PM inaugurates Rani Gaidinliu`s birth centenary in the national capital

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CM requests inclusion of age appropriate text on freedom fighter`™s life in NCERT text-books

NEW DELHI, August 24 (MIC): The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi recalled Rani Gaidinliu`™s contribution to India`™s freedom struggle, while inaugurating the freedom fighter`™s Birth Centenary at a solemn function at Vigyan Bhavan here today.

Speaking on the occasion, he emphasised that India must remember the glorious heritage of the freedom struggle, and ensured that the legacy of the struggles and achievements of the freedom fighters was passed on to succeeding generations.

He also said, `It is our misfortune that people such as Rani Gaidinliu have either not been remembered adequately, or have been deliberately forgotten.`

The Prime Minister spoke of his government`™s initiatives for the development of the North-East. He reiterated that the progress of the north-east would provide a big boost to the development of the entire nation.

In his speech, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh conveyed his sincere appreciation to the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Ministry of Culture for the grand function organised to pay their sincere gratitude to the leader from Manipur who had played an important role in the Freedom Movement of India.

The Chief Minister also drew the attention of the Prime Minister of India for recommendation to the Human Resource Development Ministry to include age appropriate texts on the life of Rani Gaidinilu in NCERT text books of classes I to X.

He said, `This will go a long way in promoting national integration, as well as women empowerment.`

He said Gaidinliu was a Naga leader who led a revolt against British rule in India.

In 1927, at the age of 13, she joined the Heraka religious movement of her cousin Haipou Jadonang. The movement later turned into a political movement to drive out the British. Within the Heraka cult, she came to be considered as an incarnation of the goddess Cherachamdinliu. With the arrival of guns from Cachar, it turned into an armed rebellion against the British policies of forced labour and ruthless oppression.

Persuaded by Jadongang`™s ideology and principles, Gaidinliu became his disciple and a part of his movement against the British. In three years, by the age of 16, she became a leader of guerrilla forces fighting against the British rulers. After Jadonang was arrested and hanged by the British in 1931, Gaidinliu emerged as his heir, he said.

The Manipur Chief Minister narrated that Gaidinliu openly rebelled against the British rule, exhorting the Zeliangrong people not to pay taxes.

She received donations from the locals, many of whom also joined her as volunteers. The British authorities launched a manhunt for her. She evaded arrest by the police, moving from village to village in what are now Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. The Governor of Assam, British India dispatched the 3rd and 4th battalions of the Assam Rifles against her, under the supervision of the Naga Hills Deputy Commissioner JP Mills. Monetary rewards were declared for information leading to her arrest: this included a declaration that any village providing information on her whereabouts will get a 10-year tax break. Her forces engaged the Assam Rifles in armed conflicts in the North Cachar Hill (16 February 1932) and the Hangrum village (18 March 1932).

In October 1932, Gaidinliu moved to the Pulomi village, where her followers started building a wooden fortress.

While the fortress was under construction, an Assam Rifles contingent headed by Captain MacDonald launched a surprise attack on the village on 17 October 1932. Gaidinliu, along with her followers, was arrested near the Kenoma village. She was taken to Imphal, where she was convicted on the charges of murder and abetment of murder after a 10-month trial. She was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Political Agent`™s Court for abetment of murder. From 1933 to 1947 she served jail terms at Gauhati, Shillong, Aizawl and Tura jails, he added.

The Chief Minister said that the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru met her at the Shillong Jail in 1937 and described Gaidinliu as a daughter of the hills and he gave her the title `Rani`™ or Queen of her people. Nehru wrote to the British MP Lady Astor to do the needful for the release of Rani Gaidinliu but the Secretary of State for India rejected the request stating that trouble may rise again if Rani was released.

She was released in 1947 after India`™s independence, and continued to work for the upliftment of her people.

She was honoured as a freedom fighter and was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1982. In 1991, Gaidinliu returned to her birthplace Langkao, where she spent her last days, he added.

Okram Ibobi said, `The life history of Rani Gaidinliu is an inspiration to all young Indians. This is, in particular, an embodiment of women power of India which all of us must respect.`

He further stated, `Observing the Birth Centenary Celebrations of Rani Gaidinliu will make her contributions in the Freedom Movement of India known to all the people of our great country India.`

During the function, Prime Minister of India released the denomination of coins of Rs 100 and Rs 5 to commemorate the birth centenary of Rani Gaidinliu.

The Governor of Nagaland Shri P.B. Acharya, the Chief Minister of Nagaland T.R. Zeliang, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Union Culture Minister Dr.Mahesh Sharma, and Union DoNER Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh were also present.

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