The debate over the actual date of Khonjom war is still going on. A group said the war occurred on April 23, 1891 while another group denied it saying that the war actually happened on April 15, 1891.
Knowingly or unknowingly the state government started observing Khonjom Day every April 23 in commemoration to the war heroes of Khongjom War which is also known as the last battle of Anglo-Manipuri War after issuing a govt. notification No. 2/9/82 R , dated Oct. 11 1982 and Gazette Notification No. 266 of October 15.
But then a controversy has been raging over the actual date of determining the historic battle as the occasion has been observed as a state function since 1973 for which a memorial foundation stone was laid by late Hon’ble President of India Shri V. V. Giri on 21st October, 1972.
Intentionally or unintentionally, the souvenir published by Publicity Department, Government of Manipur issued in connection with late President’s visit to Manipur (refer to above), -it is mentioned that the Battle of Khongjom took place on 25th April, 1891 (page no. 19 of the Sovenir).
Considering the importance of event and to arrive at a amicable conclusion to put an end to the controversy a High Level Committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Yumnam Yaima Singh, the then Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly on May 1982 which recommended 23rd of April, 1891 as actual date in which the said battle.
It’s not about disregarding the observance of Khongjom Day on April 23 to commemorate those sacrificed for the cause of the erstwhile kingdom but it is about correcting the error as it would mislead the historical facts.
Well as per war dairy of the British army it is stated that – On the Letter No 181-M dated 29th April, 1891, location Camp Manipur, Brigadier-General T Graham, C.B., commanding the Tamu Column, Manipur Field Force wrote to the Assistant Adjutant- General, Manipur Field Force. This was also published by, The London Gazette dated August 14, 1891.
In the report it is being reported that he main body of the Tamu column concentrated at Tamu on the 21st April, and advance on the 23rd April, it having been arranged that the column from Kohima, Silchar, and Tamu should concentrate on Manipur on the 27th April, 1891.
The report said that, on the 24th April, While the main body was at Tengnoupal, Information was received from Palel that the Manipuri troops had entrenched themselves in a position about six miles north of Palel, and orders were issued for a reconnaissance to be made on the 25th April to ascertain their strength.
The letter showed that Tamu troop who had fierce battle with Manipuri army reached only on April 25.
That means that it was not possible for the war to occur on April 23 of 1891.
After the debate over the actual date of the war nearly reached its catastrophe the Department of Art and Culture of the State government constituted a review committee comprising of 6 experts to find out the historical facts of the Anglo Manipuri War on November 14, 2014.
For reason best known the committee remain slumbered and another reminder was sent to the Commissioner of Arts and Culture, government of Manipur by the then Director of the same department on March 18, 2016.
This write up has no opposition in the observance of Khongjom Day on April 23 , but the fact about the battle should let known and well recorded in Govt. records.