President Pranab Mukherjee attended the Khongjom Day Observation 2016 and inaugurated a War Memorial at Khongjom, Manipur. He also placed a wreath at the War Memorial.
In his address on the occasion, the President said Khongjom was hallowed ground on which the last battle on Indian soil was fought in 1891 against British Imperialists.
Manipur became the last nation in the Indian Sub-continent to come under the British Empire after the battle. The British annexation of princely states that began with the battle of Plassey in 1757 ended with the battle of Khongjom.
The President said he was joining the people of Manipur on Khongjom Day in paying homage to their brave sons and daughters “who gave their today for our tomorrow”. The blue hills and pristine nature have been silent witnesses to the valour of Manipuri soldiers who fought to save their motherland from foreign rule a century ago.
The President lauded the bravery of Manipuri soldiers who laid down their lives so that succeeding generations could breathe the air of freedom. He saluted the Khongjom martyrs and said they will continue to inspire the younger generation.
The President said India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru described Manipur as the jewel of India. This fact is evident in the natural beauty that can be seen all over Manipur as well as in its rich culture and pluralistic character.
The President wished the state every success in its development efforts.
The President Pranab Mukherjee also sent a message to the Government of Manipur on the occasion of commemoration of Khongjom Day.
In his message, the President has said “I am happy to learn that the Government of Manipur is bringing out a special issue of “Manipur Today” to commemorate Khongjom Day on April 23, 2016.
Khongjom Day has immense significance for the people of Manipur. On April 23, 1891, a battle for Manipur’s freedom was fought, after which it became the last princely state in the Indian sub-continent to come under the British Empire. It is therefore, an occasion of remembrance and retrospection of valour and ultimate sacrifices made by countless Manipuri patriots in their struggle for freedom.
The Khongjom War Monument erected in memory of brave sons of Manipur has become a place of pilgrimage not only for the people of Manipur but also for the rest of India.
I am happy I will be visiting Manipur on April 23, 2016to join the people of the State in paying homage to the heroes of Khongjom War of 1891. On this day, let us pledge to rededicate ourselves to upholding the unity and integrity of our homeland, the cause for which the martyrs of Khongjom laid down their lives.
I salute the martyrs who laid down their lives on this Day and pay tributes to the glorious history of Manipur”.