Coming of Manipur University in 1980 A defining moment in the history of higher education in Manipur

Dr AK Chishti
On June 5 1980, Manipur University came into existence under Manipur University Act 8 of 1980. The State University then became a Central University w.e.f. Oct 13th of 2005. For the entire populace of Manipur, the academics and educated youths in particular, the coming of a full-fledged University of their own was indeed a long felt desire and dream fulfilled at long last.
On this 42nd birth anniversary of the coming of Manipur University, it will be worthwhile to recall the episode as a glorious chapter in the annals of growth and development of institutions of Higher Education in the state since 1946 with the establishment of DM College. However, true tale of coming of the University in 1980 remained so far as an enigma or an untold story (motivated or not) for generations keeping the general people, the academics and students of higher classes who have the inherent right to be informed, in the dark. The revelation today will therefore, give a new rhythm to the educational reforms in Manipur which has been in an unhappy state of management which used to breed multiplication of several ills agonising the young minds. The academics and young people since long aspired for a full-fledged University of International standard and felt as the need of the hour to create the necessary environment for bringing about a sweeping change effecting a living and functional education from bottom level to top level. It is to be figured out by the authority of higher education. The policy followed so far even after establishing of State University and now a Central University can’t be said to have come near the goal or target. Old concepts of education are still in the mind of men in the helm of affairs.
To ignite the passion of the aspirants today it has become an unavoidable obligation on the part of the pioneers who ran from pillar to post for the establishment of Manipur University in 1980 that saved State students from losing their valuable careers in 1980 and after. The episode should not be/cannot be forgotten as it will surely inspire the brave youth of all generations in their struggle for the promotion of good public causes. Pioneers, a few in numbers had already set the example in 1980 that also very peacefully without any sort of conflict and loss of time.
It will be hard to believe but it remains true and vivid that a group of DM College teacher and five senior students, in response to the obvious need of the hour exercised their inherent rights and duties to take up the cause & set the example in the episode when a decision must be taken. All welcomed and appreciated the role played by the teacher and the students of DM College at such a critical juncture. It was really a defining moment in the history of higher education of Manipur.
Never before in the history of North Eastern States of India such a situation existed as in 1970s, affecting the lives of the people and the functioning of the Government mainly in Assam. In the face of the situation, Assam students’ launching of a massive strike against the occupation of their land by war refugees from across the border, told upon the normal functioning of educational institutions of the State for a longer period as a result all the students in and around Assam including college students of Manipur had to face and bear the brunt in an unprecedented situation arising out of indefinite postponement of University examinations of Guwahati University to that colleges of Manipur were also affiliated. It was an irony of fate for the Manipur students as the situation was never of their own making and creation and in no way comparable with that of Assam. The real and only situation that was visible clearly confronting them was the absence of a State University that could conduct or manage their affairs as other Universities do normally.
The idea of having a State University in 1980 was not the idea of the Government authority at that time. The fact is that soon after taking stock of the situation when there was no solution in sight the said group of DM teachers and senior students decided to take the initiative as in duty bound. It was extremely important because many other things depended on it. As all will agree that an early diagnosis is crucial for a successful treatment and cure. It was akin to the then prevailing situation. It was the real defining situation for Manipur.
Some of the pioneers who were with the teacherss are here today in this function when some are not. They are now retired from their services in the State and outside. Their undying spirit is in their original places always that can be seen in their giving ready response to the organisation of this function today. The group will be termed as G6 consisting of no. 1. Dr AK Chishti, Retd. Principal DM College (Commerce) 2. L Nilakamal Singh, Retd. Assistant Director, IB (Intelligence Bureau) Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, New Delhi 3. L Upendro Sharma, Retd. Director JN Dance Academy, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, New Delhi 4. Ksh Shantakumar Singh, Retd. Jt. Director, Department of Commerce and Industries, Government of Manipur 5. Shri. O Imocha Singh, Uripok 6. Shri H. Prameshwar Singh, Khurai.
Rendezvous with Education Minister and Men in the helm of affairs
The idea of having a University was already there in the minds of men who hobnobbed with the authority of JNU Delhi and opened the JNU Centre of Post Graduate studies at Imphal instead of opening a State University at that time. In that direction it may be recalled that the present teacher in the lead put forward his suggestions via the local daily “The Prajatantra” of 23rd May of 1972 under the caption “University Kadaida”; two sites namely, Luwangsangbam foot hill and the Leimaching foot hill were suggested for giving active consideration of either of the two as the most suitable site for the location of the proposed University.
(To be contd)