Birth Centenary Celebrations of Jananeta Irabat Singh, 1996 : Book Translation
- Part 2 -
Welcome Speech by Irabot at Nikhil Hindu Manipuri Mahasabha

James Oinam *

 Birth Centenary Celebrations of Jananeta Irabat Singh, 1996 : Book Cover
Birth Centenary Celebrations of Jananeta Irabat Singh, 1996 : Book Cover

Welcome Speech by Irabot at Nikhil Hindu Manipuri Mahasabha
(Dated: 30 May 1934)

Translator's Note : Translated from Manipuri section of the book below
Book: Birth Centenary Celebrations of Jananeta Irabat Singh, 1996
Editor: L. Damodar Singh
Joint Editor: Dr. N. Tombi Singh
Jointly Organised by
Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Calcutta and
Department of Art and Culture, Manipur,
Sept. 29 and Oct. 13, 1996

Cover design: Premananda Roy
Published by: Shri Th. Subol Singh
Printed at: Padma Printers (Computerised), Paona Bazar, Imphal 795001

Big-hearted chairperson, Shriyukta Manipureshwar Maharajdhiraj, bhadralok (a term that arose in Bengal during the British period, variously defined as "gentlefolk", intellectual class, bourgeoisie; here gentlemen) to all of you I, humble servant, am fortunate beyond measure to welcome you to the first Nikhil Hindu Manipuri Mahasabha held in the golden land of Manipur, centred at Imphal.

The golden land of Manipur is mentioned in the ancient Mahabharat and has been famous even before that. In the golden throne of this land of Manipur shines Manipureshwar Maharajdhiraj Sir Churachand Singhji Bahadur K.C.S., I.C.B.I. Meidingu Ningthaurel, the 108th of the lineage of Bhadrabahan descendent of the conqueror of the earth Arjun.

The city of this land, golden temple housing wooden Shri Shri Govindaji and golden palace of Sriyukta Manipureshwar Maharajdhiraj enlighten the pure Manipuri community, making the city of Imphal the second paradise of the community.

Today in this second heaven of entire Manipur, for meeting of various communities the organization of meeting of Nikhil Hindu Manipuri Mahasabha has been possible due to the grace of the protector of people, Sriyukta Manipureshwar Maharadhiraj and due to intelligence and know-how of organizing things of the secretary of swagatkari sabha (welcome committee?) Sriyukta Akoijam Amubi Singh and all other members.

The only hope is under the shadow of sea of grace of Sriyukta Manipureshwar Maharajdhiraj and Shri Shri Govinda there be no hindrance or stopping of all the works the sabha does.

All beloved brothers and sisters, I humbly request to those members who have come crossing the nine mountains facing many difficulties and who currently in the eyes of many are the younger (or treated as lesser one?) to attend this meeting of communities of Manipur.

Instead of thinking about whether service to all gentlemen is right or not, think of it as coming to pure a pilgrim under the grace of Shri Shri Govinda and to the motherland and find satisfaction and happiness in big heart of the entire gentlemen.

It is my firm believe that just as respectable devotees who despite believing nothing good will come out of welcoming the sabha but have come under the peaceful golden feet of Manipureshwar Maharadhiraj, a day will soon come when the entire Manipur will be prosperous and happy.

All of my younger brothers of Imphal

The Mahasabha meeting held today is not just a meeting of representatives of Manipur. Manipur and other countries are taking part in this sabha. The advantages for holding this Mahasabha:

First: An opportunity to meet and introduce to brothers and sisters and fathers and sons who have settled in different lands.

Second: An opportunity to share knowledge with each other.

Third: To strengthen the community by developing loving relationship.

Fourth: To sum it up, it gives opportunities to communities to meet. On behalf of welcome committee, I thank again and again Manipureshwar Maharajdhiraj as president of the sabha, sitting on the throne, and other representatives, and leading the communities towards light.

Education: Not long ago, about 40 years back, there was only one education system of Hindu Manipuri. At that time, learning English was considered impure ("mangba"). People would not touch books written in English and would not even drink water from the hands of people who have learned English.

Under Sriyukta Manipureshwar Maharajdhiraj, with time, slowly people are learning this very useful language and education of Manipuri society is progressing. Not only men, but also women who are responsible part of the entire society, and in the education of new generation of boys and girls there is development day by day.

Without the grace of Sriyukta Manipureshwar Maharajdhiraj the entire Manipur would have remained in ruin. Therefore, the entire Manipur owe him a great debt. How can we repay him, it is difficult to imagine. At least to repay in part, should not we study well and hone our skills in business and other matters?

Religion: Still today, Manipuri Hindu religion is existing. With whose blessings? It is due to the blessings of the protector of religion, Manipureshwar Maharaj. Religion keeps community together. With time there are new right ways to behave and there are old ways of religion (Manipuri Hindu) keeping community together.

So what should be followed? Give us justice. We are at the golden feet of the protector of religion who has been sent by god. Should not we find satisfaction in immersing in the religion which has been protected by the protector of religion?

Development of society: Majority of Manipuris are now on the road of development under of the grace of Sriyukta as new sun has risen and there is light in four directions.

Ancient Manipuri script has been included as the 20th line in the list of scripts of India. Is this not a precious gem pointing at the identity of Manipur? Is this not our wealth? Although I do not know much about of this script, all of the knowledgeable people know that this script can handle the pronunciation and spelling of our language very well. Is this not our duty to securely keep this gem?

In the olden days, among shraban (?) kirtan, smaran padaseban achan (?) bandan, dasha and sakha of Bhagawat religion, kirtan usually was not performed in mother tongue. It was only during the reign of Manipureshwar Maharajdhiraj that it was performed in mother tongue. Is it not our duty to follow the path shown by the lord (the king)?

Most of us know that Manipuri society is being looked down upon by other societies. However, it is not really that downtrodden. Manipur is poor, no one can say there is no dearth of ways to earn money. Would it not be the right step to fill this lacuna to have all-round development?

What shall I say about honesty and understanding within the community. Religion, language, and behavior give rise to loving relationship within community. It is generally known that being together is good. When all of us together as one say that we are the citizens of Sriyuk Maharaj in front of everyone, is there anything else to say other than that you are capable servant of god?

To all gentlemen, I would not like to waste more time than I have wasted of this precious sabha time. I thank you gentlemen for listening to one or two of my points with patience. It is nothing else but my good luck that I have been selected as chair of welcome committee of this great sabha. I thank you for this.

I believe it strongly that if someone more suitable or capable than me were selected for this job, the entire work would have been done much better, more colorfully.

At the end what I would like to shout out is as mentioned earlier, education, religion, and development of the society has been in my heart for a long time which can happen when the gentlemen present would bath in the pure Ganga-like grace flowing from the golden feet of Manipureshwar Maharajdiraj who is acting as the president of this sabha.

Shri Irabat Singh
Sabhapati (President), Swagatkari Sabha (Welcome Committee)

Taken with permission from the book "Nikhil Hindu Manipuri Mahasabha" (1983)

To be continued .....

* James Oinam wrote this translated article for
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 20 2024 .

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