By - S.Bhubol, OSMT
Manipur Boundary including the Manipur-Myanmar boundary as per national and international laws has been in existence as international boundary even after the state was merged to the Dominion of India in 1949. The Manipur International boundary as supported by the maps of the Oxford and the Survey of India had been officially maintained in three directions by agreements in between the then British India and independent Manipur. In spite of having had changes in the contours of Manipur Boundary in different stages of history, the present area though much constricted in its size than before is still bigger by 1500 Sq. Km. in area from the Israel state and larger in population by not less than 5 lakhs from that of Estonia a Baltic state. Many impacting events had been articulated by external forces time and again to disintegrate the people of Manipur like one that could be vividly seen in years between 1997 to 2001 and during that time from attentive people of Manipur have been seriously concerned about boundary issues in the midst it seems that the metropolitan powers does not really know or ignore intentionally the reality that Manipuri nationalism is but the territorial nationalism. The State of Manipur emerged out as part of the world history as an Asiatic nation state hundreds of years before it was controversially merged to the Union of India. It is time for everyone’s properly understanding of the internationally established boundary of Manipur and to act accordingly. This well defined Manipur International Boundary has been remained by intertwining the brethren communities alike to the inseparability between the liquid tea and the container.
Boundary of Manipur can be defined under two categories as Historical Boundary (Greater Manipur Boundary) and the Recognized Boundary based on the history of understanding by its people as well as all neighboring countries. The Boundary of Manipur officially declared in the Assembly session by the King of Manipur on 18th October, 1948 can be reread as “Read her political history from 24A.D. She had her dominion over a wide area extending as far as the southern portion if China in the north, the gold mines in the Sibsagar Valley, the river Chindwin in the east and south, and Chandrapore (Cachar) in the west. Her present area is 8,650 Square miles plus 7,000 Square miles of the Kabaw Valley including 7,900 square miles of the hills” and it was added that “All these times when Manipur was in the highest of her power, Hill and Valley were one; and this oneness defended Manipur against all invasions and thus, she could maintained her independence upto 1891, when the rest of India has already been conquered by the British.” This only among many others is sufficed to understand the international status of Manipur Boundary. Everyone concerned is to know the sentiments of Manipur people on boundary issues as that they love their land more than their hearts and lives as it is proven by the leadless Manipur people’s uprising on the 18th June,2001 during which courageously sacrificed by 18 lives substituting people’s aspiration that successfully countered the unruly extension of Indo-NSCN(IM) ceasefire without territorial limit and thus safeguarded the Manipuri people’s territorial nationalism showing that the territory of Manipur shall be protected by her people till the last blood.
Soon after the Treaty of Westphalia arrived at after of 30 years unrest in the west, concept of safeguarding international boundaries emerged out about 362 years ago. Chow Dynasty began to consolidate the boundary of China in between 1122BC to 227BC; many Greek city states began to exist in between 800BC to 322BC and following the defeat of Napolean in 1814 AD not less than 20 state boundaries came out by 1991AD. Boundary of India was still to form even while the Asoka Empire and the Mughal Empire powerfully spread out but beyond the boundaries of Assam, Manipur and Tripura. Only after 1600AD, British turned up and began to form the British India, excluding many native states, until it finally became India as architect of Mountbatten in 1947AD. For Manipur state, as per recorded in the Cheitharol Kumbaba ( Court chronicle of Manipur) and other records such as the works of Prof. N. Sanajaoba, the transformation of political status of Manipur are summarily highlighted as such, Sovereign State(33AD- early 20 C); International Protectorate (1891-1946); Autonomous State with her own Constitution(26th July, 1947); Associate State as Sovereign within Indian Confederation ( 11th August, 1947); Sovereign State ( 14th August, 1947); Sovereign State with Assembly functioning(18th October,1948);Annexed State with suspended sovereignty( 15th October, 1949) and Constituent State of India( suspended sovereignty). Modern Manipur started to conceive in the 17th century and it was fully characterized in the 18th century as during the time there completed territorial consolidation, instituted early constitutional form of governance (Loyumba Shilyen Shintha), came up to the Anglo- Manipuri Defense Treaty-1762 and founded diplomatic relations and practices thereby led Manipur to enter the Comity of Nations.( Sanajaoba N.)
Captain Pamberton defined the international boundary of Manipur in 1835 as “ (2nd)The territories of Manipur have fluctuated at various times with the fortunes of their princes frequently extending for three to four day’s journey east beyond the Ningthee or Khendwen river, and west to the plains of Cachar. Its present boundaries, as far as they have been fixed, are on the west, the Jeeree river, from its sources to the confluence with the Barak, and from this point, South, to the north of Chikoo or Toyee, a Nullah, which flowing from lofty ranges bordering on Tripura country, falls into the Barak at the Southern extremity of a range mountains, three sides of which are embraced by the tortuous course of this river.”
The Manipur International Boundary as being safeguarded by various international Treaties or Agreements and also fully endorsed by the comity of nations for the past many years, can be perceived at once with the historic past events as such;(1) Treaty of Verelast
( September 14, 1762) so as to return land unlawfully occupied by Burma to Manipur states the relations that had to maintain in between British and Manipur as “That the said Joy Singh will at all times fully consider every enemy to the said English as his own enemy and that the English shall consider every enemy to the said Joy Singh as their enemy ( Clause 5)”; (2) Treaty of Yandaboo ( February 28, 1826) fully recognized Manipur country, its King and the boundary and says “ Article-2nd: His Majesty the king of Ava renounces all claims upon and will abstain from all future interference with, the principality of Assam… with regard to Manipore, it is stipulated that, should Gambhir Singh desire to return to that country, he shall be recognized by the king of Ava as Rajah thereof”; (3) 2nd Anglo- Manipuri Treaty ( April 18, 1833) is the Treaty with which both British and Manipur finalized the international boundary of Manipur located at Jiri along the eastern sides of the Barak river; (4) The Kabow Valley Agreement ( January 25, 1834) clearly states that the Burmese government had to pay Rs 500/- per month to Manipur Government for occupying the Kabow Valley and that the payment had to stop when the said valley returns to Manipur in the manner how the Britain returned Hongkong to the People’s Republic of China after 100 years. But unending dispute still exists since Jawaharlal Nehru gave away the Kabow Valley to Burma without holding any arbitration in 1953; (5) Barak Treaty (August, 1874) was held on the Barak river in between the British Governor General and King Chandrakirti of Manipur which not only recognized the international boundary of Manipur but also agreed upon to extend helping hands between the two powers at times of need.
Though Manipur was defeated in the Anglo-Manipuri War, 1891, the British proclaimed it would not annex Manipur and this proofed the recognition of the international status of Manipur boundary which was fully protected until the British left Manipur in 1947. In the period from 1947 to 1949, the international territorial political status of Manipur was still safeguarded by the then established Acts such as (1). The Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947 (Article2 & 3), (2). The Manipur Hill Regulations Act, 1947, (3). The Manipur Chief Court Act, 1947 and (4). The Constitution of India. 1st Schedule. The States’ Reorganization Act, 1971 further clearly says that Manipur is an established state and not a newly formed one and it indicates that the boundary of Manipur maintained as a party’s defined boundary to the Manipur Merger Agreement, 1949 cannot be disturbed and any act of disturbing the boundary of Manipur shall be deemed to end of abidingness by the Agreement to both parties that have nothing to do but to back to their pre-merger status. The already established status of Manipur boundary was repeatedly ratified by the then Parliament Acts of 1960s. Thus, the political status and associated status of Manipur, 1947 is recognized by the U.N. member countries and even after its merger to any other country, its boundary cannot be disturbed and any act or law empowering for state reorganization of the country cannot be applicable to the coming in already defined state like Manipur. If India does not respect the international boundary laws of UTIS POSSIDETIS JURIS, and tries to apply Article-3 of its constitution to Manipur, it shall be meant disobeying U.N. Charters and it may unconditionally invite Manipur people’s movement for justification under international laws for Manipur annexation imbroglio of 1949.
Aware of the fact that there have begun intensive and invasive practices to defrag the territorial boundary of Manipur since 1964 with release of write ups equipped with untrue remarks and the relative activities thereof which are all to be cautiously dealt with. Anybody or any body who/which indulges in the disturbance of Manipur boundary has at first to know before they themselves lead to defeat that, (1). Manipur State unlike Nagaland and Mizoram is not a newly formed or created state; it is a re-established state. India cannot disturb its defined boundary existed at its time of annexation in 1949. Any act of Centre’s endeavoring to disturb its boundary shall mean lapse of abidingness by the so called Merger Agreement of 1949 to both parties, Manipur and India and if it is happened so both parties have to turn back to their past status of 1947 under international reversion process. (2). With the amendments of Article 370 and Article 36, the Article 3 of the Constitution of India is not applicable to the states of Kashmir and Sikkim and likewise the same Article cannot be applied to Manipur state which had been going on under similar historical process of Kashmir and Sikkim. (3) Neither a Manipuri citizen was sitting in the constituent Assembly of India nor a representative was nominated by the then Manipur Assembly under the Manipur Constitution Act, 1947 and so any tries for imposition of Article 3 in the state of Manipur shall automatically lead people’s discourteous to the Constitution of India.(4) Any Agreement or Treaty that debars Manipur to be a party and affects the permanent interest of Manipur, shall never have abidingness to Manipur. (5) Racism is invalided and there is no space for a small Hitler to exist on this earth. If any outdated pan-movement is recognized, many more of it will be erupted out regardless of reasons. Here again Ojha Sanajaoba emphatically said, ‘ If Naga pan movement is to be legalized and legitimized beyond keeping on cultural relationship , then other pan movements of other communities like Kuki, Meitei, Zelianglong,Thadou, Mizo etc shall have to be equally legitimized which is historically a failed and out thwarted experience that was proven by the downfall of the mighty Hitler’s pan Nazi movement and this unruly history should not be repeated by today’s small Hitlers to knowingly and intentionally repeat bloodshed and unrest in this North East region.”
For the Nagas and Kukis, the present Nagaland state and the Mizoram state should be empowered at possible height to strengthen the Naga and the Kuki citizens on all aspects; Naga or Kuki Diasporas can be upholding under a strong policy on cultural relations; Policy may be made for granting equal rights to all Naga and Kuki communities within States respectively; Anything possible can be given to Naga and Kuki without disturbing any more the successively gnarled and gnawed boundaries of neighboring states including the internationally established boundary of Manipur. Manipur merged to Indian Union not for being fragmented and one reason for Manipur is no more feasible for any more fragmentation that has been consolidated as unbreakable wholesomeness. Lebensraum toward Nazism, Zalengam, Shepoumaramth,and Zeliangam etc should not go on synonymously and instead the commonality in the sense of Manipurization is to be inculcated. The best solution is to strengthen the Meitei-Naga- Kuki Bonding( MNK Bonding) that cannot be cracked by any outsider’s divisive impacts. Toward equality of nations, the Meitei, Naga and Kuki should be enlivened with equitable developments on all fronts. Let a strong Manipur be rejuvenated with the Union of MNK factors!
By - S.Bhubol, OSMT