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Paona Brajabashi

Paona Brajabashi

Paona Brajabashi was an army officer born and raised in Manipur. He enrolled in the Manipur Kingdom's armed services in 1833 and by 1891 had achieved the rank of major. In the Anglo-Manipur War that same year, he fought against the British Empire.

The enemies agreed to spare Brajabashi's life if he joined them after his men were destroyed in a fight with the British. Brajabashi was executed after he refused. Brajabashi became well-known throughout Manipur as a result of his deed, and a statue now stands in his honor.

About Manipur

Before the British took over in 1891, Manipur, a gorgeous natural place with a green valley surrounded by tall hills, was an independent state. Historical texts and records provide clear documentation of its people's history, which extends more than two thousand years. Manipur has dealt with violent assaults from her surrounding kingdoms numerous times throughout her long history. The brave sacrifices made by her young men to protect her independence and liberty have allowed it to carry on magnificently through the years, while attack and defense have faded into the wide gap of time. Many heroic sons who died defending their motherland were born in this lovely state.

It is unusual to hear about the history of the freedom movement in North-Eastern India in the mass media. This is a significant division amongst citizens of the same nation. This is the story of a general who fought for his country and battled the British in the Manipur army. His name is Paona Brajabashi.

The Anglo-Burmese War

The Kingdom of Kangleipak ruled over Manipur from 1110 to 1819. The Kingdom of Burma, under the leadership of Emperor Bawdawpay, invaded and conquered control of Manipur in 1819, signifying the beginning of the state's breakdown. Manipur's population fell to 2,500 as a result of a mass murder committed by the Burmese on the Meitei. After Manipur collapsed, Burma migrated into Assam and the Brahmaputra Valley. On the other side, the British turned out to be a sudden but powerful enemy. On the 5th of March, 1824, the British declared war on Burma, fearing an invasion of Bengal. Refugees from Manipur attacked the British in an effort to regain Prince Gambhir Singh's kingdom.

After the struggle, Manipur's Burmese population was forced out, and peace was restored to the kingdom. However, the British are always acting as supporters while they are actually opponents.

Battle of Khongjom: 400 Men Under Paona Brajabashi Command

The British deployed an army of 400 Gurkhas to overthrow Maharaj Kulchandra Singh when they started interfering with Manipur kingdom matters. The Maharaj became frustrated by this, and on the 24th of March, 1891, he gave the order to murder five British officers.

Major Paona Brajabashi, a brave warrior for the Kangleipak kingdom and a champion of Indian freedom, came into the picture at this point in the conflict.

Tamu, the current border between Manipur and Myanmar, was the site of a battle between 700 troops and the British. King ultimately sent out 400 more warriors, all of whom were under the leadership of Paona Brajabashi.

This fight, which took place on the 25th of April, 1891, marked the end of the Anglo-Manipur War. This battle took place in the southern part of Manipur between the forces of Brigadier General T. Graham and Paona Brajabashi. On the western side of the Khongjom River, in Thoubal, 400 warriors under the command of Paona Brajabashi arrived. In revenge, the British captured Pallel and Kakching. On the 23rd of April, the British used their powerful weapons to destroy the Manipuri camps.

In the heat of a fierce battle, the mud defenses of the Manipuri army were destroyed. Cannons were required, but they took longer than expected to arrive.

After this attack, the British forces marched on Khongjom Hill. Here, the 400 Manipuri troops' bravery and unflinching courage were displayed. This battle was one of the bloodiest ever fought against the British, and none of the soldiers of the Manipuri army were left alive.

Many British soldiers died when the Manipur warriors headed by Paona Brajabashi and Chongtha Mia fought them. Even though the British had more troops and weapons than the Manipuri, they still faced tremendous opposition. One by one, Manipuri troops died as martyrs, and Paona fought until the last Manipuri soldier fell to his death.

At that point, only Paona Brajabashi was still engaged in battle after nearly all of the Manipuri warriors had already died as martyrs. After seeing Major Paona's bravery, Brigadier General T. Graham gave him a choice between joining the British army or passing away. Paona Brajabashi boldly declared that death was preferable to betrayal and perished there as a martyr.

Soon after Manipur came under British rule, the British entered Imphal and hoisted the Union Jack over Kangla Palace on the 27th of April, 1891. They carried out a significant disarming operation and seized 4,000 guns.

The 13th of August is celebrated as "Patriots Day" in Manipur. While racist attacks against the Northeast's residents continue, it is our duty to inform the next generation about the North East Indian Heroes who gave their lives in defense of this country.

About His Early Life

A child was born to Paonam Tulsiram on the 20th of December, 1823, in Haobam Leikai, not far from Kangla's capital, during a period of political ups and downs for this small kingdom. The child was none other than Paonam Naol Singh, a.k.a. Paona Brajabashi, who created history at the Battle of Khongjom in 1891 and whose unshakable bravery served as the inspiration for the sentimental Khongjom Parva, an album of wartime patriotic songs. When Naol Singh was about 7 years old, Tulsiram took him to see his friend Major Loma Singh Longjamba, a renowned specialist in martial arts and fighting techniques. Naol Singh received extensive training in the application of martial weapons and fighting techniques from Major Longjamba, who always watched him.

His maternal uncle, Haobam Binodo Major Athouba (Athouba means bold), trained him in martial techniques like riding, fencing, free-hand combat, and other sorts of secret operations.

Naol Singh joined the King's Army as a minor officer at the age of 23 to begin his military career. Maharaja Chandrakirti led a mission against the revolting Akam Tribe in the Chin Hills with a troop under the direction of Haobam Binodo Major and Loma Major, according to Cheitharol Kumbaba, the Royal Chronicle of Manipur. The King and his men were attacked and nearly escaped. The Manipuris lost 202 firearms, the royal palanquin (a covered litter for one person carried by two or four men), and an umbrella in the battle. Naol Singh played a key role in dominating the opposition.

Naol Singh received a promotion to the rank of Subedar as well as three hectares of tax-free land and a unique royal garment called Ningthou phi after Loma Major notified Maharaja Chandrakirti of his bravery in supporting the Manipuri force.

As he brought Naol Singh to Maharaja Chandrakirit Singh, Haobam Binodo Major, Naol Singh's maternal uncle, told the story of Naol Singh's long journey in Vrindavan. The Maharaja called him Brajabashi. Then Paonam Naol Singh was called Paona Brajabashi. Paona Brajabashi was married to Hemomala, the daughter of Kabrabam Setu Senapati.


People still remember this brave sacrifice, and it is important to spread Paona Brajabashi's story across the country.

People remain divided when history is written to highlight the achievements of one family, individual, or political party while disregarding those of other groups. When one component of the truth is kept hidden while another is excessively and inappropriately elevated, people's confidence decreases. Hence, the story of the past's forgotten heroes should be brought to the forefront to recognize their contributions.

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