Contd from previous issue
5. No communist activity amounting to blood shed, agitation, clash and firing etc., takes place since the beginning of the present popular government except the one attended with murder and firing which occurred during the inefficient Congress Government of the Interim period run by the Manipur State Congress. We are very careful against the communists as India Government does. Manipur is free from any disturbing elements excepting the so called Manipur State Congress who instead trying to regain the lost confidence of the people by good constructive works, are attempting in vain to snatch the ministry by deceitful activities quite against the ideologies of the Indian National Congress. These job hunting leaders of the M.S.C. are trying to disturb the political brain of Indian leaders by false and selfish reports.
6. The charge that the present hard-won popular government of Manipur is pro-communist is quite meaningless and baseless – it being the creation or propaganda of M.S. Congress under the guidance of some dejected and disheartened imitation leaders. Under the disguise of Gandhi cap, Indian National Flag, the affiliation of the Indian Congress, they are actually doing the role of the communists.
7. Since democracy is the rule of law, the Maharaja and the Council’s careful observance of law according to the Constitution cannot be described as misrule though painted so by the envious M.S. Congress who are trying to take law into their own hands. The present government with a comfortable and stable majority and with the full confidence of the people, is carrying on the administration in a very cautious manner.
8. There is no denying the fact that in view of the present circumstances more than 99% of the people of Manipur are deadly against the move of the M.S. Congress and the Socialists for integration or merging of the State. In the implementation of Bapujee’s ideology and declared principle that no State will be merged or integrated without the consent of the people and in view of the assurances made by the Indian leaders like Pandit Nehru, it is the firm belief of the people that Manipur State will not be integrated or merged in the present circumstances. Mr. V.P. Menon, Advisor to the States Ministry, also recently declared that the sentiments of the people would be the guiding factor in determining the future of Manipur.
It is, therefore, the spontaneous voice and earnest desire of the people of Manipur State vouchsafed by the opinion of the majority of the State Assembly and constitutional public meetings to have the following for the common welfare of India and Manipur.
a. The continuance of the relations between India and the Manipur State under the Instrument of Accession.
b. Home Rule be run by local figures under the democratic Constitution of Manipur State.
c. That the representative of India, if there should be any in Manipur State, be bound by the Constitution without interference in the day-to-day internal administration except when required constitutionally, as otherwise it would amount to one One-Man Rule.
d. Some representatives of Manipur be allowed in the Government of India as a special case for this Tribal State to represent the interest of the Manipur State. (See ‘Question of Manipur regarding integration’ by Praja Santi Sobha by Mr. Mani Singh cited in Resistance dated 28 August, 1979 Pg. 7)
To counter the Manipur State Congress campaign to merge Manipur to India and abolition of monarchy, Mr. Mani Singh of the Praja Shanti party made vigorous efforts to expose the hollowness of State Congress demands. In a memorandum submitted to Indian leaders from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in-charge of Department of States, Sri Prakasa, the Governor of Assam and B. Pattavi Sitaramayya, President, All India Congress Committee to expressly make known that ‘almost cent percent of the people of Manipur are deadly against integration or merger or abolition of the Gadi’. Unmasking the true colours of the Manipur State Congress, Mr. Mani roundly lambasted by saying that ‘while all their attempts to break the constitution which was enforced (in Manipur) having frustrated, they aimed at integration or merger of the State as a centrally administered area’. The memorandum made known to the public in clear cut terms that some State Congress leaders ‘recently went to Delhi and moved for the abolition of the Gadi and integration of the State without taking any public opinion whatsoever’. The Praja Shanti party memorandum lambasted that a ‘hopeless minority party (that Manipur State Congress was) falsely represented to Delhi fraudulently stating there that Manipur people wanted integration and abolition of gadi with forged resolutions of their own minority party’. Tracing the evolution of Praja Shanti party into a ruling party and spelling out reasons for Congress’ disastrous performance in the 1948 elections, the memorandum summed up that ‘at the bitter experience of the people in their job hunting nature instead of serving the best interests of the people, the people lost all confidence in them’. Without mincing any words, the Praja Shanti party dealt with sharpest denunciation and came out with most trenchant condemnation of the Congress party vociferously accusing it of blatant cheating, brazen hoodwinking and deliberate mischief played upon the people who came to gather at the Rupmahal meeting on 3 August, 1949, which eventually ended in a fiasco. As many as seven glaring foul plays committed by the Manipur State Congress leaders were enlisted and made known by crowds duped by the Manipur State Congress
1. The President of the Manipur State Congress (Krishnamohon Singh) came to the meeting as the President of the occasion as appointed by the Congress workers themselves from his house, denying the people the right of electing the President proper way. A large number of the audience had objected the selection of Krishnamohon as the President of the meeting, and proposed that some disinterested person should be selected. But the Congress party had placed Krishnamohon Singh in the chair against the protest of the audience and a great hue and cry had raised. The Congress party took snap of the scence.
2. The improper use of the Indian National Flag on the occasion.
3. The Congress party had disallowed anybody other than their scheduled Congressmen to speak and express their opinion. The fact was that – Kunjabihari Singh, Laishram Jogeswar Singh, Loitam Yaima, Lalita Madhab Sharma, Ananda Singh and Salam Ibotombi Singh had all delivered speeches urging the removal of the gaddi, and a replacement of the existing Cabinet. But after urging the three speeches, when one Laishram Ibobi Singh, who was a member of the Manipur Students’ Congress requested to permit him to deliver a speech, he was turned out forcibly from the platform by the Congress party, resulting in a great golamal. None of the audience, i.e., Manipuris, Hill people and Muslims were allowed to give speeches by the Congress Party.
4. Having failed to get public support on the issue, the Congress workers found no other alternative but to declare that it was a Congress-Party-Meeting and not a public meeting, just contradicting their previous notice.
5. The Congress workers made an announcement that only those people who would hear them could remain, but the people who wanted to speak should go away.
6. They had used physical violence and lathis, which was a wanton show of high-handedness in public affairs.
7. They held the meeting at the verandah of the Rupmahal Theatre instead of the scheduled Gandhi Maidan. (cited from Hijam Irabot Singh and Political Movements in Manipur by Karam Manimohan Singh, B.R. Publishing House, Delhi, 1989 Pg.347-8)
It is clear that the political scenario of Manipur was pulling in different directions, as the year 1949 entered its second half, with certain political parties coming into conflict with each other. While the Manipur State Congress entered into warpath with Maharaja Bodh Chandra, calling for removal of gaddi and merger of Manipur with India, the ruling Praja Shanti party stood ramrod in countering the State Congress diabolic designs. They wanted to preserve the institution of monarchy and sovereign identity of Manipur as true nationalists. The Socialist party wanted Manipur to be merged into Assam province which was another suicidal political stance. As for Hijam Irabot’s parties, it had had nearly been a year since the mass leader had gone underground. Yet, Irabot’s stated position was that ‘let the people decide the questions on how Manipur should be merged in any province, or whether she should remain aloof from India’ even though this statement was made before India won freedom on 15 August, 1947. (See undated letter of Hijam Irabot letter to R.K. Bhubansana cited in Hijam Irabot Singh and Political Movements in Manipur by Karam Manimohan Singh, B.R. Publishing House, Delhi, 1989 Pg.213, which in turn, was adapted from Anouba Jug 9th issue dated 8th June 1947, pp. 4-5 and 7-8) [Irabot’s stance and position on joining India and merger will be dealt at length later on.]
Meanwhile, in the thick of ensuing conflict between the ruling Praja Shanti party and Manipur State Congress, Dewan Maj. Gen. Rawal Amar Singh having abetted the Congress leaders to launch anti-Maharaja tirade, started to deliberately and directly poked his fingers in the normal discharge of administration by the State executive. He increasingly became a meddlesome hindrance to the government’s functioning. Maharaja Bodh Chandra could not remain silent spectator to the outrageous undue interference inflicted by the Dewan in matters of State administration for long. So, His Highness decided to make a visit to Shillong to lodge complaint against the unbecoming conduct of the Dewan to Assam Governor Sri Prakasa and ultimately seek his removal. Accordingly, Maharaja Bodh Chandra left Imphal for Shillong on 16 September, 1949. However, unfortunately for His Highness, he did not realize that Sri Prakasa was wretchedly masterminding the whole nasty political games directed against him from behind the scenes. He certainly did not figure out and read the real intentions of Sri Prakasa and so therefore, was sadly unaware of the wily, cunning, crafty and calculative Machiavellian stuff, the bania Assam Governor was made of. And resultantly, Maharaja Bodh Chandra made the most ruinous blunder by embarking on a journey to Shillong which was the most fatal step undertaken by for Manipur in his life time.
After undergoing six days of intense grueling ordeal and nightmarish torment, Maharaja Bodh Chandra would be finally coaxed to sign on the dotted lines of merger agreement at Shillong, on 21 September, 1949, ‘a date which will live in infamy’ for Manipur. Twenty two days later, on 15 October, 1949 when merger finally came into effect, curtains came crashing down on the sovereign, independent existence of Manipur, that it had come to enjoy for brief two years after the lapse of British paramountcy. The downcast event of merger appeared, as a complete bolt from the blue, overcast on the dark political horizon of Manipur which came in the most abrupt, grotesque and dismaying fashion imaginable. The people of Manipur, sadly, witnessed the end of the story of, as they know it, of their brief dalliance as a sovereign entity. The tragic tale interwoven around the destiny of Manipur did not stop here. Moments after taking over reins of administration as Chief Commissioner of a Part C State as envisaged and decreed by terms and features of the merger agreement, Maj. Gen. Rawal Amar Singh iniquitously meted out twin frontal assaults on the then democratic polity character of Manipur which was put in place under Maharaja Bodh Chandra’s time.
The time was before noon of 15 October, 1949; without any rhyme and reason, the autocrat, outsider Mayang Chief Commissioner, in sheer abuse of power, outrageously dismissed the Capt. M.K. Priya Brata government and dissolved the elected Assembly. It goes without saying dismissal of elected government was manifestly tantamount to travesty of democracy. And dissolution of elected Assembly repugnantly signify bonfire of democracy, lock, stock and barrel. Ironically, all these sordid sequence of events happened as an instant outcome of Manipur’s tryst with Indian democracy. A white elephant, brown Mayang sahib, autocrat Chief Commissioner was simply let loose riding roughshod over people of Manipur after merger with India. Yet, all said and done, what was bizarrely obnoxious for one to come to terms is the fact that a quisling generation was relishing the moments of Manipur’s merger with India, delightfully merry making and dancing their heart out with full throttle joy and merriment.
Elangbam Tompok hosted a feast at his residence in Chingmakha thrilled and overjoyed on celebrating the merger of Manipur into India hailing the moment as an hour of glory unbeknownst to what lay in store for the future of the land and what gross mistreatment shall be meted out by India in the days to come. Thabal chongba (loosely translated as folk dance ceremony performed only during March season) was staged at the Congress Bhavan, Imphal to signify their sense of satisfaction and solace in ‘their’ happy hour of merger. The general feeling that pervaded the atmosphere in both Elangbam Tompok and Congress Bhavan, Imphal was to sum up in vernacular language was : ngasidagi Manipur Bharata tille, Ningthou louthok-ae, eikhoi mayam nungaire, haraobagi pankhei leitre (meaning thereby – from today onwards Manipur is merged into India, the king has been effectively dethroned from power, our happiness is limitless and so, consequently it knows no bounds to find expression)
Needless to emphasize, forthcoming generations to come will unfailingly, agonizingly and mournfully deplore, despise and curse the stark truth that there once existed and strode a ring of quisling generation on the soil of Manipur who left her in the lurch, sacrifice her political personality in misguided zeal coupled with avarice for power. And these blackguard quislings were the ones who constituted the leading lights of the Quit Gaddi campaign and they rejoiced Manipur’s merger moment, termed in many quarters as one of darkest hour, finest moment of glory happen in their lifetime hitherto. Consider the case of feasting at Elangbam Tompok’s residence. A motley band of crowd who were anti monarchist with pent up anti establishment fervour gathered at the Congressman’s residence just to heartily express out their satisfaction and happiness at Manipur’s merger with India. What those souls, whoever feasted at Elangbam Tompok’s house on Saturday, the 15 October, 1949, including himself, did not fallaciously realize is that in their salacious act, they gravely mistook the funeral of Manipur’s sovereign status and subsequent gobbling up by India as fine moment of glory for themselves in the most conceited and vainglorious manner.
Hubris ruled Elangbam Tompok back then in autumn of 1949, typical hubris characteristic of some peculiar vice-ridden Meitei men. He was not the only one, there were many others whose long list of infuriating names may make one go wild with anger for having trampled upon and sacrificed their sacred motherland at the altar of pursuing their self serving interests. Men of shallow understanding, the lot of quisling generation were; they possessed low level of comprehension and lack of farsightedness utterly compromised and jeopardized Manipur in 1949. And yet bizarrely and quite brazenly, they justified their wrongdoing as having done something good for the motherland by merging Manipur into India and abolishing monarchy, dethroning Maharaja Bodh Chandra from power and ushering in taste of Indian democracy for the people of Manipur.
When one takes to recall the names of those who constituted the abominable lot of a quisling generation who letdown Manipur in 1949; it is a sheer disgusting, agonizing and sickening exercise for one to carry out, at all, this hazardous, thankless task. However in order to set the record straight, on must not hesitate to call a spade a spade and portray the historical events and personalities just at it were without mincing any words. The who’s who of 1949 tumultuous political epoch-underwent-as-well-as-the-scene-witnessed by the people of Manipur must be neatly stratified in the spectrum of the good, the bad and the ugly in clear cut terms. Whoever is an intrepid hero deserving accolades, speak of him in glowing terms. Whoever is a blackguard betrayer, berate him unsparingly without fear of retribution and backlash from his follower’s camp or blood descendants. (To be contd)