Mairembam Koireng Singh

Mairembam Koireng Singh famously known as Moirang Koireng was the first elected Chief Minister of Manipur and a great freedom fighter during the Second World War.

Koireng was the youngest son of Mairembam Chaoyaima Singh and Leishangbam Ningol Mairembam Ongbi Tombichao Devi. Chaoyaima was the Nongthomba in the Royal Court and was therefore popularly known as Nongthomba. Koireng had four brothers, Mairembam Meina Singh, Mairembam Angangyaima Singh, Mairembam Nilachandra Singh and Mairembam Tambullo Singh, and three sisters, Mairembam Ningol Konjengbam Ongbi Tampak Devi, Mairembam Ningol Kumam Ongbi Leihao Devi and Mairembam Ningol Phairembam Ongbi Ashangbi Devi.

Though born to a rich well-to-do family, Koireng had his share of hardship and suffering at a very tender age. Koireng’s mother Tombichao Devi died nine days after Koireng’s birth. Koireng was brought up by Chaoyaima’s elder brother Mairembam Ningthou Singh and Nigthou’s wife Chaobihal Devi.

The year 1938 marked a great milestone in Koireng’s life. First, he joined Nikhil Manipuri Maha Sabha at a young age of 23 to revolt against the suppressive rule of the Manipuri King. Second, he was married to Ibemhal Devi. And third, he left out his matriculation for a career in politics.

During the Second World War (1939-1945), in the morning of 14th April 1944, under the leadership of Shri Koireng, Shri Leiphrakpam Sanaba, Shri Kumam Kanglen, Shri Meinam Mani and others welcome the Indo-Japanese Advanced Party at Tronglaobi(Moirang). After discussing the various conditions pertaining the independence of India prevailing at that time, INA Colonel Saukat Ali Malik hoisted the Triclour flag for the first time. Shri Koireng Singh, Captain Ito of the 33rd Japanese Mountain Gun Regiment and several people of Moirang were also present during the flag hoisting ceremony. In this way, Moirang become the first independent kingdom in India. After this, from till 14th July 1944 Shri Hemam Neelmani’s house become the Head Quarter of the Azad Hind Fauz.

After the Independence of India in 1947, the custody of Ibudhou Thangjing’s Temple which was long governed by the King of Moirang as people’s God went to the hands of the Meitei King. The Merger Agreement of 1949 did not bring any development to the temple. Instead Shri Bodhchandra Singh (the Meitei King) declaring the God as King’s God took away all the money offered to the temple. The people of Manipur under the leadership of Shri Koireng Singh revolted against the Meitei King in May 1950 and demanded that the “People’s God” should be handed over to the people and that the celebration of “Lai Haraoba” should be governed by the people. This was known as the “Thangjing Andolan”.

Shri Koireng was the first elected Chief Minister of Manipur. He was elected as Chief Minister of Manipur thrice.

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