Manipur : Remembering Freedom Warrior & Social Reformist – Haipou Jadonang On His 91st Death Anniversary 

Posted in Featured, Manipur, Northeast

 

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The Rongmei Naga leader from present-day Manipur & a social reformist – Haipou Jadonang is fondly remembered on his 91st death anniversary.

Born in Kambiron at Manipur’s Tamenglong district on 1905; Jadonang was a Messiah king who tried to unify the Nagas to attain freedom from the clutches of the British colonial rule. He was arrested on February 19, 1931 and was framed in a false case and hanged on August 29, 1931 in Imphal.

In the early decades of the 20th century, Jadonang grabbed the attention of the Zeliangrong tribal community – an indigenous Naga community living in the tri-junction of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.

He began establishing an army – Riphen, that comprised of 500 men and women who were well trained in military tactics, weaponry and reconnaissance missions. Besides these activities, the recruits assisted in civilian matters such as farming, livestock, grazing, and firewood collection, among others.

His non-cooperation movement hampered the British administration which made the then political agent of Manipur, J.C Higgins order the arrest of Jadonang. Eventually, he was arrested in 1927 by SDO of Tamenglong headquarter S.C. Booth.

Jadonang had grown up witnessing the British force their religion and way of life upon the Nagas, and he believed that their conversion efforts constituted a grave threat to the native beliefs, customs, and traditions of the community.

In order to appease the authorities and escape economic hardships, many Nagas converted to Christianity. This turn of events prompted Jadonang to work for the resurgence of the Naga culture and revolt against the Imperial oppression.

His disciple Rani Gaidinliu gave lessons inspired from the songs composed by Jadonang praising the struggle for the cause of freedom. Gaidinliu, at the age of 13, became the lieutenant of Jadonang throughout his social, religious and political movements.

They joined the Heraka movement, which aimed at revival of the Naga tribal religion and establishing self-rule of the Nagas (Naga Raj) ending the British rule. Gaidinliu – the Naga spiritual & political leader, led an armed uprising against the British in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam.

However, after Jadonang, Gaidinliu took-up the leadership of this movement, and valiantly fought against the British. She commenced a serious revolt against the British after the martyrdom of Jadonang, which led to her imprisonment by the Britishers for 14 years; and was finally released in 1947.

Taking to social media platforms, the Manipur Chief Minister – N. Biren Singh also paid rich tributes to the great freedom fighter. “Remembering the great freedom fighter, Haipou Jadonang who fought for freedom from the clutches of the British colonial rule on his death anniversary. Despite many challenges, our great forefathers have always fought courageously against the mighty British empire. A popular spiritual leader and a nationalist, his immense contribution in the freedom struggle was remembered by Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji in his recent Independence Day speech.” – he wrote.

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