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A tribute to Arambam Somorendra

by Huirem Naresh
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Every year on June 10, we observe his Death Anniversary both in Manipur and outside. Arambam Somorendra was born on the 12th  July 1935 at Sagolband Meino Leirak Imphal. His father was the late Dorendrajit  Poet, Playwright and Author of the 193Os. His mother was Longjam Ningol Jamini Devi daughter of Longjam Amuba, the lshinglakpa during the British Administration. Somorendra’s Grandfather Meino Babu was the first Sub-Inspector of Police after the British takeover of Manipur after the Anglo Manipur was of l 891 . His grandmother Khomdonsana was the youngest daughter of Maharaja Surchandra (1886-1890)
During the second world war when Somorendra was 9 years old his father died in 1944 during the tension and struggles of human displacement. His maternal grandfather who had agricultural tenants in Sawombung village gave the family shelter. But the sudden invasions by the Japanese forces from the Ukhrul side forced them to seek shelter at Salam Keikhu in the traditional Langon yanfams of the family. However Dorendrajit died at age 37  leaving his wife  and two sons and a daughter as orphans.
Somorendra’s widowed mother reared the family after the war. He finished matriculation at Churachand High School and entered D.M. College in the intermediate class in 1955. He inherited leadership qualities from his erstwhile grandparent’s yet he nourished the thirst for movement and change as youths of the day. During the feverish student agitations in the I950s through socialist ideologies and practices, Somorendra led a batch of khwai students who picketed at the Khwairamband Bridge in 1952. The police beat him up and threw him down into the Nambul River. His family and friends nursed him back to health. Since then he was determined to fight for justice & dignity for his people.
At Dhanamanjuri college he rose to the position of senior under officer when the National Cadet Corps was first introduced in 1955.
After finishing the MA degree in Pune University in 1963, he slowly and consistently worked for the unity of the hills and plains people and aspired for the transformation of the status of the once proud pan mongoloids of the north-east. In 1969, the first notice came that there was an insurgency movement in Manipur and Somorendra left home and went underground for six years.
In 1975, when the Government of Manipur proclaimed general amnesty, Somorendra returned to Imphal and spent the rest of his life as a cultural activist and social visionary. He wrote a number of award winning plays and contributed to the revival of indigenous cultures of the land and also for special empowerment to women. He also worked for the consolidation of the Meitei diaspora.
While attending a seminar on shumang leela at Khurai Nandeibam Leikai on June 10, 2000, he was shot at by some unknown assailants. He was martyred for his land and people he loved. His friends, colleagues and admirers built a mausoleum at the site of his martyrdom. And each June 10, since then both the people from Manipur and outside offer flowers to the soul of this patriot of Manipur.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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