Hijam Irabot

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Hijam Irabot Singh

Hijam Irabot Singh (30 September 1896-26 September 1951), also known as Jana Neta Hijam Irabot, [1] was a freedom fighter, politician and social activist from Manipur. He was one of the founder leaders of Communist Party of India (CPI) in Manipur. He wrote journals and poetry, as well as plays in which he also acted. He was also a sportsman. He chaired the 4th Session of the Nikhil Manipuri Mahasabha.[2] He showed leadership against social injustices during the Second Nupilal, 1939. [2] In the June/ July 1948 election to the Manipur Assembly, Irabot won from the Utlou Constituency.

1 Early life

2 Political life,


3 Political life,


4 References



He stayed with a friend in Wangkhei called Maibam Shamden who worked in the court of King Churachand. In 1915.[3] Irabot was released from the Sylhet jail on 20 March 1943. [clarification needed] After his father's death. He led a . It was then that he came in good relations with the royal family. Bal Sangha and Chatra Sanmelan. he dropped out due to shortage of money and went to Agartala. Irabot and Elangbam Tompok. located at western side of Kangla Fort). a clerk at the revenue department resigned from the Sadar Panchayat. He got married to the king's elder brother's daughter Khomdonsana. 4 sessions were held. 1939-1951 This phase could be termed as the socio-reformer phase. see Nikhil Manipuri Mahasabha. They outlined a legislature which was submitted to the king and the Manipur State Durbar. he went to Dhaka with his cousin. when he came back to Manipur. a section of the NMM called the Praja Sanmelani split off the original party to join the Nupilal. Imphal. All works were carried out by Hijam Irabot who was the vice-president. the Nikhil Manipuri Mahasabha was founded under the patronage of Maharaja Churachand Singh who was the president of the organization. He studied at Johnstone Higher Secondary School.He stayed in Cachar district to work among the Manipuri peasants and also among the nonManipuri ex teagarden workers. till Class 7 and founded two student bodies. It was rejected.Irabot was born to Hijam Ibungohal Singh and Chongtham Ningol Thambalngambi at Hijam Leikai which has now been replaced by the 1st Manipur Rifles. Manipur (still existing. he moved with his mother to stay with his aunt at Moirangkhom Sawaijam. 1934-1938 For more details on Nikhil Manipuri Mahasabha. which was later on incorporated in the Indian People's Theatre Association. At the jail. There he joined the Kisan movements. He kept in touch with the communist leaders and attended the first Party congress of the Communist party of India that was held at Bombay from 23 May to 1 June 1943 as a special invitee from Cachar. He was greatly influenced by them. In 1913. Maharaja Churachand sent a warning to Irabot on the events taking place in his absence. when the 2nd Nupilal broke out in Manipur. he found that his mother had died. But he was not permitted to enter Manipur. he met Indian communist leaders like Hemanga Biswas and Jyotirmoy Nandi. Originally known as the Nikhil Manipuri Hindu Mahasabha. during Maharaja Churachand's absence. He also changed it into a political party. Later that year. [edit]Political life. Irabot changed the name of the sabha by dropping Hindu off the original name. Irabot headed this party and gave a speech at the Police lane in 1940. Under Irabot's guidance.In Cachar he organized cultural squads known as Swadesh Ganer Dal. He was arrested and deported to the Silhet Jail. In the last one at Chinga. In 1939. He was then appointed a member of the Sadar panchayat [edit]Political life. Sawaijam Somorendro and got admitted at Pugoj High School to study till Class 9.

Arunachal Pradesh.D. The same year he went to Sylhet to join the annual session of the Surma valley provisional Kisan Sabha. He came back to Cachar and carried out peasants' movement. Irabot could not attend the first meeting of the Manipur Legislative Assembly held on 18 October 1948 because of the warrant against him. the CPI Assam Provincial Committee. Assam. Nagaland. and the Assam Students' Federation. He was appointed General Secretary of the Cachar District Kishan Sabha and President of the Surma Valley Kishan Sabha.htm 2. His request for an extension of his stay in Manipur was denied. Irabot on behalf of the Manipur Praja Sangha and Manipur Krishak sabha called a meeting at the M. Tripura. In the June/ July 1948 election to the Manipur Assembly. He attended two sessions of theNikhil Manipuri Mahasabha before he was expelled from the membership of the Working Committee of the Mahasabha on the charge of being a member of the Communist Party of India.U Hall on 21 September 1948. to protest against the formation of Purbachal Pradesh. Sikkim . ^ a b Kanglaonline | Your Gateway to Manipur. Irabot was finally permitted to enter Manipur in March 1946. Cachar and Lushai Hills. A scuffle took place at Pungdongbam when the Manipur State Police prevented a group of citizens who came to attend the meeting in which a police officer was killed on the spot. Irabot contested and won under from the Utlou Constituency as a Krishak Sabha candidate. Before the inauguration of the Assembly. In March 1844. ^ http://www. He was released on 10 January 1945. Irabot was detained as a security prisoner in the Silchar District jail with effect from 15 September 1944 on the charge that he was a communist. The Manipur state council declared the Manipur Praja Sangha and Manipur Krishak Sabha unlawful.[6] [edit]References 1. but lost by a narrow margin. In Manipur he organized a new party called the Manipur Praja Mandal in April 1946.[4][5] The first Communist Party of Manipur was formed on 23 August 1948. Meghalaya. After more than 5 years of political exile. Mizoram.manipuronline. composed of Manipur. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Assam Kisha Sabha. Irabot formed an underground Communist Party of Manipur on 29 October 1948 and carried out armed struggle against the government.delegation from Cachar to the All India Kisan Sabha session held at Netra Kona in Mymensing District of Bengal. he went to Bejwada (Katakual Village) to join the Kisan Conference and stayed for sometime at the Bengal Communist Party office. He contested in the 1946 election to the Assam Provincial Legislatures Assembly from the Silchar constituency as a CPI candidate. The state officials declined to constitute an Enquiry Committee to investigate the Pungdongbam incident. Irabot was given permission to stay in Manipur for a week (from 2 to 10 September 1945). Tripura. He died on 26 September 1951 at the foothills of the Anggo Hills.com/Opinions/August2004/peaceparadigm12_2. He attended the second congress of the CPI held at Calcutta from 28 Feb to 6 March 1948.

. Like John Donne. He did not express what he wanted directly like the modern poets..hueiyenlanpao. I present this tribute to the immortal leader of the people: "O Father. 'Factory' etc. This anthology of poems contains altogether 49 poems.. Just like a teacher teaching his younger students in the classrooms.e-pao. ^ Profile Hijam Irabot Souvenir 6. etc. In his poem 'The Sea'. In the poems like 'Can you bear the burden?'. Coming to discussion on his literary contributions.. In some of his poems. according to me. Irabot was also not afraid of satirising the colonial powers and he used irony to speak out against the feudal monarchical system in Manipur. in his poem 'Imagi Puja'.net/manipur/images/History/Souvenir_Hijam_Irabot_20100930. He could describe vividly the lives of the downtrodens. in the poem.. being a man who stayed long years outside Manipur. Irabot never broke the principle of rhyme in writing poems.. In 1939. etc... 'Sakhangnaba'. he used to call the youths near hi. These styles of his writing can be seen in the poems like 'Flag of Natshi'... motivated and carried to the land of his imaginative world. Luckily or unluckily.. the poet talked of his longing to sacrifice life for the betterment of his motherland and he emphasised that any kind of obstructions should be overcome for peaceful existence among the people in his native land. I would like to say something about his collection of poems entitled "Imagi Puja' (Prayer to Mother). In his poem 'Dikhou'. First of all. one of the famous metaphysical poets in English literature.. he led the historic Nupilal (Women's War) against economic exploitation. as a poet. He established many organizations for bringing a new order of society in which people can exist freely and achieve an ideal status in life. We can collect important information from his poems. etc. 'Kripa'. Irabot compared the moving and floating of the ship to the movement of ducks on the vast water surface of Loktak Lake. Irabot saw the rising of the sun as the bathing of the sun in clear water. pamphlets and books that we. The way of his imagination in the poem 'If I were a bird' reminded us of William Cowper's imagination in the poem 'The solitude of Alexander Selkirk'. Sometimes.. We are given rest for some time and then a stream of beautiful words is poured into our ears. Irabot used symbols in his poems profusely.. 'Sakhangnaba' also got romantic elements. some of his poems have similarity to some of the poems written by English poets. 'Lizard'. Nobody dared to speak against the defective administrative system of the then British ruler. 'Civilisation'. In 'Meiteileima'.. which is one of the important historical places of Manipur. nobody can forget his teachings and ideologies.wikipedia. smoke stained heads Smeared their lives with dust . He is a quotation of his beautiful rhyme'Who are you?. Irabot was unbearable to the pang of separation from his motherland. He tried to move heaven and earth to awaken up the consciousness of innocent people of Manipur. Fourthly.. He wished forever to see his motherland even though he was lying behind the tall prison house of Sylhet. Irabot described farmers as being accompanying all the times with leeches and insects in the field...">>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Courtesy: • Author / Written by:. the people of Manipur should adopt non-co-operation movement against the British people. Thirdly. being a man frustrated over injustice in the society. we are taught valuable lessons through his poetry.. we come to know that Hijam Irabot was not just a versatile and genius poet but also a pioneer who heralded renaissance in Manipuri literature. firstly. From the above discussion. the Ramayana and the Moirang Kangleiron. Irabot used metaphors quite effectively in some of his poems.. culture. We are. Fiftly.. theatre and social outlooks. 'O. he shines as the pole star in the garden of Manipuri literature. He wished for the unity and co-operation among the people of Manipur. the work of administration of Manipur was in the hands of the British with Manipuri kings reduced to only nominal heads. Hijam Irabot got a special style of writing. Like PB Shelly. he made them delighted with his comic speeches. Hijam Irabot got various experiences of life. Some lines from the said poem are reproduced below "Sunlight makes than bath! Living together with leeches. It is taken to be similar with the bathing of saints in the holy water. He set forth through his journals. Just like Swift and Poe. Who are you? Calling mother and mother In such a calm night of late hours! Secondly.. He even wrote lyrics for the encouragement of the farmers and for the solidarity of the youths of Manipur. Lastly..OinamManibabuSingh http://www.. etc. Through public meetings and discussions. They are!'. 1951. he was compelled to lead the life of an underground with effect from 21st September. His description of the rising of the sun is different from other poets.3.. For instance.. Hijam Irabot was very much conscious of the frustrated lives. 'Jailor'.. 1948 till the end of his life. World of smoke stained! In the poem 'O. He was torch bearer of the then Manipur. ^ How Irawat became a communist 1 4. etc. Accompanying with insects!" Moreover.. 'Can you bear the burden?'. As a writer. they are!'. When circumstances demanded. Jananeta Hijam Irabot's mind was all the time restless to think of his motherland. He took references from religious books like the Mahabharata. ^ http://www. Father of Nation It is in the true sense Nobody can deny it Let your soul rest In peace in Heaven forever..pdf 5. We feel very much shocked on reading the poem 'Factory' where he described: "Oh. He wanted to use only the cotton cloths made by the Manipuri women weavers.. To conclude. he carried us to his land of dream and conveyed his anxiety over seeing and knowing about the situation in his motherland Manipur while staying within the confined of the prison cell. He started rebellions against exploitation and injustice in the society. he pointed out to the people of Manipur that we were not goof to remain silent even though we were guided wrongly and imposed taxes unlawfully by the British administrators. 'Jamander'. 'Nam Mantra'. he had his own style of comparison..com/articles/item/4733-hijam-irabot-and-his-collection-ofpoems . Oh.. He became a true and popular leader of the masses. Irabot depicted the shocking and sorrowful living condition of the deprived workers. ^ How Irawat became a communist 2 http://en.org/wiki/Hijam_Irabot Hijam Irabot once bloomed in the west ern side of Chinga Hill. 'O! The bank of Dikhou'... 'The Smiling of Bone' . For instance. etc.. Still today. some of his poems like 'Meiteileima' and' Imagi Puja' were devotional and patriotic in expression. Various experiences are reflected in the minds of the readers. we came across such references. He did not like to use the cloths produced by the British.. narrated important stories on the diplomacy of turning out the British people. During his lifetime.. the poet described natural beauties in some of his poems like 'Sharat'.. we find some loan words like 'Khallashi'. 'So and so'.. Though passed away long time back on the 26th September.

His ideas. 2012 | Leave a response Hijam Irabot: Caught between two shadowy webs By M C Arun One of the most controversial personalities in the 20th century Manipur is Hijam Irabot. second. actions and political goals are discussed from two angles: first. The personal accounts of his closest colleagues in the underground movements are scanty in number or are well influenced by personal emotions and sentiments. His underground life was least discussed or not even well documented. The communist movement of 1948-1950 in Manipur was mainly constructed historically with oral history methods. the scanty materials are interpreted or re-interpreted by many for certain political gains or interests. by locating him in a political movement of Manipur in decolonization period.” He is assessed by many historians with the counts of preWWII activities right from the formation of Nikhil Manipuri Hindu Mahasabha which later changed its name to Nikhil Manipuri Mahasabha down to various reformation movements both of political and socio-cultural nature. by locating him and his ideas in larger communist movement in India. this led more confusion over the historical position of this great political leader of first half of the 20th century. Still a minor view is there locating him in a movement for an “Independent Manipur in Independent India. His ideas in his later periods are not fully studied or documented. These oral historical accounts are found contradictory among themselves. The puzzlement of historians in locating his space in current history of Manipur is very obvious because of constant debates over his political movement.Hijam Irabot: Caught between two shadowy webs Published by Imphal Free Press on September 27. .


the political ideology and its manifestation of the Party cannot be ascertained. As there were contradictory statements among them. It is not always easy to lead a people who cannot think against the existing social ideology. The narratives of top rank leaders who went underground with him are not only few in number but also are scrutinized by different persons with their subjective bias. proposed and demanded by Bengalis in Cachar and Tripura. This situation of valuation of a historical personality is a great challenge to history writing. From these two statements. This way is very common in a set of literature around the later political movement of this great man. for any question in hand. These historical facts are interpreted by many in one or other way. (ii) he was so angry when he heard about the merger of Manipur. The transformation of Indian communists’ anti-imperialist movement to peoples’ movement and their ideological stand on the question of Indian Independence may be an alternative answer to his anti-merger attitude. In some writings. we can have a question: Did Hijam Irabot and his party (communist. The tragedy is that. essays and other literary pieces. Socialists in Manipur and many others.Hijam Irabot – Courtesy: Manipur Archives Another way of looking at Hijam Irabot is the dissociation of him from the party under which he led the armed struggle. On the other hand. He did not want Manipur to sign the proposed Merger Agreement in 1949. Likewise. Hijam Irabot was anti-Purbalchal Pradesh formation. Did he want a communist Manipur in a communist India? Answer may be tricky because objective study on this question demands much more historical information beyond these narratives available so far. The formation of various peasant associations and their political slogans are explained in the line of Indian communist resolution. For a little mental exercise. there is limited information both oral and documentary evidences. Hijam Irabot might have faced much trouble and difficulties at that time to convince the people who were socialized with a dictum: Ningthou semba yaoganu. no doubt) take up arms for a ‘communist Manipur’ or as a part of larger communist movement seen at the fag end of British colonialism in Indian sub-continent. it seems that a fact is over blown up so that the interpretation may serve an interest set by the interpreter. it would be wrong to conclude either he was Indian communist or anti-Indian. the anti-Merger stand may be on various grounds. beyond any doubt. The role and decision of other communist leaders who are younger than Hijam Irabot in the party formation and its decision for an armed struggle cannot be overlooked while looking for the nature and extent of the struggle in the most critical period of Manipur history. To this school of thought Marshal Tito’s line or communist with a sense of nationalism is the key concept and tries to locate Irabot’s contribution to the emergence of revolutionary nationalism in post-independence period. His ideas are tried to be reconstructed through his own poems. it was also opposed by a large section of Manipur Congress. The political interpretations of various poems in his Imagi Puja show that he did not altogether stand against the Indian Union (communist or liberal democratic). Only dark areas in the construction are that what and how things had been organized after the Party went underground in 1948. The associated question is over the person or the process of the movement. Nothing can be concluded only on the ground of these two statements. in the light of self-criticism of Hijam Irabot. independent of Indian communist movement. The ground of his antimerger stand might not be that his movement was for an independent Manipur. The basic issue in such approach to understanding is whether the leader or the party should be given importance in knowing a “people’s movement”.com/columnist/mc-arun-manipur-hijam-irabot-caught-betweentwo-shadowy-webs/ . Such an exercise of reconstructing his ideas does not yield a new picture. a school of thought tries to project this leader as a communist leader of Manipur. Again. The oral narratives of his followers (many of them were very young at that time) who were interviewed by interested persons make more and more confusions. he was also anti-merger. http://kanglaonline. The resolution of Indian communists to take up arms and the preparations for a larger revolutionary movement are often cited as background of armed communist movement in Manipur. One thing is certain that he thought against the wind of the colonial rule and the breeze around the transfer of power from British to India. too. The signing of the Agreement was done after his Party went underground. It was not only the communists including Hijam Irabot who rejected the proposal of formation of Purbalchal. The often stated statements about Hijam Irabot – Jana Neta or Lamyanba — are (i) he was against the formation of Purbalchal Pradesh.

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