Mairembam Koireng Singh

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Mairembam Koireng Singh
1st, 2nd and 4th Chief Minister of Manipur
In office
11 January 1967 – 9 January 1979
Preceded by Position Created
Succeeded by Mairembam Koireng Singh
In office
20 March 1967 – 4 October 1967
Preceded by Mairembam Koireng Singh
Succeeded by Longjam Thambou Singh
In office
16 February 1968 – 16 October 1969
Preceded by Longjam Thambou Singh
Succeeded by Mohammed Alimuddin
Personal details
Born Mairembam Koireng Singh
19 December 1915
Moirang, Manipur, India
Died 27 December 1994
Spouse(s) (L) Kiyam Ningol Mairembam Ongbi Ibemhal Devi

Mairembam Koireng Singh or Moirang Koireng was the first elected Chief Minister of Manipur, India, and a freedom fighter during the Second World War.

Biography[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Koireng was the youngest son of Mairembam Chaoyaima Singh and Leishangbam Ningol Mairembam Ongbi Tombichao Devi. Chaoyaima was the Nongthomba in the Royal Court and was therefore popularly known as Nongthomba. Koireng had four brothers, Mairembam Meina Singh, Mairembam Angangyaima Singh, Mairembam Nilachandra Singh and Mairembam Tambullo Singh, and three sisters, Mairembam Ningol Konjengbam Ongbi Tampak Devi, Mairembam Ningol Kumam Ongbi Leihao Devi and Mairembam Ningol Phairembam Ongbi Ashangbi Devi.

Koireng was married to Kiyam Ibemhal Devi (daughter of Kiyam Gopal Singh) in 1938. He had five sons, (L) Mairembam Khelendro Singh, Dr. Mairembam Manihar Singh, Mairembam Joy Singh, (L) Mairembam Prafullo Singh and (L) Mairembam Herojit Singh, and three daughters Mairembam Ningol Sanjenbam Ongbi Prabhapati Devi, Mairembam Ningol Haobam Ongbi Biteshwori Devi and Mairembam Ningol Khoisnam Ongbi Premila Devi.

Early life[edit]

Though born to a rich well-to-do family, Koireng had his share of hardship and suffering at a very tender age. Koireng's mother Tombichao Devi died nine days after Koireng's birth. Koireng was brought up by Chaoyaima's elder brother Mairembam Ningthou Singh and Ningthou's wife Chaobihal Devi.

Koireng was also good in Mukna (a form of traditional wrestling) and Kangjei.

Apart from being a pioneer in promoting drama in the region, he was also a good artist.

Life as a Freedom Fighter[edit]

The year 1938 marked a great milestone in Koireng's life. First, he joined Nikhil Manipuri Maha Sabha at a young age of 23 to revolt against the suppressive rule of the Manipuri King. Second, he was married to Ibemhal Devi. And third, he did not matriculate for a career in politics.

During the Second World War (1939–1945), in the morning of 14 April 1944, under the leadership of Shri Koireng, Shri Leiphrakpam Sanaba, Shri Kumam Kanglen, Shri Meinam Mani and others he welcomed the Indo-Japanese Advanced Party at Tronglaobi (Moirang). After discussing the various conditions pertaining the independence of India prevailing at that time, INA Colonel Saukat Ali Malik hoisted the Tricolour flag for the first time. Shri Koireng Singh, Captain Ito of the 33rd Japanese Mountain Gun Regiment and several people of Moirang were also present during the flag hoisting ceremony. In this way, Moirang become the first independent kingdom in India. After this, from till 14 July 1944 Shri Hemam Neelmani's house became the headquarters of the Azad Hind Fauz.

Shri Koireng even arranged for food grains from his father's granary without his fathers's approval. Feeding thousands of the Azad Hind Fauz soldiers for 3 months was the contribution made by Koireng and his colleagues during the war for independence. The British Political Agent at Moirang during that time had announced Moirang as Enemy's Soil, branded Koireng, Kiyam Gopal Singh, Leiphrakpam Sanaba Singh and Hemam Neelmani Singh as traitors and ordered them shot on sight..

Revolt for Thangjing Temple[edit]

After the Independence of India in 1947, the custody of Ibudhou Thangjing’s Temple which was long governed by the King of Moirang. The Merger Agreement of 1949 did not bring any changes to the temple. Instead Shri Bodhchandra Singh (the Meitei King) declaring the God as King’s God took away all the money offered to the temple. The people of Moirang under the leadership of Shri Koireng Singh revolted against the Meitei King in May 1950 and demanded that the "People’s God" should be handed over to the people and that the celebration of "Lai Haraoba" should be governed by the people. This was known as the "Thangjing Andolan". The Meitei King sent a Riflemen Contingent under SP L Gopal along with Sub-Inspector L Jadumani to look into the revolt. CRPC 144 was declared in and around the temple. Later under Chief Commissioner Shri Himat Singh, policemen dispersed the rebels by beating them violently. Many rounds were fired in the air to disperse the rebellion. Koireng and many others were severely injured. People then boycotted the office bearers appointed by the Meitei King to govern the temple. The governance of the temple by its people was fought for long with legal help through court. The MP (Member of Parliament) at that time Laishram Jugeshwar help in the legal proceedings. The Meitei King was now required to appeare before the court. The idea of the King appearing before the court caused much turbulence in the Meitei King’s Court. After much consideration it was then clear that temple should be governed by its people M K Priyobarta came to Ibudhou Thangjing’s temple to discuss on the issue. The meeting arrived at a consensus and "Thangjing Seva Mandal" was formed. Now Ibudhou Thangjing becomes people’s God. The people of Moirang still remember this as Koireng’s endeavour.

Political career[edit]

Shri Koireng was the first elected Chief Minister of Manipur. He was elected as Chief Minister of Manipur thrice. The chronological order of the elections Koireng fought in his life may be summarised as follows:

Sl No Year Party Constituency Won/Lost Election Type
1 1948 Congress Moirang Won MLA
2 1952 Congress Moirang-Bishnupur Won Electoral College Member
3 1957 Congress Thanga-Kumbi Won Territorial Council Member
4 1962 Congress Thanga-Kumbi Won Territorial Council Member
5 1967 Congress Thanga-Kumbi Won MLA
6 1972 Congress Kumbi Won MLA
7 1974 Congress Kumbi Lost MLA
8 1980 Janata Moirang Won MLA
9 1985 Janata Moirang Won MLA
10 1990 Congress Moirang Won MLA

Award[edit]

Tamra Patra, 1972 (awarded to the Freedom Fighters of Azad Hind Fauz)

Great Works[edit]

  • Setting up of Loktak Multi Purpose Project, Loktak Moirang
  • Building Indian National Army (INA) Martyr’s Memorial Complex, Moirang
  • Constructing Moirang Thanga Road and Imphal Tamenglong Road
  • Setting up of All India Radio (AIR) in Manipur
  • Setiing up of Regional Medical College (RMC) now known as Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS)

Death[edit]

Mairembam Koireng Singh took his last breath on 27 December 1994 after prolonged illness.

References[edit]

  1. An article " The life and works of Shri Mairembam Koireng Singh" by Moirangthem Rajendra Singh in "Yenning" XV No. Exclusive Edition.
  2. A Souvenir released on 80th birth anniversary of Shri Koireng Singh by "The M Koireng Memorial Trust".