TODAY -

Guru Nanak in Manipur

Dr. Dwijendra Narayan Goswami *



Manipur is a small State of Indian Union comprising an area of 22356 sq km with a population of 10,72,735 as per 1971 census and bounded on the north by Nagaland, on the east by Burma, on the South by Mizoram and on the west by the Cachar district of Assam.

Being a multi-religious State, Hindus, Muslims, Christians live in the State with Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. Mr Brown, who was the British political agent while Manipur was an independent kingdom, narrated that several other foreigners reside in the valley as Hindustanis and Sikhs.

Though he did not mention the number of Sikhs living there then, but it is interesting to note that even in the later part of 18th century the Sikhs began to live in the Manipur valley lying in the Eastern border of India.

In Manipur Hindus belong to major religious group which constitutes about 59% of the people living in the State. The Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists together account for only 0.27 per cent.

Following is the data as per census of 1961 and 1971.

  1961 1971

Hindus.
Sikhs

481112
523

632597
1028



The above figure shows that only 1028 persons belonging to the Sikh religion were living in the Manipur valley in 1971.

But it is narrated in the Sikh Chronicles like Janam Sakhi that while Guru Nanak Dev was travelling in the North East part of India, he entered Manipur, met two disciples there, established a Sangat and went to Cachar through Imphal. It is a news to me as I have never heard before that the Manipuris before embracing Vainavism embraced Sikhism directly from Guru Nanak.

According to the account narrated in Himalayan region, Guru along with his disciple Mardana, a Muslim youngman came down. From Prayag they came to Varanashi and to Patna. From Patna they proceeded through Terrai tract and reached Cochbehar.

From Cochbehar they came to Kamrup. The old Janam Sakhi describes how Guru defeated Shah Noor, the queen of the tantrik cult. The Puratam Janam sakhi also narrates that he travelled extensively in Assam and delivered the message of love and song dohas (prayer songs) which pleased many people. He met Sankaradeva at Dhubri, from Dhubri, Nanak reached Guahati and entered the kingdom of Manipur.

"Here he and Mardana were received with strange apathy. The people showed them scant attention. One Jhanda, the carpenter, a man of devout disposition, saw what some other had failed to see. He took the Guru home and found unmeasured joy in his company. He shared happy tidings with Indersen, a follow seeker, who was the nephew of a local chief. Both became disciples. Jhanda was entrusted with the responsibilities of looking after the Sikh Sangat in this part of the Country after the Guru's departure. The Guru now returned taking a South-western route through Imphal, Silchar, Sylhyet and Deccan. Reaching the Bay of Bengal, he made a coastal voyage and arrived at Puri, the city of the temple of Jagannath".

Here Mr. Singh describes the analogy of his conclusion about Guru's visit to Manipur in a foot note in which he wrote. "According to Puratan, Guru Nanak was now in the country of Bisiar. The geographical location of Bisiar has been variously identified. Macauliffe (The Sikh Religion Vol I, page 93) recognises Bisiar in the Simla Hills. Giani Gyan Singh (Twarikh Guru Khalsa, p. 184) takes it to be the country around Manipur. In the sequences of the Guru's travel, this appears more reasonable. Bhai Vir Singh (Guru Nanak Chamatkar, part I, Page 262) accepts this view.

To justify his analogy he also cites the picture of Deccan. In another foot note he writes "outside Decca there were until recently the ruins of a Sikh Monastry and a well which marked the spot visited by Guru Nanak. In the city, there was a shrine called Charan Paduka, literally, wooden sandals from holy feet. Shrines similarly known and preserving sandals said to be of the Guru were also existing in other places such as Srinagar, Kutdwar and Junagah."

Now let us try to find out the time of his entering Manipur and establishing a Sikh Sangat there. It is recorded that Guru Nanak met Sri Chaitanya Deva at Puri and sang Dohas (Bhajans) and dance with him. It is narrated in the Chaitanya Bhagabat of Iswar dasa, an onya devotee of Srichaitany that:
"Sri Nibas O Biswambhar kirtana madheya beteare..
Jagai Madhi ekatra karanti a nritya"
"Nagar Purusotham and dasa Jangali nandini tapasa
Nanak Sahitegahen Gropal Guru sanga tena
sangeta matta Balaram bbihar Nilgiri dham.
"
Dr Biman Behari Majumder also accepted this episode on the basis of the above noted evidence that Guru Nanak met Chaitanya Prabhu at Puri and sang and danced with him.

Here 'saranga' means Mardana who used to play a sharengi with the songs of the Guru and Matta Balaram means Prabhu Nityananda who is said to be the incarnation of Balaram of Dwarpar age. Chaitanya Deva came to Puri in 1431 saka in the month of Falgoon or first week of Caitra. If he had gone there after 8th Caitra then the saka would be Changed to 1432.

Another scholar Ganda Singh wrote that 'according to Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak visited puri in the Bikrami year 1566 which falls within April 1509 AD to March 1510 AD'. 1431 sakyear corresponds to 1509 AD. 15th or 16th March is the corresponding date of 1st Caitra. So there were possibilities of meeting of those two great religious personalities at Puri.

Now if Guru Nanak had reached Puri in the month of March 1510 AD, he might have been travelling through Assam, Manipur and Bengal in the year 1509-1510 AD. We find in the history of Manipur that after the death of Kyamba in 1508 AD, his son Koiremba ascended the throne in 1508 AD at the age of 20 and ruled upto 1512 AD when he died at the age of 24 only.

After the death of Kyamba in the early years of 16th century the name of Koirengba is mentioned at the top of the list of kings of Manipur by IM Ray also. So it may be preserved that if Nanak Dev had entered Manipur at all in the year 1509-1510 AD, the ruling King of Manipur was Koiremba.

During the rule of Kyamba the worship of Vishnu began in Manipur again. A little image of Lord Vishnu was presented by th King of Pong when he concluded a treaty with the king of Manipur in 1470 AD. Kyamba built a brick temple at Bishnupur and installed the image there.

In this way the worship of Lord Vishnu began in Manipur again. But "in spite of regular worship of Vishnu Kyamba was not initiated to Vaisnavism by a preceptor."

The presence of Aribam Brahmins who worshipped Vishnu during Kyamba proves that 'Varna bebhag' or caste discrimination of the Brahmonical order of Indian caste system was there in Manipur at that time and Vaisnavism which discarded 'Barna bebhag' had not yet entered in the Manipur society. That was why the poeple of that particular area of Manipur washed the spot where Guru Nanak and Mardana sat considering them to be low caste human beings.

Again if we see the picture of the different language speakers of Manipur as shown in the census of 1971 AD we shall get the following.
Mother tongue Male Female Total
1. Manipuri
2. Bengali
3. Hindi
4. Punjabi

339013
7944
9081
1149

339289
7081
2613
426

678402
15025
11631
1575



If at all a Sikh Sangat was established in the year 1509-1510 AD and if the local people embraced Sikhism from that time, the number of believers and speakers of Punjabi language can not be so meagre after a long period of 450 years or more, yet I invite the attention of Manipuri scholars to throw light on this episode as claimed in the Janam Sakhi regarding the establishment of Sikh Sangat at Manipur in 1509-10 AD for truth will be revealed only after proper and in-depth research.




* Dr. Dwijendra Narayan Goswami wrote this article for The Sangai Express . This article was webcasted on July 10, 2008.

* 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
  • Gaan-Ngai @Iboyaima Shanglen #3:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Manipur Assembly Election (2007-2022) #1
  • World Meetei Council website launched
  • Homecoming of missing Arunachal youth
  • Winter vegetable that will give you glow
  • State hapless in preventing Omicron
  • The wait for the list continues
  • Republic Day @Kangla #1 :: Gallery
  • No matter what :: Poem
  • Fear of the virus
  • The Peace Forest Initiative
  • The vehicle for NEP 2020
  • Contribution of Leimayol Arts Centre
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Lotus plant: A multipurpose plant species
  • Primary School renovated at Joupi
  • Republic Day recollections
  • Huge skills gap making new jobs go abegging
  • National Voters' Day
  • Lining up for BJP ahead of polls
  • Lainingthou Sanamahi Complex #2:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • BAMCHAS biennial conference 2022
  • COVID Vaccine Booster: To give or not
  • Before I sleep... III
  • Indian Army as a career option
  • 20-yr MoU to set up Mini-Grid in Nagaland
  • Season of promises!
  • Election curbs; relief for commoners
  • First manifesto, then candidates list
  • Imoinu @Yumnam Leikai :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Our Ailing Planet: My locality as a facet
  • Stop Oil Palm Plantation in Manipur
  • General election in hard times :: Poem
  • Being free from freedom
  • Roaring 40 in first list of Cong
  • Significance of Gaan-Ngai festival #2
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Wake Up My People Wake up :: Poem
  • A tribute to Athokpam Indrakumar Singh
  • Stunted fingerling- Replacement of fish seed
  • Training Program at Dimapur
  • Gaan-Ngai @Kakhulong :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Classical Language Vs ST for Meetei
  • The Great Green Walls, conserving nature
  • Webinar: The Birds and Bees Talk
  • Covid Booster Campaign at Tamenglong
  • IVF Centre in Guwahati
  • Easing curbs as cases spiral
  • Third wave is on!
  • Ecotourism Complexes @ Ramrei :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • No excuse not to end acute pandemic stage
  • Palm-oil in Manipur: Bad to worse
  • For sons and daughters :: Poem
  • Effective methods for facial hair removal
  • Subdued dissent over Sunday as poll day
  • Embracing the party hoppers
  • Gaan-Ngai @Iboyaima Shanglen #2:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Cultural Activists of Manipur honoured
  • Male infertility: What are the options ?
  • Is celebrating New Year Day really worth it
  • Third wave: State on record breaking spree
  • Compulsion of power politics
  • Imoinu Thouniba @Singjamei :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • O Jonga! O Jonga :: Poem
  • Grey market for election tickets
  • Some common weeds of Manipur #2
  • Lilong Haoreibi College awarded 'B' grade
  • State used as transport route of drugs
  • Possible post poll scenario
  • Significance of Gaan-Ngai festival #1
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Lunghar path in springshed conservation
  • Lament of love :: Poem
  • Career options in Lift Technology
  • Brief tale of one year COVID vaccination
  • Bickering among allies in coalition politics
  • Low vaccination coverage
  • NH-2 : Remember Khongnem Thana
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • O Kolhen! O Kolhen :: Poem
  • Program on POCSO Act at Thoubal
  • The Killing Fields (2013-22) :: News Timeline
  • A spate of 'defections' in UP elections...
  • High performing individuals work alone
  • Onus on ECI to avert crisis situation
  • Keeping people informed is key
  • Gaan-Ngai @Iboyaima Shanglen #1:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • The church is & must remain apolitical
  • Tamenglong Battalion celebrated Army Day
  • How prosperous NE India became backward
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni @ Koubru #1:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Read all about Gaan Ngai
  • Justice, Peace and Change :: Poem
  • Mass Surya Namaskar at Tamenglong
  • Padmanabha Swamy Temple
  • Overcoming vaccine hesitancy
  • Nothing grand about 'Grand Old Party'
  • Lainingthou Sanamahi Complex #1:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Some common weeds of Manipur #1
  • How to keep your hair healthy this winter
  • Third wave: Litmus test for NE states
  • High TPR, low vaccination
  • Maharaja Gambhir Singh
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Rani Gaidinliu Open Air Lounge inaugurated
  • NAAC peer team visit for assessment
  • National Youth Day
  • Conservation Agriculture: intensified farming
  • Negligence galore as Covid cases rise
  • Back to the spike in three figures
  • How AFSPA undermines 'Act East' Policy
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • P Achevei : Mega Mister North East 2021
  • Stop Violence related to Election
  • Civil / Project Engineer @ R-Square
  • Business Development @ R-Square
  • Customer Representative @ Property Geo
  • No matter what :: Poem
  • Stealthy extension of AFSPA
  • Confiscating 'suspected heroin'
  • 188 Death Anniv: Maharaj Gambhir:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) 20th Call
  • Kalum Kai (House of worship) #2
  • Account Assistant @ Amber & Arthur, Imphal
  • Business Dev @ Amber & Arthur, Imphal
  • The 5G Race :: Samarjit Kambam
  • Manipur elections not for the faint-hearted
  • Guns & violence in run up to polls
  • Climate Change in Ukhrul in last 50 years
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Are we able to break chain of transmission
  • 100 new Sainik School- opportunities for girl
  • Joyjeet Waikhom / Ksh Maradona: Mr India
  • Money flying in or out ?
  • Will partial lockdown help curb transmission
  • Voting during Covid pandemic
  • Food items @ Singjamei, Pishum :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Curfew : Measures to combat COVID
  • IMFP - Indian Made Foreign People
  • Happy 2022 to you !
  • Manipur Press Foundation Day :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Politician must practice, preach on COVID
  • Makeup routine during pandemic
  • Third wave threat no more a mirage
  • Queuing up for BJP
  • Thangal Lambi & Ima Keithel :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Before I sleep... II
  • Election Brawl :: Poem
  • Impact of Covid on Employer Branding
  • Chasing peace in Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Kalum Kai (House of worship) #1
  • The art of New Year's resolution
  • Cong struggling to keep its house in order
  • Manipur's place in the eyes of Delhi
  • Makru bridge, Oinamlong Waterfall : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Depression : A New Time Bomb
  • School & Student Championship Quiz
  • Concern over child labour
  • ECI on sluggish vaccination rate in state
  • Vaccination rate in hill districts
  • Fusion of contemporary dance & theatre
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 Crackdown on violators
  • AMAND, Pune released 2022 calendar
  • Rising poverty in Manipur
  • Sunset, the most memorable!
  • Election time season of plentiful promises
  • Interesting role of NPP, NPF
  • Pineapple @ Ngariyan Hills #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • kLlQtre :: Seireng
  • National Day for our feathered friend
  • Value of purposeful life
  • Homemade face packs for winter beauty
  • Dreadful start to New Year as cases spike
  • Manipur steps into Year 2022
  • Tarpon Katpa @ Loktak #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • OneHealth: towards pandemic preparedness?
  • Before I sleep...
  • Meitei ST demand & the opposition
  • Bye Bye 2021 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2021 #6: Gallery
  • Manipur : National Futsal C'ship 2021
  • 'Unlocking Locks Under Lockdowns' released
  • Baby corn cultivation for livelihood
  • Extension of AFSPA to Nagaland
  • Hoping for a better New Year 2022
  • Appeal of AMCO to Chief Minister
  • NK Sanajaoba- Star in Dark Sky of Manipur
  • Danube Kangjam : Miss North East 2021
  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958
  • January Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • Carol on Christmas :: Poem
  • Formation of 13 Farmer Producer Orgns
  • Indian Army Inquiry Team visits site in Oting
  • Review home isolation rule or punish violator
  • Lining up for saffron party
  • Red Ribbon Manipur Idol, 2021 #2: Gallery
  • Job-Fair 2021 @ Imphal : Gallery
  • Christmas Eve @ Imphal : Gallery
  • Christmas Eve @ Churachandpur : Gallery
  • Red Ribbon Manipur Idol, 2021 #1: Gallery
  • Heisnam Savitri (Legendary actress) #2
  • Painting: Tribal Freedom Fighter #1: Gallery
  • New Barak Bridge @Jiri highway : Gallery
  • Heisnam Savitri (Legendary actress) #1
  • RK Meghen tribute @ Nupi Lal : Gallery
  • Protest: massacre of Naga Brethen: Gallery