GUWAHATI, Nov 15 - Today�s Manipuri population of Guwahati is mostly a conglomeration of the Manipuri people, who migrated to Gauhati from different parts of Assam and Manipur itself. In the early part of the 19th century, a sizeable number of Manipuri people migrated to various parts of Assam from Manipur, following the Burmese (Myanmarese) invasion of the neighbouring state. Sometime in the 19th century, some of them migrated to �Gauhati�, said noted writer Kumudeswar Hazarika.
At the instance of the Manipur King Maharaja Sir Chura Chand Singh, the British government allotted a plot of 14 bighas of land between Paltan Bazar and Ulubari on the Shillong Road (now Guwahati-Shillong Road) to settle the Manipuri people who migrated to Gauhati then.
Honouring the desire of the Manipur king to set up a Rajbari there, the Manipuri settlers of that area named the area Manipuri Rajbari. This area is now popularly known as Manipuri Basti, Hazarika said.
The Radhakrishna Temple is a major religious institution of this area. Puja started at this temple in the last part of the 19th century. The leading socio-cultural and sports organisation of Manipuri Basti is the Rajbari Athletic Club. M Mera Singh was the most prominent personality of Manipuri Basti. He was elected as a member of the Gauhati Municipal Board on several occasions.
Late Basanta Singh of Manipuri Basti was a reputed goalkeeper and a Class�I football referee.
Even today, some of the important sports organisers of the city and the State are from this Manipuri Basti. Ibusa Singh and Hemanta Singh are two prominent names in this regard.
The Manipuri Basti people of Guwahati have been taking active part in the socio-cultural and socio-political activities of Guwahati since the very inception of Manipuri Basti. They have now become an inseparable part of the city life of Guwahati.
In very recent times, a small segment of Manipuri people might have migrated to Guwahati and settled in different parts of the city. But, their number is not that significant. The Manipuri population of Manipuri Basti still stands out as the largest concentration of Manipuri people in Guwahati, said Hazarika.