Imphal :: Introduction and History


Imphal, the capital city of Manipur is a city of glorious traditions. The state of Manipur, like other North Eastern states in India, had never been annexed which led to a huge chasm of a difference between these north-eastern states and the rest of the country. The history of Imphal is closely tied to its state, Manipur. The state had a population comprising two groups, the Nagas, who inhabited the hills and Meiteis who stayed in the valley. The hills were also cohabited by a group known as Kukis.

It is believed through documented records that the foundation of Imphal may have happened somewhere in the 1st century AD. Most of the battles in the history related to Manipur are associated with the repeated invasions of Burma which borders the state and the internal clashes with the Nagas in the state.

Manipur became a part of India in the year 1826, as a result of the Yandavo treaty signed by Raja Jai Singh, at the end of the Indo-Burmese War. However, soon after Manipur became a part of India, there were disputes. It took the intervention of the British to settle the differences. The British then made Manipur their princely state in the year 1891. This finally sealed the independent status of the kingdom of Manipur, making it the last kingdom to be incorporated into the British Raj.

During World War II, Manipur witnessed a lot of battles between the Japanese military and the allied forces. The Battle of Imphal which happened continuously for two months from March through July 1944 assumes an important point in the history of India. The intention of the Japanese armies was to defeat the allied forces at the border and invade India. If that were to happen, there would have been much causality in India. However, the allied forces proved strong for them and the Japanese forces were driven back to Burma, suffering heavy losses in the bargain.

Post the Battle of Imphal and the Second World War, the Manipur Constitution Act of 1947, floated a democratic system of government with the executive head as the Maharaja with an elected legislature supporting him. The legislative assembly was dissolved in October 1949, when the state acceded to the republic of India.

Manipur became a Union Territory in 1956 and in 1972; it became a sovereign state of India. However, things didn.t work out for the state as it witnessed violent turbulence. There were brutal clashes between the Nagas and the Kukis; inter-communal clashes were too many, especially during the year 1993. In that year, Manipur hogged headlines for tragic reasons, most of the villages were destroyed and people slaughtered to deaths.

In June 18, 1997, Imphal was split into Imphal East and Imphal West. The city and the state is still not at peace and there are clashes and wars every now and then, which is curfews are usually in force with regularity. Just two years ago, Imphal was hit by terror attack of a huge magnitude that were carried by Myanmar (Burma) based Manipuri insurgents who are looking for independence from India.