A number of historic boundary stones and landmarks, installed during the reign of Maharaja Chandrakirti, have disappeared in Manipur, leaving scholars and archeological researchers concerned.
These stones played a significant role historically and from a geo-political perspective in defining the eastern boundary of Manipur, including its boundary with Burma, now Myanmar.
The disappearance of these stones and landmarks came to light when a team of scholars and archeological researchers, led by Mutua Bahadur, a well-known archivist, and Art & Culture Joint Director Keithellakpam Dinamani, went on a research tour a few days back.
The team found that two stone engravings, earlier found at the confluence of Sanalok and Nampalok in Kamjong district, have disappeared.
These stones were engraved with the footprints of Maharaja Chandrakirti and certain words in Bengali script, telling about the boundary of Manipur with Burma.
Notably, these historic stones, which have now disappeared, are listed in Mutua Bahadur’s book ‘Manipurgi nungda lairik mayek irambasing‘, which has pictures and facsimiles of these stones. Furthermore, a boulder engraved with the image of Hanuman, which was at Chatric Khullen, a short distance away from the confluence of Sanalok and Nampalok, was also found missing.
The Art & Culture Joint Director Dinamani said that those stones were discovered by Mutua Bahadur a long time back. He asserted that archeological evidence is artifacts that have been proven scientifically and no one can manipulate such evidence.
The history of Manipur can be broadly classified into three parts, viz; the period of Sanamahism (early history), the period of Hinduism (medieval history), and the British period (modern history).
Even though some people who do not know or wish to manipulate the history of Manipur have been insisting that the geographical area of Manipur is just 700 square miles, there are historical accounts of the expansion of the Manipuri kingdom up to Kabaw Valley and Thibomei.
These inscribed stones might have marked the boundary of Manipur during those days, he said.
The Art & Culture Director asserted that there is a growing need to preserve and maintain clear accounts of the history of Manipur by doing exhaustive research into all historical elements, including the inscribed stones, which can serve as archeological evidence.
He appealed to all people to help in searching for the inscribed stones that have disappeared from the confluence of Sanalok and Nampalok and even offered to give a monetary reward.
Regarding the image of Hanuman engraved on a stone found at Chatric Khullen, Mutua Bahadur expressed a strong belief that the particular stone was erected as a symbol of a ‘boundary guard’ after Hinduism or Ramandhi sect was adopted as the official religion of the royal palace of Manipur.
There are rumors that some villagers have been concealing those stone engravings that have disappeared from the confluence of Sanalok and Nampalok and Chatric Khullen, he added.
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