IMPHAL, December 19: The Co-ordination Committee (CorCom) a conglomerate of major valley based militant groups has extended its revolutionary salute to the war heroes of the ‘Khonjai-Laan’ (Kuki Rebellion) especially the Kuki leaders who valiantly fought against the British Imperialist.
In a statement issued by the publicity committee of CORCOM, it hoped that the act of valour shown by the elders for the cause of their nation and its freedom will instil a sense of inspiration in the minds of the Manipuris.
It said that after the 1891 Anglo-Manipuri war, Manipur lost its sovereignty to British imperialism, and its people both of the hills and valley suffered untold hardship under the imperialism.
However, the British aggression could no longer suppress the independent mind of the Manipuri people who once lived independently, it said.
After the 1891 Anglo-Manipuri war the “Khongjai Laan” (1917-18) was the most significant war which gradually paved way for a series of other revolutions against the British Imperialism, it said.
The period was also the most significant in the history of the world as this was the era when the world witnessed expansion of imperialism by the Europian nations and birth of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.
In 1914 the first world war broke out and spread all over Europe including Britain, as a result British colonial rule collected a sum of Rs 1.34 lakhs from Manipur as war fund.
In addition to the extortion, the British forced the hill peoples especially Kukis to work as labour during the war in France, it said adding that the labours were brutally trashed by the British officers if the labour refused to work.
In 1918, 2000 people from Manipur were sent to France as ‘War Labour’ during the First World War. After this the British tried to send another corps of labour to Egypt for which an order was issued by the then political agent Higgins.
However, most of the Kuki leader was opposed to the idea and also voicing the same opinion one Chingakham Sanajoaba (a meetei) joined hands with the Kuki leaders in building up a revolution against the British, it said.
It said that the revolution soon spread like a wild fire to Jampi, Henglep, Mombi and Chasad adding that the revolution was led by Tingtong Haokip of Laijang village with support from Chengjapao Doungel of Aaisan village, Pache Haokip of Chasad, Ngulkhup Haokip of Mobi, Khothinthang Sitlou of Jampi.
The war was continuously waged for three year and both sides suffered heavy casualties. Unfortunately, the movement was finally contained by the British for the rebel did not have adequate weapons, food supply, it said.
The Kuki leader including Sanajaoba were arrested and locked away in jails across India including Assam, Nagaland and Andaman Nicobar Island.
The “Kuki Laan” fought against suppression and force labour cannot be regarded as an ordinary war but a war that changed the course of Manipur history towards suppression, imperialism and an inspiration for the generation to come.