Notably, the State Government has been observing the Patriots’ Day on August 13 every year since 1970 in memory of the Manipuri Patriots who were hung to death by British colonial rulers on August 13, 1891.
Speaking at the formal function, Governor Dr Najma A Heptulla who attended the function as chief guest lamented that Manipur is now facing a plethora of issues.
If these issues and their impacts on common people are not resolved before it is too late, Manipur would never be able to join the international race for development and progress, she stated.
People of Manipur fought valiantly against mighty British forces, fully knowing that they had no chance of winning the war.
The war fought by Manipuri people who valued freedom more than their own lives showed the valour and indomitable spirit of Manipuri people.
On the false charge of waging war against the British empire, altogether 22 Patriots including then king Maharaj Kullachandra were exiled to Kalapani.
Moreover, Yubraj Tiken-drajit, General Thangal, Pukhramba Kajao, Niranjan Subedar and Chirai Naga were hung to death separately.
“I salute all the known and unknown patriots who laid down their lives for the cause of motherland”, Dr Najma said.
“A re-visit to the history of Manipur shows that British colonial rulers took undue advantage of disunity among Manipuri princess.
This is one historical lesson which we should never forget”, she continued.
Even though one cannot change history, one can certainly learn a lot from history.
Freedom, so much cherished by the Patriots, must be safeguarded by the present generation.
Since Manipur was merged into the Indian Union on October 15, 1949, Manipur has become an integral part of India, claimed the Governor.
She then called upon all the people to work relentlessly so that the popular saying ’23rd century is the century of Asia’ becomes a reality.
All sections of people need to join hands and work collectively to resolve all the outstanding issues and this would be the best tribute one can pay to the Patriots, she added.
In his presidential speech, Chief Minister N Biren asserted that to live for one’s motherland is an intrinsic trait of mankind.
Though small in terms of territory, Manipur has a written history spanning over 2000 years.
Before the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891, Manipur fought another bloody war with Burma which later came to be known as the Seven Years’ Devastation.
After the Seven Years’ Devastation, the sovereignty of Manipur was protected by the hill people and plain people collectively.
However, these days different communities have been pursuing divergent political agenda dictated by the sole interests of their respective communities.
All the people of Manipur must live together for they can never live separately.In Manipur, there is no exclusive domain for Kukis or Nagas or Meiteis or Pangals.
No civil society organisation should ever do anything which may project Manipur as a fractured land, Biren stated.
The Government is always prepared to talk and consult with the people and all contentious issues can be resolved through dialogue.
The Chief Minister then called upon all the groups/organisations to shed all ethno-centric and parochial agenda.
The Patriots’ Day observation was also attended by Ministers, MLAs, top ranking civil and police officials.
Earlier, the Governor and the Chief Minister paid obeisance to the Patriots at Hicham Yaicham Pat and Kangla Uttra.
They also paid floral tributes to the martyrs at Sahid Minar.
Chief Minister N Biren and his Council of Ministers also offered floral tributes at Thangal Temple, Palace Compound.
There, a contingent of Manipur Rifles gave gun salute to General Thangal.
Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar, Education Minister Th Radheshyam, CAF&PD Minister Karam Shyam and Health Minister Jayantakumar also took part in paying homage to the Patriots.
Source: The Sangai Express