I Have 96 Wives — How Many Can You Get?!

The Dark Age of Manipur then; now we are in the Oppressively Bleak Age
Devendra [Ruling period - One year! 1850] Bhagyachandra [aka Chingthangkhomba 1764-1798 AD] Chourjit [1806-1812 AD] Marjit [1812-1819 AD] Labanyachandra [NA] Madhuchandra [1801-1806 AD] Bhadra  [1824 AD] Ananta Sai [NA] Nara [1844-1850 AD] Gambhir [aka Chinglen Nongdrenkhomba 1825-1834 AD] Pamheiba [aka Garibniwaj 1709-1754 AD]

What do you guess the numbers represent in the image above ? Hint: The name of the Manipuri kings, mostly from early modern period, and late medieval period are written under each box.  

Manipur, an erstwhile kingdom, was merged into the union of India in 1949 after the reign of so many powerful kings who had marked their names on stone over two millennia of recorded history. Many people are still up in arms against the merger, terming it as coercive and illegal. But that is completely another story.

There is no prize for guessing the numbers in the above image. But these are, for the record, the numbers of their wives or concubines, in a politically correct manner.I am hesitating to call them queens.

People call me a cynic but they would not give me the reasons not to be, if not for these ridiculous numbers of life partners. Ninety-six, seriously? The one with 10 wives looks just like a loser!

I don’t know why but I find it hard to respect the kings. Perhaps, it arises out of my allergy to authority and the feeling that they are only useful, for things like issuing driving license and gas consumer cards. There are as well many reasons I am not clear about myself. The kings, authority and contemporary leaders have made it quite clear that we have always been lacking true leaders in this part of the world.

The kings were evidently chasing after women, as in Groucho Marx's statement that only one men in a thousand is a leader and the remaining 999 follow women.

When I found out a few fine days ago, on Facebook, that some of our former masters had achieved quite a feat, I thought I should write an ode.

The name is hole, shit hole

Another prominent element is the name of the kings. The lineage overemphasises how much we have been possessed by a root-defying faith. Consider Devendra, Bhagyachandra, Shitterchandra, Penisingh — the only difference is Pamheiba, but he is still more commonly known as Garibniwaz. I have also got a bloody name!

This takes us back directly to the 18th century, when Pamheiba forcefully made his subjects to follow Hinduism. Those who rooted for the native religion and acted subversively were beaten up, killed, tortured, humiliated and even excommunicated.
The King's Chocolate (IMG by Gary Browning)

There are a few areas around the outskirts of Imphal valley, where these excommunicated folks reside. Andro is the perfect example.

Yes, we agree past is past, and history is a perfect gone case. However, it determines our present and affects the future too. The only way we can tread is to know it, not necessarily going back there for the sake of re-narrating our stories. Especially, when we have been confounded with identity crisis, it makes more inevitable for us to go down the memory lane once in a while.

Religion is the heroin of the mass in our native place. Some liberal people might say it is a personal choice to follow one’s faith of choice. In that cloak of a nice flexible person, we might miss the wood for the trees. There is, for instance, a huge moral and spiritual depravity in worshipping Sai Baba. For that matter, there are valid reasons galore in cultural revolution.

We proudly declare today: we are perverts, folks!

Some sober people reason that we are the ultimate fan as well as the hardcore performers of orgy. We are the James Deens and Sasha Greys of the real world! The socially sanctioned habits make it even more obvious with the number of festivals, rites and rituals throughout the year.

In a way, it is unsurprising how Bhagyachandra (94 wives) managed to experiment with a number of positions with as many number of partners. Then, there might be some of his Geeta-reading gurus who would counsel him with lessons from Khajuraho. He also managed to initiate the Ras Lila, while starting the ‘potloi’ tradition along with his earlier-than-expected marriage of his beautiful daughter.

Consider on the Ras Lila day, he got a young lady from Khurai before the Krishna, Radha and the Gopis turn up at the 'mantop'; during the break, he would call in a couple of relatively more experienced partners from Uripok; and finally after the show, he would get a shot with a teenager from Sekmai. The next morning, he would be confused about who exactly are entitled to get the Rajkumar and Rajkumari surnames. From 94 wives, 87 of them had no child. “Oh I see, that is easy, Kanglapat. I have to worry only about seven of them! You decide it; you be the boss.”

When he was succeeded in 1762 by Maramba, Moods had lost forever a prospective and the most charming brand ambassador, who also happened to be a flamboyant king!

On the other hand, when the kingdom was in a mess because of Seven Years Devastation, Nongchup Lamgaingamba aka Bhadra managed to become a king for one month. The short duration is understandable but I would never believe he ‘captured’ 19 wives in a month!He did it, but the period is not clear.

Back to square one

Old folks say it is quite our culture for men to practice polygamy, as long as they can ‘afford’ it. This is remarkable because we live in such a conservative and highly traditional society.

To conclude, it would be no exaggeration to state that our level of morality is measured by used condoms found during ‘raids’ in shacks, locally known as fast-food hotels and restaurants. Moral police might be glad that they always have something which occupies them. Otherwise, in some sort of royal challenge, they might be tempted to experiment with multiple partners.

Moral of the story Go for quality. Aim quantity only in IQ tests.



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