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
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #3: Gallery
  • Rock Show at X-Jam 2018 : Gallery
  • Bloody Phanek wins at Signs Festival
  • Gender Equality & Development :: Book
  • I am friend of India for life- Japanese PM
  • 2019 Commonwealth Scholarship in UK
  • 55th Nagas' Meet at New Delhi
  • Black money and the dream-merchants
  • What steps to address traffic chaos ?
  • Govt extends ban on seven Meitei groups
  • It won't be easy for Mary Kom - Nieva
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Mysore #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #1 : Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 54 :: Poem
  • Religious education- Part of our life
  • Free Heart Camp at Kakching Bazar
  • Jobs at Gyan Jyoti Foundation
  • Nothing seems change; everything remains
  • Predatory instinct of man: Targeting 'Manipur'
  • Lihaaz- Classical Music at IIT Guwahati
  • Mera Wayungba #1 : Gallery
  • L Modhuchandra : Young Scientist Award
  • Chavang Kut celebrated in Delhi
  • Temple runs for a pilgrim's journey
  • First day of All India Young Writers' Festival
  • Ningol Chakkouba in era of materials
  • Constitutional breakdown in governance
  • Attacked on Environment Defenders
  • Kut festival @ Chandel : Gallery
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #2 : Gallery
  • Karen people's pursuit for survival..
  • Glamorous Maniac & their new single
  • City bus for high end of society- Why not?
  • Youth Leadership Camp at Yairipok
  • Course in Political Science at NEHU
  • Of Indian Constitution
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #1 : Gallery
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #2 : Gallery
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #1
  • Old Man in the Winter :: Poem
  • Drawing inspiration from Dave Mustaine
  • Condemns attack on Agnes Kharshiing
  • NEUFC Fan Park celebrates
  • Achievement lists of PDA is 'Boring'
  • MPP : Down but not out
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Kwatha Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba: Biggest fest of Manipuri
  • Mizoram Under the British Rule :: Book
  • Dr. Udit Raj: a Crusader
  • Undisclosed #MeToo campaign in Manipur?
  • Drought :: Poem
  • When Money matters, sincerity is out..
  • Detaining two more at Jiribam
  • Ningol Chakkouba : Flash Presentation
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #1: Gallery
  • Chingjaroi, Atengba, Ahongbi :: eMing
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Those Sparks and Sounds
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #2
  • Understanding RSS :: Book Review
  • Cry of a Dying River - 53 :: Poem
  • A take on Freedom of Media
  • Pay of private school teachers
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #2: Gallery
  • Art Festival @ Imphal : Gallery
  • 26 month left to meet AIDS 90-90-90 target
  • Tengnoumanbi- Essential food item ..
  • Dr Abdul Kalam vision of transforming India
  • A Wintry Landscape :: Poem
  • 'Say no to Lead Paints'
  • Completing bigger task
  • Biomedical wastes: Health, ecology at stake
  • NIA files chargesheet against 5 NSCN (K)
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Kolkata : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #3: Gallery
  • Irony of idea of communal harmony
  • Blood Donation at RGU, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Career opportunities in Ecology #2
  • Down the Country Road :: Poem
  • Change of season: Prepare for winter
  • Govt forgotten promises to improve traffic
  • ATC demand: Setback to pluralistic Manipur
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • Descent & inheritance among Zeliangrong
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #3
  • Seminar : Reforming Teaching-Learning
  • Attitude :: Poem
  • Tourism: A key sector in the world
  • NH7 Weekender Meghalaya : Day 2 Report
  • Early solution in Manipur difficult : Army
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #1 : Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang: Suicide prevention
  • Where have all the flowers gone? Khurkhul
  • Engaging Failed State :: Book Review
  • eNorth East Award 2018
  • Song of a Tree :: Poem
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 Kicks Off
  • Unsolved case of Pravish Chanam
  • Imphal Jamboree : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #1
  • A beacon of hope
  • Mishing tribe of Assam
  • Ransomware that made the world cry
  • State Level Painting Competition
  • A suggestion for a strong democracy
  • Issues before Parliamentary polls
  • Kut Festival @ Kangpokpi : Gallery
  • HIV : Gap between research & impact
  • My Tryst With Manipur : A Memoir :: Review
  • Cultural heritage (Kut fete)
  • Bleeding inside Brain treated at SKY
  • Indo-Myanmar Regional Border Meet
  • In Her Arms Of Death :: Poem
  • Pravish Chanam : No Action by CBI
  • Assam Don Bosco : University of the Year
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 in Meghalaya
  • Media that criticize are not your enemy, CM
  • MU limping back to normalcy
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #1: Gallery
  • Happy Kut Wishes :: Flash Presentation
  • November Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Weavers training for Mamit , Mizoram
  • Diwali Lagao : Mapugidi Munda
  • Career opportunities in Ecology
  • Jobs at Trueblue, Taxi Service, Imphal
  • CM should not let this opportunity out..
  • Where will Oct 31, 2018 stand ?
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #2: Gallery
  • Kut Festival :: Series of Articles
  • Comedian Huirem Manglem passed away
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #2
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Overview of Buddha's teachings on Karmma
  • Technological Globalisation and Manipur
  • Initiate disciplinary action against Police
  • 13th Indo-Myanmar Border Committee Meet
  • .....but traffic is still in mess
  • Obstinately silly or immense clout
  • 'Ethnic Conflicts in Manipur: Issues'
  • Mapithel Dam Irrigation Canals #2
  • Kangla is like Ayodhya for Meiteis..Sacred
  • Health Care & Status in North East :: Book
  • Speaker List: Imphal Jamboree- Youth Fest
  • Roars of #MeToo to douse the flame of lust
  • A Welcome Change :: Poem
  • Liangmai community performed at NE fest
  • Immature press statement from NDPP: NPF
  • Our expectation from the government
  • October 31 : Rally and bandh
  • Chalwa Village in Kangpokpi #3 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs East Bengal : Gallery
  • Lullaby by This Chord :: Critical Analysis
  • Imphal Jamboree - Youth festival
  • Getting ready for Act East Policy
  • Hey! You're a role model :: Poem
  • Training on Cultivation of Mushroom
  • Yitachu is propagating misguiding facts
  • Naga Talk: Wary yet committed & hopeful
  • Fashion Show: Lamklai Kummoi: Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang : Bereavement
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-2
  • RIST Talk -37 : The Physics of Lunar Dust
  • Cry of a Dying River #51 :: Poem
  • WhatsApp cheating : Unexplained loss
  • Cat :: Poem
  • TSA cautions EMRS School
  • Non-issue turns issue
  • Cong gunning for Governor
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #1: Gallery
  • Sanjenbam Bhanumati Devi : Kavyabhusan
  • Church and climate change
  • Environmental human rights: Its evolution
  • Developing a database on bio-resource #2
  • Incomplete Love :: Poem
  • Beauty benefits of potato
  • The toddler calls
  • UNC : Acceptable to the Zeliangrongs?
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #1
  • Can we end tobacco pandemic ?
  • Experiencing Senapati town
  • City Bazaar :: Poem
  • Share market frauds : Investors at risk
  • When arrogance meets ignorance
  • Let Imphal go with town planning
  • Eepan Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Mapithel Dam Irrigation Canals #1
  • Chumthang Crafts at European Congress
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #3
  • Regional Rural Banks in NE :: Book Review
  • JRF at Department of Biotechnology, MU
  • The call of the wood :: Poem
  • Free Training for Minorities at JCRE
  • Mechanism for industrialisation
  • Noting efforts to reach out to people
  • Lamklai Kummoi Maring Fest #1: Gallery
  • Narmada Sougaijam - Natl Konkan Award
  • Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947 #2
  • Calling for Interns in Imphal
  • Bizandoo, why they put me at 3 ?
  • 6th North East Festival 2018 at Delhi
  • Senior Project Engineer @R-Square Design
  • Research Support Officer at R-Square
  • Career in Rural Management
  • The unmistakable reflections
  • Politics of Lim divide : Pitching rally & bandh
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #2 : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba : Unity - hill & valley
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-1
  • Woes of farmers & measures to mitigate
  • A Scarecrow :: Poem
  • New Executive Body of DAMMS
  • National Integration Tour flagged in
  • Benevolence behind the iron fortress
  • Parties to watch in LS polls : Cong Vs BJP
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #2: Gallery
  • Police Day Marathon #2: Gallery
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #2 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19 : Gallery
  • Pari Imom (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • MU: Teachers/students released : Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #3 : Gallery
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS