A commemorative postage stamp on the Centenary of the first ‘Nupi Lan’ (1904-1939), struggle of Manipuri women against British imperialism :
Issued on Dec 10, 2004
Issued for : The Department of Posts is happy to issue this postage stamp commemorating Nupee Lal.
Stamp & FDC : Suresh Kumar
Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multicolour
Denomination : 500 Paisa
Print Quantity : 0.8 Million
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printer : India Security Press, Nashik
- The Nupee Lal of 1939, or the Women’s Agitation of 1939, is a defining moment in Manipur‘s recent history when thousands of Manipuri women raised their voices against the policies of the Imperial British in India and the Manipur State Darbar headed by the Maharaja of Manipur.
- The seeds of the agitation were sown in November of 1938 when about 356 members of the public had petitioned the then Maharaja of Manipur, Sir Churachand Singh, to set up a Legislative Council and to nominate the Darbar members from among the members of the Council.
- The continuing demands for popular reforms in state administration took a new turn the following year when the price of rice in the state suddenly soared during the harvest season. The people took to the streets to protest against this man-made phenomenon. Thus, the women’s agitation was a direct action in protest against the policy and practice of the foreign traders who were then holding a monopoly in rice trade in the state.
- The agitation was also a protest against the imperialist rule in Manipur as well as the regime of the Maharaja who supported the foreign traders, and who was backed by the then imperialist government. The Nupee Lal which started in December 1939 continued till June 1940.
- The significance of the agitation lay in the administrative reforms that followed. The immediate reforms, other than the stoppage of export of rice from Manipur and the closure of rice mills in the state following the Nupee Lal, were the establishment of a Chief Court in Manipur; the setting up of a Legislative Council in place of the Darbar in 1946-47; the framing and passing of the Manipur State Constitution Act, the Manipur State Election Act and the Election Rules; and the establishment of the Assembly in 1948-49.
- On 12th December, hundreds of women demonstrated before the state office insisting that the President of the Darbar should forbid the export of rice. The President of the Darbar said that such an order would require the approval of the Maharaja who was then at Nabadwip. He went with the women demonstrators to the Telegraph Office and telegraphed the Maharaja. The demonstrators kept him there to wait for the Maharaja‘s reply. Meanwhile, a detachment of the 4th Assam Rifles cleared the demonstrators, and in the process some women received bayonet injuries and many were imprisoned. The day is observed as Nupee Lal Day in Manipur as a state holiday.
- Text : Based on material provided by proponent.