The History of Manipur is the story of the evolution of the culture and society of a remarkable people who built up their cradle of civilization in Manipur valley amidst the mountain ranges that divide India and Burma. The beautiful valley of Imphal, which is situated on the trade and migration route between South Asia and South East Asia, was a valley of cultural assimilation of the varied people who came to this hilly country in search of land, fortune, better living and glory.
The author has made an humble attempt to reconstruct the history of this beautiful country inhabited by various ethnic groups from the very early times by utilizing the archaeological evidences, literary and historical sources.
The author does not entertain any claim to the originality of the informations which are analysed and presented in this work. This work is indicative of the current state of research and investigation on the history of ancient and medieval Manipur.
The present book deals with the Pre-colonial Period of History of Manipur and is the first authentic work on the subject.
• The auther on Gangmumei Kabui was professer, Department of History, University of Manipur, Imphal. He retired long back and now lives in Imphal.
Of late, the regional history has assumed great importance. In its wide canvas, it unfolds the chronological sequence of the past historical developments and presents a vivid picture of the erstwhile ruling dynasties in different hues and colours. Based on the availability of source materials ranging from the studies on pre-history, archaeological research, ethnographical sources, literary and archival sources as well as royal chronicles, the untold story of the past can be woven into a cogent and sequential form.
The present volume is the outcome of Seminar proceedings on "Sources of the History of Manipur and the Adjoining Areas" organised by the University of Manipur in collaboration wiht ICHR. The contents of the volume provide a deep insight and a panoramic view of the by-gone historical processes, including use and application of the existing source materials.
Well-documented and lucidly presented, the book is bound to be a source of inspiration and strength to students, researchers and all those interested in the relevance and importance of regional history.
The History of Manipur is the story of the evolution of the culture and society of a remarkable people who built up their cradle of civilization in Manipur valley amidst the mountain ranges that divide India and Burma. The beautiful valley of Imphal, which is situated on the trade and migration route between South Asia and South East Asia, was a valley of cultural assimilation of the varied people who came to this hilly country in search of land, fortune, better living and glory. The author does not entertain any claim to the originality of the informations which are analysed and presented in this work. This work is indicative of the current state of research and investigation on the history of ancient and medieval Manipur. The author has made an humble attempt to reconstruct the history of this beautiful country inhabited by various ethnic groups from the very early times by utilizing the archaeological evidences, literary and historical sources. I wonder whether this historical methodology has been successful in presenting a rational history of the period. I have tried to cull the history from the myriad of myths, legends, traditions and semi-historical texts in the reconstruction of the history of Manipur. I have also tried to separate the myth and sentiment from the historical and real events. However, despite the ideal inspired by the famous German poet Goethe that the historian's duty is to separate the truth from the false, the certain from the uncertain, it is a difficult task to apply this eternal dictum.
It must be confessed that the present work is my response to the challenge of teaching and research on the regional history of Manipur and North East India in Jawaharlal Nehru University and Manipur University. I have taken the help of a large number of scholars in the preparation of this work and I wish to thank everyone of them. I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Romila Thapar who made._ a significant decision in the introduction of History of Manipur in the Post Graduate courses in History in JNU Centre, Imphal. However, it was Professor Amalendu Guha who suggested that I should write a history of Manipur. I am grateful to him.
I propose to write the History of Manipur in three volumes. Volume I deals with the ancient and medieval period or the pre-colonial period. Volume II deals with modern period from 1826 to the 20th century. Volume III deals with the social and cultural history covering all the ethnic groups of the kingdom.
I am thankful to Dr. Lal Dena, Associate Professor Dr. N. Joy Kumar Singh, Associate Professor and my colleagues Dr. M. Jitendra Singh, Associate Professor in the Department of History, Manipur University who gave me great assistance in the preparation of this small work. I owe a lot to Shri N. Khelchandra Singh, the most authentic scholar of Manipur's past history and literature, from whom I got historical materials.
I used to discuss many aspects of history with Professor B.K. Roy Burman, a distinguished scholar and anthropologist with a deep insight into the historical interpretation of the past events in the global and universal perspective. My interactions with him greatly helped me in formulating my ideas on historical ecology, ethno-history, socio-cultural formation, state formation process and identity formation and identity expansion in Manipur, North East India and South East Asia. I am grateful to him.
I have also utilised the services of my students who are research scholars in the Department of History, especially, Dr. L. Basanti Devi, Ksh. Shymkanhai Singh and Dr. N. Pramodhini Devi in the preparation of this work. I got assistance from Dr. P. Nabachandra Singh, Assistant Professor in Manipuri Language and Literature for interpreting archaic Meitei words of the chronicles. I would like to thank Dr. S. Tomba Singh, Associate Professor of Manipuri Language and Literature and Shri S. Bhagya Singh of S.R. Institute of Manipuri Studies for allowing me to use the excellent papers of the seminars conducted by the Institute. I also thank my friend B Kullachandra Sharma for making several historical manuscripts available to me. I am grateful to Prof. Arambam Lokendra, a perceptive scholar with whom I had the privilege of close interaction on the evolution of Meitei society and culture.
I have to say that the chapter I-Introductory: Land and People is a modified version of my paper 'Glimpses in the Land and People of Ancient Manipur' included in Dr. N. Sanajaoba (ed.) Manipur : Past and Present. I would like to thank Principal M. Ibotombi Singh of Moirang College and his brother for the help given on the history of Moirang.
I also thank my esteemed colleague, Professor S.N. Pandey who gave me encouragement and inspiration by making frequent queries about the progress of the book. I am grateful to all the learned colleagues of History Department-Professor L.B. Verma, Dr. G.P. Singh, Dr. D.N. Asopa, K.K. Das, Dr. S. Irene, N. Lokendra Singh who interacted with me on several occasions for providing me the necessary academic climate. I had the opportunity of discussing the problems of methodology and historical interpretation with Prof. Verma whose sharp mind and deep knowledge of history as a discipline have been of great help to me.
I would like to mention the critical observations made by Maharaj Kumar Priya Brata Singh on different aspects of history and culture of Manipur. It is because of his abiding love for the culture and history of the people of Manipur that I have dedicated this work to him as a token of love, respect and appreciation.
I must thank Prof. K.J. Mahale, Vice Chancellor of Manipur University, a profound scholar of genuine humanism and an educationist of rare quality and lover of knowledge who encourages his colleagues to widen the frontiers of knowledge.
I have to acknowledge the great help given by Miss Thambalsana Kamei, Librarian of State Central Library, in making available to me any book I required at any time which went a long way in completing this work.
I must thank Ch. Radheshyam Singh, Deputy Librarian of Manipur University Library and staff including R.K. Budhi Singh and Shyamo Singh. I acknowledge the assistance I received from the authorities of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, National Library, Calcutta, National Archieves, Ratan Tata Library, Delhi School of Economics, JNU Library, Central Secretariat Library, New Delhi, Vishva Bharati and Gauhati University Libraries.
I am also grateful to my wife and members of my family who shared with me the ups and downs of an academician and social activist like me.
I must thank Noyal Joseph (editor) for his painstaking editorial work which have gone a long way in presenting this book in the present form. It was a pleasure to work with a bright and young editor.
I thank L. Rabindranath Sharma and L. Bikram Singh of Manipur University who took the trouble of typing my manuscript. I also thank M. Lalguirung of my office for his devoted work. Then my thanks goes to S.K. Malik of National Publishing House, Delhi for his kindly agreeing to publish this work.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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