Imphal, April 9: A number of boundary stones and landmarks installed during the reign of Maharaja Chandrakirti to define the eastern boundary of Manipur have now disappeared.
The disappearance of these stones and landmarks which are highly significant both historically and also from geo-political perspective came to light when a team of scholars and archeological researchers led by well known archivist Mutua Bahadur and Art & Culture Joint Director Keithellakpam Dinamani went on a research tour a few days back.
The team found that two stone engravings earlier found at the confluence of Sanalok and Nampalok in Kamjong district have disappeared.
These stones were engraved with the footprints of Maharaja Chandrakirti and certain words in Bengali script. These stones told about the boundary of Manipur with Burma (now Myanmar).
Moreover, a boulder engraved with the image of Hanuman which was at Chatric Khullen, a short distance away from the confluence of Sanalok and Nampalok, was also found missing.
Notably, these historic stones which have now disappeared are listed in Mutua Bahadur’s book ‘Manipurgi nungda lairik mayek irambasing’. The same book has pictures and facsimiles of these stones.
Art & Culture Joint Director Dinamani said that those stones were discovered by Mutua Bahadur a long time back.
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“When a team of researchers including Mutua Bahadur and myself went to the confluence of Sanalok and Nampalok in 2011, the two stones engraved with the footprints of Maharaja Chandrakirti and words on Manipur’s eastern boundary were found a little distance away from their original positions. The team retrieved the stones and put them at proper places”, Dinamani said.
As the roads were in horrible condition at that time, the team could not bring the stones, he said.
The Art & Culture Director asserted that archeological evidence are artefacts which have been proven scientifically and no one can manipulate such evidence.
The history of Manipur can be broadly classified into three parts viz; the period of Sanamahism (early history), the period of Hinduism (medieval history) and the British period (modern history).
Even though some people who do not know or wish to manipulate the history of Manipur have been insisting that the geographical area of Manipur is just 700 square miles, there are historical accounts of the expansion of Manipuri kingdom up to Kabaw Valley and Thibomei.
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Inscribed stones dating to the reign of Maharaja Chandrakirti or the modern history of Manipur; that is when the Britishers had arrived in the kingdom of Manipur were discovered at the confluence of Sanalok and Nampalok in the East, Behiang at the confluence of Barak River and Samtui River in the South, Tipaimukh at the confluence of Tuivai and Barak in the West and Kohima in the North, he said.
These inscribed stones might have marked the boundary of Manipur during those days, he said.
Saying that there is a growing need to preserve and maintain clear account of the history of Manipur by doing exhaustive research into all historical elements including the inscribed stones which can serve as archeological evidence, Dinamani appealed to all the people to help in searching the inscribed stones which have disappeared from the confluence of Sanalok and Nampalok.
He further appealed to bring out those historical stones if anyone is in possession of them. He even offered to give a monetary reward.
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Regarding the image of Hanuman engraved on a stone found at Chatric Khullen, Mutua Bahadur expressed strong belief that the particular stone was erected as a symbol of ‘boundary guard’ after Hinduism or Ramandhi sect was adopted as the official religion of the royal palace of Manipur.
There are rumours that some villagers have been concealing those stone engravings which have disappeared from the confluence of Sanalok and Nampalok and Chatric Khullen, he added.
(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)