A two day national Seminar on ‘The Life & Times of Rajarshi Bhagyachandra’ under the aegis of the Department of History, Manipur University, Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), New Delhi and the Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Samiti (BISS), Manipur began on Tuesday in Imphal.
The Vice-Chancellor of Manipur University, Prof Adya Prasad Pandey inaugurated the seminar.
The two-day seminar will deliberate on the great contributions of the king, his legacy, the different aspects of the life and achievement of the Rajarshi Bhagyachandra which will help in comprehensive understanding of socio-political and religious transformation of Manipur during the 18th century.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Pandey also presided over the inaugural function.
Dr Balmukund Pandey, all India organizing secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana was the chief guest, while Dr Ch Jamini Devi, former chairperson, Manipur State Commission for Women and Hemanta Dhing Mazumdar, zonal organizing secretary (NE), Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana were present as guests of honour.
In his speech Dr Balmukund Pandey said, “Collection of data is not history, history is human science”.
History had not given any place for great kings of our country like Prithviraj Chauhan and Maharana Pratap Singh, he added.
Same is the case of Maharaja Rajarshi Bhagyachandra which is not given proper place in the history.
In his presidential speech, VC Prof Pandey said, “History remains as history. History cannot be destroyed but the time has come for the real history to come forward.”
He added that Rajarshi Bhagyachandra was an enlightened king who was politically and culturally farsighted individual.
He was a virtuous king excellent in all fronts and one of the most powerful rulers in the annals of Manipur civilization.
Rajarshi was a devout person, possessing the qualities of a saint, thus becoming popular with the name ‘Rajarshi’.
Thus, he is known to all by the name of Rajarshi Bhagyachandra.
Prof Pandey further enumerated on the political aspect of the Maharaja.
Maharaja Bhagyachandra occupies a landmark for many counts in the history of Manipur.
Apart from political history, his rule has been characterized by unique socio-cultural evolution.
The reign of Rajarshi Bhagyachandra is considered to be the golden period for many reasons in the political and cultural history of Manipur.
Prof Pandey added that Bhagyachandra is also associated with the development of a strong wave of dance and music.
‘Nata Sankirtan’ which has recently been given the status of ‘Intangible Performing Art’ by the UNESCO is one of the legacies of Bhagyachandra’s contribution in the field of art and culture.
On the religious front, the most remarkable contribution of the Maharaja is the propagation of Vaishnavism in Manipur; construction and installation of the idol of Shri Govindajee and innovation of dance drama known as ‘ras lila’.
The famous ‘Ras Lila’, a classical dance was introduced during his reign and it was performed for the first time at the ‘Rasmandal Mandap’ located at Langthabal, the then palace of the King which is inside the present day campus of the Manipur University.
Seminar Coordinator Prof N Lokendra accorded warm welcome to all the dignitaries and extended gratitude to the authorities concerned of Itihas Sankalan for giving full support in conducting the seminar.
He narrated Maharaja’s dealings with the rising power of Burmese and the East India Company.
Prof S N Pandey said that the theme of the seminar is very significant not only in Manipur.
The king was a very diplomatic and action oriented king.
Prof Pandey also highlighted some of the glimpses of Manipur and Burmese war.