The Boundaries of Manipur – Naoroibam Indramani (Part 6)


Western boundary of Manipur:

The western boundary of Manipur was never complicated in comparison with that of the southern boundary. Most of the boundary lines on the western side, it was well demarcated by Barak river and Jiri river. The Barak river is originated from Liyai and Tungjoi of Mao area and flows down towards the north-west direction after joining with some small streams. After demarcating the western boundary line of Manipur near Chakha, Dunnang, and Khunphung, it further flows down southward and joins with Makru river in the Tamenglong border, Irang river at the Churachandpur border and Tuibai or Tipai river at Tipaimukh, the western border of Manipur. After the Barak joins with Tipai river, its course is turned northward direction demarcating the western boundary of Manipur from the point of Tipaimukh to the point where the Jiri river joins at Jirimukh. Jiri river is originated from the area of Magulong and it flows down demarcating some portion of the western boundary of Manipur from Magulong to Jirimukh.

The Tuibai (Tipai) river was made the boundary of Manipur from the time of king Garibaniwaj. In the year 1735, king Garibaniwaj, for the purpose of settling the boundary of Manpur set up a stone at the junction of Kwai, Toowai or Tuibai (Tipai) and Tanganglok rivers. It is inscribed in Manipuri Character on the stone that the land on the northern side of Tuibai or Toowai river belongs to the king of Manipur. The inscription is still legible.

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In the year 1786 also king Jai Singh (Bhagyachandra) went to Tipai and settled the boundary of Tripura and Manipur. He also confirmed the boundary which was settled by king Garibaniwaj. In the year 1830, during the reign of king Gambhir Singh, with the view of settling the boundary in conjunction with the Government, Achoiba Luwangba, king of Moirang was employed on behalf of the king, and Jenkin, Grant, Gorden, and Pemberton were employed on behalf of the Government. The commission settled the boundary and put a flag in favour of Gambhir Singh under Kanchaon tree at the mouth of Tipai river, another flag and stone on the opposite the river in favour of the Government. Hence, that the river Toowai (Tipai) forms the boundary of Manipur was not only known to the Government of India but it was known from time immemorial to the Lushais and the Kookis living there.

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Regarding the western boundary at Jiri river, we may come across to the agreement signed between Gambhir Singh and Commissioner, F.J. Grant in 1835. Mention may be made here some past accounts of shifting the Chandrapur Thana to the Jiri by Gambhir Singh.

After the death of Govinda Chandra, the ruler of Cachar several claimants at once put forward their claim over Cachar. But the most serious claim was that of Gambhir Singh who applied for a lease of Cachar for 20 years on an annual tribute of Rs. 15,000/-. His claim was supported by Captain Grant, Commissioner of Manipur, but seriously opposed by Captain Jenkins and Lieutenant Pemberton, who pointed out that it would be dangerous to entrust the defence of Cachar to the weak ruler of Manipur. Lord William Bentinck, the Governor General of India was in favour of annexation of Cachar Valley to British India. A hilly tract in the eastern part of Cachar was given to Gambhir Singh, the plains were annexed on August 14, 1832 and a Cachar District was formed. The boundary between Manipur state and the newly formed Cachar district still remained undefined. Finally the Governor General and Supreme Council communicated the following resolutions to Gambhir Singh in 1833 declared as follows–

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“with regard to the two ranges of hills, the one called the Kalanaga range, and the other called the Noonjai range, which is situated between the eastern bend of the Barak and the western bend of the Barak, we will give up all claims on the part of the Honourable Company there unto, and we will make these hills over in possession to the Rajah, and give him the line of the Jeeree and the western bend of the Barak as a boundary, provided that the Rajah agrees to the whole of what is written to this paper.”

Accordingly after signing the agreement between Commissioner F.J. Grant and Gambhir Singh, the Chandrapur Thana of Gambhir Singh was shifted at the eastern side of the Jiri river. From this period of agreement, the western boundary of Manipur is still existing well defined and fixed unchanged till date.

To be continued.


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