Raja Dumbragi Jeevan Charitra :: Part 4
Author: Moirangthem Tomcha Singh

James Oinam *

 Cover Illustration of Raja Dumbragi Jeevan Charitra
Cover Illustration of 'Raja Dumbragi Jeevan Charitra'

Raja Dumbragi Jeevan Charitra: Part 4
[The Nature of King Dumbra’s Life]
By Moirangthem Tomcha Singh

Rinda Library and Preservation Foundation, Manipur
First Published: September 30, 2008
Publisher: Rajen Khumukcham
No. of Copies: 501
Price: Rs 30
Printer: B.S. Printing Press, Sagolband Road, Nipa Keithel, Near Arian Theatre, Imphal

The Durbar had legislative and judiciary powers. Devyani (civil?) and military cases were handled although it had to be agreed by the judicial member at last. The position of judicial member was held by the most senior member. Raja Dumbra Singh was judicial member as well as Durbar member for lifetime. Along with this, Raja Dumbra Singh was involved in inner rule, i.e., custom, religion, and Meitei society and culture.

On January 26, 1908 (some records say July 24) Budhachandra was born. Elder son Budhachandra (Meidingu Tubi Lairel Achauba Maharaj Budhachandra Singh) was loved by Raja Dumbra Singh.

On January 1, 1918, “hereditary distinction” title of “Maharaj” was given for help in the First World War to His Highness Raja Churachand Singh CBE by India’s Viceroy and Governor General Lord Chelmsford.

SANAD granted to His Highness Raja Chura Chand Singh. CBE Raja of Manipur – 1918

I hereby confer upon your Highness the title of Maharaja as an hereditary distinction for your services in connection with the war

The 1st January 1918
Viceroy & Governor
General of India

Raja Dumbra Singh was righteous, religious, meticulous, and well wisher of Meitei society. He searched for younger brother Nartangkhomba’s guru Shri Jagadishwar Sharma’s children or grandchildren. Shri Chumbra Shahsi Sharma (grandchild) was appointed Ramandi Guru of Maharaj Churachand. He invited Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s and Nityanda’s grandchild to live in Manipur to follow Vaishnav religion properly.

After Kakta(?) lineage Narsingh’s lineage became Meitei king. New Brahmin positions had to be filled. This caused some issues. Purohit had to be replaced. This was left in able hands of Raja Dumbra Singh by the king.

The notion of pure/impure, tradition, and behaviour of that time is worth knowing. Cloths worn in office, school, and market were considered impure and kept aside. People used take bath immediately after returning from these places. When saheb touched the golden sagai (hamlock?) it became impure, and the parts were given off to non-Meiteis. Names of elders and seniors were not taken.

It is said that Raja Dumbra Singh never in his lifetime called anyone by name. He used only “Epa” (father) or “Ato”. On road women and child would not step on men’s shadow (even strangers). If the king came by road, people kneel on their knees to show regard. Women covered their heads. On roads women did not let their hair loose (except unmarried girls) else their hair would be cut as punishment.

Men did not wear pheijom toman. In front of elders, shoes were not worn. While going past group of senior people, people hid their legs with hand or cloth. While visiting senior dignitaries, shoes were left at corner of courtyard. While praying head can be left uncovered for a while by women. On various occasions, 2, 3, or 4 pieces of betel nuts (wrapped in betel leaf) were made.

After Raja Dumbra Singh these traditions vanished gradually. After school and college Raja Dumbra Singh did not study further. He studied religion related texts called “payar” after college. He studied Bengali and Hindi. He was not weak in fine arts. He was interested in music. He visited Vrindaban often. He bought land and built temple in Radha Kunda Keshi ghat.

For his handling of tribal rebellion before the reign of King Churachand, he was given two war office medals, one service medal for good rule, and one Victoria Cross medal by the British government. On January 1, 1935, Viceroy and Governor General Lord Willington gave the title of “Raja” to him and “Rani” to Haobam Chanu (who was earlier called Thambal Devi).

Rajkumar Dumbra Singh, Senapati, Judicial Member Manipur State Durbar, Imphal Assam.
I, hereby confer upon you the title of “Raja” as a personal distinction

The 1st January 1935
Viceroy & Governor
General of India

On January 28, 1935, Raja Dumbra Singh died at the age of 64 years. He left 6 sons and 11 daughters. The names of his wives and children are as follows:

Shrimati Chontha:
1. Nayasna Devi
2. Manisna a.k.a. Bhaskar Singh
3. Sanatombi Devi

Shrimati Haobi:
1. Maipaksna Devi
2. Tigonsna Devi
3. Tekpisna Devi
4. Bobosna Devi
5. Nakausna Devi
6. Ebochauba a.k.a. Homendrajit Singh
7. Sanayaima a.k.a. Bhubendra Singh
8. Ghanshyam Singh
9. Ebempishak Devi
10. Khombisna Devi
11. Tathotsna Devi
12. Sanatomba a.k.a. Tikendrabir Singh
13. Tondonsna Devi

Shrimati Nongmaikhombi:
1. Sanajaoba Singh


Narsingh + Wahengbam Chanu Ramani Apambi Ahal

Bhapendra Singh a.k.a. Bhuban Singh Yubraj + Khoklem Chanu Kumari

Sanachaobi Yaima

1. Moirangthem Chanu Numitleima a.k.a. Lalitamanjuri
a. Raja Dumbra Singh
b. Deb Singh
c. Chandra has Singh
d. Amusna
2. Thangjam Chanu Chitrarati(?)
a. Bhipendra Singh


* James Oinam wrote this book translation for
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on September 03 2023.

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