COMIC BOOK WRONGLY PORTRAYS MANIPUR WAR HERO AS TRIBAL FREEDOM FIGHTER OF INDIA
Copies of comic book, ‘Tribal Leaders of the Freedom Struggle’ which portrayed Manipur’s war hero as tribal freedom fighter were on Friday burnt in Imphal. A group of student activists set afire copies of the comics to register a strong protest against the wrong portrayal of Paona Brajabashi, the war hero of the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891, popularly known as the last war of Manipur’s independence.
Activists of Joint Students’ Co-ordination Committee (JSCC), an apex body of student bodies, also declared complete ban on selling of the comic book published by Amar Chitra Katha Pvt. Ltd along with books published under the banner of the publishing house. They asked book stores across the state not to violate the ban.
In the comic book, “Tribal Leaders of the Freedom Struggle” published by the Amar Chitra Katha’s Pvt. Ltd., Manipur’s war hero Paona Brajabashi is listed among the tribal leaders of India’s freedom struggle.
Amar Chitra Katha published the comic book under the Union ministry of culture in connection with the 75th year of India’s independence.
The protest of the JSCC is at a time when various sections of the societies in the state expressed strong resentment over the wrong portrayal of the war hero of Manipur as a tribal freedom fighter of India’s freedom struggle. During JSCC’s protest, they asserted that Manipur was an independent kingdom before the invasion by the British. The last war of Manipur’s independence was fought in 1891 and the wars fought with the invading British had nothing to do with the Indian freedom struggle. JSCC convener S Bidyananda said that Paona Brajabashi was a war hero of Manipur who laid down his life in the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891 and his patriotic act was not related in any way with the freedom movement of India.
Paona Brajabashi was the commander of Manipuri soldiers who fought against the invading British at Khongjom, present day Thoubal district, the infamous last battle of Manipur’s independence.
The British invaded Manipur in 1891. Before this, Manipur was an independent kingdom and merged with the Union of India only in 1949, he stated.
“Our forefathers fought bravely against the invading British for the protection of the sovereignty of the erstwhile kingdom. We still remember the last war of Manipur’s independence fought against the British as the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891,” he said. Paona Brajabashi sacrificed his life while taking a major role in the war to defend the sovereignty of Manipur, he said.
Unfortunately, the comic book portrayed him as one of the tribal freedom fighters of India.
“It is misleading the significant history of Manipur. The wars fought by Maniupris against the invading British have nothing to do with the freedom struggle of India”, he added.
Amar Chitra Katha Pvt. Ltd. and the writer of the comic book must apologize to the people of the state, he said.
The ban on selling the comic book and other books published by the Amar Chitra Katha publishing house will continue until the pertinent authorities of the publishing house apologize.
He further asked all book stores across the state not to sell any book published under the banner of the Amar Chitra Katha Pvt. Ltd.