Framework Agreement : Archaeological and historical findings are proof that NSCN(IM)'s demand for inclusion of Manipur Nagas are irrelevant

Dr Th Suresh Singh *

Manipuris have to telescope its own history in-depth and present it in a logical manner. Sadly it is lagging far and far behind. Because of this, we lost Kabaw Valley and Internal Autonomy during Merger Agreement negotiation.

We are, not only bad, but very bad negotiators. Hope it is not repeated during Naga parley.

Having put forward this, let me put forward the following empirical legacy :

1. Archaeological proof : “Records of Geological Survey of India” mentions ample evidence of glaciations in Manipur. The long level ridges between 6000-8000ft. is an ancient considerably higher plateau. Because of continued glaciations, there were many U-shaped valleys.

It theorized that the plain of Manipur was formerly a lake with the water from the melting snows of the plateau and the moist winds blowing during the last phase of Ice age; the rivers floating down the plateaus poured silt into the lake, filling it up and making it a dry land.

The flat alluvial valley is an elongated oval-shaped basin, sloping gently from north to south-east and thereby giving rise to a north-south drainage pattern. Small detached groups of low hills run north and south in various parts of the valley with series of lakes (Jheels) and marshes found in the southern part of the valley.

Their divergence and subsequent convergence gave birth to the decorative view of the valley with serrated ridges of the various ranges. Hence, air travellers can have a beautiful view of the state in a clear sky. The ranges enclosing the valley is that of irregular serrated ridges. These ridges are the so-called 9 layers of hills surrounding the valley as is often referred to by our forefathers from time immemorial.

Various Archeological teams explored a series of caves, namely, Khankhui, Tharon, Sangbu, Napachik, Nongpok Keithelmanbi etc. Of these, Sangbu is the earliest, belonging to Stone Age, and may be around 40,000 yrs. BP(before Present).

These findings are comparable to those of Pre-Neolithic period found in Koornul Cave of Andhra Pradesh. Excavation at Phukon Ningthou Cave at Chandel District and appliying the relative dating method concluded that the cave might have sheltered Palaeolithic man succeeded by Neolithic people.

Forget about 33AD Pakhangba, Manipur was inhabited by men at least 40,000 yr back. These people 1st settled in the hills, then around the foot-hills and finally came to the valley when it was filled with debrises carried by the rivers. Hence, our oral history of -Ching na koina pansaba, Haona koina panngakpastands true even today.

It is the empirical evidence that hill and valley brethren belong to the same origin and no one can dispute it.

2. Historical proof : The reign of various kings/principalities from around 3000-2500BC in Manipur is written by many historians and scholars (including foreigners) based on various published and unpublished Puyas and other traditional sources. It is mentioned that during Hangkok era, 108 chiefs reigned in 4 different periods of the said era.

It is further mentioned that in another era, namely, Chak era, another 111 chiefs ruled in different parts. Reign of various kings and chieftains at different parts of the present day Manipur and non-existence of a centralised kingdom around the present day Kangla at that time is time a proven legacy.

However, with the event of Pakhangba around 33AD at historical Kangla fort, consolidation of the present day Manipur started slowly and steadily. The subjugation of hill areas started in 1195 AD with the raid on Chingshong hills by king Thawanthaba ( and not with raids on the Marings in 1302 as quoted by various authors).

It must have started even in 518-65AD during king Sameirong’s reign if recent discovery of a stone inscription in Khoibu Maring village is to be believed. Regarding the valley, the Ningthouja clan who ruled in Kangla subdued the other 6 clans.

It started around 4th century by king Naokhomba(411-21AD) when he forcibly carried away the pregnant wife of Chenglei king Thangyi Khongjemba and ended with conquest of Moirang principality by king Ningthoukhomba around mid-14th century.

In the beginning, the relationship between hill people and Meitei king were as subjects or allies. Later on, by sheer military might, the hills were brought under subjugation to Meitei kings who ruled at Kangla.

Thus it is proved beyond any doubt that, though there are main 3 sub-tribes in Manipur (Meiteis, Nagas & Kukis), Manipur had and is having 34/37 different sub-tribes belonging to the same origin and same forefathers. Hence, since time immemorial, hill and valley people are brethren of same origin.

The Great hatred and divide are originated and nurtured by the British and this is followed by future Manipuri kings to a great extent. However, what was followed by Meitei kings were division of labour seen in all kingdoms. Suppression and hatre was not only in the hills but in the valley as well.

Meitei people in the valley suffered quite a lot mainly during Churachand’s reign. Our hill brethren have to know this, our valley brethren have to propagate this. Whether one want it or not, Hill and Valley brethren have to live together peacefully with love and affection. We should not fell to the prey of petty politicians and other un-reasonable groups/ people.

3. Legal and historical configuration : Hence, NSCN (IM)’s claim of Manipuri Nagas having common history with non-Manipuri Nagas falls flat and can’t stand legal and historical configuration.

It is this inimitable history of ours that many historians, scholars, intellectuals and civil societies are not aware of, and if aware, are not able to represent and propagate to the concerned authorities at the time of need (meaning negotiation at this juncture).

With Framework Agreement Parley almost in final stage and with both groups firing last warning shots, it is time that we put our stand and demand clearly and irrevocably.

With many reliable sources pointing to the formation of a satellite territorial area council under Tartar Hoho directly funded by the centre (latest source-Scroll In, The Sangai Express, 4/10/2019), one can visualise a burning Manipur if it is formalised.

Hence, politicians, intellectuals and civil societies have again to tell Modi and Central leaders that, not only Territorial integrity, but also political and social integrity, should be preserved at all cost. W hile doing so, the above Archaeological and Historical narratives are to be incorporated.

Not only this, certain protection under Article 371 for Manipur be incorporated in the Framework Agreement. We should avoid demand in future that certain this and this... are given to Nagaland and hence it be also given to Manipur as well. We have to be ahead of time and ahead of others as well.

Only then, we can survive. Now is time Manipuris use all the mights and tricks at their disposal. It is better to be late then nothing.

* Dr Th Suresh Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Ex-Director, Health & WHO Fellow
This article was posted on Ocotber 19, 2019 .

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