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Problem of 1949 Annexation of Manipur

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: Prof. Naorem Sanajaoba
(Translated by Aheibam Koireng Singh)    
In these recent few years, the intelligentsias have started giving their attention, and discussing on the issue that Manipur had forcibly been merged in the year 1949. In addition to it, there has been uninterrupted public curfew on 15 October every year since 1991. According to the official press release issued by the state, Manipur had been merged to India with the willingness of the masses. However, according to the newspapers which reflect the voice of the people, bandh had been organized with the overwhelming participation of the masses. Hindustan Times, a leading national English newspaper, dated 19 April 1993 had on its featured news item titled, “Tact needed to assuage anger in Manipur” stated – “And according to report, it (bandh) was such a success that not a single soul stirred out of the houses.” It further added, “The immediate Post-Independence euphoria soon gave way to widespread resentment over the Merger issue.” Because of all these reasons, the question surrounding the merger of Manipur remains an inevitable and crucial issue of the land.
On this very issue, three very important and significant questions emerge very clearly. They are:
First Question: What is the political status before Manipur became an integral part of India on 15 October 1949?
Second Question : Whether the integration or merger of Manipur to India is right or wrong as per the existing norms and standards of International Law?
Third Question: After the merger of Manipur to India, whether there doesn’t have any scope for Manipur of regaining its pre-merger political status?
Keeping these three questions in imperative and prime consideration, other corresponding and collaborative issue also emerges. To cite an example-
How far, the stand taken by the Government of India that, the issue of Manipur falls within the sovereignty of India, any individuals or country have no right to interfere in the internal affairs of the country, is true?
Let me give my understanding in brief on this very big historical and people’s question from the perspective of Manipur nation.
 Parameters used in this discussion are briefly mentioned because solution, responses, and stances are taken depending on the appropriateness, and rightness and wrongness of the parameter. Let the first pick be from the wrong stance. It is not possible to unearth the truth if the history of Manipur is perceived from the viewpoint/perspective of British imperialism and inter alia legacy. Why? Because, if the parameter and yardstick set by imperialism are used, possibility of having a perspective that transcends beyond imperialism is very remote and almost ruled out. The case of merger of Manipur should be viewed and perceived from the base that the state of Manipur has historically evolved (continuity of state).
Since 1,100 AD (Sic. 429 AD, Bogeshwar), both the residents of hills and plains has been cohesively under the political constitution in early in early state (Manipur) except for some brief spell of trying and testing difficult times.
Writings of L. OppenheimMax Sorensen J.G. Starke, James Crawford, Lauterpacht, G.I. Tunkinand other UN documents,  Transfer of Power Vol. I-XII edited by Nicholas Mansergh, E. W. R Lumby,  Accession of States by V.P. Menon, The Great Divide: Britain, India, Pakistan by H.V. Hodson, Philps and Doreen (ed)’s The Partition of India, Nehru’s Discovery of India, Lapierre’s Freedom at Midnight, Durga Das’ From Curzon to Nehru, Philip Ziegler’s Mountbatten are referred and taken into account of such authoritative and well known sources while discussing the issues of Manipur in the light of ending international law and paramountcy. In addition to it, Maulana Azad’s India wins Freedom, D.R. Manekar’s Accession to Extinction, H.M. Seervai’s Partition of India: Legend and Reality, Wavell’s The Viceroy’s Journal, Bipan Chandra, et.al (ed)’s India’s Struggle for Independence, Stanley Wonpert’s Jinnah of Pakistan; and from the perspective of Manipur, British Reports, N Sanajaoba (ed)’s Manipur: Past and Present (Vol. I-III), Manipur University publications of contemporary times have been source materials. Let me discuss the issue of Manipur in entirety using the historical documents and various analytical tools. Inevitably, some foreign vocabularies and nomenclatures will be used as it is so as to avoid the controversy surrounding and arising out of the people.
(to be continued)
(This article is being reproduced again in the interest of our readers who had missed it)

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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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