The Growth of Modern Political Consciousness and Political Parties in Manipur

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N. Malemsanba Meetei


Manipur is one of the north-eastern states of India where different communities such as Meetei, Meetei Pangal (Muslims), Kuki, Naga, etc. lived together for centuries. The issue of political consciousness is not a new phenomenon in Manipur as it had constitution, Loiyumba Shilyen at least since 11th century CE. But the growth of various political parties as modern democratic institutions emerged in the princely state of Manipur especially after the colonial encounter. The British colonial period witnessed combined oppression of colonial and feudal authority. The various forms of exploitations such as political and economic exploitation, social subjugation and ostracism through the invocation of the concept of mangba-sengba (impurity-purity), etc. provided the fertile ground for the growth of political parties especially in 1930-40’s.The politically conscious middle class played significant role in shaping the popular democratic ideas and values and ultimately the rise of political parties in Manipur. In this seminal piece, an attempt has been made to understand the emergence of modern political consciousness and political parties in Manipur by making inquiries such as- what was the historical context and how did political parties were formed? Further an attempt has been made to critically examine and explore the Merger Agreement 1949 signed between the Government of India and Maharaja Bhodhachandra Singh in shaping the political ideas and growth of political parties.

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