Manipur as a princely State and its revolutionary movement


Undoubtedly, Manipur was a powerful, independent, Princely State lying between India and Burma till the beginning of 19th century. In 33 AD when Nongba Lairem Pakhangba became the undisputed king of the Ningthoujas his empire did not cover even the whole of Manipur valley. However, military expeditions were made against the Khabas and the Nganbas and in the social affairs, the Khuman and Moirangs had come under the fold of the Meitei confederacy.

Having succeeded in the consolidation of the Meitei kingdom the Ningthoujas eyed on territorial expansion by invading the hill tribes. Since then any capable ruler (Taothing Mang, Kyamba, Khagemba, Garibniwaza) invaded the tribal villages and tried to maintain his political control over the hill tribes who remained independent and tried to remain as indepent as ever. Forcibly, the Meitei political suzerainty was imposed upon the invaded tribal villages.

The Meitei kings also have successful account of wars against Burma. The battles were fought against them on many occasions. Nevertheless, triumphant and defeats in war, the Meitei kings never compromised with her independence and lands till the time Kaba Valley was ceased to Burma and Manipur emerged into the States of Indian Union.

The question on how British swayed and Manipur freedom became merely a State of Indian Union remains a unique history. However, let’s have a glance at Manipur nationalism. Indeed, many underground organisations have come up like a mushroom in the wake of liberation. The motto of all revolutionary organisation is perhaps, ‘independence’.

However, the activities of revolutionary actors is centric to the organisation’s motto/theme or not remain to be a question from over 24 lakhs people of Manipur. Revolution means an upheaval, a serious action and endeavour of a body of a person for specific objective, a demand for complete change including social participation to procure society unique identity and culture. Gandhiji, during his freedom movement simply stretched out his hand saying he needs financial supports and response was awesome. Wealthy Indians gifted Gandhi their blank cheques so that he could withdraw from their bank account the amount of how much he required.

But in contrary, the wealthy Manipuris even at gunpoint do not want to extend financial support to underground organisation. Why?
The internal and external issues of Manipur should be raised to the highest so as to make the whole world hear her cries. The matter be put/placed on highest table for debate, the real picture should be presented in order to procure the real identity and culture. However, many revolutionary sections remain merely a vigilance to the bank account of Government department. Kidnap for ransom, extortion, illegal taxes and etc are the daily activities of the so called ‘revolutionary outfits’ in Manipur. The fact is, kins and dears of the revolutionary actors have become the owner two-storeyd buildings and expensive cars. The general masses could not voice their anguish as their rights are belying under the barrel of gun. If we are to achieve independence, then the movement should be made social based movement. The heart of general populace should be won at any cost to strengthen the base of revolutionary movement.

Lastly, theoretical expression of underground organisation seems to reflect the true colour of a nation. However, practical activities of the revolutionary actors walk parallel alongside the theory or not have become a question.

Very fascinating to acknowledge the calls on strikes and boycott on Indian Independence Day and Republic Day, front pages of local vernaculars were covered with the press release from underground organisations citing xyz as reasons on why boycotts are called on these days. That sounds patriotic!! Yet, next day, followed the all suits of hurling bombs at private residence and public gathering, kidnap, loot money. ‘It’s high time the revolutionary organisation clear the air; to fully commit themselves to the restoration of the lost sovereignty of Manipur.

Yours faithfully,
Dilbung W Lamkang