Dance :: Gallery
  • Involuntary Displacement in Manipur
  • Forgotten feature Film comes alive at IFFI
  • Will we protect medicines that protect us
  • God gives us our daily bread...
  • NPF consultative meeting at Zunheboto
  • Lapses in education laid bare by student
  • Adding a new flavour to War on Drugs
  • Sangai Day 3: Polo International :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Tangkhul Dance :: Gallery
  • 1st L. Keivom Memorial Day
  • Eina Khankhiba Natte : Movie Review
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Eight Meet of Astronomers concluded at MU
  • 'Manipuri films projecting Manipuri culture'
  • Condemn govts of Assam & Meghalaya
  • Corruption-free Manipur resolve under scrutiny
  • Asia at the World Cup
  • Sangai Day 2: Khutpak Chatkoi #1 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Tarao Dance :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Screening of Manipuri films at IFFI
  • Nagaland Govt has no economic policy: NPF
  • Organic seed production- Issue & strategy #2
  • Reinvent Northeast - Dimapur launched
  • Uneasy calm in northeast as border rows rage
  • FIFAWC and Sangai Festival : Splendid recipe
  • Ningol Chakkouba @ Pune :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Ningol Chakouba organized at Pune
  • Free mega health camp at Nagamapal
  • Outlaw glyphosate and its derivatives
  • Creators Meet of Tripura at Agartala
  • No respite from drug and tobacco threats
  • Manipur: Fountainhead of drugs ?
  • Sangai Day 1: Laihui Folk Music #1 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 1: Opening ceremony :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Copa Manipur at Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • South Asia's film market features Manipur
  • ST Demand: Decided by merits; not by poll
  • Ecotoxicology- needed to save living beings
  • 'Look East policy into Act East Policy'
  • Tourism promotional fest litmus test for state
  • Sangai & Pony, the twin face of Manipur
  • Tarpon Chaklen Katpa #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival 2022 :: Activities List
  • The Dream Kangleipak :: Book Review
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • 53rd IFFI featuring Manipuri Cinema kicks off
  • World Toilet Day 2022
  • Pulicat Lagoon, Flamingos' haven
  • Amid substance abuse, thrust on open gym
  • FIFA World Cup 2022
  • 1st CM's Sagol Kangjei C'ship :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Sangai Fest as a way to Look East Policy
  • 1st Chief Minister's Sagol Kangjei C'ship
  • Organic seed production- Issue & strategy #1
  • For PM Modi, G20 has come at the right time
  • Rock band Arogya releases latest single
  • Community Ningol Chakouba #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Out of the heart comes the issues of life
  • NE Startup Showcase @ Manipur Tech Hub
  • Immortal Gallows :: Poem
  • Workshop on Amrita Meditation at RGU ArP
  • Skin Pigmentation in Winter
  • Influx issue headache for all indigenes
  • Wanted: Visionary leaders :: Follies of past
  • The changing idioms of Manipuri theatre
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • DFC Shillong launched with Model workshop
  • Antimicrobial resistance... to reverse progress
  • 2nd North East Olympic Games closes
  • Unending quota system & National excellence
  • Solar energy can help India achieve net-zero
  • Sangai Festival as launch pad for tourism
  • All eyes on Qatar
  • Manipur Journalist Awards #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Delegates for IFFI, Goa
  • Intellectual Class- First Line of Defense
  • Who are ST in true spirit of Constitution
  • Journalism is a public good ...
  • Vaccine transported through Drones in ArP
  • Mass tree felling depreciates existence...
  • ST demand : Let Delhi have the say
  • 5th Kwatha Festival #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • This Eleventh Edition of Sangai Festival
  • The garden of Kew #2
  • NE International Fashion Week 2022
  • Housing system for sow & piglets
  • Doctors grieving relentlessly, Govt silent
  • Law catching up after 21 years
  • Leima Jagoi @ Nongshaba #1 :: Gallery
  • Manipur Technology innovation Hub
  • North East BJP Karyakartas Sammelan
  • Supreme Court call for revisit of reservation
  • Rural Immersion Camp at West Kameng
  • World Diabetes Day 2022
  • Undeserving PDS rice beneficiaries
  • Leaving the doors wide open
  • On author, research & publication #3
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • MSAD : newly elected executives for 2022-23
  • 'Trust deficit' in Naga talks
  • Professor Bimola : A Life Fully Lived
  • Love's Twist :: Poem
  • Rani Gaidinliu Training Camp concluded
  • Job for all promise as unemployed rises
  • Presenting Manipur to the world
  • Manipur Fashion Extravaganza #3 :: Gallery
  • Seminar on Role of Women in Sports : Report
  • The great Asian Highway : Tokyo to Istanbul
  • Seminar : Reconstruction of Education
  • 4th National Lok Adalat for the year, 2022
  • Rishi Sunak .. is a pucca English Burra sahib
  • Ningol Chakkouba : Gift presents :: Gallery
  • Conference on Metallomics @ Manipur Univ
  • An awakening sprout in darkness :: Poem
  • Narration from a man who chase mountains
  • Jobs @ JCRE skill solutions, Thangmeiband
  • Masterclass on Social Photography kicks off
  • Training on mushroom cultivation
  • Probe into PMGSY project blot on graft-free
  • Opinion poll & quest for ST status
  • MANITEX @ Nilakuthi #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Consultation: Indigenous Rights in Manipur
  • Aphababu Oiragadi, Shokloidaba Oiragadi
  • Office Assistant @Horizon Studio, Gurgaon
  • Howrah Bridge- A bridge without nuts & bolts!
  • Pollution affects beauty
  • EV boost plan after failure of diesel-auto
  • Raining drugs and drug peddlers
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar for 2023
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Golden Jubilee Manipuri Cinema at IFFI Goa
  • Legal Services Day Ceremony
  • Art of stopping bandhs & blockades
  • Seminar on Role of Women in Sports
  • No time for debate, but action
  • Taking ST campaign to Ministers' doors
  • Camping @Shirui Lily Fest #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Aku Zeliang : Young Talent of the Year Award
  • 'Soul search' a must for media
  • Safe and sustainable tourism
  • Preserving environment as a Career Choice
  • Manipur in UN's drug cartel map...
  • Manipur on the tourism map ?
  • Hiyang Tannaba @ Loktak #3 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Application: AgriEntrepreneur across Manipur
  • Sangai Festival 2022 :: Program & Venues
  • Ningol Chakouba at Bengaluru
  • Nightingale Award: 3 nurses from Manipur
  • Uneasy over ambiguous inter-district boundary
  • Prescription from Dr Sapam Ranjan
  • Linthoi Chanambam- Judo Player :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Will global family planning meet galvanise govt
  • Prohibition law vis-a-vis Manipur
  • Soil: Earth's skin is the environment cleaner
  • The future of students
  • Low conviction diluting object of POCSO
  • Shortage of teachers dating back to 2012
  • Indo-Naga Talks (2012-) :: News Timeline
  • Hari-Uthang Kang Chingba :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • The garden of Kew
  • Objectionable content have to be answered
  • Rising Sun Water Festival at Umiam Lake
  • Busting fake news a big challenge
  • Ningol on way to her mapam #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • 3rd Rongmei Freshers' meet in Delhi
  • Consultation on Climate Change in Manipur
  • Soil conservation measures for hill agriculture
  • Pulicat, trading centre since 1st century
  • Quixotically blaming media for blockade call
  • Mature handling of ST campaign
  • Kut Festival @ Churachandpur : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • 'Lack of Sports Infrastructure in Pherzawl'
  • Delegates wanted for participation at IFFI
  • Legal Awareness through Mobile Van
  • President Murmu's visit to Nagaland ...
  • Winter fruits for glowing skin
  • Protest imminent as Govt eyes Loktak drive
  • Pushes for an 'honourable solution'
  • Kut has become a global craze now
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural Program #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Requital :: Poem
  • Being Vegan- a big step to protect the Earth
  • Save Meetei and other indigenous people
  • Agniveer Recruitment Rally
  • Social media here to stay
  • Has AFSPA helped in bettering situation ?
  • Kangpat Khullen Primary School :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Sunak is very close to me
  • 52nd Raising Day of Naga Regiment
  • Aguli Lantern Festival at Agartala
  • Career in Ayurveda
  • Empowerment of Citizens through Legal
  • Repetitive assurances to improve irrigation
  • In the land of Nupi Lans and Meira Paibis
  • On author, research and publication #2
  • COVID-19 Status 31 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Ukhrul Hr Sec School & invaluable experience
  • RIST Popular Talk -56 : Stochastic Modelling
  • Computer Teacher @ Ascend Institute
  • Significance of Bangladesh PM's Japan visit
  • Bodies bare fangs over ST issue
  • Stories of achievements
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • November Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • Lukanand Ksh : 1st runner up @Mister Intl
  • Thanpam K gets 67 lakh/ annum placement
  • NTC, GB body not invited to Prez's reception
  • Unity Music Fest 2022 at Luwangsangbam
  • NE specific policies must on Act East Policy
  • War on Drugs campaign : Nail the kingpins
  • Chaga Ngee : Festival of the Liangmai
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Clean India Campaign Drive at MU
  • A right to realize Frontier Nagaland
  • The game of my heart
  • Is BJP South march running into roadblocks
  • Lamyanba Irawat Birth Anniv #4 : Gallery
  • Ningol on way to her mapam #1 :: Gallery
  • Okram Kumar : Archaeological researcher
  • Mera Houchongba @ Kangla #2 :: Gallery
  • Lamyanba Irawat Birth Anniv #3 : Gallery
  • Olympians & National awardees of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2022 #4: Gallery
  • Rules of English Pronunciation : Download
  • Sub-Syllables in English : Book Download