Tikendrajit Singh (December 29, 1856 – August 13, 1891) also known as Bir Tikendrajit and Koireng was a prince of independent Kingdom of Manipur (in the present day northeastern India), who led the Manipuri army against the British army in the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891.
The Anglo-Manipur War
On February 21, 1891 Lord Lansdowne, the British viceroy of India ordered J.W. Quinton, the chief commissioner of Assam, to recognise Kullachandra as the King but to arrest Jubaraj Tikendrajit. Quinton arrived in Manipur on March 22, 1891 with a troop of 400 soldiers under Colonel Skene and asked Raja Kullachandra to hand over Tikendrajit to him as desired by the British Governor General of India. In the evening of March 24, 1891 British troops attacked Jubaraj Tikendrajit's residence in the Compound of Kangla Palace, killing many innocent civilians including women and children who were watching a Ras Lila dance. The Manipuri soldiers struck back and the British were put on the defensive. In the ensuing chaos, the people whose children, wives and relatives were killed by the British army executed five British officers including the Political Agent Grimwood, and Quinton. On March 31, 1891 the British Government declared war against Manipur (the Anglo-Manipur War) and 3 army columns from Kohima (under the command of Major General H. Collet), Silchar (under the command of Colonel R.H.F. Rennick) and Tamu (under the command of Brigadier General T. Graham) were sent to Manipur. Tikendrajit led the Manipuri army in this war. The British army finally took possession of the Kangla Palace on April 27, 1891. Major Maxwell took over as the chief political agent. Later, Manipur became a princely state and Churachand Singh, a minor was placed on the throne of Manipur. Tikendrajit and other leaders of Manipur subsequently went underground. Tikendrajit was arrested in the evening of May 23.
The trial and death
The special court, formed under Lt. Col. John Mitchell for the trial commenced on May 11, 1891. The court found Tikendrajit, Kullachandra and Thangal General guilty and they were sentenced to death. The Governor General confirmed the death sentence passed on Tikendrajit and Thangal General and converted the death sentence of the Maharaja and Angousan into transportation for life. The order was announced on August 13, 1891 and Tikendrajit and Thangal General were publicly hanged at 5 pm of the same day at Kangjei-bung (Polo ground) in Imphal. After independence, this ground in Imphal where he was hanged was renamed as Bir Tikendrajit Park.
- Bir Tikendrajit Singh – The True Patriot Of Manipur, India-north-east.com
- Bir Tikendrajit – The Hero of Manipur in Press Information Bureau, Government of India website.