Ordeals and upheaval

By Thingnam Kishan Singh
This essay was originally posted by E-pao.net

Part I

As the majestic Himalayas gradually loop and descend in size and altitude towards the Southeast Asian frontier, interspersed with green valleys and blue hills, before immersing in the waters of the sea lays the land of Manipur washed with the Barak basin on the west and the Chindwin River on the east.

History bears testimony to the travails of a civilization of the people of this land running through a course of two thousand years. Known as Kathe to the Burmese, Meklee to the Ahoms, Mooglie to the Cacharies, Cassey to the Shans, the people of this ancient Asiatic land presently called Manipur have experienced numerous upheavals as a result of encounters with different cultures and powers.

Situated along the Southern Silk Route, Manipur has been historically described as a meeting point of different peoples and cultures from the East, the South and the Southeast Asian region. [ 1 ]

Manipur is located between latitude 23050' and 25030' North and longitude 93010' and 94030' East, and consists of about 7000 square miles of hill territory, and of 1000 square miles of level country forming a broad valley.

The constant interactions resulting from trading activities between different peoples and the struggles for political domination among the various ethnic groups and migrating tribes have resulted in the intermingling of different cultures.

Constant interaction and assimilation of several ethnic groups in the valley resulted in the emergence of the Meeteis as the dominant group by the first century AD.

Recorded history of Manipur dates back to 33 AD with the ascent of Nongda Lairen Pakhangba of the Ningthouja clan to the throne at Kangla, which remained the seat of power till British colonial conquest in 1891. [ 2 ]

The royal chronicle Cheitharol Kumbaba records the uninterrupted reign of the clan. It also recorded cultural encounters of the Meeteis with the Ava (Burmese), the Pong (Shan), the Khaki (South China), the Tai Ahom or Tekhao (Assamese) and Takhel (Tripura) etc.

The Cheitharol Kumbaba has three phases covering the long span of the history of this ancient Asiatic kingdom –

•    the first phase covers the period of Nongda Lairen Pakhangba's ascension to 1484 A.D (the reign of Kyamba),
•    the second phase covers the period between 1484 A.D to 1780 A.D (the reign of Bhagyachandra) and
•    the third phase covering the period between 1780 A.D to the middle of the twentieth century. [ 3 ]

Another chronicle known as the Ningthourol Lambuba provides a much more detailed account inspite of its lack of chronological documentation.

The long drawn historical process witnessed the evolution and emergence of a common faith, a philosophy, a cosmology, a system of complex cultural practices, a language, a script and a written code of conduct.

It is pertinent to note that the first written codified laws were promulgated during the period of King Loiyamba who reigned from 1074 to 1112 A.D. Known as the Loiyumba Sinlen it assumed the basis and form of a constitution through which the administration of the kingdom was carried out till British conquest in 1891.

Modifications and changes from time to time to engage the emerging realities were incorporated in the historical life span of the Loiyumba Sinlen. The present name of the land, Manipur, is relatively of recent origin dating from the eighteenth century only. [ 4 ]

It came with the advent of Hinduism. Sanamahi Laikan, a historical account, mentions that the name Manipur was first officially introduced in the early eighteenth century during the reign of the Hindu convert King Garibniwaz (1709-1748).[ 5 ]

It is clear that the name 'Manipur' does not appear in any of the pre-Hindu literatures more specifically in the chronicles of the Kingdom.[ 6 ] Prior to the advent of this name, Kangleipak, Poireipak and Meitrabak were used.[ 7 ]

Its geographical location - sandwiched between South Asia and Southeast Asia – played an important role in shaping history and cultural development.[ 8 ]

The Meetei faith prior to the advent of Hinduism in Manipur presented a distinct complex set of beliefs with its own cosmology, rites and festivals. Fused with a legacy of mythology and legends, the religion of the Meeties had marked similarities with the indigenous faiths of the surrounding hill tribes.
[ 9 ]

An exposition of this faith underlines the association with nature, which exists in all its abundance in this part of the world. The deities worshipped can be broadly classified into three categories that come under the term Umang Lai.

Literally translated it means forest god', but the etymological sense has a wide difference from actual practice as the Umang Lai is not limited or confined to 'forest deities'.[ 10 ]

As seen from practice, it refers to four different forms of worship:

•    Ancestral deities transposed with human existence at some point of time in the past. These are linked with the mythical associations of defied ancestors.
•    Important deities associated with a clan or tribe.
•    Domestic deities that are worshipped inside the house. These are also 'possessions' of particular clans of families.
•    Tutelary deities or guardian spirits associated with particular places or areas considered sacred.

Hills, in particular, are considered sacred to the Meeteis with several important pilgrimage sites like the Thangjing hill in Moirang, Nongmaiching Hill, Mount Koubru, Mount Kounu, Cheirouching Hill, Kondong Leirembi etc.

Traditional Meetei religion is based on beliefs rooted in a cosmology evolved over the years in the pre-historic stages. This cosmology conceptualised a notion of cosmic evolution that has been part of the ancient Meetei tradition preserved through subsequent generations.

It was subsequently recorded in historical time as the society and culture developed. The cosmological frameworks are recorded in Leithak Leikharon, Pudil, Shakok Lamlen, Thiren Layat, Pakhangba Phambal and other works in the indigenous Meetei script.

Many other manuscripts in the Meetei script also give accounts of the cosmological traditions that speak of a beginning where there was only an empty darkness.

At this point, the supreme god, known by different names like Taipangpanba Mapu (lord of the Universe), Taibirel Sidaba (immortal soul), Atiya Sidaba (immortal lord of space), went on to create the Universe, gods and living beings. [ 11 ]

Part II

With the passage of time and the development and consolidation of the kingdom, encounters and contacts with other cultures and peoples became an inevitable feature.

However, the ancient religion of the Meeteis still continued to hold a dominant sway over the lives of the people in the valley and ancient animistic tribal religions had an overarching presence amongst the hill tribes. [ 12 ]

Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries witnessed the emergence of immense proselytizing activities in the Indian subcontinent. Historians have assessed the origins of these proselytizing waves in terms of increasing persecution of Hindu missionaries during Aurangazeb's reign.[ 13 ]

As a result of this persecution, the Hindu missionaries had to look eastward as the region beyond Bengal remained outside the domain of Aurangazeb's power. The predominantly difficult geographical terrain of this region prevented any major power from the west to extend influence.

History bears testimony to the repeated attempts by the Mughals to invade Ahom (present Assam) only to face successive failures. The series of conflicts between the mighty Mughals and the determined and fiercely independent Ahoms perhaps formed the basis of increasing Hindu proselytizing missions.

Ahom opposition to the Mughals provided fertile ground for the hectic activities of the persecuted Hindu missionaries who found enthusiastic support among the Ahom ruling class.

The Ahom court of Assam, the Kachari kingdom and Tripura gradually fell under the influence of these Hindu missionaries. It has been pointed out that by the seventeenth century these neighbouring kingdoms in the west of Manipur were already under the influence of Vainshnavite Hinduism.

These kingdoms and their successive rulers gave active support to the Brahmins who migrated to Manipur on proselytizing missions.[ 14 ] These missionaries contributed significantly to the introduction and growth of Hinduism in Manipur.

Bamon Khunthok, an account of Brahmin migrancy to Manipur, accurately describes a steady flow of Brahmin missionaries from different parts of India into the Manipur valley.

The strong legacy of traditional Meetei faith never perceived these Brahmin missionaries as a substantial threat and, on most occasions, was viewed with amusement. As they were never taken seriously, the ruling monarchs presumably allowed them to settle.

In fact, most of these Brahmins were allotted clan names and absorbed into the Meetei fold. [ 15 ]

On most occasions, they were allowed to marry Meetei women. They primarily came without family
or women. It has been recorded that these Brahmin immigrants were made to marry women of the Kei class.

These women were labourers who had to provide and pound rice for the royal family. [ 16 ]

Thereby, the status of the Brahmins were greatly lowered. It is a clear indication of the fact that they were not given a respectable status in society nor was their faith or doctrines accepted readily by the people.

The scene gradually began to change with the accession of Charairongba to the throne of Manipur in 1697. His short reign from 1697 to 1706 laid the seeds for what would become a catastrophic upheaval shortly afterwards.

Charairongba became the first Meetei king who converted to Vaishnavite Hinduism. Mentioned in the chronicle as the first Meetei king who formally took the sacred Hindu thread with rites and rituals, he did not make any attempt to establish Hinduism as the official religion in the kingdom. [ 17 ]

The chronicle maintains clearly that Charairongba, inspite of his conversion to Hinduism, could never break off from the traditional Meetei religion and its practices.

Traditional Meetei religion and culture flourished as there was no prohibition on consumption of meat and wine during his reign. Hinduism was yet to make a decisive impact on the traditional Meetei religion.

Moreover, the people still saw the new faith and its missionaries with amusement rather than a substantial threat to their culture and identity. It was with Charairongba's death and his son Pamheiba's accession to the throne that eventually turned the tables.

Part III

The chronicle Chitharol Kumbaba records that Pamheiba ascended the throne of Manipur in August, 1709 after a gap of forty days of his father's death.

The eldest of the five sons born to the four wives of king Charairongba, Pamheiba was twenty years of age when he took over the reins of administration of the kingdom.

His reign of forty years witnessed dramatic increase in the military and political strength of Manipur which no doubt has been perceived to precipitate a series of crises that eventually led to Manipur's loss of sovereignty and independence. [ 18 ]

Relations with neighbouring kingdom of Ava (Burma), which started deteriorating during Charairongba's reign saw further degeneration with Pamheiba as he made a series of incursions. With rapid strides in military prowess, he soon became a terror for the Burmese.

Huge quantity of literatures - historical religious and creative - supplemented by modern archaeological findings like coins and stone inscription, and numerous references in the contemporary chronicles of Burma [ 19 ] bear testimony of the political and military prowess and achievements of Garibaniwaz who emerged as the most prominent ruler in the eastern frontier of India and Burma.

In fact, no other king in this frontier region and Burma had anything in comparison with Garibaniwaz's military conquest in early 18th century. [ 20 ]

Various Hindu sects made attempts to influence the king's court since Charairongba's time. In 1715, thirty-nine Bairagis reached the capital of Manipur to intensity the proselytization process.

The Cheitharol Kumbaba records that Garibaniwaz took the sacred thread of Vaisnhavite Hinduism from a preceptor called Guru Gopal Das in October 1717. Sanamahi Laikan corroborates this fact.

Prior to the king's initiation to Hinduism, there were no restrictions on the cultural practices, the rituals and festivals associated with traditional Meetei religion.

Eating of meat including beef and consumption of liquor was widespread as earlier. However, October 1717 marked a paradigm shift in terms of proselytization and spread of Hinduism with the despotic monarch declaring it the official religion of the kingdom.

Official sanction witnessed massive patronage to the Brahmin missionaries, the construction of several Hindu shrines and temples and the persecution of those who opposed conversion to Hinduism.

Amongst the shrines and temples constructed in the zeal of religions fervor, mention can be made of the images of Hindu god Krishna and Goddess Kali placed in a tank in 1726 in Kangla as part of the consecration ceremony.

These images were found at the foot of the consecration post in the exact position described in the chronicle Ningthourol Lambuba in 1906 by a British colonial officer. [ 21 ]

Cheitharol Kumbaba mentions the departure of the king's perceptor Guru Gopal Das in 1720. With Gopal Das's return to Bengal, another perceptor by the name of Shanta Das Goswami from Nara Singh Tilla of Sylhet in Bengal took his place and induced Garibaniwaz to execute a series of programmes meant to erase and obliterate the traditional Meetei religion.

Shanta Das was a Brahmin missionary who belonged to the Ramanandi sect of Hinduism in eastern India. Constantly harassed by Aurangazeb's religious policies, these missionaries were compelled to leave their homeland in search for new pastures for missionary activities. [ 22 ]

Brahmins, pilgrims and ascetics entered Manipur in larger members to push forward the proselytization process further. [ 23 ]

Beyond the massive influx of proselytizing missionaries cultural contacts with neighboring Ahom, which had already been Hinduised increased manifold.

Shanta Das's entry marks a significant turning point in the proselytization process. A rigorous thrust towards the use of state power and machineries as instruments to further the propagation of the new faith could be seen henceforth.

The despotic and feudal structure was dexterously exploited to present the alien faith in a grand and aesthetically attractive manner to the common people.

Existing power configuration where the monarch wielded exclusive state power effectively worked as a political force coercing the common masses to submit to the despot's dictat.

Blatant use or abuse of state power could be seen in a series of edicts issued by the king who takes on the Sanskritised title 'Maharaja'. These edicts were aimed at the traditional culture and lifestyles of the people.

The underlying motive was to change the culture and lifestyle of the masses. Edicts proclaimed included prohibition of consumption of meat and liquor, the rearing of poultry and animals like pigs and burial of the dead.

Strict punitive measures were meted out against those who went against Hindu dietary laws. Those who were caught eating beef or any other meat faced severe punishment that even included capital punishment. People who reared livestock other than cows were declared unclean.

They were subsequently outcast from society fined and banished to the far-flung peripheral regions. These outcasts who reared poultry and pigs, ate meat and consumed liquor were called lois.

It is pertinent to note that they still inhabit the fringes and continue with the same lifestyle even today. Many researchers have been able to gain significant insights into the original culture and religious belief of the Meeteis by studying them.

Part IV

Frantic and desperate measures aimed at obliterating traditional Meetei faith included not only persecution of those who opposed conversion but blatant attempts to destroy and efface the shrines of the traditional deities or Umang lais.

An instance is the destruction of nine Umang lais and their shrines by an official dictat in 1723. Calculative moves by the King's new preceptor Shanta Das resulted in widespread vandalism and destruction of the Umang lais.

In 1726, the Cheitharol Kumbaba mentions further large scale destruction of sacred Umang lai shrines. Razed to the ground the ashes were buried in the newly built Hanuman temple near the Palace.

In 1724, the King ordered the opening of the tombs of former kings and members of the royal family. He exhumed the bones of his ancestors and cremated them on the banks of the Chindwin River popularly known as Ningthee River to the Manipuris.

The ashes were scattered in the river in vindication of the newly acquired Hindu faith. Considered a sacrilege by the Meeteis, the opening of the tombs agitated the people intensely.

However, the despotic ruler spared nothing to repress the swelling dissent. The Cheitharol Kumbaba records that cremation was introduced and made mandatory from that year.

Another frantic measure was the burning of books in Meetei script by Shanta Das and his Brahmin followers.

Manuscripts and texts in the indigenous script were confiscated and burnt in full public view in ceremony dubbed 'Puya Meithaba' or 'Puya Burning'.

Altogether, a total of 123 books in manuscripts were burnt on this occasion. [ 24 ]

Use of the indigenous script was banned with dire consequences for those who attempted to resist. It was to be replaced by the Bengali script.

Shanta Das went to the extent of composing an entirely different chronicle in Bengali known as Vijay Pancholi, which was a deliberate attempt to efface the history of the people.

It projected the land as the Manipur of the Hindu epic Mahabarata and traced the lineage and genealogy of the first king of Manipur to Chandrabhanu whose daughter Chitranganda was married to Arjuna, the Pandava archer.

Babrubahana was the son born of this wedlock. His son Yavistha was then identified with Nongda Lairen Pakhangba who first ascended the throne in Kangla in 33 AD.

Imported art forms like the Natya Sankirtan actively encouraged by the royal power gained popularity. Corruption in language became the order of the day as the elite and aristocratic class got increasing exposure to Indo-Aryan language like Sanskrit and Bengali.

With the restrictions on the practice of the indigenous faith and the widespread patronage to the newly imported alien faith, a sudden influence of literatures in the Indo-Aryan languages, especially Sanskrit and Bengali, was felt by the people. [ 25 ]

Part V

The proselytization campaign made attempts to transform the whole social and political system of Manipur into a Hindu State and society. [ 26 ]

Shanta Das drew up a scheme of transplanting the indigenous Meetei social structure with Hindu structures. The Meetei social structure was based on a federation of Clans or tribes known as Yeks or Salais.

Cheitharol Kumbaba records the preparation of genealogies of the Meeteis in order to supplant them with Shanta Das's Hindu gotra system in 1731.

The King and all the converted Meeteis were proclaimed kshatriyas and transplantation of the gotras assumed significance:
Yek/Salai             Gotra

Ningthouja             Shandilya
Angom                 Kaushika
Chenglei                Bhardhwaja
Luwang                 Kashyap
Khuman               Madhugalya
Moirang                Aitereya
Khaba-Nganba             Gautam

Festivals associated with the traditional Meetei religion were either banned or transformed and modified by giving Hindu names and forms.

An important festival known as the Heigru Hidongba celebrated with an annual boat race was rechristened Jal Yatra. Ayang Yoiren Iruppa, an annual bathing ceremony in the month of Wakching (December/January) was transformed into Snan Yatra at Lilong Sahanpat.

The annual archery festival called Waira Tenkap festival in the month of Phairen (February/January) was transformed into a Kirtan of the Hindu god Rama.

Kongba Leithong Phatpa, an oracular ceremony in the Manipuri New Year month of Sajibu (April) was converted to Vishnu Sankranti. Rath Jatra soon replaced Ahom Khongching festival in Ingel (June).

The traditional festival associated with offerings to ancestors in the month of Langban (September/October) was replaced by Tarpan or offering to pritulok. Wakambung Chingnung Nongombi festival was replaced by Dasana Kwaktanba of Durga Puja or Dusserah.

Chanou Hui Chintu, a festival associated with the new harvest was replaced by Goverdhon Puja.

Hindu proselytization brought about an upheaval resulting in dramatic changes in the hitherto self-contained world of the Meeteis and the hill tribes of Manipur.

Prior to the conversion to Hinduism, the Meetei society was totally alien to the concept and practice of caste system. It was fundamentally a casteless society.

One of the tragic implications for the people of this ancient land was to face the ramifications of casteism as the Meeteis including members of the royal lineage were declared Kshatriyas.

The Brahmins who enjoyed exclusive patronage remained a separate caste outside the
Meetei society.

Gradually, the consolidation of this caste system led to the seclusion of the non-Hindu Meetei Lois and the hill tribes and the Shan Buddhists in the Kabaw valley, which was then a part of Manipur.

Casteless society based on traditional Meetei faith had seen cordial relations between the valley people and the hill tribes.

With the widening gap between the valley and the hill people due to steady polarization on grounds of seclusion and ocstracisation practiced by the Hindu converts zealously, intermingling and intermarriage declined rapidly.

For the first time, rules of commensality, concept of pollution and dietary differences began to be used to exacerbate this widening gap.

Increasing practice of casteism led to a widening gap between the people in the valley and the hills. This widening gap consequently weakened Manipur in the face of conflicts perpetrated by forces from outside.

Part VI

Another effect, though short-lived, was the valourization of the heinous practice of Sati.

Although it was confined to the upper class affluent members of the society, it nonetheless witnessed systematic glorification in an effort to percolate down to the level of the common masses.

The zeal and fervor of the newly imported alien faith made its adherents project a glorified image of Sati as wives of princes, Brahmins and noblemen started immolating themselves in the funeral pyres of their dead husbands.

Cheitharol Kumbaba mentions many instances of Sati in Manipur with a note that these were voluntary acts. The first instance was in 1726 A.D when the two wives of Prince Murari immolated themselves in the funeral pyre of the dead Prince.

Other instances are Sapam Khwairakpam's wife committing Sati in 1733, Wahengbam Nongthouba's two wives in 1735 and Keirungba Thanogai's two wives in 1737.

It really needs to be looked deeper as the element of voluntariness associated with these instances might be a deliberate propaganda on the part of the elite in their attempt to glorify this heinous practice. A detailed study and critique of the period may throw a different light on the matter.

The zeal and fervor of the king, the Brahmins and the new converts, who in the beginning were mostly from the feudal class, have been analysed by historians in terms of religious fanaticism. [ 27 ]

As seen from the instances mentioned above, there was a discernible streak of fanaticism involved. The King and the feudal class who followed him had to face stiff opposition in their attempt to push forward the proselytisation process by relegating the traditional Meetei faith.

It has been pointed out that the King forced members of the court to accept the new religion as an early measure. [ 28 ]

Most of them were compelled to follow the King, as they were apprehensive of losing their status and position.

Having thus garnered support of the feudal class the King used state power as an instrument to perpetrate the process of conversion which was never voluntary. [ 29 ]

Widespread dissent amongst the people who strongly resisted the conversion was a serious threat to the King and his legitimacy as a ruler. As mentioned earlier, sections of the populace who made strong objections were displaced through banishment as Lois in the remote areas.

Garibniwaz then proceeded to carry out a series of raids against Burma. He comes out as a valiant and successful military campaigner against the Burmese for whom he became a terror.

The chronicle Ningthourol Lambuba records a number of incursions into Burma where Garibaniwaz indulged in large-scale loot and plunder including destruction of a number of Buddhist Pagoda at the behest of his religious mentor Shanta Das.

The factors behind these campaigns have been a crucial point of several studies. Certain historians have attributed a revenge motive to these campaigns on account of the ill treatment given to Garibaniwaz's sister Chakpa Nakhao Ngambi who was married to the Burmese King.

After the birth of a son, the Burmese King apparently slighted her. In his dying moments Charairongba is believed to have urged his son Garibniwaz to avenge this humiliation. [ 30 ]

Western scholars like Pemberton, through Burmese historical accounts, have attributed these attacks to the fanatical religious belief behind Hinduism which made Garibaniwaz think that he would gain merit and acceptability amongst the people by bathing in the Irrawady. [ 31 ]

However, a critical analysis of the prevailing circumstances, in the wake of the conversion process, point towards the need to evolve a strategy of diverting the attention of the people.

In the presence of widespread dissent and opposition to the imposition of Hinduism, there was a need to mitigate the emerging conflict between the people and the ruling class.

The compelling need to mitigate this emerging conflict between adherents of the Meetei faith and the newly converted ruling elite led Garibaniwaz and his Brahmin perceptor Shanta Das evolve a diversionary strategy by undertaking these military campaigns against Burma.

These campaigns served the twin purpose of diverting the people's attention from the conversion issue and unifying the people at the same time in the face of a series of battles against a rival foreign power.

The conspicuous presence of Shanta Das in all the campaigns gave credibility to the newly imparted alien faith as Garibaniwaz emerged highly successful against the Burmese.

On the other hand, Shanta Das tried desperately to convert the Burmese into his religion admist these invasions. Inspite of repeated attempts he never succeeded in bringing Hinduism into Burma.

Part VII

The uneasy tussle between Hinduism and the traditional Meetei religion persisted even as Garibniwaz emerged successful in converting majority of the people in the valley.

Resistance and opposition to Hinduism erupted in an unprecedented fashion with the assassination of Garibniwaz and Shanta Das in 1748 by a person non other than the King's own son Chit Sai.

As he grew old Garibniwaz retired as a sanyasi abdicating the throne in favour of Chit Sai, a son from his third marriage.

Chit Sai tried to expunge Hinduism from Manipur but he was short lived.

Much as the new religion gained ground, court intrigue and conspiracies associated with the ruling class, who had by now become staunch supporter of Hinduism, were against Chit Sai's attempts to restore the traditional Meetei faith.

His act of committing parricide was used meticulously to fan hatred and opposition against him. A powerful alliance of feudal lords and some members of the royal family succeeded in dethroning him and sending him into exile.

His exile marked the steady consolidation of Hinduism in Manipur.

Apart from historical importance of this clash between the indigenous Meetei faith and the alien Hindu faith, the nature of its impact on the collective experience of the people and its culture needs careful scrutiny.

It was essentially an encounter between two pre-modern, traditional worldviews An uneasy synthesis gradually emerged which lead western scholars like T.C. Hodson comment that Hinduism exist in Manipur solely in its esoteric form without its subtle metaphysical doctrine.[ 31 ]

It is perhaps natural to attribute the modern generation's quest for identity with the persisting tussle between Hinduism and the traditional Meetei faith.

Emerging debates in the arena of cultural studies underscore duality as a distinct feature of the existing Meetei cultural identity.

This duality is moulded by the continuous interplay of two forces -------- the forces of Hinduization on one hand and the indigenization on the other. [ 32 ]

Located at the level of discourse, the two different ontological experiences are woven together in a site simmering with tension arising out of a deep-seated contestation.

Articulating in different languages or practices, the two paradoxically represents a riven terrain in contemporary Manipuri society.

It has been succinctly argued that the Hindu discourse articulates in a language placing itself in the 'great tradition' of the mainstream Indian Sanskritic culture while the traditional Meetei discourse reinforces rootedness in the pre-Hinduised state drawing its strength in oral history, written chronicles, native categories of thought and popular belief.

 Reference ::

 1. Gangumei Kabui. History of Manipur. Vol.I. Pre-Colonial Period (New Delhi: National Publishers,1991) 1
 2. Wahengbam Ibohal Singh. The History of Manipur: Early Period (Imphal: Manipur Commercial Co.,1986)
 3. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid. 34
 4. Chongtham Manihar Singh. A History of Manipuri Literature (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi,1996) 3
 5. Oinam Bogeshwor. Sanamahi Laikan (Imphal:Manipuri Sahitya Parishad,1972)
 6. W. Yumjao. "Report on Archaeological Studies in Manipur" Bulletin No.1.Imphal.1935
 7. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid. 1
 8. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid
 9. T.C.Hodson. "The Religion of Manipur" Folk-lore 24:518-123. London. 1913
 10. S. Nalini Parrat. The Religion of Manipur: Beliefs, Rituals and Historical Development (Calcutta:Firma KLM) 9
 11. Wahengbam Ibohal Singh. Ibid
 12. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid. 251
 13. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid. 251
 14. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid. 251
 15. S. Nalini Parrat. Ibid. 133
 16. W. McCulloch. "An Account of the Valley of Munnipore and of the Hill Tribes". Selections from the Records of the Government of India, No. XXVIII.

 17. S. Nalini Parrat. Ibid. 135

 18. S. Nalini Parrat. Ibid

 19. R.B.Pemberton. Report on the Eastern Frontier of India. (first published 1835, London, Indian reprint, New Delhi: Low Price Publications,1998)

 20. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid. 239

 21. J. Shakespear. "The Religion of Manipur". Folk-lore 24:409-55.1913. London.

 22. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid. 252

 23. S. Nalini Parrat. Ibid. 146

 24. N. Khelchandra. Ariba Manipuri Sahitya Itihas. (Imphal:Ningthoujam,1969)

 25. Chongtham Manihar Singh. Ibid.

 26. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid. 256

 27. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid and S. Nalini Parrat. Ibid

 28. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid. 259

 29. Gangumei Kabui. Ibid. 259

 30. Chongtham Manihar Singh. Ibid

 31. T.C. Hodson. The Meitheis (first published 1908,London. Indian reprint. New Delhi: Low Price Publications,2001) 96

 32. Rekha Konsam. "Lai Haraoba: Discursive Practices and Cultural Contestations". Eastern Quarterly. Vol.3 Issue III. Oct-Dec. 2005. New Delhi. 206-214

About the author: Dr. Thingnam Kishan Singh was a former SDO of Kasom Khullen in Ukhrul. Earlier he taught Shyam Lal College (Delhi University) and D.M. College of Arts, Imphal. He was the author of the book "Rethinking Colonialism" (Delhi and Kolkata: Worldview Publishers). Besides contributing regularly in several journals across the country, he was also the editor of the quarterly journal Alternative Perspectives since 2005. He was found brutally murdered on Feb 17, 2009.

Dr Kishan case hearing 
(Courtesy: Hueiyen Lanpao)

30 Oct 2013: The argument hearing proceedings related to the abduction and subsequent killing of Dr Thingnam Kishan, the then SDO of Kasom Khullen and his two subordinate staffs in February, 2009 resumed today.

In the court of Special CBI Judge Vinay Gupta at Patiala House, New Delhi, Senior Public Prosecutor A.K Singh argued that the motive behind the abduction was to demand a ransom of Rs. 20 lakhs from the deceased Dr. Kishan.

Official sources add the accused, Hopeson Ningshen, the mindless criminal of the hopeless NSCN IM, is still in custory.

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