Maharaja Bodh Chandra: The last ruler of Manipur

Wahengbam Pathou
Contd from previous issue
These set of writers, who claim to be associates and followers of leader, are completely silent on what were the thought and feelings that struck Hijam Irabot in the year 1949, when Manipur was merged into Indian Union, as if nothing consequential happened then. They awkwardly remain silent on the million dollar question - what was Irabot’s reaction to merger agreement? Tumultuous, phenomenal and monumental, the year 1949 was, is bizarrely treated and abruptly passed off as insignificant blank sheet in all C.P.I. partymen’s writings.    
Needless to stress, the year 1949 was, undoubtedly, epochal in the annals of Manipur history. Eventful as it was, the year witnessed a flurry of political intrigues, conspiracy, double-dealing and trickery. From eyebrow raising, snooping foray of the Assam Governor Sri Prakasa to zealous efforts of the ruling Praja Shanti party to preserve the separate existence of Manipur only to be followed by hideous planting of the proverbial ‘Trojan Horse’ (a term used by Resistance forthnightly) in the guise of Maj. Gen. Rawal Amar Singh to set in motion a vile, shady attempt with a view to realize the larger hidden agenda to merge Manipur into the Dominion of India, all these shady episodes took within four weeks span of March-April, 1949.
Soon after, in June 1949, the Manipur State Congress came out with public avowal for abolition of monarchy in Manipur. It did also not take long for the ‘Trojan horse’ Dewan Maj. Gen. Rawal Amar Singh to pinprick and provoke Maharaja Bodh Chandra, by his meddlesome tactics in election dispute matters, so as to cause the latter to proceed to Shillong, the then capital of Assam province, where was stationed the wily, Machiavellian Sri Prakasa in order that their dark hidden agenda to merge Manipur into Indian dominion is realized.
In the meanwhile, the Manipur State Council, the administrative wing of the government, headed by Chief Minister Capt. M.K. Priya Brata clamped down by imposing ban on the publication of State Congress’s mouthpiece newspaper Ngashi with effect from 20 July, 1949. As a sequel to ban on Ngashi, the State Congress reinvigorated their clamour for abolition of monarchy in Manipur by launching ‘Quit Gaddi Movement’ with renewed gusto.
Blatant sloganeering of Hindi catchphrases such as ‘Manipur Maharaja jhootha hai, bhulo mat, bhulo mat, jhootha mantri goonda hai’ and ‘Manipur Maharaja Gaddi chhoro’ rented the air in certain locations of central Imphal. Dangled with a threat of prosecution in law courts by the State authorities; the ‘Quit Gaddi Movement’ orchestrated by the Manipur State Congress, finally showed signs of abating by the end of July, 1949.            
3 August, 1949 would eventually go down to be remembered as another day tainted with great infamy. Disgraceful incident sparking the infamy was a purported meeting of the Manipur State Congress party, underhandedly disguised as a ‘public meeting called at the open field in front of the Rupmahal Theatre’ (cited from Hijam Irabot Singh and Political Movements in Manipur by Karam Manimohan Singh, B.R. Publishing House, Delhi, 1989 Pg.347).
As the day’s events unfolded at the meeting venue, a telling display of lies, subterfuge, deceit and utter fraud played on the people of Manipur came uncovered. It transpired that Sinam Krishnamohon, the then President of the State Congress and Dwijamani Dev Sharma, another prominent leader of the Congress and a close friend of S. Krishnamohon, visited Delhi to seek blessings of the party high command of the Indian National Congress in their mission to press for abolition of monarchy and merger of Manipur into the Indian union. Subsequent upon their return, a host of Manipur State leaders viz. Sinam Krishnamohon, Laishram Jogeswar and Tompok Singh (Elangbam Tompok or Ngangom Tompok, not known) organized the purported public meeting at Rupmahal Theatre complex premises.       
The State Congress leaders announced that ‘they would declare the mandate of the Government of India as to the abolition of Gaddi and the integration of the State with written assurance from Dr. Pattavi Sitaramaya (then President, Indian National Congress) and Sardar Patel (then Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Home affairs and States ministry)’(ibid.). To this effect, the local Congress leaders, however, failed to produce any relevant paper and document obtained from their concerned national leadership to the ocular satisfaction of the ‘gathering public’, thereby, effectively rendering their so claimed ‘written assurance from Dr. Pattavi Sitaramaya and Sardar Patel’, a blatant misleading trickery played on the assembled public. Deceptive tactics employed by the State Congress party machinery did not end here. In a clear sign of devious skullduggery, some of their party workers artfully took photographs of the congregated people who had come to witness the meeting at the Rupmahal Theatre premises vilely misrepresenting them as supporters of the Congress party rallying for merger of Manipur into the Dominant of India (ibid.)                        To be contd