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Undivided India before her independence had two parts viz. British India comprising provinces which were directly mled by the Crown of England and Indian Princes which were under the suzerainty of the British Crown. The British granted independence to the undivided India by the Indian Independent Act 1947 which divided India into India (Hindusthan) and Pakistan.

In India the number of Indian states after independence was 562 of which Manipur was one of them. In the previous chapter it has been shown how Manipur emerged as an Indian State after the Treaty of Yandaboo 1826 By the Sanad of 1891 Churachand was granted among other things, a dynastic salute of 11 guns. By this gun salute, Manipur was able to become a member of the Chamber of Princes which was brought into being by the Proclamation of the British Crown on February, 1921. The Chamber of Princes was to be deliverative, consultative and advisory body. Only the rulers of the States who had dynastic salute of 11 guns could become members of the Chamber of Princes in their own rights.

The national movement of India for liberation from the British colonial yoke started from 1757, the battle of Plassey. In subsequent political movements of India, there were three forces (a) the Indian National Congress including the left, (b) the Muslim League and (c) Chamber of Princes representing more than 500 States. After the immediate grant of independence to Indian on 15th August, 1947, there was only the Chamber of Princes to play effective role for formation of the union of India.

The end of the Second World War (1939-45) was a turning point in the political movement of India. In England the Labour Party came to power and Atlee became Prime Minister of England. The Labour Party decided to grant independence to India and the Labour Ministry decided to send a mission to India consisting of there cabinet Ministers to know the views of the Indian leaders on the form of constitution which the Indian leaders should have after independence.

The cabinet Mission conssisting of Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Cripps, President of Trade, and A.V. Alexander First Lord of Admiralty was to be sent to India to know the views of the Indian leaders. The Cabinet Mission arrived in New Delhi on 24th March, 1946. The aim of the Cabinet Mission was to help the Indian leaders to make a institution for the free India. After getting the opinion of the Indian leaders, the Cubit Mission submitted their report to the British Cabinet in London. After getting approval of the British Cabinet the Cabinet Mission issued the statement known as the 16th May Statement of the Cabinet Mission. The statement provided for a union of India comprising the British India and the Indian States.

As regards the Indian States, on 22nd May 46 the Cabinet Mission published a 'Memorandum on States' Treaties and Paramountcy' which was submitted to the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes-on 12th May '46. It is known as the 'Memorandum of 12th May '46. Thus the Cabinet Mission Plan consisted of two parts viz: the 16th May Statement '46 and the 'Memorandum on States' Treaties and Paramountcy' presented by the Cabinet Mission to the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes on 12th May, 1946 and the 16th May '46 Statement.

The Cabinet Mission Plan was really in the nature of an 'Award'. Para 5th of the Memorandum of the 12th May says that on the transfer of Power, 'His Majesty's Government will cease to exercise the powers of Paramountcy. This means that the rights of the States which flow from their realtionship to the Crown will no longer exist and that all the rights surrendered bythe States to the Paramount power will return to the States.Political arrangements between the States on the one side andthe British Crown and British India on the other will thus bebrought to an end.

The void will have to be filled either by the States entering into a federal relationship with the successor Government or Governments in British India, or failing this, entering into particular political arrangement with it or them." On 12 August '46 the Vicerory invited Nehru to form an interim Government which he did on 12 September '46 Subsequently on 15th October the representatives of the Muslim to deal with the representation of the States in the Constituent Assembly.

These two Negotiating Committees met for 48 hours and adopted an agreed Instrument of Accession was produced. A Standstill Agreement concerning the matters of common interest both for the interim Govt, and the States was also agreed upon. The Instrument of Accession and the Standstill Agreement served as the basis for the 'federal relationship' as provided in the 12th May Memorandum of the Cabinet Mission Plan. By executing these two documents the States should join the Constituent Assembly of India.

In case of Manipur, the Governor of Assam Akbar Hydary came down to Imphal in the last week of June, 1947 end explained the position of Manipur to the Maharaja Bodhchandra. Some Manipur Darbur members led by Senior Member Sri Priya Brata Singh submitted a letter on 29.6.1947 to the Governor of Assam through the Political Agent of Manipur. In the letter the Darbur members stated that maintaining of the status of aloofness by declaring independence of Manipur was 'impracticable' and that they wished that the Manipur State should forthwith join the Constituent Assembly of India.

On the first July, 1947 agreement between the Governor of Assam and Manipur State Durbar was entered into. According to the first para of the agreement, "It was agreed that the State should forthwith declare that it joins the constituent Assembly (Hindusthan) and that Mr. Guha should be accepted forthwith as the representative of the State as it is not practicable to have a separate representative for the State."

The Government of Assam had already informed the Maharaja of Manipur as early as December, 1946 that Manipur could not claim a separate representative in the constituent Assembly as the basis for representation was one member for every ten lakhs of population as the population of Manipur was less than ten lakhs. This was in term of the Cabinet Mission Plan. The Government of Assam suggested that Manipur should join the constituent Assembly by allowing Mr. GS. Guha, the representative of Tripura and Khasi States. Manipur was grouped with Tripura and Khasi and Jyantea. GS. Guha a former Minister of Tripura King was representing these three States viz: Manipur, Tripura and Khasi & Jyantea in the Constituent Assembly of India.

Ultimately, Manipur Maharaja signed the documents known as the Standstill Agreement and the instrument of Accession, on 11.8.1947. Thus, Manipur became a member of the constituent Assembly of India represented by Mr. GS. Guha of Tripura. Shri Priya Brata Singh was appointed Advisor to Shri GS. Guha The para 1 of the Instrument of Accession clearly mention that the Governor General of India, the Dominion Legislature, the Federal Court and any other Dominion authorities were authorised by the Maharaja of Manipur to exercise any function in relation to the State of Manipur, under the Govt, of India Act. 1935.

In this connection it is to be noted that the Instrument of Accession was to be signed by the Mahajara of Manipur on voluntary basis and if was signed it was final and irrevocable. The position after signing the Instrument of Accession is clearly explained in Supreme Court Judgement in Case State of Gujarat Vrs. Vora Fiddali Bidruddin and others as reported in AIR 1964 Vol. 51 page 1058. It says that under section 5 of Govt, of India Act. 1935 acceding States became part of the Domion of India.

Since Manipur Maharaj had executed the Instrument of Accession and joined the Dominion of India, Manipur State had become a part of the Dominion of India, The judgement further experienced. Added to this military strategic importance was the inability of the Manipur State to provide for the security arrangements for external and internal defence. On the close of the second world war, Manipur was politically disturbed area. As Manipur from every angle required special attention of the Central Govt, it was decided to take over the administration of the Manipur State. The Merger Agreement between the Maharaja of Manipur and the Central Government was signed on 21st September, 1949 in Shillong.

The preamble of the Merger Agreement gives forth the object of the agreement. The Preamble says 'To provide for the administration of said state by or under the authority of the Dominion Government." The first article of the Merger Agreement says 'Maharaja of Manipur hereby cedes to the Dominion Government fiill and exclusive authority, jurisdiction and powers for and in relation to the governance of the State and agrees to transfer the administration on the fifteenth dayof October 1949 (hereinafter referred to as the said day)". Thus, Merger Agreement is for the transfer of administration of Manipur to the central government.

On the loss of sovereignty by the acceding States, the Supreme Court judgement mentioned in the forgoing paragraph on page 1053 (Para 20) says' The acceding State part with their sovereignty in stages. In the first stage when the State executed the Instrument of Accession, by 2nd stage when Merger Agreement was signed and 3rd stage by unionisation.' i.e. on the 26th Jan. 1950 on which day Manipur became a part of the Indian Union.


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