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What went wrong with Kalapani Monument?

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 2 minutes read

The people of Manipur should appreciate the initiative of Chief Minister N Biren Singh for his commitment and dedication to honour the War Heroes of Manipur. The Kalapani memorial has come up after the 130 years of the Anglo-Manipur War. As stated earlier, on many occasions, the Government of Manipur has dedicated the Memorial Complex for the Anglo-Manipur War Heroes Deported at Kalapani on August 13, 2021. The day (13 August) of dedication makes the memorial more meaningful and historic.
However, the Expert Committee chaired by the Commissioner (Arts and Culture), assigned to execute the vision of the Chief Minister, N Biren Singh, has hurt the sentiment of many, including the family descendants of the Anglo-Manipur War Heroes deported at Kalapani. They seem to have failed to understand the vision of the Chief Minister.
The expert Committee needs to explain the lapses in the Kalapani complex by placing the Committee report in the public domain. This will help us understand the Committee’s perspective on the difference in the number of deported War Heroes at Kalapani from the documents of the Government. Manipur State Archives and DIPR documented that 22 Anglo- Manipur War Heroes were deported to Kalapani. We learned that the Expert Committee recommended only 18 Deported War Heroes at Kalapani to inscribe at the Kalapani Complex. However, the number of inscriptions increased to 21 because of the intervention by many concerned citizens. URU SINGH USURBA, listed in no 7 in the Manipur State Archives report, is still missing. The increase in number is reported to have mainly because of the intervention by the Chief Minister Office.
Now the question is, what is the exact number of deported Anglo-Manipur War Heroes at Kalapani. The Expert Committee that is supposed to address the issue has created more confusion than addressing it. We have pointed out the inconsistency of numbers in our earlier editorial by citing various authentic sources. We are raising the question again, and we suggest reconstituting the committee by bringing in genuine experts who can address the matter. The Committee should be mandated to interact with all the family descendants of the deported Anglo-Manipur War Heroes to rewrite/recheck the actual names. Once the reconstituted committee submitted the report and put it in the public domain for public comments, the names inscribed on the memorial wall should be reworked or rebuilt.
As the Complex is dedicated to the deported Anglo-Manipur War Heroes at Kalapani, any development should be centered on Kalapani. The inclusion of our heroes hanged after the Anglo – Manipur War in the Kalapani complex will create confusion and disorient the historical event to the visitors of Manipur and our new generation.
We further suggest that all the Unsung Anglo-Manipur War Heroes, including those who were killed or hanged, Deported, deformed/Injured, should be inscribed at the Kongjom War Memorial Complex by renaming it into to Anglo – Manipur War Memorial Complex.

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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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