TODAY -

Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing :: Book Translation
- Part 9 -

James Oinam *



Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing: Part 9
(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

 Meetei Chanu Khongnang
Meetei Chanu Khongnang



Meetei Chanu Khongnang Who Bravely Took Part in Nupi Lan
Writer: Thangjam Ibecha
Sawungbung

People of Manipur who were largely dependent on rice cultivation were facing large-scale famine. However, the British and marwaris exported rice/paddy in collusion and mahajans hoarded foodgrains in secret godowns. The brave women demanded to stop export of rice, to stop the mills, and stop giving rice/paddy to the marwaris. Sahibs and businesspeople who came from beyond the mountains were surprised by the relentless struggle of the women.

Police officer shouted at women who were taking organizing protest march in cold winter, “Mischievous Meitei women why are you making ruckus at night without fearing man or god? Are your men incapable of controlling you? Send your men instead to loot.” When the women heard these insults coming from police station, they rushed towards it. Tongbram ningol Shabi was among the first to go inside the station.

Khomdram IP kicked her. Along with Shabi five women were beaten down to ground with sticks. Khongnang who had also fallen to ground raised one hand and shouted to women outside the station, “Shabigi laibakta kaoba natte, chenburoi-tamburoi Manipur praja miyamda kaobani. Lao changsillashi nupi miyam pumnamak nupigi thauna utlashi.” [It was not a kick at the forehead of Shabi but a kick at the people of Manipur. Come all women let us show the courage of women.]

As long as the sun and moon keep going around, nupi lan of December 12, 1939 will be remembered and with it the daughter of “Khongnang” Abujam Achau. The birthplace was Yurembam village in Imphal west. Among five children born to the couple, Khongnang was the second daughter. She was married to Nongthongbam Chaoba. She had one son. When the son was 7 or 8 years old, her husband died.

As a widow who had bring up a small child, she refused to injustice of the British rule and the Brahma Sabha. Taking the small child with her she took part in various meetings on development/reform of the land. She was part of women’s uprising for reforms. She disagreed with excessive powers of the king and exploitation by those close to the king.

Not allowing to open umbrella in the palace, not allowing girl or women to let loose their hair in the presence of the king and king’s dignitaries; if someone did not notice the king or his dignitaries and let the hair loose then her hair would be cut and ostracized in public. The king and his men would come to the village and claiming that “their eyes fell on the girls”, the lives of those girls would be ruined.

Such matters were discussed with learned people of Akhil Manipuri Hindu Mahasabha and the king’s men. Not only she met with members of the sabha living close by but also went to faraway places for dialogues.

Going to Lamlai, she met with Pheiroijam Kanhaimacha and Takhellambam Amusen(?) of Khurai. She met with women’s leader Tongbram Shabi, Rajani, Kameng Jati, Apambi Kabuini, Wahengbam ongbi Tongau(?) frequently for welfare of women. For participating in nupi lan, the authorities put her in jail for 6 months on charge of revolting against the king.

Leaving her small child Gaurango(?), she stayed in jail. When the writer met her son, he recalled that a man with red turban wearing a khagi came saying he had orders from “Sriyukta”. Mother left leaving me. I used to go to jail to see her. The people there took pity and let me see her. Sometimes tears came down her eyes but she wiped them secretly.

In the evening I would return alone leaving her and she would look sideways at me from the walls of the jail. After independence, the government declared Khongnang Devi as freedom fighter and gave her pension. In March 1972, she passed away in her new home in greater(?) Langjing. At her last moments she wanted to meet with her friends and colleagues of nupi lan.

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 March 05 2024 .



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