Imphal: Manipur observed Patriots’ Day today to pay respect to those who laid down their lives for their “motherland” against the British Empire in 1891.
Manipur Governor La Ganesan and Chief Minister N Biren Singh led the people to pay tribute to the departed leaders including Yuvaraj Tikendrajit, Thangal General, Pukhrambam Kajao, Niranjan Subedar and Chirai Naga at the Martyrs’ Memorial (Samadhi) at Kangla Uttra and Shaheed Minar and also at the memorial of war heroes deported to Andaman & Nicobar (Kalapani) at Bir Tikendrajit Park in Imphal. Gun salute was also given by a team of Manipur Rifles at Shaheed Minar by firing three rounds as a mark of respect to the departed leaders.
Speaking at the main function held at BT Park, the Governor said that even though Manipur lost the Anglo-Manipuri War and came under British rule, the series of battles in 1891 showed the courage of the Manipuris who fought against the strongest power of the world at that time, showing that freedom is more important than their own lives. He also said that many freedom fighters were killed and 22 leaders including Maharaja Kulachandra were exiled for life and five were hanged to death including Yuvaraj Tikendrajit and Thangal General.
The Governor continued that today “we are commemorating the sacrifices made by all those both known and unknown for the cause of freedom.” He added, “When we look back into history, it is clear that the British entered the fray because of the disunity among the Princes of Manipur. We cannot change history but we can always learn from history that disunity among ourselves will bring downfall to our nation.”
The Governor further said that it was the sacrifice of innumerable numbers of people of India including from Manipur who brought back independence on August 15, 1947. Manipur merged to the Union of India on October 15, 1949 and since then it is an important part of the country, the governor also said.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh while speaking at the function said, “We should remember the supreme sacrifices made by our forefathers for defending freedom and fighting against the mighty British in those days. He further said, “We should respect the sense of patriotism and spirit of our forefathers who fought against the British defying all odds for the sake of their “motherland.” Yuvaraj Tikendrajit and Thangal General and many other leaders fought to their last breath for the sake of freedom.
The Chief Minister further said that it is time to make India a powerful nation and all should work for nation building. “We should respect each other and work together to make a stronger state. All should work for unity and any divisive or sectarian forces should be neglected,” he added.