TODAY -

Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing :: Book Translation
- Part 7 -

James Oinam *

 Nupi Lan Book Cover
Nupi Lan Book Cover



Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing: Part 7
(Brave Women During the Nupi Lan)
Publisher: Lamlai Area Nupi Marup
Cover illustration by: Singh Publicity, New Checkon
First print: December 1991
Copy: 1500
Printer: Haobam Printing Works, Etam Nungoi

Laishom Leibaklei Devi
(One of the women leaders of nupi lan)

Iboyaima
Singjamei

Nupi lan of 1939 is a well-known event in history. The courage of Manipuri women was shown by this. Without the sacrifice and courage of the women leaders, it might not have been this big. Among these leaders was Laishom Leibaklei.

Leibaklei was born on January 30, 1905 (Wakching lunar month, Sunday) in Naoriya Pakhanglakpa, Heirangoithong. Laishom Ningthaujao Singh and Khuman Cheirappam(?) Gulaptombi Devi were her parents. She was the eldest of six siblings. She was married to Chongtham Tomcha Singh of Pishum Ningom Leirak. They did not live together for long.

She lived mostly in her birthplace Heirangoithong. She did not have any children. She took care of Srilaishom Bhumeshwar(?) as her own child. In December 12, 1939 nupi lan, she was among those who fought at frontline against the king and the British against the guns and bayonets.

The president of Manipur state durbar was kept at telegraph office surrounded by women to put pressure to stop sending rice outside, but they were brutally dispersed in the name of saving him. “They called out Assam Rifles, who would stab with bayonet.

Someone called Tomba, I think, was forcibly submerged in water. When trying to stop them from drowning him, one policeman hit me in the eye with his elbow,” recalls old Leibaklei. She showed the right eye which still seemed to hurt.

First, she was kept at Imphal central jail for 2 months, and then after trial she was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. After 2 months, her cloths were changed(?) and she had to do spinning. Recalling life within jail, she said, “Inside the jail, we sang together loudly ‘Raghupati raghav Raja Ram’ [the song helped them through the hardships].

At that the jailor Sarangthem Nodiachand would shout back, ‘This is jail. What are you boasting about?’ We said, ‘This is godi(?) time, none of your business’ and sang again and again loudly.” Along with that we sang another song, “Bande ma Bhawani jagat janani [Glory mother Bhawani, mother of earth].”

Within the jail, one fish meal was given each Sunday. After some time they stopped saying that there are no Bamon (Brahmins whose main job is cooking) to cook. Due to fear of being unclean she had to eat “phola” instead.

Due to lack sleep and not eating properly, she fell ill. Then a Bamon (Angaubi from Yairibok) was called to cook. For singing, they even threatened to shoot but they kept singing. She remembers meeting Jananeta Irabot in jail fondly, “Why did you come in? You feed your children by going to the market,” he said.

Shrimati Leibaklei Devi gets a pension as freedom fighter. Regarding pension, she got Rs 500, then Rs 600, and then Rs 200. After further cuts now she gets Rs 1000. In August 15, 1973, she got the Tamra Patra award (an award for outstanding contribution to freedom struggle).

She lived her life through her own labour. She not only sold fruits at Khwairamband bazaar but also collected konshak(?) (weaved cloths?) from the poor living in Moirang, Yairipok, Chandrakhong, and Ningel without fear.

She is weak now; even getting out of the house is difficult. However, the courage is still there. Bhumeshwar, whom she is taking care of, was born to her brother Chaoba. Bhumeshwar had four children. Bhumeshwar is a central government employee. However, he is posted at Haflong. She wishes to stay with him as she gets older.

Remembering her life will set an example for the coming generations to follow. Today’s generation owes a lot to these women who truthfully and fearlessly stood against the spread of colonialism and exploitation by the king.

o One day reminded by our Chana Lukhoi, on afternoon of 18 November, with my friends L. Shashikumar and A.K. Mani, we three went to meet her. The write-up is based on what was told to us.

To be continued .....


* James Oinam wrote this translated article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on February 22 2024 .



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