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Manipur’s braveheart Paona Brajabashi who valiantly fought the British remembered on Khongjom Day

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Imphal, April 23 (IANS) On ‘Khongjom Day’ on Tuesday, Manipur paid rich tributes to the indomitable spirit of Paona Brajabashi, a revered national hero who led the Manipuri Army against the British forces during the last Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891.

Despite facing overwhelming odds in terms of both numbers and firepower, Paona and his 300-strong contingent valiantly defended their land over a century ago.

The battle culminated at Khongjom, approximately 35 km from Imphal, where they fought fiercely until the end, refusing to retreat or surrender.

Paona’s unwavering dedication to honour and valour serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by the Manipuri patriots in defence of their homeland.

To commemorate the moment when the erstwhile royal kingdom of Manipur lost its independence to the British, and to ensure that the courage, heroism, and patriotism ingrained in the Manipuri people of that era continue to inspire the present generation, April 23 is observed as ‘Khongjom Day’ every year.

To mark the occasion, a state function was organised at the Khongjom War Memorial which was attended by the Governor, Chief Minister, and other dignitaries who offered floral tributes at Paona Brajabashi’s statue which was followed by a gun salute.

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“Despite fighting valiantly, there was no one left standing except Paona Brajabashi, and when an Army officer asked him to switch sides and join the British, Paona refused. Impressed by his martial arts skills and valour, the British lured him with a plump post, to which Paona replied, “Death is more welcome than treason.”

“Paona then took off his protective gear, and asked the British officer to behead him,” said Kachingtabam Hemchandra, a Thang-Ta exponent while describing Paona’s heroism on the battlefield.

Manipur maintained its sovereignty until the British occupation following the 1891 Khongjom War.

After the conflict, the British established a significant presence in Manipur, consolidating their control over the region.

Internal crises and seven years of devastation from 1819 to 1826, inflicted by Burma (Now Myanmar), forced the rulers of Manipur to seek assistance from the British in reclaiming their kingdom.

Aligning with Prince Gambhir Singh, the British aided in driving out the Burmese during the first Anglo-Burmese War (1824 – 1826).

This collaboration resulted in the restoration of Manipur’s sovereignty, with Gambhir Singh appointed as the titular King

The 1891 Anglo-Manipuri War, also referred to as the Last War of Independence, broke out due to the internal disunity among the Manipuri princes following the death of Maharaja Chandrakriti.

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This conflict was exacerbated by the pervasive and intolerable interference of the British in the affairs of the Kingdom, especially during the reign of Maharaja Surchandra Singh.

Despite being surrounded by British forces attacking from three sides – Silchar, Kohima, and Tamu (Myanmar) – the spirited resistance displayed by the Manipuris became legendary for its patriotism and valour.

The Manipuri soldiers were led by Paona Brajabashi, who was called back from retirement to confront the enemy columns, which possessed the tactical advantage of 20-pounder mountain guns.

Paona Brajabashi, originally Paonam Nawol Singh, was born on December 20, 1823, to Paonam Tulsiram and Haobam Kunjeswari, during a time of political turmoil.

His father held the position of Laipham Lakpa, the head of Laipham Panah. It was later in his life that he acquired the title ‘Paona Brajabashi’.

At the age of 7, Paonam Nawol was introduced to Manipuri martial arts traditions under the tutelage of Major Loma Singh Longjamba, a respected authority in martial arts and warfare techniques.

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Recognising his talent and dedication, his mentor imparted to him the full breadth of his military expertise, including secret warfare tactics acquired over his long career.

Paonam also learnt riding, fencing, and freehand combat from his maternal uncle, Major Athouba Haobam Binod, who adopted him following the death of his father in 1850.

After completing his studies, Paonam commenced his military career as a junior officer in the King’s army in 1856, at the age of 23.

For his valiant actions during the expedition to suppress an uprising by the Akam tribe of Chin Hills, Paonam was promoted and earned the title of Subedar Paona Brajabashi, bestowed upon him by Maharaj Chandrakriti whom he saved during an ambush on the expedition.

At the height of his military career in 1886, Paona Brajabashi decided to retire from the royal army. He was deeply troubled by the increasing interference of the British in the administration of the state.

Despite retiring, Paona Brajabashi was promoted to the rank of Major and his expertise in handling cannons was utilised during the Battle of Khongjom.

(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at sujit.c@ians.in)

–IANS

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Two injured as DTC buses crash in southwest Delhi

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Two people sustained injuries after a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus hit another stationary bus in southwest Delhi’s Nauroji Nagar on Tuesday morning, police said.

Sharing the details, police said that information was received on Tuesday morning at Safdarjung Enclave police station regarding an accident at Nauroji Nagar bus stand on Outer Ring Road between two DTC buses.

Upon reaching the spot, it was revealed that a DTC electric bus driven by Akash was picking up passengers from the Nauroji Nagar bus stand when another DTC bus driven by Chandveer hit it from the rear side.

“Two persons namely Mukesh Kumar and Shamshula, both residents of Durga Park, West Sagarpur, received minor injuries and are undergoing treatment at AIIMS Trauma Centre,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southwest) Rohit Meena.

“Legal action is being taken in the matter,” the DCP added.

–IANS

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No feasibility study needed for solar rooftop connections up to 10 kW in TN

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Chennai, May 28 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has directed the state power utility TANGEDCO not to conduct a technical feasibility study for solar rooftop proposals of up to 10 kilowatts.

The regulatory commission in the state in an order dated May 23, has directed the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) to exempt consumers using solar rooftops of up to 10 kilowatt power based on Rule 7(A) of Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Amendment Rules, 2004.

The TNERC came out with the directive after TANGEDCO ordered an exemption on solar rooftops with a capacity of up to only 3 kilowatts.

The directive was required after several households complained that there was a delay in installing rooftop solar systems in households by the TANGEDCO.

The regulatory commission also directed TANGEDCO that the sanction power of the Grid Interactive Solar Photovoltaic Power System capacity of up to 10 kW should be delegated to the lower-level field officers.

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While TANGEDCO has to conduct the study and produce the feasibility report for a solar rooftop project in households within a fortnight, consumers told IANS that there has been an inordinate delay.

Meenakshi Sundaram, a retired College professor, who wanted to install a solar rooftop connection of 8 kW, told IANS that there has been a long delay from Tangedco and several consumers like her were dejected.

–IANS

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LS polls: PM Modi to campaign in Jharkhand, Bengal today

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will campaign in Jharkhand and West Bengal on Tuesday for the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

The Prime Minister will hold a public meeting in Jharkhand’s Dumka at 12:15 p.m., followed by another two in West Bengal’s Barasat at 2:30 p.m. and Jadavpur at 4:00 p.m.

Prime Minister Modi is also scheduled to offer floral tributes at the statue of Subhas Chandra Bose in Kolkata Uttar at 5:55 p.m. and then begin a roadshow. After the roadshow, he will offer floral tributes at the statue of Swami Vivekananda at 7:00 p.m.

Major political developments that will unfold across the country on Tuesday:

* Union Home Minister Amit Shah will hold public meetings in Odisha’s Chandbali at 12:30 p.m., Jajpur at 2:15 p.m., and Puri at 4:00 p.m.

* BJP President J.P. Nadda will address public meetings in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur at 11:00 a.m., Mandi at 1:15 p.m., and Rohru at 3:15 p.m.

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* INDIA bloc partners Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav will address ‘Parivartan Sankalp Sabhas’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Rudrapur (Bansgaon Lok Sabha constituency) at 3:15 p.m. and Gangapur (Varanasi) at 5:10 p.m.

* Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will address election rallies in Pipiganj, Gorakhpur at 11:10 a.m. and Mirzapur at 1:00 p.m. From there, he will go to Bihar to hold public meetings in Fatuha (Patna) at 3:10 p.m., Bhojpur at 4:30 p.m. and Patliputra at 6:00 p.m.

* Samajwadi Party leader Dimple Yadav will address an election rally at 1 p.m. in Uttar Pradesh’s Dohrighat (Mau) for the INDIA bloc candidate from the Ghosi Lok Sabha constituency.

* Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Nishad Party chief Sanjay Nishad will address a public meeting in the Chauri Chaura Assembly constituency of the Bansgaon Lok Sabha constituency.

* Gujarat Congress President Shaktisinh Gohil will address a press conference at 12 noon at the party headquarters in New Delhi.

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–IANS

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IndiGo flight receives bomb threat at Delhi airport

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) An IndiGo flight bound for Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh received a bomb threat at Delhi airport on Tuesday morning, prompting authorities to declare an emergency, police said.

According to airline officials, IndiGo flight 6E2211 operating from Delhi to Varanasi had received a specific bomb threat at the airport. The threat call was received at around 5.40 a.m., said officials.

“All necessary protocols were followed and the aircraft was taken to a remote bay as per guidelines by airport security agencies. All passengers were safely evacuated via the emergency exits,” said an airline official.

“The flight is currently undergoing inspection. Post completion of all security checks, the aircraft will be positioned back in the terminal area,” the spokesperson added.

More details are awaited.

–IANS

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Mamata Banerjee not to attend INDIA bloc's June 1 meeting

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Kolkata, May 27 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that she will not be able to attend the crucial meeting of the opposition INDIA bloc, convened by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, in New Delhi on June 1.

Banerjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress chief, cited two reasons behind her inability to attend the meeting.

“First of all, on June 1, there will be the final and seventh phase of Lok Sabha polls for nine constituencies in West Bengal. Secondly, because of Cyclone Remal, many people have been displaced and are currently residing in temporary shelters. I will have to supervise that as well. These two factors are important for me and hence I will be staying back on June 1,” she said while addressing an election meeting in Kolkata Uttar Lok Sabha constituency for party candidate and sitting MP Sudip Bandopadhyay.

However, Banerjee did not make it clear whether she would send a representative for the meeting.

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In her speech at the election meeting, she again launched a scathing attack against both the Congress and the CPI-M.

“These two parties have the only aim in West Bengal. That is to benefit the BJP by dividing the opposition votes,” she claimed.

–IANS

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