General salute! Present Arm!
Government of India,
Letter No: 99040/Gm/ORG
Dated: Simla, the 24th June, 1891
Assistant Secy in Council,
Govt. Of India
(“…..During the pleasure of thr Governor General in Council, it is directed that you should make arrangement for announcing and carrying out these sentences in a formal and striking manner without inflicting upon the prisoners any unnecessary suffering……”)
Yes, the British officers saluted Tikendrajit and Thangal at the Gallows on the 13th of August, 1891 at Pheidapung, Imphal at the woeful wee hours at the fateful early morning. Our Patriots fought for their motherland till the last drop of blood with a smiley heavy sigh of patriotism. Our enemy, the Britshers felt it. They had known that the then Manipuri had fought against them not well equipped, not organised properly, but willingly, consciously that they were going to die and would be defeated. Gallows-the ultimate goal of the patriots, surrounded by helpless countrymen of Manipur-their last smiles enshrined the valour of the Manipuris, the Patriotism of Manipuris till today. That is why the enemies saluted our heroes on the 13t of August, 1891. Yes, they were our real eternal leaders.
But, what is our attitude towards our leaders today? Today is the 127th Patriots’ day-13th August, 2018. Manipur is remembering and paying tribute to Bir Tikendrajit and Thangal General on this day. Floral tribute to Bir Tkiendrajit at Hicham Yaicham paat. Yaiskul Janmasthan to Thangal General at the Thangal Monument at Palace gate, Imphal East and State function at Bir Tikendrajit park. Shaheed Minar (Pheidabung) and last but not the last, the Rupmahal Theatre’s “Bir Tikendrajit” play on its stage – the 238th and 239 shows of the patriotic play Written by Meitram Bira and directed by Hawaibam Nilamani, Rupmahal staged this historic play in 1951 for the first time. The non-stop flow of this special play of Rupmahal continues with the patriotic essence of the Manipur through generations to generations and will go on forever. One can share the valuable moments of the play only on 13thAugust of every year. Twenty years after the inception of Rupmahal Theatre’s ‘BIR TIKENDRAJIT’ the government of Manipur introduced the celebration of state level ‘Patriots’ Day’ on the 13th August’1971 for the first time. It is believed that Rupmahal’s BIR TIKENDRAJIT play gave the inspiration to the then Govt. of Manipur. Thus, this poor Rupmahal Theatre is successfully bringing down the spirit of patriotism till today. The sincere theatre artistes remember those heroic “leaders” of the land.
When we find the word ‘leaders’ here in this write-up we could not help ourselves rather to ask a far question. Do we have our leaders today? Are the elected politicians our leaders? Leave the enemies. Will our descendants, one day pay tribute to the so called present day “leaders”? There are so many presidents, chairmen, General Secretaries, Chief Minister, Hon’ble Ministers and MLA’s with us. Are they our leaders? Have they ever thought of the common people sincerely, faithfully?
Only questions after questions without any answer. What is the limit of earning for a person in power? Be it Chief Minister, be it a Cabinet Minister, be it a MLA – What is the difference between them and the thikadaars (contractors)? How much they will earn in their five years power? How many more wives do (recognised or non recognised) they need? By the way, none of the citizen has so far seen their responsibility regarding the need of the people as ‘leaders’. Our elected politicians make us recall Leo Tolstoy’s short story, entitled ‘the Imp and the Peasant’s Bread’ which depicts, “Evil turns its face to a person who have got more than he needs”.
Today they are saluting those leaders without knowing themselves. What a shame?
Our emotions are with the closingcurtain of Rupmahal’s BIR TIKENDRAJIT play which sings : “……Meitram Bira….Chatloko Athouba, karigumaba Kumlaklaba Nangna, Hallakkhoko Nareibaksida; Lamjingbirakkho Panglaba Nari-Nanausingbu- Jatigee Eena Kungna Semlamgeko Angaangba Kaali-Yeklakkhoko poirei Meitei Ngamkhei-Chatloko Athouba…..”curtain of Rupmahal’s BIR TIKENDRAJIT play which sings : “……Meitram Bira….Chatloko Athouba, karigumaba Kumlaklaba Nangna, Hallakkhoko Nareibaksida; Lamjingbirakkho Panglaba Nari-Nanausingbu- Jatigee Eena Kungna Semlamgeko Angaangba Kaali-Yeklakkhoko poirei Meitei Ngamkhei-Chatloko Athouba…..”
But those precious souls never come back to their beloved motherland. What may their souls feel today’s Manipur?
Written by Bishwamittra