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Haipong Jadonand is one of the freedom fighters in India. He was a Rongmeri Naga Spiritual leader and Political Activist. He was from Manipur, British India. The Heraka religious movement was established by him. This religious movement had widespread in the Zelianrong territory before converting to Christianity. He had independent kingdom called Naga kingdom. This kingdom made him fight against British rulers while they conquering India. He was hanged in 1931 by British and he was succeeded by his cousin Rani Gadinliu.

Early Life

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Haipou Jadonang was born on 10 June 1905. He was born in puiluan, it was also known as puiron or Kambiron Village which in present day called as Nungba subdivision in Tamenglong district. Haipou Jadonang family belongs to Malangmei clan of the Rongmei Naga tribe. In his family, he was youngest of three sons to Thiudai and Tabonliu. Thiudai was his father; he died when Haipou was one year old. Taboliu, mother of Haipou brought up the three boys by doing farming on the family property she had.

The place Tamenglong belongs to the Manipur and it was the headquarters at that time. It was in North-West division. The British government appointed S.J> DUNCAN was the S.D.O (Sub-Divisional Officer). The British government had retained Meidingngu Churachand, who was the titular king of Manipur. Even thou, he was the king the power of administration were done by the British government. S.D.O.

The Naga Hills were4 actually controlled by District Commissioner J.P. Mills (An Expert Anthropologist) and Cachar areas were under district commissioner Jimson. The Naga territories were thus completely under the colonial control.

During the childhood days of Jadonang, He was a religious person deeply. He used to pray God for hours even when he was alone. He used to visit places like Bhuvan cave and Zeliad Lake, which were believed to the residence of god and goddesses by the Nagas. He became popular among the Zeliangrong tribal’s for his dreams and prophecies during the age of 10. He had healing powers by local herbs and medicines so he was very popular among the people. Many people come to meet him to get a spell from the interpretation of dreams, Mysterious healing, advice and principles of a reformed region. The people used to come from long distances. The people used to come by hearing the news of Interpretation of dreams, mysterious healing, advice and principles of the reformed region.

Due to the foreign invasion, the Christianity growth influence in Naga territory is at a higher rate. Jadonang knew the Christianity growth and considered the Christianity growth in Naga as a threat to the traditional religion and Naga society. The tribal’s of Naga territory had suffered a lot due to the invasion of different powers continually. British Government were oppressive with their forced porter system like heavy hill house taxes of Rs. 3 per year and new laws were imposed on the people. When Jadonang reached adulthood, he made ideas for the revival of Naga culture to his fellow tribal’s. He asked them to fight for the national prestige and social change against the British government.

Heraka Movement was a religious movement to stop the invasion of Christianity and Vaishnavism into Naga territory. The movement was lead by Jadonang. To know in detail, Heraka which means “Pure” and it was derived from the ancestral Naga practice known as “Paupaise”

During the invasion of Christianity and Vaishnavism of Manipur into the Naga territory, Jadonang wants to standardize on traditional belief systems of Naga to make it stronger than other religious belief invasions. The Hereka religion worships “Tingkao Ragwang” as the Supreme Being. Hereka is a traditional religion, the deity was known as the creator god. It was one of the gods in the group of gods in this religion. It does not have much importance in everyday life. Tingkao Ragwang is a god which believed were it permitted world as spiritual energy. It was described by the Jadonang. He also said Tingkao Ragwang as an omnipotent and omniscient god. Jadonang insisted to do regular prayers and to sing hymns by people to make the movement stronger in the Naga region. The other god’s Deities were respected but less importance was given to them. The single god concept is known as monotheism and a centralized belief system started laying down its base due to Christianity and Islam which was preached in Manipur and Cachar plains those days.

The superstitious beliefs were much higher during those days. Jadonang abolished many of the superstitious taboos which were prominent in Naga region. He is the person which has to be celebrated in the history of his work towards abolishing the superstitious scarifies and to develop the humanity among the people. The number of ritual sacrifices was reduced by him as possible since it has strong belief in people he took a long time for it. Mainly he reduced ritual sacrifice like ones offered to deities other than Tingkao Ragwang. He also tried to reduce the number of “gennas” (rituals) like the one such as childbirth, the presence of an animal in the house, the disaster like landslides and earthquake, weapon injuries and falling of a tree. Everything which had bad side is included for the ritual purposes and they were reduced by Jadonang. He tried and get back to retain the gennas (rituals) which associated with the safety of crops from pests, harvesting and safety from animals.

To avoid the spirituous beliefs and by reducing it, Jadonang emphasized qualities instead of focusing on rituals. The qualities he said were made to please the Tingkao Ragwang such as Love, Truth and respect for the entire creation. Jadonang was literally a prophet for the Naga region.

There is no evidence of construction of temples before by Naga and they don’t have such tradition faith too. Due to the invasion of Christianity and Vaishnavism invasion, Jadonnag encouraged the Naga people to construct Hereka temples called “Kao kai” because to make the movement or the religion much stronger in future. Jadonang insisted constructing the temple by claiming that The Bhuvan god has told him by constructing a temple it would give result in good health and prosperity. According to the tradition of the Rangmei, it states that the humans first emerged from a cave. A cave temple was established by Jadonang at the Bhuvan cave which resulted in the Naga people to make the religion belief much strong in future.

The Heraka Movement by Jadonang has been believed and described variously as a religious reform movement, the Naga renaissance and a cult. It is also known as a movement called Kanch Naga movement, Gaidiniu movement, periese (old practice), kelumse (prayer practice) and Ranise (Rani’s practice) Khampai is a pejorative term for the movement.

Association with Freedom Movement

The Heraka religious movement started facing opposition from Christian converts and the traditional believers. They were opposing the changes in the belief. Jadonang Heraka movement had a political intention too on the other side. He literally wanted his region people to forget the past things of hatred in inter-village feuds and communal tension and wanted every people to join with him against the foreign invasions and foreigners. At that time, Jadonang heard about the Mahatma Gandhi planning for starting the civil disobedience movement in India. Jadonang wanted to contribute to this movement along with him and he expressed his wish to him. He made arrangement for the movement. In January 1927, he takes 200 Naga boys and girls to welcome the Mahatma Gandhi at Silchar. But the Gandhi’s visit was cancelled and he didn’t meet him

After that, Jadonang Fashioned himself like a King of the Nagas.  He travelled across the Zeliagrong region and a part of the Angmai territory. Jadonang used to wear similar like British officials of the region and tried to make a pony like them. British appointed Sub-Divisional Office (SDO) S.J. Duncan took notice of this dressing style. In 1928 S.J. Duncan (SDO) officer who belongs to British government considered this dressing style as an act of subservience and refused. The SDO brought Jadonang to the Tamenglong, where the place he was interrogated for dressing like British officials and he was ordered to imprisoned for a week by British.

Jadonang first arrest happened a week before the Angmai-led Naga club which was submitted by the memorandum to the Simon Commission, a requesting the self-determination for the Nagas. Jadonang arrest by British government made his popularity much among the Nagas. After the release of Jadonang, he went back to his region and he started building a strong Army using both male female from this region. The army was called as Riphen, which consists of 500 in numbers of both male and female. The army was given training on military tactics, handling the weapons like guns and intelligence operations. In addition to these training the army was also given training like civilian tasks such as cultivation, cattle grazing, rice pounding and collection of firewood. The army was made and used to travel with the Jadonang and they were used to participate in Heraka religious ceremonies. Jadonang used to compose the songs for praising the Anti-colonial struggle, which was taught by his disciple Gadinliu.

Jadonang used to send the Riphen (Army) members to all the Zeliangongs tribes, where they tried to seeking the alliances from the Zeliangongs of North Cachar Hills, Naga Hills and Tamenglong Sub-division. Some of these alliances were paid him tributes in the form of Mithuns.

On the other side, Jadonang also went out to the other regions of Naga tribes including the Angamis, Chakhesangs, Rengmas, Maos and Marams. During the visit, he had some potential allies but he didn’t have much connection or success with other regions like Zeliagrons. For example, The Angmai Village had a council in which they refused their support to him based on the ground rule that he would only replace the British rule as their masters. But he has got the support from the Angamis in large number for the movement.

The British Government officials received reports in January 1931, which indicates that Jadonang from the Naga region planning to declare a war against them by giving training to the people in his region secretly. The planned War against them will happen at the end of the year. British government officials also received reports about the secret meetings and collections of guns in the Villages of Naga. Despite this Jadonang in his Naga region asked his followers to pay taxes to him in the fiscal year 1931-1932 rather paying taxes to British officials. By having these reports, the British officers in the area decided to suppress the Jadonang and his movement permanently in February 1931 instead of allowing him will make a big disaster for the British officers in future. On February 19, 1932, the British officers imprisoned Jadonang in the Silchar Jail. After being arrested by British while returning from the Bhuvan cave with Gaidnliu and 600 followers along with him.

After the arrest of Jadonang in February 1932, it created unrest in the Naga territory and the news spread widely among the people. To control the unrest among the people in Naga region, the British government imposed a ban on the Naga region people who walking with spears or people in large groups in public places. The British political agent of Manipur J.C. Higgins organized and led an Assam Rifles column to the Jadonang native village Puiluan in Naga territory. When he found the movement organized with the religion intention, he destroyed the Heraka temples to defend the traditional Naga animism which the Naga territory people believe. After that, he arrested many of elders in the village with confiscated guns. He imposed a large amount of fine on several villages in the Naga region to control the unrest due to Jadonang arrest. He came to the place called Jirighat where the local police handed over Jadonang to him. Then the Jadonang was under the control of J.C Higgins, the British political agent of Manipur. He took him to Imphal, Capital of Manipur under his control. After taking the Jadonang in his control he went to Imphal by taking long route all the way up to Tamenglong, showing chain bounded Jadonang to people instead of taking him on a short route to Imphal. He was taken like that because to show Jadonang to his people that he didn’t have any divine powers like what he said. Jadonang was brought to the Manipur, Imphal on the March 19th after a month of arrest.

In the Imphal jail, Jadonang was jailed and interrogated by J.C Higgins. During the interrogation, Jadonang denied all the charges against him and also he does not provide any information the Anti- British movement J.C Higgins failed to get the information from Jadonang also he was unsuccessful in getting information from the village elders and Gaidinliu about Anti- British movement.

Before that in 1930, Four traders from Manipur was murdered in the Jadonang’s native village Puilian. The first converted Christian from the Tamenglong named Jinlakpou informed the British officials about the murders. When he informed the news to government and they alleged that Jadonang had ordered these murders. The Manipur trader’s murder decision was not taken by him alone; it was a villager’s decision to murder them. J.C Higgins summoned some of the villagers from his place to testify the Jadonang is responsible these traders murder. But, according to the supporters of Jadonang, he was falsely implicated and arrested in the murders and this witness had testified against him under duress. Actually, during the time of the murder of Manipur trader, Jadonang was not his village. He went to celebrate customary house of Ahongyum (painted house) at Longkao. The Manipur traders had been killed by the other villagers due to the dear of exposure of secrets and for violating the Dhnei, a genna (taboo) which is used to prohibit the starting of the fire. It is used to stop the fire in the emergency in starting itself before it makes a mess at large.

13th June 1931 is the day where Jadonang was declared guilty of Murders. It was declared officially by the British government that he was guilty of murders on the trail. It was declared by British Indian authorities. He was brought and hanged to death on 29th August 1931 at 6 am. The hanging happened on the bank of the Nambul River behind the Imphal jail in Imphal, Manipur. Jadonang dead body was taken to his native village Puilian. He was buried in his native village itself the funeral was done accordance with the Naga traditions in this region. After that, the Heraka movement, the religious movement against British was undertaken by the Rani Gaidinliu. She was in the Heraka movement from the age of 13. She was the cousin of Jadonang. She was also arrested in the year of Jadonang her cousin died. She was 16 while arrested by the British government in 1932. Title Rani was given by Jawaharlal Nehru when he met her in shilling jail in 1937. She was convicted as a life imprisonment. Nehru promised her to take her out of jail. She was released after India’s independence in 1947. After release, she continued to work for the upliftment of people in Naga territory. She was honoured as a freedom fighter and she was given Padma Bhushan award by the Indian government. Rani Gaidinliu died on 17 February 1993 at the age of 78 in her birthplace Longkao.


Jadonang Heraka movement development:

Makam Communities were gradually converting into Christianity mostly in the Hills District of Tamengrong and its surroundings. Jadonnag was very aggrieved and pained to see his fellow people discarding the ancestral religion. The Christian Missionaries under the British administration was propagating Christianity all around the villages. Their policy was to promote Christianity and to establish the British Rule in Manipur. Above all, they wanted to suppress the Movement of Jadonang. They diverted all resources and money towards Kabui (Rongmei),Zemei,Liangmei and Puimei to win their hearts. They won the confidence over some sections of native and converted them to Christianity. Some section of Christian belonging to Makam communities turned hostile to Jadonang and his religion.He did not lose heart, rather he gained more spiritual energy. He encouraged construction of temples, KARUMKAI, in Makam dominating areas and organized the people to avoid such conversion. He emphasized to follow the ancestral custom and to believe in the Heraka religion. He established Heraka Army, known as Riphen. Jadonang was not pleased with the British for imposing House Tax in the Hills and forced labours to be rendered to the Government Officials when they were on tour in the hills. He and his people opposed the two laws of Pot-thang Bekeri and Pot-thang Senkhai.

The first law of Pothang Bekari stated that the villagers in the hills had to carry the goods and luggage of the Government Officials free of cost while they were on tour to the areas. In case of refusal, they whipped the villagers and forced to carry the loads. The Second laws stated the villagers had to contribute money to feed the touring officials and other employees of the Government. The house tax in the hills and Pot-thang Senkhai are akin to Salt March in which Mahatma Gandhi opposed to British and started Salt March March 12, 1930.  Jadonang imparted regular and massive training to the youths of Riphen (Army) to keep them fit to fight against the British in Manipur. The training consisted of catching cattle, cultivation of agricultural crops and military training like gun shooting, gunpowder making, spear hurling and the making of traditional weapons etc.The young girls were trained by Gaidinliu.

On getting the people’s momentum; Jadonang announced his objective of establishing, “Makam Gwangdi”, which meant the Makam Kingdom. He coined the objective that Kacharies had their own King, so as Manipuris; what was wrong if Makammei had their own king. The exciting slogan of Jadonang was –”Makammei Rui Gwang Tupuni” (meaning Makam people will be the rulers) which was inspired and believed by the masses.

Gradually Makam people began to accept the idea of an independent state. They refused to cooperate with the Government’s orders. They denied to pay house tax to the British and did not participate in any executive works etc. However; Jadonang did not declare his policy of free movement, but he started a political movement under his trend of religious and social activities against the British Rule in Manipur, particularly in the hills region of Tamenglong. Jadonang came to know about the Freedom Movement of the Indian National Congress under the able leadership of Mahatma Gandhi on his frequent visit to Binakandi and Lakhimpur in Cachar. Takhenang of Binakandi was his agent and mediator, who supplied all sorts of information to him.In 1926, after AICC Session at Gauhati, Gandhi was scheduled to visit Silchar in January 1927, Jadonang arranged a cultural dance programme in honour of Gandhiji by sponsoring 100 boys and 100 girls in Silchar.He could not meet Gandhi because Gandhi had postponed his tour programme to Silchar. He gained milestone in his movement against the British and he openly neglected the foreign policy. He did not salute Mr S.J. Duncan, SDO of Tamenglong even if he met Mr S.J.Duncan on the way in Tamenglong. Mr.Duncan could not tolerate the insult and decided to punish him. Mr Duncan issued a warrant to Jinlakpou on 22.11.1928 to arrest Jadonang on a charge of Independence. Jinlakpou was working as Lambu (peon cum messenger) and a petty road mohori under British Administration in Manipur. Jadonang was arrested along with his friend Namdichung on 6th Dec. 1928 under the pretext of spreading the news that he was the king and declaring the end of the British Raj.













1905            – Haipou Jadonang was born June 10.

1915              – Jadonang had become popular among the Zeliangrong tribal’s for his dreams and prophecies and healing powers by local herbs and medicines.

1927              – Jadonang done arrangements to take a dance troupe of 200 Naga boys and girls to welcome Gandhi at Silchar. However, Gandhi’s visit was canceled.

1928              – The SDO S.J Duncan asked Jadonang to remove his hat and dismount from his pony. The SDO brought him to Tamenglong, where Jadonang was interrogated and ordered to be imprisoned for a week.

1931              – Jadonang was imprisoned in the Silchar Jail, after being arrested while returning from the Bhuvan cave with Gaidinliu and 600 other followers.

1931              – Jadonang was declared guilty of the murders at a trial by the British Indian authorities. He was hanged to death on 29 August 1931 at 6 am.















Reference list:

1.    Tribals and Their Culture in Assam, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, G. K. Ghosh (1 January 1992), Ashish Publishing House.

2.    John Parratt (2005). Wounded Land: Politics and Identity in Modern Manipur. Mittal Publications. pp. 45–46. 

3.    Asoso Yonuo (1974). The rising Nagas: a historical and political study. Vivek Pub. House. p. 126. Retrieved 5 June 2013.

4.    “78th Martyr’s Day of Haipou Jadonang held”. Naga News. Nagaland Directorate of Information and Public Relations. 2009-08-31.

5.    Kabui, Gangmumei (2004). The History of the Zeliangrong Nagas: From Makhel to Rani Gaidinliu. Spectrum. 

6.    Longkumer, Arkotong (2010). Reform, Identity and Narratives of Belonging: The Heraka Movement in Northeast India. Continuum International. 

7.    Thomas, John (2015). Evangelising the Nation: Religion and the Formation of Naga Political Identity. Taylor & Francis. 


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