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Unforgettable Revolutionary NK Sanajaoba

It was a turning point of Manipur History when the first elites of modern Manipur started asking questions on the governance of the nexus of British colonial power and feudal authorities. At that time, the puppet king of Manipur tried fully to stretch his available muscles within the skeleton of British colonial administration. The king whose wings were cut to size managed to show the public that he was a powerful king. During the time when the progressive mind of elites started to think of a new Manipur and the king stretched his muscles within the colonial framework, NK Sanajaoba was born on 30 December 1936. No one, at that time, knew a star was born in an ordinary family of N Ibocha and Muktarei at the eastern bank of Imphal River at Singjamei Wangma Kshetri Leikai, Imphal. He was not born in a noble family who served the king and his men. His parents did not have any power to command, but were commanded on. It was when winds blew from different directions to form a storm in the dark sky of Manipur history, NK Sanajaoba, son of ordinary Manipuri family, was born. The storm of confusion over formation of new Manipur and continuity of feudal-colonial rule was the political atmosphere.
He was known of his witty comments on the administrative and political events in Manipur. His thoughts were reflected through his serious witty comments. His childhood friends still remember his courage to pass comments on political issues. His use of words to attack the wrongful acts of the men in power and his love of justice to the people of Manipur are still alive in the collective mind of Manipuri people. His experiments with justice and liberation for justice needed a medium of expression; expression without fear found Lamyanba, the monthly publication of Pan Manipuri Youth League (PANMYL). PANMYL was founded by progressive and radical youths of Manipur in 1968. NK Sanajaoba was one of vital key actors in establishment of PANMYL. He became first editor of Lamyanba, and he was driving force to critical observation of Manipur administration as Part C State and Territorial Assembly after she lost her sovereign status in 1949. The breeding of corruption in post-merger Manipur was shown tirelessly through Lamyanba. His fearless expression became model of educated youths day by day; but the government tried to suppress his expression in Lamyanba. He was kept many times under bar. His body was tortured in the dark cells. But his love of justice constantly encouraged him not to bow down to what he called injustice.
Who was afraid of NK Sanajaoba? Since 1970s till the mid-1980s, the talk of town was dominated by writings and rebellious tone of NK Sanajaoba. He was hated by those who were working in tune of the prevailing political ideology that based on making inequalities. His keen observation of corrupt practices of political leaders, administrators and bureaucrats of Manipur created a folk of enemies; still he wanted to show the people of Manipur that the corruption was inherent quality of the political system which the people lived in. To him, the injustice to the people was brought by the system and hence, he wanted whole heartedly to change the system. He believed that fighting the injustice system required a new language and style of expression. His choice of words and coinage of new words to suit the quality of the corrupt system are still remembered by Manipur. The language of royal circle or well educated literary persons is not hard enough to fightback the imposition of corruption in political practices, administrative circles so also in mental activities. We need a new language to fightback the haabijabis of the men in power and system which legitimize the haabijabis.   
Why did NK Sanajaoba take so many risks in his life? He was romantic lover of a revolution, a revolutionary who saw clearly the goal beyond the prevailing system, a blind follower of those who fought war to end the war between haves and have-nots. He was true lover of people of Manipur, true believer of secularism who had looked beyond the sectarian ideology of religion, revivalism, tribalism and clannish ideologies. His only vision was oneness of Manipur free from all forms of exploitation and inequalities. NK Sanajaoba’s had the courage to fight for free Manipur from all forms of inequalities and to fightback all the injustices done on the people of Manipur. Young generations are still inspired by his works and words; new generations still hear the historical echoes of the great Athou Licha Heppa.
- Today’s Writer : Sh Ajit

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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