The Untold Story of Haipou Jadonang - A great Naga Freedom Fighter from Manipur

The Northeast Dialogue


Haipou Jadonang Malangmei, the unsung hero who was the son of Maa Bharati, was born into the Rongmei community of the Nagas in 1905 at Kambiron village of the Tamenglong district in Manipur. The people of Nagaland had their own religious belief systems before the advent of Britishers. Jadonang was one of the first persons who stood up against the British Raj and announced that he would liberate the people of his region from cruel Britishers.

Young Jadonang since childhood was very keen to fight against British and closely watched the movement of soldiers, officials and traders of Manipur through through this road. He closely observed their cruel activities such as forcible collection of house tax and the oppressive porter system. All these incidents highly impacted Jadonang and he had then decided to work towards achieving freedom for his country.

Jadonang observed that weakening their native religious system was a device of the Britishers through which they could wholly put their foot on India. Haipou Jadonang was in his teen when his political, religious and social revolt against Britishers began.

He used to go into deep meditation for several days at a stretch when he visited places like the Zeilad Lake in Manipur, which was a centre of spiritual and religious importance for the Nagas. He also started making use of various local herbs and medicines as healing agents for treating the sick who used to consult him during their illnesses.

He aimed at preserving and promoting the traditional religious beliefs and practices of the locals. He travelled across India with his fellow Nagas, searching and seeking support for his political leadership. He often traveled on horseback wearing formal British attire in order to not gain attention. But, the British officials somehow figured about his actions in 1928.

Jadonang was arrested and his arrest coincided with the arrival of the Simon Commission in India which eventually increased his mass popularity further. Jadonang made a plan to militarily challenge the might of the British empire soon after his release from jail. He also organised the Heraka or Riphen that also consisted of a separate battalion for women under the leadership of Rani Gaidiniliu. The battalion was extremely well-trained in local military tactics.

After 1930, he eventually increased and intensified his activities against the colonial state. He initiated and suggested his people to stop the payment of all forms of taxes immediately, which agitated the British group government more and the situation was such that Jadonang and his activities were considered as an open threat to the British authority and their legitimacy in the Northeast. Jadonang was arrested on a false charge of murder of four Manipuri betel-leaf traders by the then political agent of Manipur, who was following the orders of J. C. Higgins. On August 29, 1931, young Jadonang who was barely 26 year old was hanged till death in front of the full public by the order of British Government.

His famous slogan “Makaam Mei Rui Gwang Tu Puni” which means, “the sons of soil will reign,” has been an inspiration to all indigenous people in the Northeast India. Jadonang’s life serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration, showing us that the fight for justice and freedom is a continuous journey that transcends time. As we face the challenges of the modern world, emulating Jadonang’s principles can guide us towards a future that upholds the dignity and rights of the people.


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