Contd from previous issue
Along with the stoppage of this popular paper, an agitation has to be started to vindicate the cause of the people for removal of the ban on this nationalist paper. The present tirade against this people’s organ is a challenge thrown upon the State Congress which the State Congress shall not take lying low. As soon as news of stoppage of this progressive paper is spread, there is stir among the people and public meetings have to be organized and demonstrations are going to be staged as protest against the ban.
The State authorities will be responsible for any untoward incident that may arise out of meetings held in connection with this improper and fascistic order of the present reactionary State Council. (See Memo No. 658/L-D(c) dated 22.7.49 of Publicity Department, Manipur State Congress cited in Resistance fortnightly dated August 21, 1979)
It remains a curious affair as to why the Manipur State Congress’ plea for intervention did not elicit any response from the Dewan Maj. Gen. Rawal Amar Singh. Quite calculatingly, R.A. Singh chose to remain a shrewd bystander, maintaining studied silence, over an agitation unfolding before his eyes, only watching the whole show from a distance. Future course of events will prove that R.A. Singh’s muteness to Ngashi ban and Quit Gaddi campaign is in marked contrast to his later unwarranted interference in the minister Alimuddin election case which pinpricked Maharaja Bodh Chandra enough to set on fateful journey to Shillong where the shrewd, sly, lowly life Sri Prakasa and his cohort Nari Rustamji I.C.S. would lay predatory ambush on His Highness to sign the merger agreement. Plainly speaking, there was not a thing in the then existing administrative architecture of Manipur circa 1949, save this extra-constitutional, grossly extraneous and outright foreign element parachuted from outside under most outrageous circumstances, Dewan R.A. Singh whom the Manipur State Congress saw as hope to last resort to unmake Manipur then. Quite appallingly, they saw every Meitei and hill-men soul in the side of pro-monarchy as enemies from Maharaja Bodh Chandra to Capt. M.K.P.B. to Hill MLA’s and even the royalist newspaper published from Atombapu Sharma’s premises Bhagyabati Patrika but they were simply cosying up and drawing themselves, closer shamelessly ingratiating themselves, to Mayang R.A. Singh totally destabilizing Manipur from within.
Forthcoming generations can only bemoan and bewail the art of making enemies from thin air in the Maharaja Bodh Chandra establishment and most crucially, the treacherous traitorous, treasonous fifth columnist role to destabilize and wreck from the then Manipur State Congressmen. Perfidious Congressmen did everything to dismantle, demolish and mow down the proud independent, sovereign existence of Manipur under Maharaja Bodh Chandra in to smithereens. Worse still, these despicable lot of little men who were without a doubt ‘odious- vermin-characters’ happily rejoiced when the sovereign existence of Manipur was smashed, crushed and extirpated lock, stock and barrel. That’s why, suffice to say history will never vindicate the treacherous quisling generation of Manipur who let down their motherland in 1949. Forthcoming generations will never forgive them for their sins.
Meanwhile, returning back to the Quit Gaddi campaign in Imphal, as the chain of events unfolded, on 23 July, 1949, the Congress party held an ‘emergent meeting’ of its working committee where it passed a long resolution whining, remonstrating and crying foul over the State clampdown on its mouthpiece. Cyclostyled copies of the resolution were sent to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of States Department, the Assam Governor Sri Prakasa, the Dewan R.A. Singh and the President, All India Congress Committee, B. Pattabhi Sittaramayya.
In the resolution, the State Congress linked the ban on Ngashi daily as a gross example of denial of civil liberties. It further went on to interpret that it being a unit of the Indian National Congress, the Manipur government ban on Ngashi newspaper was a direct challenge and affront to the Indian National Congress even though it is not clear, to this day, whether the Manipur State Congress (M.S.C.) was affiliated to All India States Peoples’ Conference (A.I.S.P.C.) or All India Congress Committee (A.I.C.C.). One can have serious doubts and reservations whether any express notification exists, whatsoever and where so ever, and has survived to this day clearly stating the then M.S.C. was indeed affiliated to the A.I.S.P.C. or A.I.C.C. from such and such day sequel to M.S.C.’s formation 6 October, 1946 at the Aryan Theatre after Hijam Irabot and his cohorts staged a historic walkout and parting of ways after abuses were hurled against him by those who would later have a major say in forming the M.S.C.
In all, the Manipur State Congress party’s vile resolution was nothing but a one sided self-eulogy whereby it arrogated itself as a self appointed defender of civil liberties and champion of people’s cause. At the same time, the party resolutions smacked of a stern vilification campaign of His Highness the Maharaja and the then Manipur government, on the whole. The following is the full text of the resolution passed at the emergent meeting of the Manipur State Congress on 20 July, 1947 which undoubtedly makes an exasperating read:
A resolution was passed banning the daily NGASI patrika by the State Council in its meeting held on 20.7.49 in a sweeping condemnation but without giving proper reasons and substantiating adequate charges. This paper has been propagating the ideology of the Manipur State Congress nay, of the Indian National Congress.
The paper was also not an organ that pursued a communist or Razakar ideology. The ban on NGASI, the only organ of the Manipur State Congress which is a unit under the Indian National Congress and also pursues the policy and programme of that august organisation, is by going against the Indian National Congress and also by denying civil liberties to the people, an attempt to a conspiracy to give a long rope to the reactionaries who are out to hold on to their present reactionary regime for a considerable length of time.
In a civilized world if actions have to be taken at all, when such actions are warranted by law against the people’s organ, such editorials or leading articles as are deemed objectionable are subjected to censorship before they see their light, or circulation of that paper is prohibited in the official circles, or penalty is reasonably awarded to the Editor; as for instance actions were taken as in above manner against the Hindusthan Standard and also very recently against the Assam Tribune. Not a single nationalist paper has yet been banned by the Government of India except the Communist organ that incites violence to the extent the existing Indian Government is exposed to danger. To ban completely a people’s organ is out of tune in a country where a democratic system of government prevails.
This ban imposed upon the daily NGASI, which is the only organ of the Manipur State Congress, is a deliberate attempt made by the enemies of the Congress to wipe out the Congress organisation here by gagging the mouthpiece of the State Congress resulting in the paralysis of the Congress activities and publications. The State Congress cannot remain indifferent at this onslaught made upon it and also at this bureaucratic jhulum hurled for the extinction of the Congress.
It is therefore resolved that with a view to completely safeguarding the civil liberties, preventing the organ being gagged and further for the healthy growth of the Congress organisation, public meetings be held, processions be arranged and demonstrations be staged as a protest against the ban imposed upon the daily NGASI and for the immediate removal of this ban.
Congress Panchayats in Tahasils be directed to hold public meetings, arrange processions and stage demonstrations as a protest against the ban. (See Memo No. 664/L-I (C) dated 23.7.49 of Working Committee, Manipur State Congress cited in Resistance dated August 21, 1979)
Although the Capt. M.K. Priya Brata government had banned publication of the Ngashi paper, it made appearance albeit in the form of various bulletins which were printed clandestinely and circulated to readers. The tone, tenor and content of the bulletins were laced with a vehemence of vicious attack on Maharaja Bodh Chandra and the institution of monarchy, on the whole.
In its series of bulletins, the Manipur State Congress clamoured for abolition of monarchy and merger of Manipur to India, which was undoubtedly detrimental and suicidal, to say the least, for Manipur’s, ‘separate-existence’ and proud independent identity, which the party did not care two hoots to spare a thought about in their lust power. Bulletin No. 3 of the State Congress party appeared on 25 July, 1949 under the caption ‘Quit Gadi’. A vitriolic tirade against Maharaja Bodh Chandra, it contained full of malice and spite against His Highness. The bulletin reflected most stinging and malevolent vendetta against His Highness which runs as follows:
Gaddi is a black number institute. We people will no longer with the heaviest expenditure this unwanted and unnecessary establishment.
Equality is truth and Truth is religion. It is part of everyman’s religion to abolish this greatest enemy of equality. Sisters and brothers of Manipur,
Now is the time to fight,
Now is the time to strike,
Now is the time to prepare,
Now is the time to forward.Be prepared to face all disruptionists. Do as a man, and die as a man. Prepare to die as a man. Life is struggle. March on to the path of our goal. We are one. Our enemy is the most privileged man. Manipuris say in one voice
Quit Gaddi, Quit, Quit, Quit. (cited from Bulletin No. 3. “Quit Gaddi”, dated 25th July, 1949, published by the Manipur State Congress, and printed at the Chitrangada Press, Imphal, p.1, col. 2 produced in Hijam Irabot Singh and Political Movements in Manipur by Karam Manimohan Singh, B.R. Publishing House, Delhi, 1989 Pg.344-5)
The next day, on 26 July, 1949, another bulletin of the Manipur State Congress came out under the caption ‘King’s dethronement is sure’. Prophesising that the writing is on the wall for the institution of monarchy in Manipur, the Congress party was exhorting the government employees to quit their jobs and join the chorus demanding removal of Maharaja Bodh Chandra. The bulletin made the following remarks:
The King’s dethronement is sure. Now it is of no use to help and flatter the King. The King’s servant must be wise enough now a days. Otherwise people do not like to see their misfortune. See the conditions of Kashim and Rajde and Razakar, the brave servants of Hyderabad Nizam.
The proposed Satyagraha by the Manipur State Congress has fully been supported by the Indian National Congress. The King’s period is on the wane, and the peoples’ victory is coming.
The meaningless delirium of the Bhagyabati paper is of no use. People are now making propaganda to quit the gaddi, and they do not like to see the reserve amount of Rs.1,60,000 for the King’s use.
The Manipur State Congress is now ready for launching movement. (cited from Bulletin No. 3. “Quit Gaddi”, dated 25th July, 1949, published by the Manipur State Congress, and printed at the Chitrangada Press, Imphal, p.1, cols. 1 & 2, ibid. produced in Hijam Irabot Singh and Political Movements in Manipur by Karam Manimohan Singh, B.R. Publishing House, Delhi, 1989 Pg.344-5)
Around this time, the Manipur State Congress took to the streets launching what came to be known as Quit Gaddi Movement. The Congress volunteers held a series of street protests hurling foulest abuses against Maharaja Bodh Chandra some of which are unprintable. Slogans like ‘Manipur raja jhootha hai, bhulo mat, bhulo mat, Goonda mantri jhootha hai’ which smacks of distasteful badmouthing against His Highness, rented the air in and around Yaiskul, Singjamei, Posts and Telegraph office and Indo-Burma road, limited urban pockets.
Another slogan which read ‘police jhulum bandh karo’ was also shouted by the Manipur State Congress inspired frenzied agitators. What is really disgusting, galling and dismaying about the slogans mouthed in the Quit Gaddi movement is that the Congressmen who led the charge of shouting/slanging brigade deliberately used Hindi slogans, not vernacular ones which simply goes on to establish that the entire show and charade of the movement was, without a doubt, foreign inspired. It goes without saying that the Quit Gaddi agitation was, clearly, a handiwork of external adversarial forces that were, just, out to destabilize Maharaja Bodh Chandra and the Capt. M.K. Priyabrata government, which in turn, was composed by the majority-garnered Praja Shanti party.
To be contd