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MOVEMENT FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT IN MANIPUR

MOVEMENT  FOR  RESPONSIBLE  GOVERNMENT   IN  MANIPUR

The growth of political consciousness in Manipur started late. The people led by Nikhil Manipur Mahashabha demanded a responsible government in 1939 defying prohibitory laws with full vigour. In 1945, Irabot demanded a responsible form of government. He regenerated political organization like Praja Samma, Praja Sangha, Mahilla Sammalan, etc. The request for the introducing reforms in Manipur had been made in 1938.

The popular vigour of this movement was heightened by "Women war" or "Nupi Lal" which began from 12th December 1939.It brought the question of introducing reforms in Manipur. Some businessmen, in order to make a good profit by raising price, began to board rice to monopolize the trade. The effect was felt very soon. So, women rose against it. The women's war was gradually taken over by the Maharaja and it used the Women's War as the tool for fermenting agitation on Congress line. The situation was soon completely out of control and State police could not prevent a large meeting held in the police Bazar on 14th January 1940. The Maharaja, therefor took up the issue with Governor for Assam for establishment of Legislative Assembly, Chief Court and other reforms. Churachand Maharaja abdicated the Throne of Manipur in favor of his son Budhachandra in the month of September 1941. On May 10 1942, the Second World War broke out and it devastated Manipur completely but the war gave the golden opportunity to the people to contact people of other Indian states. Thus a current of Indian Political movements started flowing into Manipur. After the end of the War, many organizations renewed demands for a responsible Government. In October 1946, Manipur State Congress came into existence. In January 1947, Maharaja Budhachandra had announced his desire to introduce a fully democratic and constitutional form of government in Manipur. A new Constitution making committee was formed to draft a new Constitution of manipur. The meeting of the New Constitution making Committee passed the draft Constitution on 8th may 1947 and submitted to the Maharaja on 26th May 1947.

The British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act in 1947 on the 4th July. This act came into force from 15th August 1947 and this provides termination of Parliamentary of the crown over Indian States. This Act restored Statehood in Manipur. A standstill agreement was signed between Manipur and Dominant Government. An interim government was forwarded on 14th August 1947 under the Chief Ministership of N.K. Priyobarta. All politically conscious people of Manipur wanted early introduction of the new Constitution. But the Maharaja had not given his assent to the Manipur constitution. The congress party started Satyagraha on 6th November 1947. Actually it was a civil disobedient movement and it made Manipur Unstable.

One of the most important and urgent tasks, the interim Government in Delhi, after India's Independence, wished to accomplish was that of merging the Princely States, which remains Independent. For accomplishing this task for Manipur, there was signing of the Instrument of Accession between the Maharaja and dominant government of India on 11th August 1947.

By the Second week of September 1949, only Manipur was left out. It may be mention that Manipur was the last state to be conquered by the British Government and also the last state to be merged into India.

Maharaja Budhachandra wanted Manipur as an autonomous unit of India enjoying responsible government with his highness as constitutional head. The Maharaja went to Shillong to meet the Governor to discuss administrative problems of Manipur. Instead of Discussing Administrative problem of Manipur, the Maharaja had to sign the Merger agreement on 21st September 1949. An atmosphere of secrecy seemed to surround the negotiation of the Merger agreement in Shillong. So, whether the merger was voluntary or not have been questioned seriously. The Merger Agreement came into force from 15th October 1949 and with it, Manipur ceased to be a princely state. Manipur was placed on part "C".


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