TODAY -

Rare Manipur's images collected by Royal Society of Asian affairs
- Team of Manipuris efforts in collecting these images -

* Dr B. Elangbam

It has been many decades since certain adventurous and far-sighted British officers collected and documented rare images of historical figures and life in the 19th and early 20th century in the regions where they were posted.

At the initiative and encouragement of Hijam Hemjit Meitei and Kapu Naoroibam Meitei, Dr B. Elangbam, a Meitei Manipuri presently working in the United Kingdom , has been making efforts to collect examples of these rare items and information about them.

Fortunately, some of these rare images have been found carefully conserved in the Library of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs , London. The Society was founded way back in the early 20th century and was at first devoted entirely to consideration of Central Asian questions in their current political as well as geographical, commercial or scientific aspects.

Today after more then a 100 years since the foundation of the Society, Manipur can reap the benefits of the far-sighted individuals who founded the Society and of past members who thought it important to preserve evidence of the local peoples and cultures which were part of Britain's historical experience abroad.

Photographs of Yubraj Tikendrajit(L) and Senapati Kullachandra(R) and copied from the original found in British Museum
Picture Source: www.old-prints.com Limited, Scotland


The items relevant to Manipur consist of more then 60 rare photographs from Colonel John Shakespeare who was resident in Manipur between 1905-1914 and two manuscript volumes about the history of Manipur, compiled from local sources.

The Society's Library also holds a copy of the book entitled "The Meitheis" (published in 1908) which was personally presented by the then Raja of Manipur Churachand himself to Colonel Shakespear in 1910.

The effort to find more historical material about Manipur has been helped throughout not just financially but more importantly by the positive encouragement of Khumanlembam Sarojini, present director of Arts and Culture, Government of Manipur.

At the moment, the team are discussing with the Society how to collect examples of such material suitable for organising an Exhibition so that the public of Manipur can view and be inspired by rare historical items from such collections.

The team is also collecting examples of rare documents which are being carefully held in the British National Archives, the British Library, the Imperial War Museum, the Alkazi collection of photographs and in the keeping of private collectors.

Apart from witnessing history in pictures, the team has also learned much not only from those who have collected, but those who have given their personal time and effort to maintaining these items so that future generations may benefit in the years to come.

Read news about this at The Sangai Express on 01st June, 2008 here.




* This information is sent to e-pao.net by Dr B. Elangbam, presently working at Coventry, United Kingdom. This was webcasted on June 01st 2008

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