Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing :: Book Translation
- Part 8 -

James Oinam *

 Nupi Lan Book Cover
Nupi Lan Book Cover

Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing: Part 8
(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

 Rajkumari Sanajaobi Leima
Rajkumari Sanajaobi Leima

Short Story of Kangjam ongbi Sanajaobi

N.J. Kangjiya(?)

Rajkumari Sanajaobi Leima was in 1906 (on 14th of Enga lunar month [June?] on Friday). She was born to Raj Chaonusana(?) of Sagolband Tera. Under order no. 301/R/IPC/3246-69 by Home Minister of India for huge contribution to the country, an award of Rs 500 was given on May 27, 1958.

Rajkumari Sanajaobi married into Kangjam family and died in Tera, Khuraijam. She was 33 years old when nupi lan was fought in 1939 and took part in major struggles.

Few noteworthy incidents:

1. In the nupi lan that started from the evening of December 12, 1939, she was one of the courageous women who took part in it. She did not know (shy?) how to speak in public; that is why she played a major role in taking actions including destroying (hoardings?), facing those who resisted to fight against the police, gathering people, and encouraging women.

2. December 15, 1939 incident: In December 15, 1939, she took part in a meeting in Haring khongban (drain) held in morning. On 14 December from Heirok, Wangjing, news came that 18 women were arrested; on the meeting decision was taken to go the police to secure release of these women. Among “action” women selected to undertake this was Kangjam ongbi Rajkumari Sanajaobi.

They were to go inside the jail and secure release of these 18 women. When the police started beating the women, from a shop selling axes(?) they started snatching and fighting with these. Many men unable to bear also took up the axes and started fighting the police.

Sanajaobi sustained injuries on right and left upper arms and wrist from beating by stick (causing “ee ashiba changba”, ecchymosis). She claimed beating seven police herself. The conflict was termed “December 15 gi Utup Lal” (“Wooden baton, club, truncheon war of December 15).

3. Steps following December 15 judgement: The next day following the Utup Lal, around 6 am of December 16, Sanajaobi was among 20 women who gathered in front of cheirap(?). The gathering noted:
(1) kicking by IP on the face of Shabi,
(2) beating women with weapon by police in the Utup Lal,
(3) judgement on Kaguri’s son statement, “Manipuri nakhoidi khuya uphulga chagemga totnaraga pijage
(You Manipuri we will feed broken rice(?) mixed with dust from our feet),
(4) taking judgement on women who have been imprisoned.

Decision on all of these must be taken, work must be started, must not lose the war, and papers must be sent. Khwairakpam che (sister?) Memba(?) was asked to write the same.

4. Took part in breaking durbar: Until December 25, no judgement was pronounced on the guilty. Women were gathered in front of the durbar. Sanajaobi and 20 “action” women were there to break the durbar as soon as wakai (pronouncement?) would come.

Instead of discussing about the guilty people, as they kept on discussing about purity and impurity, she was among the first to throw stones at the windows of the durbar building. Then they entered inside the durbar and destroyed it. She was among those who held the members by the neck. Out of 8 members, 7 fled.

5. Hurt by bayonet: After breaking of durbar in December 25, attempt to send telegram by capturing Suto saheb was made. Maharaj Churachand had gone to Sahib (British?) for safety. Suto saheb hid in the telegraph office.

Action group including Sanajaobi broke windows of the telegraph office with stones. Then 4th Assam Rifles wielding bayonets were sent in. In the struggle to snatch bayonets from the police, she was stabbed twice in the left arm. Even after stitch, the marks were left for the rest of her life. The incident in which many women were injured with bayonets was popularly known as “sanging parva” in those days.

6. Took part in stopping taking masul (tax?) in Lamlai: Taking masul for even carrying khudeng started in Lamlai. For carrying some thoiding for business masul was taken. Private tem for weaving was taxed; spinning wheel and oil was charged.

News of these taxes came from Lamlai of Jati. In January 16, 1940, Sanajaobi participated in a meeting was held in Lamlai to decide to go to Sawungbung masul office to stop collection of masul. Late night they reached and stayed at Kameng Jati. Although tired, the next day they went inside the Sawungbung masul office and destroyed the confiscated items stored in it.

7. Major role is stopping marketing: On February 27, 1940, breaking the ban imposed by women, Uripok tauwangbam group and Maharaj Churachand’s group came to the market. At the Maharani thongkhong (foot of bridge), Sanajaobi swinging a “thangchep” scattered them. People came rushing and beat up people who broke the ban.

Police came and they were so afraid that armed police had to carry them home. During Yaoshang (Holi), cloths bought from “mayang” (outsiders) were snatched, torn, and putting them on a stick shouted on the streets not to buy cloths from them. She took part in this procession consisting of around 60 women.

8. Tearing of pheijom (lungi) and shirt of Bamon Sanamatum(?) in public. The court fined her Rs 100/- for this. She brought the money from home to pay the fine. On the way she shouted that she was happy that she had taken revenge.

[Note from translator: Due to poor print quality of the copy, the last two incidents have been abridged.]

Source of the story: Among many stories, the above were taken from the following mothers who had conversations with Sanajaobi in 1960 when she laid sick.

Mothers who told the stories:

1. Wahengbam ongbi Tongdau(?) Devi
2. Nongthongbam ongbi Khongnang Devi
3. Ayekpam ongbi Rajni Devi
4. Kumari Devi
5. Laishom ningol Leibaklei
6. Tongbram ningol Shabi Devi
7. Ningonbam Ibecha Devi
8. Chongtham ongbi Tingong
Recorded by: Kangjira (son)

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 Februray 29 2024 .

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