Pre-merger political party struggle (Merger Series - IV)

Dr Th Suresh Singh *

It all started with the formation of Nikhil Hindu Manipuri Mahasabha (NHMM) in 1934 among the Meiteis. It is the 1st seed of political party in the state with Hijam Irabot as the Pioneer.

The 1st session was held at Rasmandal of the present palace on 30/05/1934 with Churachand Maharaj as President with over 300 delegates from Cachar, Tripura, Dacca and Burma attending it. Its objective was to bring unity and overall welfare of Manipuris settled in different parts of the world. Though the 2nd session was held at Sichar and the 3rd one at Mandalay with Irabot as president, the 4th session, known famously as 'Chinga Session" held on 29-30/12/1938 was unique in that it was the 1st unpublished political party in the state.

The word Hindu was dropped and only known as NMM. It took far reaching resolutions like removal of untouchables, restoration of self-rules etc.

All these were anti-king, but popular demands. The king had earlier distanced himself from the Mahasabha. The English version of the resolution was forwarded to Mr. Mac Donald, President of State Darbar, by its Secretary Chingakham Pishak Singh on 11/02/1939. The Darbar rejected the same, branded it as a political party and banned all its activities.

The Mahasabha was split on the question of support to Nupi Lal on 11/10/1939. Irabot led faction formed the Praja Sa melon and supported the 1st Nupi Lal and he was jailed. Tompok faction ultimately became part of Indian National Congress.

In the hills- Vaiphei National Organisation and Hmar Association was formed in 1944 and 1945 respectively.

The pertinent question here is that Churachand was unable to bring unity among various factions. Had he continued as President of NMM and shown a little flexibility, he could have brought unity among the various factions. Instead, he jailed the popular leader Irabot.

The king was not able to grape popular public demand as witnessed by the 1st and 2nd Nupi Lal of 1904 and 1939 respectively. He was never popular like his great grandpa Nara Singh. He was satisfied with his throne and did little for general public. Had he shown a little political maturity, the legacy would have continued during Bodh Chandra's reign. Manipur's misfortune continues.

With the enthrone of Bodh Chandra, the political struggle continued. Return of Irabot in early part of 1945 mad the struggle more intensified. With end of World War 11 on 2nd September 1945 with Japanese surrender, the king should have known popular demands; but alas, that ought not to be!

It is also the time where intense political struggle continued throughout India for its independence. The shadow for a popular rule definitely lingers on Manipur also.

Other events worth mentioning are

i) 05/04/1946 meeting of Manipur Krisik Sabha and Manipur Praja Sangha at Wangkhei took strong objection against Coupland Plan of "Crown Colony" i.e. formation of an independent N-E Frontier Province including neibouring areas of Burma and Indian National Congress Plan of "Poorvanchal Pradesh" combining Cachar, Manipur and Tripura

ii) May Nambol meeting of Krisik Sabha elected Irabot as President and demanded restoration of popular rule

iii) on 21/08/1 046, Praja Mandal and Praja Samelan merged with Irabot as President and R.K. Bhuvansana as General Secretary. Its 1st meeting demanded restoration of responsible form of government

iv) 4th October 1946 Aryan Theatre Meeting called by pro-Mahasabha students to form a united party, with Bhubansana presiding, showed disunity when Irabot's name was proposed as a representative. Irabot supporters walked out. Then the remaining members formed Manipur State Congress with Bhubansana as President and Khoimusana as Secretary.

Thus at every critical juncture, Manipur's disunity and division were witnessed. By this time, the political permutations and combinations are crystallised into 3 distinct groups :-
i) The Praja Santi Party which is fiercely pro-Royal, but anti- Congress and anti-merger
ii) the Manipur State Congress (becoming a part of Indian National Congress) which favours merger to free India and
iii) Irabot and co. led remaining party which is deadly anti-Congress, anti-royal, anti-merger but for an independent state.

In the hills- Vaiphei National organisation and Hmar Association was formed in 1944 and 1945 respectively. Other hot political steam found in the hills in 1947 were : formation of Manipur Zeliangrong Union, Zeliangrong council, the Kuki National Army (KNA), agitation by Mizo Union for a union of Kuki areas with Lusai Hills etc.

Another important one was the coming of Daiho's Mao Naga Party under the influence of Phizo's Naga National Party (limited to a few in the beginning).

At this critical juncture, Irabot tried to form a United Front to fight the election with others viz, Shimray of Tangkhulong, Lunneh of KNA, Kakhangai of Kabui Association and some other valley organisations. But unfortunately it did not materialised. Had it materialised, the political landscape might have turned the other way round.

This is Unfortunate for us, unfortunate for Manipur. The year 1948 saw establishment of state units of various national parties e.g. the Socialist Party( it was formed inside the Manipur State Congress in 1946), the Communist Party (Irabot was still underground). The Manipur State Congress was recognised as a branch of Assam Congress Committee by the Indian National Congress in that year.

All these points to the inability of Maharaja Bodh Chandra to bring popular demands to a common platform and thereby bring the much needed political consensus. He was thinking only for his Gaddi and nothing else.

Not only he, his advisor and Darbar members are also to be blamed, as stated in preceding series, for their inability to advice him properly. These gentlemen had to bear a slide of the blame; that is for sure.

* Dr Th Suresh Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Ex-Director, Health & WHO Fellow
This article was posted on November 06, 2017.

* 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.

  • Enakta Leiringei (Film) #2 :: eRang
  • Mangchinkhup, Bondangpou :: eMing
  • Stall @Science Congress, MU #2: Gallery
  • Legal Awareness Workshop for Women
  • Jobs @Aayukshetram in Trivandrum
  • World Water Day 2018
  • A Homage to Stephen Hawking :: Poem
  • Is SoO serving its purpose ?
  • Nambul water : No longer safe
  • Yubi Lakpi @Yaoshang #1: Gallery
  • Cheirao Chingkaba @Singjamei : Gallery
  • Intl Day to End Racial Discrimination
  • Listen :: Poem
  • Burglary: security emergency in Lamka
  • Career options in printing press #2
  • Vitamin C: Antioxidant in your anti-ageing
  • Clarification regarding NIA summon
  • Issues of education should be priority
  • Why outside after Class XII ?
  • NSCN-IM asks Centre for 'clarity'
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • PM Narendra Modi @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Candle Light for Pravish @Delhi: Gallery
  • RTE taunts Kamuching: Mapithel Dam
  • Please dont become slave to any holy book
  • Pravish's Parents meet HM Rajnath Singh
  • Assam Rifles celebrates Cheiraoba
  • Job requirements @SKY Hospital
  • Nursing opportunity across Europe
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Education: addressing the core issue
  • Call to amend the Army Act
  • MoUs inked to boost tourism in NE
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chingkaba #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports @Kakwa: Gallery
  • Human right intimidated by SF: Amnesty Intl
  • Bikers rally to spread awareness on Cancer
  • TB survivor resolves to make TB-free ..
  • State Level World Kidney Day
  • Course in Comparative Literature at NEHU
  • Candle Light at DU for Pravish Chanam
  • PS issue stands as litmus test for CM
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Premier League coaches train : Gallery
  • Culturals @ Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #4
  • Radhakumar's Atoppa Sansar Amada #2
  • Prevention of cruelty to trees
  • Premier League coach train NE participant
  • GoI may sign agreement without NSCN(K)
  • Manipur celebrates New Year with gaiety
  • Zeliang denies involvement in terror funding
  • Shopping: Sajibu Nongma Panba #1: Gallery
  • Stall @Science Congress, MU #1: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba (Meitei New Year)
  • Saving Nambul: Convergence of view
  • Job @ PR Enterprises, Khurai
  • National Institute for Locomotor Disabilities
  • Seminar on 'Conflicts in South Asia'
  • Luck matters; but not always
  • On completing one year in office
  • Spectacle distribution at Loktak Station
  • DGAR visits Manipur on his farewell visit
  • PM at Science Congress @MU #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #3: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • A tribute to Stephen Hawking
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #3
  • Effect of a Sleepless Night :: Peom
  • Psychology at MIT School of Vedic Sciences
  • So near yet so far
  • Naga CSOs walking with JCILPS
  • Vegetables grown @Thanga #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress Contest: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khagempalli #2: Gallery
  • Truth of Life :: Poem
  • Celebration of womanhood
  • HQ IGAR (S) celebrates 15th Raising Day
  • Jet Airways for more flights for NE
  • Publicity doing good, Garbage filth continue
  • Other issue overriding education: Class XII
  • Wortam: The Rising Young Mashangva
  • Eidi Ethantani by Eyoom :: Review
  • OMCT : UA on harassment of Ranjeeta
  • Mass destruction of opium poppy cultivation
  • Career options in printing press
  • IBSD launches hi-tech facility for farmers
  • Bangalore Yaoshang - Cheiraoba Thabal
  • Quality over quantity
  • What will the PM have to say ?
  • Zeliang gets fresh summon from NIA
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #4 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #2: Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #2
  • BJP led Govt, not flunk in first year
  • Demand handing of Pravish case to CBI
  • PDA Govt claims false credit: NPF
  • Feminism & Path to Women's Liberation
  • Word of caution from Ibobi: BJP to listen
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #4 : Gallery
  • Radhakumar's Atoppa Sansar Amada #1
  • Nigol :: Poem
  • List of Portfolios : Nagaland Govt
  • Clarify: Report of Zeliang summoned by NIA
  • Academic Programs offered by PHFI
  • Cong speaks: Changes expected in future
  • One year under the BJP: Significant but..
  • Students @ Class X Exam #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khongman: Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #1
  • Cry Of A Dying River...21 :: Peom
  • Manipur-Nagaland border disputes
  • Not a word on beauty on Women's Day
  • Women Religious Tour reaches New Delhi
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #3 : Gallery
  • Chirom Indira- Nari Puraskar Award: Gallery
  • Human Rights Defender intimidated by Army
  • Rooftop Solar Power Plants: Gallery
  • Home stay for nature tourism in Manipur
  • Moodle: A learning management system
  • You can't stop small newspapers ...
  • BJP show in NE State: The backroom boys
  • Moldhin Chan: A Thado-Kuki Folktale #2
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #2 : Gallery
  • Mapithel Dam, Thoubal River & Tumukhong
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #2 : Gallery
  • Time for "Nokphade" to go global
  • Campaign on International Women's Day
  • War between Left & Right has begun
  • Poppy plantation, destruction & missing link
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #1: Gallery
  • Harassment of Ranjeeta (HRA) by Army
  • Women's positions need to change
  • The Weeds :: Poem
  • We now know gold was created in space
  • Issues of women's rights should be priority
  • Protection of paddy land Act
  • Thabal Chongba @Khurai : Gallery
  • Bor-keina race @Yaoshang Fest : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #1: Gallery
  • Tanushree @Elecrama Startup Award: Vote
  • Indian Science Congress in MU: Act East?
  • Fulbright 'pathways' for college leaving class
  • Job @ St. Stone Medical Devices
  • Army jawan martyred in Bongjai IED blast
  • National Integration Tour for Women
  • AR conduct Yaoshang sport festival
  • Condemns rising vendetta politics in NE
  • Yaoshang Sport - Marathon #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Keishampat #2: Gallery
  • NERIST Director post vacant since 2014
  • Dynamic Startup 3.0 at MIMS, MU
  • NDPP Legislature 1st Meeting at Kohima
  • 8th Theatre Olympics at Guwahati
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Keishampat #1: Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #5 : Gallery
  • Translating inclusion into seclusion is..
  • Condemns land acquisition of muslim
  • News erroneously portraying Zeliang
  • Report: Shillong Lajong vs East Bengal
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khagempalli #1: Gallery
  • LGBTQ Yaoshang Sports Meet #1 : Gallery
  • M. Shenbangpu : Akademi Award 2014
  • Tribe: A concept in a state of crisis
  • Neiphiu's NDPP-BJP alliance stakes claim
  • Digital footprints: Blueprints for detection
  • Rio refutes news about 'Naga Peace'
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang with Governor : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #3 : Gallery
  • Chirom Indira: Highest Civilian Honour
  • Rejoinder to "MCPCR in dire straits"
  • Stop harassment of Urikhimbham
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Timeline
  • 8th AMWJU Sports Meet : Gallery
  • March Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Yaoshang Thabalgi Sen Khaiba #2 : Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #3 : Gallery
  • Cultural @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Festival of Colours to Sports Festival
  • Food Processing Training @Oinam : Gallery
  • Loree Kaju Luita Phanit #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabalgi Sen Khaiba #1 : Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-ni Token Celebration at Chadong
  • Students @ Class X Exam #1 : Gallery
  • AoNna tEnaba :: Seireng
  • Thanga Keithel : Gallery
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #5: Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic