western boundary of Manipur was not properly defined.
The territorial possession of the state, as given in
treaty of 1763, extended upto the Brahmaputra Valley1,
There is also ample evidence to show that even on the
eve the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826) the Manipuri
Princes Chourjit Sinigh, Marjit Singh and Gambhir Sjugh
occupied the whole of south Cachar.
Since early 1827, Gambhir Singh (1826-1834 ) the
then Raja of Manipur made steady penetration into the
area west of the
Barak river. This region abounds in excellent timber
besides valuable ivory, wax, grass and bamboos2.
Gambbir Singh nourished the desire of annexing
that territory to Manipur and brought various Naga clans
that occupied this tract under his authority.
1828, on a complaint lodged by Govindchandra, the Raja
of Cachar, against Gambhir Singh, Mr. Tucker, the then
Commissioner of Sylhet, called upon the Raja of Manipur
to explain his conduct. But Gambhir Singh rejected the
claim that the Barak had every formed the line of
demaracation between Manipur and Cachar. He explained
that he had merely brought the independent Nagas under
his sphere of influence3. A few months later
he occupied an Ilaka known as Chandrapur and constructed
houses for the settlers from his territory. When he was
asked by the Commissioner to remove the Manipuris from
the Ilaka he claimed it as an inheritance4.
Gambhir Singh’s inability to present documentary
evidence and the intervention of Mr. Scott, Agent to the
Governor-General, under advice from the Supreme
Government dismissed his claim on the Ilaka. The Agent
wrote to the Government that Gambhir Singh could not be
considered to hold the Ilaka ofChandrapur even should it
be true, as he alleged that it was granted to his father5.
The Agent, however, was of the opinion that it might be
expedient that the Raja of Manipur should be given some
other small tract of land in Cachar for the purpose of
settling a few of his followers with a view to the safe
custody and transport of military stores between Sylhet
and Manipur6. The proposal received the
concurrence of the Governor-General in Council and it
was observed that if necessary Gambhir Singh should be
required to pay a fair and reasonable compensation
either directly to Govindchandra or through the British
Government7. The Raja of Cachar objected
strongly to make over to Gambhir Singh any part of the
territory for the purpose of erecting a magazine as
suggested by the Agent. But ultimately he agreed to cede
such a tract to Government for fifteen years after which
it had to be renewed, if necessary8.
after the acquisition of the above tract Gambhir Singh
set up a police establishment at Chandrapur and
encouraged its Thannadar directly and indirectly to
commit acts of aggression9. he also began to
interfere indirectly in the internal politics of Cachar
which had naturally provoked the wrath of the agent to
the Governor General, who in a private letter asked him
to desist from such proceedings. However, these
remonstrances hardly produced any change in the attitude
of the Raja of Manipur10.
the meantime the authority of Govindchandra had been
challenged in Cachar by his formidable rival – Tularam.
Although the early relatins between Govindchandra and
this chief were on the whole cordial, Tularam later on
shook off the allegiance of the Raja of Cachar and
joined hands with his father in the hills of North
Cachar. The Arzee of this chief shows that Govindchandra
had murdered his father and uncle and had caused some of
his people to be overpowered and put in irons11.
The Raja of Cachar treated him (Tularam) as an usurper
and ridiculed him as the son of a slave girl12.
Tularam on the otherhand, aided by his two cousins,
Govindram and Durgacharan, caused much alarm to the Raja13.
enmity of Gambhir Singh and Tularam made the position of
Govindchandra insecure. The situation was further
aggravated by his oppressive measures and with the
strained relations with his Cachari subjects whom the
deprived off the loaves and fishes of the State. To make
his administration efficient the Raja had to employ a
large number of officers from the southern part of
Bengal and dismissed the greater number of his Cachari
subjects who had offended many of his kith and kin. The
latter being highly dissatisfied fled to Jaintia,
Comilla and Tipperah and some joined hands with Tularam14.