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The Boundaries of Manipur

Chapter IV

The Southern Boundary (Contd.)

In 1871 the Lushais again committed raids on Cachar, Sylhet, Manipur and Tipperah and were at the same time at feud with the Kamhows or Sooties a tribe that settled to the south of Manipur.10 The Governor General in Council decided to send an expedition against them with two columns, one from Chittagong and the other from Cachar11 and invited co-operation from the Raja of Manipur. In response Chandrakirti singh sent a contingent of two thousand Manipuri sepoys and four hundred porters to assist the British Government in their expedition against the Lushais. Major General Nuthall, an officer of great experience, was appointed to accompany the Manipuri troops. His Lordship in Council further requested Chandrakirti Singh to establish Manipuri outposts along the hills, east of Tipaimukh and south of the Manipur Valley, and send his other forces to the south of Moirang, in the direction of Chiboo, with instructions to intercept the possible advance of the Lushais in that direction. While the expedition was thus carrying on in full swing, Dambhung and the headman of Taikum came to the British Camp and reported the difficulties that were being faced by the Manipuri soldiers, mainly from want of adequate food supply and other medical facilities, to those who were suffering from pestilential diseases.12 On the receipt of this news, the Manipuri troops were allowed to withdraw from Chiboo13 and on their return journey, they mae an encounter with the Kamhows or Sooties in which they made fifty six men of the latter prisoners and seized fifty two muskets.

The British expedition to the Lushai Hills was successful. The tribes of Vonpilal, Poiboi and Vonolel were subsequently reduced to submission and tributes were exacted from them. Moreover, before the complete withdrawal of the Manipuri troop from the Lushai country, the British Government compelled several of the Chiefs of the above territory to enter into an agreement with the Government of Manipur for a peaceful settlement. In October 1872 the Government of India, instructed the Political Agent at Manipur, to take the initiative in establishing friendly relations with the Lushais.14 Subsequent to the above proceedings, in 1813, Damboom, the Lushai Chief, paid a visit to Manipur. The Manipuri authorities tried to keep that visit a secret, but the Political Agent, having heard of the Chief’s arrival, sent for him privately. Though he promised to meet the Agent, Damboom did not turn up. However, Chandrakirti Singh brought the Lushai Chief to Dr. Brown, the Political Agent at Manipur. In their meeting Damboom and Brown discussed the peaceful settlement of the Lushai-Manipuri relations.

Several of the Lushai Chiefs followed Damboom and they visited the Capital of Manipur. In one of their visits to Manipur, Damboom on the part of Poiboi, Daloom Muntri on the part of Lenkoom, Lalkoop, Raja of Lairuk, Konga, Raja of Punchoohi and Balool, Muntri of Dalkoon swore before the Raja and the Political Agent at Manipur, and other officers of the country that mutual friendship would always be maintained by them towards the British Government and the Government of Manipur and agreed, for that purpose, to conclude a treaty with Chandrakirti Singh.15 Under the terms of the treaty, they agreed not to commit acts of aggression against the British and Manipur subjects and promised not to hold communications with any tribes, hostiles to the aforesaid powers. They also promised to give due notice of any inimical intentions, from any tribes, against the aforesaid powers. They further promised to afford support and encouragement to the traders from the countries of the aforesaid powers. The Maharaja of Manipur, on his part, promised to forgive all acts of aggression that had been committed against his subjects by the above Lushais. He also assured them of his support should they be unjustly attacked by any of the neighbouring tribes and agreed to assist them in the event of drought and famine.16

However, the terms of the above treaty were not respected by the Lushais themselves. In 1877 it was reported that the Lushais who were subjects of Poiboi, Lalbura and Lengkham, made severe and repeated raids on some Kabui Naga villages in the territory of Manipur. Though the news of the attack reached him in time Chandrakiti Singh adhered to his friendly relations with them and with this object in view he promosed, in March 1877 to send a deputation to Tipaimukh to discuss the matter but to no purpose. Thus the Lushai problems remained unsolved for many years.





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