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Remembering Rani Gaidinliu & her legacy

The Zeliangrong Heraka community of North East India observes the 17th February every year as the death anniversary if the great freedom fighter Gaidinliu, who was reverently called ‘RANI’ by Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. The great freedom fighter Rani Gaidinliu was born on Thursday 26th January, 1915 at Lunangkao village in trans-Barak basin in Manipur (now Tamenglong district).

Rani Gaidinliu was a close associate of Haipau Jadonang, the father of the freedom fighter of the Zeliangrongs who tired to drive away the British form Zeliangrong homeland. She became Jadonang’s lieutenant in his social religious and political movement.

Rani Gaidinliu’s movement was various social-religious and political Aims. She wants to preserve the traditional Naga culture. So, she becomes preceptor of Heraka religion. After the execution of Jadonang by the Britishers, from her teen age, she and her peoples, stood up against the strong British government and organized the some thousand of her army prepared to fight against the alien empire.

The Britishers at the same time decided to suppress the Gaidinliu’s movement. The President of the Manipur state Durbar Mr. Harvey offered a reward of Rs. 2011, which was finally increased up to Rs. 500 for arrest of Rani Gaidinliu. Finally a British team led by captain Macdonald and EAC Blah made a surprise attack on Pulomi (Poilwa) village in Naga Hills at the dawn of October 12th, 1932 and Rani Gaidinliu was arrested from a house. She was taken to Kohima and then brought to Imphal for trial. Mr. Higgins the political Agent sentenced her life imprisonment. Gaidinliu spend 14th years in British Jails at various parts of North-eastern India as part of her punishment for war against Britishers.

When the then Prime Minister Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru visited Assam in 1937, he was impresses by the activities of Gaidinliu and he described her as “Rani of Nagas: since then, the title ‘RANI; has been popularly appended to Gaidinliu.

Rani Gaidinliu spends in her prison cell in Assam wasting her bright young womanhood in darkness. However she was been finally released from the Tura Jail in Meghalaya when India became independent in 1947, but she was not allowed immediately to return Manipur. She had to stay at Yimrup in Mokokchung area of Nagaland for few years.

In view of attacks on her followers on religious grounds by some underground in 1956. She raised on armed force with a strength of around 1000 men to defend her religion “Heraka”. After six years of underground life, she was called out by the Government of India and she came to stay at Kohima in 1966. Rani Gaidinliu passed away on 17th February, 1993 at the age of 78 years she was traditionally cremated at her native village Luangkao in Tamenglong district Manipur.

Rani Gaidinliu received the Tamrapatra award on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of Indian Independence 1947-1972. The Padma Bhushan was also awarded to her in 1982 by the President of India these were awarded to Rani Gaidinliu for her meritorious and meticulous deed. Thought she has passed away in every household of the Zeliangrong community. She is still alive in the hearts of the people and is still remembered every day.
Ehui Zeliang
Org. Secy. ZHA (NEI)

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