Contd from previous issue
The enraged, exasperated mob who gathered at Rupmahal premises, thereafter, staged a walkout with sheer incense and disgust leaving behind a only ‘handful of Congressmen who could not therefore finish their meeting and arrive at any resolution publicly whatsoever’. The crowd then moved to nearby Gandhi Maidan where they organized a counter meeting under the joint presidentship of Solet Kuki, Habi Mohammed Mia and Nandlal Sharma with Mutum Ibochou as Secretary. In the meeting, the following persons delivered speeches namely: (1) Demkhohen (Sanaching), (2) Tonguthang (Chasat Chief), (3) Hemkhulun (Kultuk), (4) Abas Ali, (5) Waikhom Mera, (6) Ningthoujam Modhumangol (Khurai) and (7) Takhelambam Koirenjao. The Gandhi Maidan meeting was well organized affair in which due representation was given to all sections of the society by ensuring joint presidentship consisting of one hill man, one valley representative and one Mahamedan (spelling ascribed for Mohammedan). Many hill men spoke out of turn in the meeting in which they freely expressed their opinion on the merger question. The following resolutions were unanimously resolution in the meeting:
1. The big gathering of to-day’s meeting protest public meeting unanimously pass the resolution that the gaddi cannot be abolished and the State cannot be integrated or merged.
2. This meeting unanimously resolves that the Manipur State Congress is a deceitful one
3. This meeting condemns the Manipur State Congress in their act of selling Manipur prajas to India without taking public opinion and by falsely alleging that they had the support of the people. This meeting further expresses its utter denial that they had the support of the people. This meeting further expresses its utter denial of the deceitful plan for a public meeting on their return from Delhi. The Praja Shanti be requested to perform the function of informing the Manipuri public and all authorities concerned clearly explaining all these faults and cheating.
4. Resolved that resolutions of today’s meeting be sent to Praja Santi Sobha (Government Party) in original for having copies of them published in newspapers and forwarded to proper authorities. (See Memo No. 6 of the Praja Santi Sobha by Mr. Mani Singh cited in Resistance dated 28 August, 1979 Pg. 7)
In August, 1949, it was clearly visible on the political horizon that there prevailed a widespread sense of disquiet and a great deal of consternation, creating a feeling of deep unease among the many elected MLA’s giving rise to an inkling of anxious apprehension; pointing towards an unpropitious scenario, that Manipur may be merged to the then Dominion of India against the much wishes and desire of the people. To this end, the Praja Shanti party relentlessly strove to zealously safeguard and defend the interests of Manipur in whatever way they could. Resultantly, on 25 August, 1949 a meeting of the MLAs belonging Praja Shanti party was held, chaired by its party President Khaidem Iboton. Three Krishak Sabha MLAs also participated in the meeting. A total number of 24 MLAs were signatories to the following resolutions that were adopted in the meeting:
Whereas it has been considered expedient in the interests of Manipur State during the critical period of integration or merging of States in general and the War Compensation question of Manipur in particular to depute some representatives of Manipur State to present the real picture of the Manipur State constitutional position and also to show solid reasons against integration or merging of the Manipur State, and to have the position and policy of War Compensation including reparations from Japan in respect of Manipur clarified by the India-Government authorities concerned.
Now, therefore, it is resolved that the Manipur State Government Party in response to the demand and sentiments of the people-
1. That Sjt. N. Ibomcha Singh, Secretary, Praja Shanti Sobha, Government Party, and Mr. S.L. Lunneh, M.L.A. be deputed to India Government with the enclosed papers substantiating the solid reasons against integrating or merging of the Manipur State.
2. That the good and cordial relations between India and the Manipur State under the Instrument of Accession be continued for some years for the interests and safeguard of Manipur and India.
3. That the Home Rule of the Manipur State be run on by the local figures under democratic constitution to allow self-development with a keen sense of responsibility economically, politically and socially.
4. 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, quite against the principle of democracy for which India had for centuries fought.
5. That 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 Resolution of a meeting of MLAs belonging to the ruling Praja Santi Sobha vide Memo No. 13 by Mr. N. Ibomcha Singh cited in Resistance dated 11 September, 1979 Pg. 6-7)
In addition to the abovementioned resolutions adopted in the meeting, a note entitled ‘Question of Manipur State regarding Integration’ was prepared by the MLAs belonging to the Praja Shanti party detailing the reasons against merger of Manipur. The party firmly upheld that the then existing status quo as regards the relations between Manipur and India was quite perfect and should be maintained or left undisturbed as such. So, consequently therefore, there was no need for merger as demanded by the Manipur State Congress which would be highly detrimental to preserve the distinctive identity of Manipur. The statement of argument prepared by the Praja Shanti party the advanced the most cogent, telling justification and rationale against merger of Manipur; full extracts of which are reproduced as follows:
Even though the integration or merging of the States be highly needed general policy or diplomacy of the India Government for the welfare of India, preserving or tolerating Manipur State as an exception can’t be but an extra-ordinary piece of diplomacy of the India Government in consideration of the following outstanding and specific grounds:-
1. Most of the States integrated or merged had no satisfactory relation with the India Government to that extent the Manipur State is now having with the India Government regarding Defence, Communications and External Affairs.
2. In spite of a rapid progress during these few years after the departure of the British, the Manipur State is still backward in many respects in comparison with the other peoples of India. The language, integrity, taste, culture, customs and manners etc. of Manipur are at present completely distinctive and quite separate from the rest of India. Linguistic differences will be the most helpless bar to integration or merging. We know that exploitation will never be the intention of India Government but circumstances will automatically invite exploitation. So it is not that we are obstinate, but we can’t rely on such circumstances which do nor permit us to welcome integration or merging.
3. The peculiarities of the Hill tribes of Manipur regarding (a) different dialects, customs and manners, diet standard of living and earning and geographic situation (b) faith in religion and (c) their intellectual, social economical and political backwardness, and the exploitation that they may be invited thereby-these are unforsakable circumstances which render them to stand firm against in integration or merging. In our social, economical and political outlooks and in other spheres of life, it is a necessity to foster up mutual care and spirit of amity among ourselves and the tribals. The backwardness of the mass of people specially of the hill men is being made up in a geometrical ratio with due attention focussed to mass education.
4. Manipur is the most peaceful State with popular Government or constitutional monarchy well-established and can be proud of having a democratic constitution on adult franchise and joint electorate. In our own standard, economically, politically and socially, nothing is going wrong in Manipur. The Manipuries have been under a fine and ordered life for more than 200 years and any sudden change (implying merger) would not suit the will of the people.
To be contd