The idea of Manipur

Free Thinker *

 Different communities at 64th Republic Day parade, Imphal 2013
Different communities at 64th Republic Day parade, Imphal 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

A few days back "the idea of Manipur" was once again invoked by Shri RK Ranjan, Member of Parliament in a function organized by Manipur College, the third oldest college of the State.

The 'idea' ignited my mind and it started wandering in different directions in quest of a real 'Manipur'- historical, geographical, political, cultural, traditional , racial and other manifestations. . At this crucial juncture the "idea of Manipur" must be solidly reaffirmed for the generations to come.

'Manipur' as a title (nomenclature) has been referred to our land, since the time of Pamheiba or Garibaniwaz (King) in the beginning of the 18th century . Before that the land had been indigenously known by many local names . However the Burmese remembered us as Kathe; the Chinese & Shans called us Kase; Ahoms identified us as Makeli or Moglai.

State formation and Kingship started in the beginning of the first century AD. We have a recorded history since Circa 33 AD.In the same year the coronation of the first king Pakhangba took place at Kangla and the ceremony was attended by almost all the clan/tribe chiefs of both hills and valley.

They together witnessed the game of Sagol Kangjei ( polo) just after the coronation ceremony ('Cheitharol Kumbaba' and 'Manipur Past & Present' Vol -1).

We are not very sure about the dates of the pre-historic period of Manipur; but historians opine that our civilization is about 3000 years old in the hills and approx. 2500 years old in the valley. Makhel a primordial place at Mao is now recognised as the legendary place of common origin of oldest ethnic families of the land.

Today Manipur is the home of 37 ethnic groups . Manipuri language is the lingua-franca (communication language) of the people of Manipur. There are more than 35 living dialects in the State. Each ethnic group is proud of its dialect. Authorities have great difficulty to accommodate the dialects as medium of education, broadcasting, publication etc.

Racially we are predominantly Mongoloids. Our present population is about 3.2 million. The theory of Indo-Aryan or Tibeto-Burman origin still remains a polemic issue among scholars and historians. To me Manipur is a melting pot of many ethnic groups . Historical reasons like migration, amalgamation and settlement greatly influenced the people in terms of their cultural and material advancement .

At present the geographical area of Manipur is about 22,327 sq. km. It is a hilly region with a plateau having an altitude of about 2500 ft above the sea level. Manipur is surrounded by Nagaland in the north, Myanmar in the east , Mizoram in the south, and Assam in the west.

In the past the geographical area of Manipur fluctuated from time to time depending on the military might and capability of our erstwhile rulers. The Kingdom of Manipur had the largest geographical extent during Garibniwaz Maharaj whose area of influence and control extended beyond Chindwin river (Ningthi ) in the east and beyond Brahmaputra in the south-west.

In modern period the present political boundary of Manipur was more or less recognized as early as 1826 (Treaty of Yandabo )and then in 1891(Anglo- Manipuri war) ; by 1947 (Independence Act ) and 1949( Merger with India) Manipur as a geo-political entity was well established.

Manipur got political emancipation from British Raj in August 1947. With the enactment of the Manipur State Constitution Act ,1947 by the then King, Maharaj Bodh Chandra , the election of the Manipur Assembly (Parliament ) was held in July 1948 on the basis of adult franchise, the first of its kind in entire sub-continent.

In all 52 Members were elected for a period of three years. It was a unicameral legislature. The law making and policy framing authority of the legislature was subject to the assent of the Maharaj. That was a kind of Constitutional Monarchy.

However Manipur got merged with the Dominion of India on 15 Oct 1949. With the application of the Constitution of India on 26 Jan, 1950 Manipur became a 'Part C' State of India. The Union Territories(laws) Act 1950 came into force in April and Chief Commissioner became the Administrator of Manipur.

A council of advisors with five members, three from the valley and 2 from the hills was constituted to assist the Administrator and this arrangement continued till the election of the Territorial Council in 1957. The same year, under the Union Territories Act 1956, election of 30 members of the Territorial Council was held.

Manipur had a Legislative Assembly consisting of 30 elected members under the Union Territories Act 1963. There was a Council of Ministers to aid and advise the Administrator. The Assembly had the power to make laws with respect to all subjects enumerated in the State list and Concurrent list in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution in so far as any such matters are applicable in relation to the Union Territories.

Immediately after the declaration of Statehood in January 1972, election of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Manipur was held in February. Today we have 60 Assembly constituencies.

The "idea of Manipur" survives as long as the hill and valley stands united and people living together; no power on earth can dismantle us as we stand as one people (37 ethnic groups). Valley hegemony is the thing of the past.

"Haofi su lumba mallida, ching yen su haoba mallida ". Let us endure with the idea of Manipur.

* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on September 08 2019.

* 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 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.

  • Chothe Achui Lin festival #1
  • Chengpi, Kentaliu, Atomacha :: eMing
  • Lady E-Rickshaw driver inspires women..
  • M Shanker: Indian Achievers Award 2019
  • Softly Coo the Wild Pigeons :: Poem
  • Discussion on Manipur Merger Agreement
  • Irabot, one & only leader of oppressed mass
  • Start-up Manipur as a potential launch pad
  • Culture Students Foundation Day : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Territorial Integration, Flag or Constitution
  • Book published on Irabot Day: Download
  • In love with the night :: Poem
  • Maverick mind of Ram - Dedicated to Bar
  • Smoking- silent killer for your backbone
  • Revisiting Sept. 21 (1948 & 1949)
  • Where All The Flowers Gone? #1: Gallery
  • BCIM Corridor & China New Transportation
  • Alzheimer's Awareness Month
  • Cry of a Dying River - 93 :: Poem
  • Rally & Youth's Voice on Climate Change
  • Guwahati to Bangkok : Direct Flight
  • Stringent traffic rules in place
  • Time for immediate solution to climate crisis
  • Traditional Dress of Hmar : Gallery
  • Licypriya @UNESCO Forum, Angola: Gallery
  • World Ozone Day and Langban Tarpan
  • Protection of Land in Tamenglong: Meeting
  • Licypriya Kangujam at UNESCO : Report
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • ADBU Community Computer Education
  • Film- Hugo screening [Upd]
  • Being on the transit route of drugs
  • On the demand for ST status...
  • 46th AMWJU Foundation Day : Gallery
  • Machengluang cleared Tamei road
  • Scrapping of Constitution Article, 35 & 370
  • Her Kitchen :: Poem
  • Career in journalism
  • BMSA Freshers' Meet : Thanks Giving
  • Mass Awareness for PMJAY & CMHT
  • Need for JAC & school to act reasonably
  • Traffic Challans & other challenges
  • Hinduism in Manipur #3
  • An interaction with Dr. O.K. Singh #2
  • Loneliness :: Poem
  • Let Road Users have their say ..
  • RIST Talk: Binary Recurrence Sequences
  • Racial profiling & criminalization of people
  • ZPO rejects its dissolution
  • 10 houses torched in inter-village dispute
  • Heikru Hidongba #2 : Gallery
  • Attitude to life and family
  • Breaking the glass ceiling
  • 28th NAMA Convention at Chicago
  • Inpui Naga Karing Ngei 2018 : Book
  • Dr. Md. Hamidur Rahaman : AMP Award
  • World Patient Safety Day
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Peace talk reportedly at final stage
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #11
  • 48th Foundation Day of RIMS : Gallery
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to the dead
  • Licypriya : Climate change in Angola
  • World Ozone Day 2019
  • iKON 4th anniversary : Indian iKONIC
  • Gratitude to Dk. Korungthang
  • Xavier Board Higher Education Conference
  • Confusing announcement: ban on plastics
  • Nongpok Sanjenbam village #1: Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #4: Gallery
  • Ways of seeing Atiyagi Maya
  • National Lok Adalat at Lamphel Court
  • Take Me Home :: Poem
  • Money Lending business in Nagaland
  • Ambeshori : Gold at Jr Women Natl Boxing
  • Crime against nature deserve punishment
  • Khamba Thoibi Museum #1 : Gallery
  • Time- Is it an illusion? Certainly not
  • Can there really be peace without justice
  • Enrollment Program for PMJAY & CMHT
  • Heavy traffic fines, Harekrishna krishna
  • Jenil Khuman : Heroes of India award
  • Cracking the whip on driving by minors
  • ST demand: Is this a consensus decision..
  • Mukna - indigenous game : Gallery
  • An interaction with Dr. O.K. Singh #1
  • Cry of a Dying River - 92 :: Poem
  • Missing person : Dongminlian at Tirupati
  • Google Earth for ground & aerial survey
  • Mary Kom 1st woman athlete for Vibhushan
  • Delivering a point maturely
  • There should be a toll free grievance cell
  • Hiyang Tanaba @Lamlai #1: Gallery
  • Shrinking safe spaces
  • Child sexual abuse (CSA)
  • Demands: Flag for Naga & ST for Meitei
  • Proud of our scientists & ISRO
  • Daanveer Dutta Karna : 2nd best play
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Significance of Sept 11 to TSE
  • Climate Crisis, People, and the State
  • Ibudhou Marongkhong Haraoba #3: Gallery
  • Conundrum for Manipur govt over CAB
  • Violence against medical fraternity
  • Thongkhatabam Ankita : Governor's Award
  • The Enchantress :: Poem
  • Sunyata & Kenosis: Search of Ultimate Truth
  • Lim divide continues to run deep
  • Of nationalism, patriotism & against nature
  • Heikru Hidongba #1 : Gallery
  • Komrem Students Day @B'lore : Gallery
  • Protective Thinking: Village Nationalist #1
  • Haipou Jadonang: A Social reformer #3
  • Ungracious :: Poem
  • IAS Officer: Hero- Whipping boy- Villain
  • Petition CM to revoke breach order in Edn-S
  • Stand against illegal immigrants
  • September and Hijam Irabot
  • Impact of Christianity among Vaiphei #3
  • Kakching WW II Memorial Run : Gallery
  • Framework Agreement: Divide the state
  • Training Program for Remand Advocates
  • Hunt for North East designers & models
  • Kakching World War II Memorial Run: Report
  • Common Admission Test for IIMs
  • No school bags day for young students
  • GoI backtracking on Framework Agreement
  • Trekking to Dzukou #3 : Gallery
  • English as a Lingua Franca for NE
  • A Good Place to Spend the Night : Poem
  • The idea of Manipur
  • Vacancies at Hadron Techs, Imphal
  • 8th Convocation of Assam Don Bosco held
  • Yogurt based DIY packs to try
  • Big Bang Edge Test
  • Bhabananda was right; it was not only him ..
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #3: Gallery
  • Judicial administration under Bhagyachandra
  • Reena Bhavsar(Pebam ningon): Mrs India
  • Sick Education System should be blamed ...
  • Foundation Day of Physics Dept, MU
  • 26th World Congress of Political Science
  • DBC, Maram bags SBSI National award
  • Regulate pay of Pvt school teachers
  • Chingda Satpi Engellei #1 : eRang
  • The Endurers : a growing tribe
  • Swachh in Manipur
  • Khongoinaba & Kanglei Chanura Kanba
  • The ten in between :: Poem
  • Happy for no reason
  • Convocation: Assam Don Bosco University
  • Sounding the alert at the entry points:
  • Victims of greed
  • Folk Dance @Retreat ceremony #2: Gallery
  • Call for Papers : NACETER 2019 at Aizawl
  • Celebrating Teachers' Day 2019
  • Draft Bill on violence against healthcare
  • From the heart - Transcending fears
  • Her Richness :: Poem
  • Licypriya: Peace Prize : Gallery
  • Haipou Jadonang: A Social reformer #2
  • Licypriya : World Children Peace Prize
  • Manipur Tourism: Best cultural Award at TTF
  • Hinduism in Manipur # 2
  • Khelen Thokchom Media Fellowship
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2: Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Maibi Jagoi : Gallery
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #10
  • September Calendar for Year 2019 : Tools
  • Freshers Meet/Musical Night at Bangalore
  • Remembering the past famine...
  • Stalls- Hathei Phanit, Ukhrul #1: Gallery
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang: Gallery
  • Chinglensana Kangujam : Arjuna Award
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #1: Gallery
  • Manipur Independence Day : Gallery
  • Kariang nuna sip eh :: Poem
  • Impact of Christianity among Vaiphei #2
  • Introspecting renewed Hydropower push #1
  • Jhulon @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Khangkhui Cave, Ukhrul #5 : Gallery
  • N'Jang-Ngi Thangal fest : Gallery
  • Jhulon @ Nabadwip, WB : Gallery
  • Heikat-Leikat [13 Aug] #2 : Gallery
  • Babysana: Student - Aug 10 #2: Gallery
  • Patriots' Day @ Pune : Gallery
  • Folklore of Hao communities #3
  • Aliyah #2 (Film Scenes) :: eRang
  • Babysana's last rites performed: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #3: Gallery
  • Tolloi, Ukhrul :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download