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The Historical, Archaeological, Religious & Cultural Significance Of 'Kangla': The Ancient Citadel Of Manipur

Pandit N.Khelchandra Singh

12. The Climactic Aftermath - Beheading Of Quinton & Others:

Under the circumstances, the Chief Commissioner wanted to make peace with the Manipuris. At about 8 o'clock the bugle sounded 'cease fire from the British side.' J.W.Quinton, the Chief Commissioner of Assam, Mr. Grimwood, the Political Agent in Manipur, Lt. Simpson, Mr. Cossins and a bugler of 44th Gorkha Rifles came to the palace to hold the subsequent durbar that fateful night. In the durbar held in front of the durbar room Tikendrajit Jubraj said that he had been badly treated in having his house surrounded and his people killed and he protested strongly against it. The Jubaraj and Thangal General asked them to give up their arms. The Chief Commissioner replied that they could not give up their arms as they belong to the Government. Then the durbar broke up.

When the British officers returned towards the residency, a door near the dragons about 50 yds. from where the durbar was held was shut suddenly. The British officers were hammed in by the excited and infuriated people whose near and dear ones had been killed and hit with the butt ends of their own rifles. Lt. Simpson was severely wounded. When so hustled, the British officers came running back to the durbar room. As Mr. Grimwood, the Political Agent, reached the durbar hall, Nepra Koot gave him a push and Kajao alias Pukhramba the bugler were taken to the green space in front of the dragons and beheaded by the executioner. That very night the British troops at the Residency fled towards Cachar carrying the dead body of Lt. Brackenbury, shot in action by the Manipuris when the enemy attacked in order to arrest Jubaraj Tikendrajit.

On the tomb of Lt. Brackenbury in the old church, Shillong, the above action is recorded as: "Brackenbury (killed in) action with the (Manipuris on) 24th March, 1891... years... is erected: Other Officers.. And Native." As soon as the news reached the British Government, columns of British were sent to Manipur from Kohima, Silchar (Cachar) and Burma. A severe battle was fought at Khongjom and Manipur fell into the hands of the British in the morning of the 27th April, 1891. On the reverberations of that in Bengal in particular, N. Sanajaoba25 quotes J.Roy:

"The Meitei revolts during 1700-1891 were led primarily by the princes or persons close to the throne. The revolts were led on different occasions by Ajit Shah, Goura Shah, Khelemba, Chourajit, Marjit, Heerachandra, Gambhir Singh, Debendra, Kanhai, Gokul, Borachaoba, Wangkheirakpa, and Tikendrajit. The Kuki, Kabui or ethnic incursions also were common occurrence although the Meitei king controlled them with a firm hand. Every national awakening has an inspiration from a god-father; Bengal had inspiration from the valiant Anglo-Manipuri War, 1891. A Bengali historian, J.Roy correctly writes in his History of Manipur: "The stand taken by Senapati Tikendrajit and his martyrdom continued to be a source of inspiration to the revolutionaries of Bengal for a long time" (p.133). Truly it did not merely enlighten the Bengalis but others too."


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