Kabaw Valley Boundary
- Part 2 -

Yumnam Rajeshwor Singh *

 View of Kabow Valley from Kangkum Village in Kamjong District, Manipur :: 25th June 2022
View of Kabow Valley from Kangkum Village in Kamjong District, Manipur in June 2022 :: Pix - Khaba Kh

A detail report on the Kabaw Valley Boundary with Manipur was given in letter No. 124 SG. A., dated 11th September 1926 written by J.C Higgins, the then political Agent in Manipur to the Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam. The following is the copy of that letter. The file containing this letter is held with National Archives of India, New Delhi and is publish in the interest of the general public.

10. Commecing from Kongal Thana, at the extreme north end of the Kabaw Valley, where the Namya river debouches into the plains, no objection can be taken to the pillars erected on the banks of that river by the 1881-82 Commission. A claim to Kongal Thana or Humaing village raised by the Sawbwa of Thaungdut in 1892, with a view to gaining possession of the salt well situated in the village, was overruled by the Government of Burma. From the pillar on the right bank of the Namya river, the boundary follows a straight line to:-

Pillar No. 1 of the 1896 Boundary Commission, on the Tuilut stream. The survey map marks this pillar just above the 800 feet contour line, the junction of the Namya and Tinaing rivers in the plains at approximately the same latitude being at 730 feet level. This pillar is, presumably unobjectionable. I have no personal knowledge of it, and Colonel Shakespear does not refer to it in his diary.

Pillar No.2 is near the foot of the hills, close to the Ankongtui stream. It is marked in the survey map above the 900 feet contour.

Pillar No.3 is approximately at the foot of the hills, just above the 800 feet contour.

Pillar No.4 is according to the Commissioners’ report, " on a hill called Angkunung or Hmantoung". As Colonel Shakespear points out, and as is clear from the survey map, it is placed at a height of 1213 feet , on a low peak of the spur running out from the main range into the valley south of Zedi. The greater part of this spur is , in consequence, wrongly included in Burma.

Pillar No. 5 is at a height of 1085 feet, clearly at a very considerable distance from the foot of the hills. The namya river which at this point flows along the foot of the hills is on the 666 feet level some distance north of this pillar. Referring to pillars No.4 and No.5, Colonel Shakespear says :-

"It is curious that the Commissioners could not find a line conforming more closely to Pemberton’s description….. The teak-bearing land lies all along the foot of the hills, and by drawing the line up the hills to the west, the Commissioners have deprived manipur of the greater part of the teak."

The survey map clearly shows here that a large area of the foothills has been included in Burma.

Pillar No.6, according to the Commissioners, report , is on "a small hill called "Choroching". Colonel Shakespear refers to this pillar as being at a height of 796 feet. But Survey map shows it above the 1000 feet contour. The line from pillar No. 5 to pillar No. 6 excludes the foothills from Manipur, as the survey map shows.

Pillar No. 7 and No.8 are on the Maklang river, a little above where it leaves the hills. The line from pillar No 6 to pillar No. 7 again deprives Manipur of the foothills, and pillar No. 7 and No. 8 might with advantage, have been placed slightly lower down the stream.

Pillar No. 9 is, according to the Commissioners, on a small hill. The line from pillar No. 8 to pillar No. 9 especially in its northern portion, crosses the lower spurs of the foothills, but is not so disadvantageous to Manipur as the boundary from pillar No. 3 to pillar No. 7.

Pillar No. 10 is on a low hill on the left bank of the Taret( Nantalet) river. The line from pillar No. 9 to pillar No. 10 cuts off a considerable spur of the foothills.

Pillar No. 11, as Colonel Maxwell notes in his tour diary, "is on a hill north of Yangoupokpi". The hill is not a high one, but is more in the nature of a flat spur, jutting out into the plain. The line from pillar No. 10 to pillar No. 11, as the survey map shows, passes above the 1000 feet contour, 400 feet above the level of the valley at this point.

Pillar No. 12 is on the left bank of the Tuiyang(Namtisen) river, which flows below the Manipuri village of Yangoupokpi Thana, and is situated a very short distance below the village.

Pillar No. 13 is approximately at the foot of the Nwaysaing Hill, west of the large Shan village of Mangsa ( Mintha). The position of pillar No. 12 and No.13 is unobjectionable. But the line from pillar No. 11 to pillar No. 12 cuts off from Manipur a portion of the plateau mentioned above, on which pillar No. 11 is situated.

The line from pillar No. 12 to pillar No. 13 again passes above the 1000 feet contour, 400 feet above the level of the valley, a low hill north of the Tuiyang being also entirely included in Burma. Moreowner, though the 1896 Commission made a great point of including in the Manipur state the low spur on which Yangoupokpi is situated, in exchange for including in Burma the hill known as Nattaung, on the ground that Yangoupokpi was the site of an old thana of the Manipur State and Nattaung an object of veneration to the villagers of Tinzin, it entirely neglected to include in Manipur with Yangoupokpi more than a negligible area of land which had been or could be cultivated.

The villagers of Yangoupokpi consequently eke out a proverty- stricken existence by means of trade ( and possibly smuggling), as the Shawbwa of Thaungdut and his officials refuse them permission to cultivate land on the Burma side of the border, unless they agree either to thansfer their residence and allegiance from Manipur to Thaungdut, or to pay land revenue at the extortionate rate of half the produce of the land.

Pillar No. 14 is approximately at the foot of the hills, and the line to it from pillar No. 13 is quite unobjectionable.

Pillar No. 15 is on the Waksu ( Wetyu) stream. It is approximately on the 900 feet contour, and a considerable distance from the foot of the hills. The line from pillar No. 14 to pillar No. 15 cuts off an area of foothills, including teak forest.

Pillar No. 16 is , in itself, well placed on the bank of the Wuksu stream. But owing to the unsatisfactory position of pillar No. 15, the line from that pillar to pillar No. 16 excludes from Manipur State certain foothills bearing teak.

Pillar No. 17 is, as the Commissioners’ report, "situated on a hill", a low peak of a spur running out from the main range, at an altitude of approximately 1000 feet, some 400 feet above the level of the plain. The line to this pillar from pillar No. 16 excludes several spurs of the foothills from Manipur.

Pillar No. 18 is situated at an altitude of about 800 feet. The line from pillar No. 17 again cuts off several spurs from Manipur.

Pillar No. 19 is, as the Commissioners’ report, "erected on a hill", at an altitude of about 900 feet.

Colonel Shakespear says of it:-
" The Commission certainly had curious ideas as to the foot of the hills, for pillar 19 is perced on the top of a rocky hill, several hundred feet above the plain, and there is no excuse for this, as the hills here rise very abruptly from the plain, so that there is no difficulty in fixing where the real foot is. The hills here are rocky and it seems possible that minerals might be found, in which case Manipur would have a very real grievance."

The line from pillar No. 18 to this pillar crosses a considerable number of high spurs.

Colonel Shakespear of this portion of the boundary:-
"the line goes through most difficult country crossing ravine after revine, and climbing to the top of hills, only to descend the other side…..The unfairness of the line from pillar 18 to pillar 19 is very clearly seen from pillar 17."

Pillar No. 20 is on the bank of the Laiching(Nampalaw) stream, at a little distance from the plain. The line from pillar No.19 cuts off several spurs from Laiching Hill, touching the 1000 feet contour in three places.

Pillar No. 21 by the side of the Manipur-Tamu bridle path, is also situated on a spur of the foothills, about the 800 feet contour.

Pillar No. 22 is on the left bank of the Lokchao( Chaunggyi) river, approximately where it leaves the hills, at a level of between 600 and 700 feet. But the line from pillar No.21 to pillar No. 22 cuts off a spur, passing over a hill upwards of 900 feet.

Pillar No. 23 is on the right bank of the Lokchao, about a mile above pillar No.22. It is not clear why this pillar was placed up the Lokchao valley, in the foothills, at an altitude of approximately 800 feet, instead of opposite pillar No. 22. The Manipur State has thereby lost a considerable area of teak-bearing hills on the right bank of the Lokchao. The level of the valley at Tamu, a short distance below pillar No. 22, is 582 feet.

Pillar No. 24, at the junction of the Mongmong ( Chaungngynaung) and Palesikang ( Pyathekhyauk) streams, is at the foot of the hills. But owing to pillar No. 23 having been placed so far up the Lokchao valley, the line from it to pillar No. 24 cuts off a large stretch of foothills.

Pillar No. 25 lies, according to the report of the Commissioners, "on the neck of a hill," near Tuinang( Nampalaung) stream. Colonel Shakespear remarks:-
"Pillar 25 is over a mile from the foot of the hills, and on a saddle a considerable height above a plain".

The line from pillar No. 24 to pillar No. 25 excludes from Manipur a long spur gradually sloping down to the plain.

Pillar No. 26 is on a hill just south of the Pantha stream.

Colonel Shakespear says of it:-
"Pillar 26 is about 1.5 miles from the foot of the hills, and at a considerable elevation, though the ascent is very gradual. I could see no reason for choosing that particular point for the pillar."

The line from pillar No. 25 to pillar No.26 excludes some spurs of the foothills from the Manipur State.

Pillar No. 27 is on the bank of the Tabasay stream, and its position appears unobjectionable, though a large spur is cut off by the line running to it from pillar No. 26, owing to the faulty position of the latter pillar.

Pillar No. 28 is on the left bank of the Tuiyong or Rangkep ( Nanayaung) stream approximately " where it leaves the hills," as the Commissioners remark. The line from pillar No. 27 to pillar No. 28 cuts off two low spurs.

Pillar No. 29 is about a mile up the same stream, on its left bank.

Pillar No. 30 is on a low hill, a short distance from the right bank of the same stream.

To be continued .....

* Yumnam Rajeshwor Singh wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at yrs001(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on December 08 2023 .

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