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Why Manipur Mothers often revisit Manipur’s Merger with India

by Rinku Khumukcham
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History has witnessed the birthplace of Polo in 3100 BC in Manipur, a civilization in contemporaneous with the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations and older than the Indus valley civilizations. Manipur remained an Ancient Asiatic Power for over two millennia with her territories expanded with the might of her rulers beyond the Chindwin River, down the Arakan Ranges, upto the Yunnan Province in China and the Sivasagar Belt in India. The only nation with a 2000-year documented history since 33 AD in the entire South East Asian Region with regular chronology of the ruling emperors, Manipur became a British Protectorate after her defeat in the Manipur-Great Britain War of 1891. The British colonialism gave rise to two great women’s war, the Nupilan-I in 1904 and the Nupilan-II in 1939 wherein the British rulers had nothing left but to surrender to women worriers.
Political landscape continued and the Britishers left Manipur granting Independence to Manipur on August 14, 1947 – one day ahead of India. With the enactment of the Manipur Constitution Act, 1947 and the conduct of the democratic exercise in in June 1948, Manipur became a people’s democratic republic with the formation of the Manipur National Assembly – the First Parliament of Manipur in 1948. In terms of polity and state practices, India is very young to Manipur. Democratic election was first held in India only in 1952.
When the Manipur People were in complete ire of a possible Indian occupation of Manipur, they were unaware of the “Shillong Times, 27 September 1949” ringing in the headlines, “Manipur ‘Annexed’ by New Delhi” and “The New York Times, Tuesday, October 4, 1949” belling the whole world – INDIA TO RULE MANIPUR – reporting that the Maharaja of Manipur, 18,000 square-mile state on the Burma border, with a population of 500,000, had signed an agreement ceding full powers and jurisdiction to the Dominion Government. Manipur was invaded by the Japanese in World War II. As of Oct. 15, the state will be administered as a Chief Commissioner’s Province governed directly from Manipur.
If you go by the First Edition of the Lecture on India’s Internal Security of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), you will find one of the finest bureaucrats of India, the Former Home Secretary, Mr. G. K. Pillai speaking, “Manipur: The Way Out, September 26, 2011” clearly putting straight the shock the People of Manipur would have felt when their SOVEREIGN COUNTRY – with a unique history, tremendous culture, very proud people etc. – was reduced to a Part C State ruled by a Chief Commissioner nominated by New Delhi. The Lecture went on continuing giving insult to Manipur with Nagaland’s Statehood in 1963 and the revolt of granting statehood to Manipur, the inclusion of the Manipuri language in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the rise of national liberation movements in Manipur.
Whether annexation or merger, Manipur continues to bring laurels to India in terms of culture, sports, art and films since India’s takeover of Manipur on October 15, 1949 and actively participate in the Indian parliamentary system. But, Manipur began to bleed after the erstwhile independent Manipur’s geographical area, substantially large and widespread, 18,000 square-mile (46,620 square kilometre) met its dastardly shrinkage with the ceding away of Kabaw Valley to Burma by Nehru in 1952. This showed the contention that India had been indifferent to Manipur’s concerns and interests. Adding salt to injury, the notorious AFSPA, 1958 was proclaimed throughout Manipur in 1980 that rendered gross violations of human rights in Manipur by the Indian security forces. This led to the birth of the Meira Paibi Movement in Manipur in 1980.
The Meira Paibi Movement spearheaded by the elderly Mothers were so intense that it kept the Indian security forces at cross-roads at various instances of public revolt against atrocities committed by the security forces and the Manipur police. As the intensities of the armed conflict between the armed-opposition groups fighting for the restoration of the lost sovereignty of Manipur from India and the Indian security forces increases, the Meira Paibi Movement of the Manipur Mothers grows stronger for safeguarding the lives of the innocent civilians. The Manipur Mothers, besides their busy daily household chores, can stay awake overnight on the streets for the good of everything but they can not compromise on the Indian evil political design of disintegrating the Territorial Integrity of Manipur.
The First jolt to the Manipur Mothers came in 2001 after the infamous Bangkok Declaration that set BJP’s Plan for balkanising Manipur which the Manipur People as one person resisted that culminated into the Great June Uprising.
The Manipur Mothers continue to remain sceptical about the continued evil designs of India in breaking up Manipur, more vibrantly this time with the present crisis in Manipur with clouds of speculations for the dissection of the territorial integrity of Manipur on ethnic lines. Here comes the strong oppositions to the divisive rule of the government of India from the Manipur Mothers for the untold miseries and humanitarian crises in Manipur after May 3, 2023 Kuki militants’ military onslaught on the civilian Manipuris. 86 days have passed but the Manipur Mothers are left with tears rolling down their faces with no initiative to bring permanent peace and security in this trouble-torn state. The injury in the hearts of the Manipur Mothers are so hard to bear that one Ima Memchoubi expressed her view openly to throw away the Manipur Merger Agreement of September 21, 1949 and reclaim the lost sovereignty of Manipur in a press meet on July 14, 2023. This is why Manipur Mothers often revisit Manipur’s Merger with India whenever the government of India tries to break up the Territorial Integrity 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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