Political and Economic Ramifications of Manipur Merger with India in 1949

Toijam Malemnganba*


The land of Manipur is an enchanting place where several of diversity live with love and peace. The history of Manipur is reflected by archaeological research,mythology and written history. The story of history can be known from the collection of old books.

In ancient times, the Meitei people have lived in the valleys of Manipur alongside in the hills and valley in peace.The Muslim people also settled in the valley during the reign of Meidingu Khagemba in the year 1606.

From this time, the Muslims people lived with the Meitei people. The land of Manipur became a princely state under British rule in 1891. The Manipur was the last of the independent state to incorporated into British India.


During the period of King Gambir Singh, there was a relationship with British authority. The British asked for help and the request was granted. Sepoys and artillery were sent and British officers trained a levy of Manipur troops for the battles.

Manipur remained relatively peaceful and prosperous until King Gambir Singh death in 1834. In 1886, after King Chandrakriti death his son, Surachandra Singh succeeded him. There was several claimants to the throne tried to overthrow the new king.

In 1890,the king two brothers, Tikendrajit and Kulachandra Singh attack on the palace. Surchandra Singh announced his intention to abdicate and left Manipur for Cachar. Kulachandra Singh, the king younger brother rose to the throne while Tikendrajit Singh, an old brother became the commander of the Manipuri armed forces, held the real power behind the scene.

Meanwhile, Surchandra Singh safely away from Manipur appealed to British for help to recover the throne. The British decided to recognize Uvraj Kulachandra Singh as raja and send a military expedition of 400 men to Manipur to finish Senapati Tikendrajit as the main person responsibile for the unrest and dynastic disturbance.

The British attempt to remove Tikendrajit from his position as military commander and arrest him on 24 March 1891.After that it cause a great stir and the British residency in Imphal was attacked and the Chief Commissioner for Assam J.W. Quinton, Col. sken and three other British official were murdered.

The Senapati and those Manipuris who have been involved in killing of the British officer were tried and hanged. The King Kulachandra and other leaders of the rebellion were sent to the cellular jail in the Andaman Islands on 22 September,1891. The affairs of state were administered by the British political agent, which facilitated the introduction and implementation of reforms.

After some years, the King Churachand was formally declared king in 1907 and during his reign Manipur enjoyed a period of relative peace and prosperity. The last ruler of the kingdom of Manipur was King Bodhchandra Singh and rule between 1941and 1949.

In 15 August 1947, with the lapse of paramountcy of the British crown Manipur became briefly independent. The last ruler King Bodhchandra had acceded to India on 11 August, 1947 to ceded the central subjects to the Union Government but gained internal sovereignty over the state.

The Manipur state Constitution act, 1947 was enacted, giving the state its own constitution , although this did not become in known in other parts of India owing to the relative isolation of the kingdom. A few Manipuris favoured integration with India and established the Manipur India Congress. The government of India did not recognize the Constitution.

On 21 September 1949, the King Bodhchandra Singh was coerced to sign a merger agreement with the Union of India to take effect on 15 October,1949. As a result of the agreement, the Manipur state merged in the Indian Union as a part C state which is similar to a Chief Commissionerís province under the colonial regime, the Chief Commissioner appointed by the government of India.

The representative assembly of Manipur was abolished. The agreement made this twenty first day of September, 1949 between the Governor General of India and highness of Manipur. The king of Manipur hereby cedes to the dominion government full and exclusive authority jurisdiction power for relation in the government of the state and agree to transfer to administration of the state of the dominion government on the 15 day of October, 1949.

But the king can enjoy the same personal right, privileges, dignities, titles, authority over religious observances, customs, usages, rites, ceremonies and Institutions in charge of the same in the state.It effects of untitled to receive for king lifetime from the revenue of the state annually for king privy purse with the sum of rupees three lakhs free of all taxes.

It intended to cover all the expenses of the ruler and his family including expenses on account of his personal staff and armed guards, maintenance of his residences, marriaged and other ceremonies etc. The king untitled to the full ownership use and enjoyment of all private properties belonging to him on the date of this agreement before the first January 1950.But the inventory of all the immovable property, securities and cash balance held by highness as such private property will furnish to the Dominion government.

If any dispute arises as to whether any item of private property of state, the judicial officer qualified to be appointed as high court judge and the decision of the officer was final. The authority of India and no proceedings can lie in any court in Manipur against king in personal capacity and under his authority during the period of his administration of the state.

It is hereby gurantee either the continuance in service of the permanent member of the public service of Manipur on condition which will be less advantageous than those in which they were serving before the date. They gurantees the continuance of pension and leave salary sanctions by king to servants of the state who have retired or proceeded on leave preparatory to retirement.

They also under take to make suitable provision for the employment of Manipuris in the various branch of public service and to preserve various law, custom and convention prevailing in the state pretaning to the social, economic and religious life of the people.

The previous sanction of the government of India with no proceedings of civil and criminal can be Instituted against any person in respect of any done in the execution of duties as a servant of the state.


In confirmation with Mr. Vapal Pangunni Menon,adviser to the government of India in the ministry of states. The appended of his signature on behalf and with the authority of the governor general of India and Highness Bodhchandra Singh of Manipur has appended his signature on behalf of himself to heirs and sucessors.

Later, the state Manipur and Tripura was claming that they were located in strategic border areas of India. The people also politically backward and administration with those state was still weak. Finally in 1972, after fourteen years of direct India rule, Manipur became a separate state within India.

(This write up is selected for consolation prize in the competition organised by Imphal Timess)

* Toijam Malemnganba wrote this article for Imphal Times
This article was webcasted on November 16 2020.

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