Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Andaman and NIcobar Islands. Image credit: You Tube.

Six small islands of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, locally known as Kalapani, are likely to be named after six freedom fighters of Manipur including two Nagas who were exiled there after Anglo-Manipur War of 1891.

This was stated by Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh while addressing inaugural function of newly constructed women’s market complex at Chandel district headquarters, about 65 km south of Imphal on Wednesday. However, he did not identify the freedom fighters.

Biren said Manipur state government had suggested six names for naming the islands after them following intimation from the authority concerned. Sixteen Manipur natives were exiled to the islands in the Bay of Bengal after Manipur was defeated by British rulers.

He further informed that around 36 islands are likely to be named after freedom fighters of the country who were exiled in the islands.

On December 30, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was on a two-day visit to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, had renamed three islands as a tribute to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

The Ross Island was renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, the Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.

Thus Andaman and Nicobar which have around 300 islands, located about 1,200 km from the Indian mainland would always be in the history of many Indian states, including that of Manipur, as freedom fighters who once waged war against the mighty British Empire were sent there in exile or as prisoners of war.

During an external tour to Andaman & Nicobar Islands in February 2013, a team of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) had visited Mount Harriet, which is believed to be the final resting place of Maharaja Kulachandra of Manipur who was convicted of waging war against the British Empire and deported to the Islands along with some of his associates after the war of 1891.

It may be recalled here that another AMWJU team had earlier visited Andaman & Nicobar Islands in February 2003 and urged the then Lieutenant Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands to provide a place in Mount Harriet which is the highest peak in the South Andaman archipelago named after Harriet Tytler second wife of Robert Christopher, a British soldier and naturalist — to construct a memorial tomb in remembrance of Maharaja Kulachandra and his associates.

Sobhapati Samom

Sobhapati Samom is Northeast Now Correspondent in Imphal. He can be reached at: ssamom@gmail.com

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