Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Map showing King Pamheiba's (Garibaniwaj) sphere of influence

GARIBANIWAZ (PAMHEIBA): The Master of Manipur and Upper Burma (West of Irrawaddy) (1709-1748)

Garibaniwaz, locally more popularly known as Pamheiba, was the greatest king Manipur has ever produced in its historical existence since more than 2000 years. After knowing his prowess as a warrior king and his skill in statecraft many writers even described this great king as an ‘Emperor’, in Manipuri Ningthourel or Maharaja. In one sense this term might have been applied in the Manipuri world. When any Manipuri king consolidated his power and positions within the core of the nine ranges of hills, the subjects and the king believes that he is the king of kings. He earned the confidence of different Clan Chiefs in the Central Valley and the village heads (Chiefs) of the hills on all four surroundings by way of conquest and agreements; and then he descended towards the Kabaw Valley since the last part of 1717 A.D.; and more violent attacks followed in Chindwin Basins, and penetrated in the Mu-Irrawaddy valleys in the heartland of Burma in following years.

(There is a story to indicate what instigated Garibaniwaz to invade Ava (Awa). During those days Awa/Ava was the capital of Upper Burma, and hence to Manipuris its land and people were known as Awa), and even Chinese authorities used the term ‘Awa’(Essays Given to Than Tun on his 75th Birth Day : Studies in Myanma History ; Upper Burma Gazetteer Part-I, Vol.2 Page-190). The same term and the same spelling were also used by the Burmese before their British connection. This term is also popular in Manipur and while reading we find Awa as synonym to Burma, perhaps this term was also used by Shans even, and the immediate eastern neighbor to Manipur was Shans living in Kabaw Valley and the people of Northern Western Shans of the then Burma who had been known to Manipuris as Pong.) According to “Samsok Ngamba” and many sources disclosed that his father Charairongba was very much broken-hearted before his death by the news that his sister who had been married to Burmese King as Awa-Leima (one of the Queens) had been demoted to a lesser status after giving birth to a son. Charairongba, the Manipur King vowed to take a revenge against the Awa king but his fate was different, he died before taking any revenge, and he had given the task to his son Pamheiba (Garibaniwaz). The king Charairongba was brokrn-hearted because there were few more points of disagreements which were agreed upon before the marriage of Chakpa Makhao Ngambi to Awa (Burma) king “Tongdoi Leimaba” (King Taninganway was known to Meiteis as Tongdoi king). At his death bed, Charairongba instructed his son to invade the Awa (now Myanmar) King. He also disclosed to his son the following agreements before the marriage of Chakpa Makhao Ngambi:

1) Chakpa Makhao Ngambi must be made one of the Queens of Awa,

2) the following border villages which had been encroached by Awa (Burmese) must be allowed to remained as the tributary villages of Manipur and those Tarao villagers who had been kidnapped by Burmese authorities be released. The following border tributary villages of Poirei land also must also be remained as earlier:

    • Kamu,
    • Chirang,
    • Kharoi,
    • Ting-itsha Khunthak,
    • Ting-itsha Khunkha,
    • Kontong Maru (Khunjao)
    • Tarao Khundon ( ref. Samsok Ngamba by Moirangthem Chandrasing).

Above demotion of Chakpa Makhao Ngambi from the Burmese Queenship, and the agreements of those villages had not been served by the Burmese king and the heart-broken Manipur king died after giving the task of invasion against Burmese King. Garibaniwaz pledged to his dying father he would invade Burma at an opportuned time. Garibaniwaz along with his ministers and military commanders together made an agreement with the eastern village chiefs including Tangkhul Chiefs, Maring Chiefs, and Khoibus to fight jointly when war broke out with Burma and had a grand feast (This refers to The Royal Chronicle of the Kings of Manipur: Cheitharol Kumbaba, and local sources from the people bordering Myanmar).

During his time the king was assisted by nine kurus or Gurus namely-

  • Lourembam Cha Khongnangthaba,
  • Chigong of Samurou,
  • Ningombam Cha Akong,
  • Moirangthem Cha Lalhaba,
  • Lukhoi of Langol (possibly Ashangbam Cha: Longjam Sanathoi Piba)
  • Yambem Cha Phougak,
  • Thongbam Cha Himaiba,
  • Paji or Baji of Wangoo,
  • Phadiba of Kameng,(source: Longjam cha Sanathoi Piba)

The last but not the least was Pandit Shantidas Goswai (But he was a very controversial figure because of his closeness with the king)

These kurus assist the king in many ways in administration and policy making.

(Here it may be interesting to note that Chakpa Makhao Ngambi was not the daughter of Charairongba but she was the sister of Charairongba as both were born to Tonseng Ngamba, the brother of King Paikhomba. Both Charairongba and Chakpa Makhao Ngambi were born to Tonseng Ngamba and Ngangbam Chanu Ngaikhong Ngambi, see Sagei Salairol Page-101-102, 250; Samsok Ngamba  Page-4.  Prof Chongtham Manihar Singh in his “A History of Manipuri Literature” Page-149, and Geneologist Naoroibam Indramani in his “Tekhao Ngamba” Page ii, mentioned Chakpa Makhao Ngambi as sister of Charairongba, the father of Garibaniwaz. On the other hand she was sent off to Awa as “Awa Leima”, as one of the Queens in the month of Lamta, 1703 (Meitei Ningthourol-2018 Page-57: Sarangthem Bormani), but the Royal Chronicle of the Kings of Manipur: The Cheitharol Kumpapa translated by Saroj Nalini, Page 114 mentioned- “Lourembam Chanu maiden Awa Leima (a queen in wait) left for Awa on 23rd of Poinu, 1704”.

In this regard, W.S.Desai writes: “In 1704, the Raja of Manipur presented a daughter to Sane the Burmese king.” Here we may see the periods of the Awa Kings (Burmese King) as below – Sanay (1698-1714), Tanninganway (1714-1733), Mahadhammaraza Dipati(1733-1752), (A History of Burma :Maung Htin Aung, 1967, page-339). Henceforth, whether Chakpa Makhao Ngambi was demoted from Queenship or not is a matter of discussion now as her marriage to Burmese king was during the time of King Sanay not during King Tanninganway. We need to confirm from Burmese or any other records again.

(In any way the news that she had been demoted from Queenship seriously aroused sentiment of the Court Authorities and the military commanders as well as the common people. Now we can otherwise presume this news as one of the very effective diplomatically motivated political propaganda of Maharaja Garibaniwaz to arouse the sentiment of his people for a successful military campaign against Burma.)

In the meantime, on 10th of Wakching, 1716 Wednesday a team of Burmese emissaries along with 6 Samsok (Thaungthut to Myanma, Hsawng Hsup to Shan local people) people altogether 156 people arrived with rich presents at Manipur capital to seek the hand of a Meitei (Manipuri) princess. King Garibaniwaz was more angered as this team arrived along with the treacherous Samsok people but he did not apparently show his sentiment but received them very courteously,  and sent them back saying that he will send the princess with abundant gifts next year this time at an appointed place at the confluence of Yu-Chindwin Rivers at Phongta.

Then, Maharaj Garibaniwaz discussed the matter with his ministers and commanders; and taking this as an opportune moment, decided to wage war against the Burmese when they arrived to receive the princess at Chindwin next year. During the discussion King Garibaniwaz remarked (Samsok Ngangaba : Moirangthem Chandra Page- 9-10)-“ My great leaders who are always at the great Hall of the king to discussed important matters of the Kingdom, the royal order of my great father Charairongba have not been away from my memory, and also I can’t forget  the news about my aunt Chakpa Makhao Ngambi but the king of Awa (Burma) sent his emissaries with lots of presence and letters to seek the hand of my daughter again, like his tribute articles. My courteous commanders and advisors I can’t even forget the issues of border tributary villages including Tarao.  Now I will fight till the 10 regiments of Burmese army are routed and the Samsoks are devastated. Till then I won’t turn my face to any direction.”

(Yu River:- Yu is the river flowing in Kabaw Valley, which rises from Eastern Hills of undivided Ukhrul District as Maklang River, and another branch is called Tuyungbi river both joins at or near Sorbung and flows down to Myanmar as  Yu river. Maklang river rises from the ridge slightly away from Sangshak towards the east and, Tuyungbi south of Lambui and west side of Sangshak ridge. In the begining there are two branches of Tuyungbi, the eastern branch is called “Awa Lok” as it flows down to Kabaw Valley, and the other branch by flowing south eastward joins with the main branch Awa Lok. In the early days Manipuris penentrated from this route into Burma, now Myanmar, frequently as this route is the shortest distance to reach Samjok and other towns of Upper Myanmar. Most of the time while invading Samjok, Pamheiba perhaps used this route being the shortest distance. Not only this Pamheiba used another route while proceeding southward. There is a climb from Tumukhong side and Nongdam Tangkhul on the left ridge of Taret River and could easily reach Myanmar. This was also another route used during the time of king Pamheiba. A third route leading to Myanmar was a climb from Bungjang-K. Leihao-Kasom Khullen-Kasom Khunou-Kasom KHunthak-Nambashi, and then descending to the Kabow Valley, Myanmar.)

Samsok or Samjok is the Manipuri name of HsawngHsup, which is called Thaungthut by Burmese.  Here we may see – Upper Chindwin District Gazetteer-1911 compiled by Grant Brown, Rangoon –  “To the north of Kale, Thaungthut also claim to have had rulers since the time of Buddha, but its history is even legendry. Up to the reign of Anawrata (1010-1052) it is said to have been an independent kingdom with its capital at Gawmona, near the site marked on the map in 24 degree,31 minutes N; 95 degree 34 minutes E, as Thap or Old Samjok, Samjok being the Manipuri form of Thaungthut. Anawrata is said to have appointed a Burmese Governor with the title of Thokyinbwa. During the reign of Tarokpyemin in the thirteenth century, when the Burmese kingdom lost many of its outpost, it was subdued by the Manipuris, and it seem to have paid tribute to Manipuri till the conquest of that state by Alaungpaya (1753-1760).”

(Thap is pronounced as Tap, here we see that when Shans write Hs, we write Sh, when we write kh they write hk, when there is ‘th’ most of the time ‘h’ is silent e.g. when they write Kathe it is pronounced as Kate, we also write as Kate, when they write HsawngHsup we will write as Shawngshup but we called this place as Samsok or Samjok for pronunciation convenience. The Khoibu folk-tale still indicated that they were happily settled long back at ‘Thap’ or Tap means Old Samjok on the west side or right of Chindwin river. They might have been migrated to the present location in Tengnoupal Hills due to torture by the Burmese (Awa) as they (Burmese armies) were always in search of royal servants by subjugating the other ethnic border minorities in those days. This kind of slave gathering war-fare were very frequent in those days amongst the Southeast Asian kingdoms and ethnic groups).

Now Garibaniwaz Maharaja declared all his Pana Leaders as Army Commanders and ready for an all-out war against Burma. He planned it very cautiously for a fight at Phongta  (Yu-Chindwin Confluence) and Samjok simultaneously.  He was a skilled strategists and a matchless warrior. Even before the siege of Samjok he ordered to locate food grain storage (in Manipuri “Kei”): Grain Houses, nearby with enough provisions and posted trusted generals.


Sapam Cha Kiyamba: The leader of Laipham Pana, the Pukhranba must proceed to the south, where the great Door (Gate) is located which connects Nanda village where most of the time during the wars Tangkhuls are sheltering. He must do his duty with utmost care and alertness.

Sorokhaibam Cha Apong of Laipham Pana: who is holds the mixed Department (achoiba shanglen) must guard the king. He must do it with complete dedications.

Thiyam Cha Maiba Pukchao, The Commander of Khabam Pana: must penetrate from the eastern side and must go to the foothills of Ango-Ching (Ango Hill range) and attack the Samjok Camp located near the Salt Spring.

Samloibam Cha Wakching of Khabam Pana: who had been grown up with the king since childhood must guard the king with great care and there shall not be any lapses.

Tayum Loinai (Sellung Hanba): The leader of Ahallup Pana( Ningombam Chinglen in his “Ningthourol Enot” identified as Haobam Cha Akong.) He must go via the confluence of Tuyungbi and Maklang and proceed towards the side of Makal-Kamba Ching (Hil) and must control the movement of Samjok army.

Ngangbam Cha Lamloi: The Wangon Keirung-hanba of Ahallup Pana, i.e. the care taker of Ahallup Pana grain store (Granary) must guard the king with utmost care.

Sanasam Cha Honglai (The Shanglen Lakpa ): The Leader of Naharup Pana must go to the south along with the Pana forces to guard the main Gate (entrance) of Samjok, so that none from Samjok be able to do any mischief and must be kept the Samjok Army under complete control.

Naoroibam Cha Mungyang, a leader of Naharup Pana: whose works are related with boat race and boating must guard the king carefully.

After this all the four commanders swear in the name of God that they will fight the enemy till their last blood and come back to the land of Poirei with victory.


(Phongda War Craft: a top secret plan)

{Yu River flows through Tamu in Kabaw Valley, which rises from Ukhrul District of Manipur. In Manipur the stream is known as Maklang, which has another branch called Tuyungbi or Tuyungpi. In the ancient and medieval periods Manipuri frequently used the road for proceeding to Burma along the course of these two rivers. Major areas of Kabaw Valley is also drain by Yu River. Earlier Tamu was known as Kabaw or Kabo or Kapo and later all areas under the control of Kabo (Tamu) might have been known as Kabo Tampak (Kabow Valley)}.

There were three Shan Principalities in Kabo Valley – Samjok (HsawngHsup: to Shans, Thaungthut to Barmese) in the north; Khampat at the centre; and Kale in the south. Long back all these principalities were under Manipur King. These three principalities were under Manipur king since the boundary demarcation between Pong (Shan) king Chaopha-Hkehkomba and Manipur king Kyamba after the Khampat conquest during 1470 or 1474 AD).

Kopeng, the Wangon Keirunghanba of Naharup Pana ( B.Kulachandra Sharma and N.Chinglen mentioned as Thangjam Cha Kopeng, but source not cleared): Must proceed with a large army from the Naharup Pana along with Meitei Pangal sharp shooters and the skilled archer Rupak (Irom Cha Rupak:  Ning Chinglen in his book “Ningthourol Inot” page 201). They should take the Laininthou Taibang Khaiba, the Lord Sanamahi and the following  four ladies who had been treated as the consort to Him-

a) Chinphuron Tangkhombi,

b) Wangam Chanu Tonu Maikhubi (Meitengu Chanu)

c) Ahongbam Chanu Chaobi Tengbura,

d) Thounaojam Chanu Hongbi (Nungpal Luwang) to Phongta or Phongda at the confluence of Yu-Chindwind Rivers as the team of Awa Leima in disguise and fight the Burmese who came to receive the Royal Lady as decided at the most appropriate time when Manipur king along with his main army arrived there.

After reaching there, Kopeng under his command must take out the royal boat “ Khongchomba Tongcheng Selkoi Lokpa” which was already kept there for their use to cross the big river. They must wait the arrival of Manipur King and his army there by satisfying the Awa (Burmese) Royal Team. Pamheiba also instructed that when he arrived there he will halt at “Tamlouren Talla Uyok-kon”, a forest area nearby by constructing a camp. When seeing the smoke and hearing the sound of big gun all must acknowledged that Meidingu Pamheiba (Maharaja Garibaniwaz) arrived there and the whole team must prepared for assault against the enemy (Awa/Burmese).

Pamheiba, the Manipur king and his team arrived there after 6 days of Kopeng and his team’s arrival there, and Kopeng narrated the whole arrangement to the king by sending a messenger. According to the order of Manipur king, Kopeng the commander send an emissary to the Burmese who were waiting for the arrival of Manipur princess and reported that the princess along with all royal gifts arrived and requested to receive the princess.

Within few minutes there was a fight between Manipur army and Burmese team. Many Burmese were killed, many arrested, and the Golden Royal Barge which belongs to Awa king was completely destroyed and burnt, and its remaining parts floated down up to Awa capital along the river Chindwin (Ningthi). This scene was transliterated as – “Then the grim fight between the Meitei and Burmese forces started like thunder – clap. The bullets from the intensive fire of the Burmese stream across the sky like startled game birds winging out of the Loktak Lake. Then they also discharged piercing arrows. The Meitei force, on the other side, did not lag behind. They gave a marching reply with guns and arrows. The whole scene resembled the random flight of meteors, and the deafening sound of guns was like the roar of the approaching monsoon” (Prof. Ch. Manihar Singh).

Thousands of shields, Swords were collected along with many war captives (captives were 90 men and 11 ladies): Royal Chronicle of the Kings of Manipur, Cheitharol Kumbaba). Then with the help of Royal Boat “ “Khongchomba Tongcheng Selkoi Lokpa” Kopeng the Commander with his army and all team along with the war captives and booties collected arrived at the “ Panthoibi Forest” (In Manipuri –Kabo Tamllouren Wangamlon Panthoibigi Uyok-Umang), which king Garibaniwaz was camping and reported everything all about Phongta ; and the satisfied king instructed the Commander to proceed to the  Poirei-Tam (In archaic Meitei in Samsok Ngamba – “ Lairel Meitinguna Eyu khoiyam Lainingthou-o chingu Taibang Khaiba-o yoihei nakhoi marimabu ngairoinna Poirei-Tamda tangam-o , Kanglei Yoikoinungda Eyu Lairel Loiyamba chengja Nungoibida tann hebal lallu challmlbg khoiyam makhon loid waithung ngam-o”

Then the Manipur king further proceeded with his team to fight the Panga (Pagan related Shans) and arrived at Samsok. Meiteis called the Samjok Shans leaders as Panga because these Samjok rulers were very proud as they had been identified as descendents of Awa ruler of Pagan Dynasty during the time of Anawratha. The Manipur king says that he won’t turn his face till the Panga Samjoks are devastated. The Samjok had been already cordoned off by his Commanders and Army, where he further commanded that keep Samjok under cordon further, and he is being proceed further to Chanta, from where food grains are supplying to Samjok and destroy this location first. The King said further to his all four Commanders who are responsible in cordoning the Samjoks – “Cordon the Samjoks without any deviation, thy king is proceeding first to Chanta, which is supplying food grain and other items to Samjoks along with Apong Sorokhaib, Wakching Samloibam, Lamloi Ngangbam Cha and Mungyang Naoroibam. The king arrived at Chanta and devastated the village where rich people settled on Chindwin River. Some Chanta villager tried to escape by boat on the Chindwin River but were followed by Manipur King and his men by boat and killed all of them. The settlers of Angoching Range including Kamuching,Chirang, Kharoi, Kondong Makha, Ting-itsa Khun-kha, hillsettlers Tarao Khundol were helter-scalter due to the battle at Chanta.

Then Manipur King arrived at Samjok and the four commanders who were cordoning the four sides of Samjok started to attack the Samjoks with new vigour and on the other hand all the supply lines of essential commodities like salt spring on the foothills of Ango-ching and the supply of fire wood from the same hill; and food grain had been cut off since few days. But it was informed to the great king that there were supply of rice from the village of Chanta or Chada on Ningthi(Chindwin to the Burmese). Garibaniwaz after instructing to his commanders for further cordoning hurriedly proceeded to Chanta to destroy the village and to cut off the supply completely. The Chanta Chief who fled away by boat to Chindwin river was hurriedly persuaded by boat and killed, and the whole village was ravaged completely. Then the king turn hurriedly to Samjok (HsawngHsup in Shan), the capital of the Northern Kabo Valley, a Shan Principality (was known to the Burmese as Thuangdut) which was under seized since quite some time.

When the king arrived there he ordered to fire a rocket inside the town, and his men did the same in no time and the same rocket falls at the court yard of a noble man of Samjok and already starved people of Samjok were frightened with great panic.They are now like fish out of water, they are so thin as they eat boiled leaves of local herb like Chongtai and even eat the flesh of horse which they never eat earlier. The starving people of Samjok were so thin that even the damsels are so thin and ugly that they became too old of their age and looked like old ladies of above 80 years and could not move even due to long days of starvation. Here we may see the Chongtham Manihar Singh’s “A History of Manipuri Literature page- 152 since we are utterly starved, how shall we be able to subsist only on wild plants, we have now tested even horse meat which we never touched. Death is now sure to us. The pretty damsels look pale, emancipated and quite old for her age. The babies in arms are sniveling from want of the milk. How shall we let them die on stakes choked and with eyes upturned”. Then the Samjok Chief with his son Lakhamton and other noblemen together discussed and surrendered to the Manipur King Garibaniwaz and sweared that they will be the tributary country to Manipur king and they will pay tribute every year without fail; and begged to feed them as they had been starved since few days.

The noble king agreed heartily and ordered to feed the Samjok people with rice and fish from his royal stock (grain house:Kei) specially arranged for this battle. But the Samjok Chief, along with his son Lakhamton were brought to Meitei Kanglei as war captives.

It’s also reported that in the Samjok War Thangjam Cha Hidang with Khagokpa and all together ten warriers were killed by gun from the Burmese Army ( Ningombam Chinglen). It’s also reported that all those dead bodies were brought back at Kangla and all rituals were performed in accordance with the Meitei traditions of the time. (Maharaja Pamheiba left Meitei Kangla for Samjok War on 7th Day of Poinu Yumsakeisha 1717, and returned to Kangla after the war on 2nd day of Wakching, Thangja 1718- Cheitharol Kumbaba).

The Fongda incident has greatly angered the BURMESE king Tanninganwe and feeling shame and decided to invade Manipur within no time. Before four days of returned from Samjok there was a news received from Takhel of Mangsha that Burmese Army approaching towards Manipur for immediate attack. Pamheiba Maharaja immediately called his warriers and rushed towards Mangsha, and hurriedly attack the Burmese forces and routed them at the spot in which Poliba Lamthok played the important role.

Here we may see “Gazetteer of Upper Burma and Shan States- George Scott Part-2 Vol.I”-

“In the time of Hanthawaddi Yauk Min, when Manipuris invaded the country, they attacked Thaungthut, the Sawbwa, Saw Kan Ho, brought supplies of rice from Minbu, now called Wunbu, and stored them, and having call up all his forces from western side of the river, fought the Manipuris for 3 (three) years. The Burmese King however gave no help and he defeated and had to take refuse in the jungle. Then the Manipuris utterly destroyed Thaungthut, the Haw (Palace) with its triple roof, its twelve pavilions, the pyathas in front, the golden umbrella with its crystal top-setting, the throne and the white umbrellas together with all the rest of the city, and carried off the elephants, male and female”.

Here, we may see Burma Gazetteer, Upper Chindwin District-1911 compiled by G.E.R. Grand Brown ICS, Rangoon about Samjok ( Samjok is the Manipuri form of Thaungthut, but in Shan locally known as HswangHsup) —To the north of Kale, Thaungthut also claim to have had rulers since the time of Budha, but its history is even legendry.  Upto the reign of Anawrata (1010-1052) it is said to have been independent Kingdom with its capital at Gawmona, near the site marke4d on the map in 24o 31’N, 95034’E, as Thap or old Samjok (Thap is pronounced as Taap)*, Samjok being the Manipuri form of Thaungthut. Anawrata is said to have appointed a Burmese Governor with the title Thokyinbwa. During the reign of Tarokpyemin in the 13th century, when the Burmese Kingdom lost many of its outpost, it was subdued by the Manipuris, and it seems to have paid tribute to Manipur until the conquest of that state by Alaungpaya (1753-1760).

Samjoks were time and again defeated by Manipuri King Pamheiba but they were very treacherous and did not obeyed the conditions agreed upon between Manipuri kings, and to teach some befitting lesson Pamheiba King attacked Samjok between (1717-1718) and (1718-1724) at least 12th times and devastated Samjok and then Samjok never ever rose again.

In 1723 the Kingdom of Awa or Burma together with Tripura invaded Manipur at a time to defeat Manipur. The Burmese forces attacked Manipur from the South east and the Takhel or Tripura forces from the south west simultaneously. But the war specialist and the great Commander King Pamheiba @ Garibaniwaz tackled the grave situation very carefully and defeated both the enemy and win the two battles.  This news has greatly enhanced his fame far and wide and the ability of Manipur’s influence in the Geo-political environment of South East Asia. Prof.Gangmumei Kabui in his History of Manipur 1991, Part I according to Cheitharol Kumbaba invaded Samjok 7 times in the year 1717, 1718, 1720, 1722, 1737, 1748.

W.S.Desai, a former Burma Education Service and a Prof. and Head of History Dept. University of Rangoon,Rangoon, Burma mentioned about Garibaniwaz “ The Manipuris entered Burma in 1724, and informed the king that they were bringing another princess for the Burmese monarch so that the princess 0f 1704 might have a companion.The king sent three hundred lords and ladies to receive the new princess and to escort her to the royal palace. The reception committee in good faith to the appointed place on the Yu river. They found no princess there, however. Instead, Garib Nawaz with his intrepid horsemen bore down on them, captured them all, and carried them away captive to Manipur.”

Mu-Valley Campaign of Pamheiba @ Garibaniwaz the King of Manipur:

Here, we may quote from Burma Gazetteer, Shwebo District 1924 compiled by Ma.William, Rangoon “Thirty years later they defeated on the Manipur frontier a Burmese army which included men from this District (Shwebo) in the Myauke-bet-myin Cavalry and the Tabayin and Myedu Regiments. In 1735 they actually attacked Myedu and carried off the “Kalas” (Mahomedans) and Burmans living there. Two years later the King becoming aware of the activity sent out small forces to reconnoiter- one under the Pontaga These were both defeated near the Chindwin, and the King immediately sent a force, stated to have consisted of 200 elephants,700 horses, and 5000 men to occupy Kunon and Modaungh about 10 miles west of Yeu. They were attacked there by the Manipuris and partly owning to one of their generals being inebriated, were driven back. The Manipuris then destrsoyed all the kyaungs, tanks, and pagodas from Kunon as far south as Tabayin and retired. This was in January 1738. The following cold weather the Generals sent out against this enemy were beaten outside the district and driven back on Tabayin, where they collected their scattered forces and spend the rains of 1739.

In December 1739 the Manipuris descended in force and cleverly avoiding Tabayin and Myedu, which had in the meantime been filled with troops, where apparently content to remain passively on the defensive within the walls, marched down through Sitha, Moksobo and Halin and engaged the force hastily raised from Sagaing and the surrounding neighbourhood to defend the passage to that town between the Kaunghmudaw Pagoda and the Mingun range of hills. This body they defeated and setting fire to Sagaing, retired probably because they unable to cross the great river, but in Burmese History it is stated that they had come to fulfil a prophesy of their great Brahman that if their chief bathed in the Irrawaddy at Sagaing, all evil would cease in their country. Their object was apparently plunder and not permanent conquest”.

W.S. Desai, again mentioned about Garibaniwaz @ Pamheiba in his book – A Pageant of Burmese History regarding Manipuri invasion into Mu Valley in Central Burma “In 1735, the Manipuris entered Myedu in Shwebo district and carried away cattle and slaves. In 1737, the king again sent an army into Manipur, but Garib Nawaz routed in a pitched battle and slew its commander. The Manipuris again entered Shwebo District, ravaged it with fire and sword, and carried away much loot. In 1738, they came again and boldly encamped near Sagaing. They burnt houses and monasteries right upto Ava, the Burmese capital across the Irrawaddy river. The king, in order to protect the Kaunghmudaw pagoda, constructed a stockade round it. The Manipuris stormed it, however, and put the entire garrison to the sword. Garib Nawaz, while entering the pagoda, slashed at a door with his sword, and the gash may still be seen”.

E.W. Dun in his Gazetteer of Manipur mentioned about Garib Nawaz – “In 1725 he attacked and defeated a Burmese force at the mouth of the Maglang river; the following year repulsed an army of 30,000 men, which had penetrated into the valley, and captured three divisions. In 1735 he crossed the Ningthee* river, attacked and destroyed the town of Myedu, on the bank of the Mu river, and carried off numerous captives. Two years subsequently he successively defeated two Burmese armies, amounting to 7000 foot soldiers, 700 horses, and 20 elephants, and devastated the whole country from the banks of the Khodoung Choung to Dabayen. In 1738 he again crossed the Ningthee river, attacked and dispersed a Burmese army of 15,000 foot soldiers, 3000 horse, and 30 elephants; and at the termination of the rains of the same year, at the head of 20,000 men, marched between the Burmese army, three divisions of which occupied the towns of Matsen, Dabayen, and Myedu, and to use the language of the Burmese historians, “without stopping”, attacked and carried the stockaded positions around the ancient capital of Sagaing, of which he obtained possession.”

During King Pamheiba @ Garibniwaz’s campaign in Mu-Valley including the military town of Mydeu in 1735, 1736 and 1737 he encamped more than a month at Mydeu town and nearny areas in Shwebo District. Shwebo or Moksobo is the birth is the birth place of the great king Alaungpaya, at that time he was a boy seeing and watching the events happening around Shwebo, Mydeu and other towns along the Mu Valley in the heartland of Burma.

In 1739 again Manipur King Garib Nawaz with a strong force of 20,000 aided by Cacharis invaded Ava (Awa) the capital of the then Burma with an aim to dispersed Ava, but failing in an attack on a Burmese force, stockeded at Mydeu again.

In 1749, after spending some few years in the internal administrations appear again in the heart land of Ava by crossing Chindwind (Ningthee) river, marching along the left bank of it reach near the confluence of Irrawaddy-Chindwin rivers waiting for a favorable opportune time to cross the big river near Sagaing, to attack Ava, but his standard was blown off by the wind and he and his team thought this as a bad omen, and he was glad to negotiate rather than to fight. And later he as requested by the Ava king Mahadhammaraza Dipati Garibaniwaz sent off his niece Satyamala Devi as his daughter as Ava (Awa) Leima, a queen in wait.

In regard to Mu Valley and Central heartland of Burma campaign by Garibaniwaz, Prof. N.Joykumar Singh remarked-“The year AD 1738 was the most significant period so far the military campaign of Garibaniwaz was concerned against Burma. As recorded in Ningthourol Lambuba king Garibaniwaz attacked and occupied several places like Metu (Mydeu), Makang, Taprang and from these places the Manipuri forces collected a large number of war booty and the entire villages were completely devastated. In this way the repeated attacks by Manipur king Garibaniwaz from 1719 up to 1749 has weakened the Burma king considerably.



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(This article will form a chapter in a forthcoming edited volume titled: “Manipur-Myanmar Historical Connections” to be published by Concept Publications, New Delhi.)

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