Jadonang in History
Samson Remei, Ashinpou Gangmei, Dr Benjamin Gangmei and Thomas Kamei
Contd from previous issue
Thirdly, Higgins made two flimsy pretexts for the denial of legal defence in the court of Political Agent for Jadonang, he says:
1. “No counsel was provided for the accused in my Court, as the case did not involve much legal question”. Can a murder case not involve much legal question ?
2. “The accused (Jadonang) has not sufficient means to defray the expenses” Higgins groundlessly justified his denial of legal defence for Jadonang.
It is clear that entire legal proceedings were studded with guises in the prosecution which he devised for political end by physically eliminating Jadonang from the scene. To be precise, Higgins planned to physically eliminate Jadonang under the guise of dispensing justice which is supposed to be in favour of the victims. A pertinent leading question to ask is: Had not been a murder case at that time, what pretext the colonial authority could have, against Jadonang for his capital punishment ? Remember, he had not yet, at that time, launched military campaign against the authority except impending military conflict with it.
Taking his game-plan and intent into consideration, what is seen is that his hidden political end, the decimination of Jadonang’s movement, was so obsessive. According to Prof HK Barpujari, the implication and incrimination were “much desired pretext to nip the movement in the bud”. He says, “in the absence of positive evidence, a verdict cannot be passed that the case was pursued beyond all reasonable doubt.
The alleged murder of Manipuris afforded the Government the much desired pretext to nip in the bud. The establishment of the “Naga Raj” in the problem ridden frontier would endanger the British Indian Government!”
Jadonang has created a place in history with freedom struggle for the Makaams who are aggregate of people living as groups yet belonged to each other in the region. His contribution is primarily two-fold: history and freedom. He scripted history among the tribes of India in general and among the Nagas in particular.
His freedom struggle is incorporated in the academic syllabus. Jadonang’s movement will never be oblivious to scholars, the educated in the study of socio-political movements of the tribes of India and most applicably to the study of North-Eastern tribes.
Jadonang is ranked among the tribal leaders, who fought against the British Government, of the region and India. He occupies a place in history. He was a freedom fighter that the Naga society has ever produced in early part of the 20th century. And no study about him shall be made in isolation of Nagas’ past. The study is part of Naga history. For what he did was what he scripted Naga history as son of the soil. The geographical context and how he allied with other Naga tribes of Manipur and Naga Hills during his movement sustain the fact of Naga historical process of the second decade of the century.
As to his contribution to freedom struggle of the Nagas, Jadonang’s movement is also one which shall never fail to tell the people that the Nagas have striven for self-determination prior to the likes which sprang up outside the Nagas’ in India’s soil. For the period proves prior to their insurgencies existed or existing. While the movement may be short of desirable extent in contribution, it still remains as a seed of freedom struggle sown hundred years before. His movement was launched after a gap of nearly hundred years from first Anglo-Naga conflict began in 1832 or so. If localised the base of the movement its extent is comparatively limited. But it holds true of the saying, “Something is better than nothing” if held an overall consideration. In fact, for example, the movement launched at the periphery of the Nagalim speaks of glaring fact about boundary of present Naga inhabited areas in south Nagalim. Therefore, even tall Naga nationalists like AZ Phizo, Th Muivah, etc. could not commit oversight of him and his movement.
In brief, since Jadonang’s movement is part of history its significance and relevance exist inerasably which may be given to effect if exploited for noble cause. The two aspects concomitant in the movement always remain above all trivialities whinged about Jadonang. It seems the observation of Prof R Mahadevan, in this regard, is correct. He observes the Jadonang’s movement a Naga Raj is “one of the most important anti-imperialistic struggles... the beginning of the political struggle of hill people of Manipur against the British... an organised rebellion with clear-cut programme and objectives of shaking off the imperialistic yoke, and the establishment of a Naga Raj”. Jadonang’s movement is studied because he also sacrificed his life for freedom. He has played his part leaving room for our part.
Samson Remei, former President (UNC), Ashinpou Gangmei, former Chairman of Alternative Arrangement, Dr. Benjamin Gangmei, Assoc. Prof. and Thomas Kamei, former President of Zeliangrong Baudi, Manipur