Revisiting Sacrifices of Unsung Heroes will precursor a new chapter in the history of Manipur - Prof. N. Lokendra

Revisiting Sacrifices of Unsung Heroes will precursor a new chapter in the history of Manipur - Prof. N. Lokendra

/ Guest Column / Tuesday, 23 November 2021 17:59

By - Dr Aheibam Koireng
Imphal, Nov 23:

The 2nd Commemoration of Unsung Anglo-Manipur War Heroes Deported at Kalapani was today organized at the Court Hall, Manipur University by the Intellectual Forum of North East, Bharatiya Intihas Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Samiti, Manipur; and Indian Institute of Public Administration, Manipur Chapter. The commemoration was inaugurated with Prof. Naorem Lokendra Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Manipur University and Dr. RK Nimai, Retd IAS, Columnist and Editor, NE Scholars as dignitaries in the dais. The programme started with a hearty welcome address by Prof W Chandbabu Singh, Registrar, Manipur University. Dr. H Shukhdeba Sharma, Department of Social Work, IGNTU-RCM delivered the Keynote Address. As a part of the programme, descendants of Unsung Anglo-Manipur War Heroes were honoured by felicitating them. Vote of thanks was proposed by Dr. Hidam Ajit Meetei, Guest Faculty, Department of History, Manipur University
Prof W Chandbabu Singh while giving a hearty welcome address informed the gatherings that the commemoration was observed as a part of the celebration of 75 years of India’s independence that falls on 15 August 2022 which started off on 21st March 2020 to coincide with the landmark incident of Dandi March in the Indian freedom struggle.
Dr. H Shukhdeba Sharma introduces the theme of observing the commemoration. In his address, he throws light into the sacrifices of the Anglo-Manipur War Heroes who were deported to Kalapani after the defeat of Anglo-Manipur War in 1891. He underscores that their sacrifices are not given due importance so far, and they remained a mystery to the people and oblivious in the history of Manipur. There is no proper and authentic record of their life, particularly during and after the Kalapani deportation among the researchers, archivists, and academicians. When their terms of incarceration were over and set free were not allowed to their motherland, many of them, including Kullachandra, chose to remain at Radha Kunda and breathed their last. He emphasizes that it is high time to pool together the resources and expertise in collaboration with the Government, bring out an authentic official report, and build a memorial complex for them in Radha Kunda, and Andaman. A comprehensive report along the line of “Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)” commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and Indian Council of Historical Research (2016) should be developed for the deported War Heroes of Manipur in particular and the North Eastern States in general. He concluded by reiterating that doing so will help to rejuvenate the public memory and to commemorate their sacrificial spirit for the motherland. The Manipuri kings in the later part of the 18th century and the whole of 19th century.
Prof. Naorem Lokendra Singh observed that Manipur faced the most serious problems of geo-political uncertainty in a period starting from the 18th century and continued up to 20th century which covers a phase of about 200 years. Both the Burmese power and the east India Company, Bengal tried to establish their geo-political control in the mountains region dotted with the valley. During this tumultuous period, many Manipuris sacrificed their life and there were mass involuntary migration to South East Asia and South Asia. Manipuri princess at Cachar had a conflict with the British authorities at Cachar. Manipuri Prince Sana Chahi Ahum, aka “Narendrajit Singh/Ranajit Singh”, guided and led a Manipuris to revolt in the 1857 War of Independence. In the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891, a number of Manipuris’s sacrificed their lives. A number of British soldiers also died. The execution of five British officers in 1890is one of the mightiest blow to the British unparalleled in the history of colonial India. As per the accounts given in the General Manekshaw’s book, Many Gurkha Nepali soldiers also lost their lives in the battlefield at Thoubal. Owing to the casualties inflicted to the British colonial ruler, the then British parliament and the Government of India took a decision to react in a very ferocious way using the best force from Cachar and Benaras (present Vanarasi) with abundant ammunition. Manipuris put up the most gallant fight to preserve the honour of Manipur. Consequent upon the defeat of Manipur, 23 Manipuris led by King Kullachandra were exiled in Andaman. And what happens to their family and descendants and whether they have been properly looked after by the Government (in free India) remains impervious for quite a while. Therefore Government of India’s initiative to rediscover, revisit the otherwise ignored history of the supreme sacrifice by the unknown and unsung heroes of Manipur is a fitting tribute which will herald and precursor a new chapter in the history of Manipur. It will be integrated into the history of India for subsequent policy formulations
RK Nimai in his speech asserted that despite the defeat of Manipuris in the Anglo-Manipur war of 1891, the Manipuris too had achieved some noticeable success in the Thoubal battle. Those victorious moments need to be revisited to enliven the spirit of the Manipuris in posterity.
In the technical session, Wangkhemcha Shyamjai, Editor, Kangleipakki Meira & President, All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union spoke on the topic, ‘Recalling Kalapani Visit and Initiatives taken up’; Y. Tomba Singh, Former Principal, Val Bidya Mandir, Porompat spoke on the topic, ‘Recalling Kapalani Visits and Response from the Administration of Andaman and Nicobar Island’; Ch. Tomba Singh, a functionary of United Chongthas, Imphal spoke on ‘Descendant of Unsung Anglo-Manipur War Heroes’; Kakchingtabam Gunachandra Columnist, Author & Teacher on ‘Historical Records Related to Unsung Anglo-Manipur War Heroes’; and Rinku Khumukcham, Editor, Imphal Times on ‘Media and Unsung Anglo-Manipur War Heroes. The session was chaired by S. Bhubol Secretary, All Manipur Columnists’ Union.
Resolution
After thorough discussions and deliberations by the dignitaries in the dais at the inaugural function, resource persons and all the delegates present at the technical have come to a consensus and agreed in unison to resolve to impress upon and urge the Government of Manipur – 1. to declare and observe 23 November as a day for Unsung Anglo-Manipur War Heroes deported at Kalapani; 3. to 2. to develop a Memorial Complex at Radha Kund in memory of Maharaja Kullachandra Dhawja Singh and Others Unsung Anglo-Manipur War; and 3. to incorporate the family descendants in the formation of any committee related to the Unsung Anglo-Manipur War Heroes of Manipur.
Earlier in the morning, fitting tribute was paid to the unsung war heroes who were deported to Kalapani organised by United Chongtha.
MLA Karam Shyam along with the descendents of Chongtham Miya paid floral tribute to the monolith erected in memories of the deported war hero.

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