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Gharib Nawaz (Meitei: Meidingu Pamheiba, 1690–1751) was a king of Manipur, ruling from c. 1709 until his death. He is notable for the introduction of Hinduism as the state religion of his kingdom (1717) and changing the name from the Meitei name Kangleipak to the Sanskrit Manipur (1724). He changed his royal name from the Meitei Pamheiba to the Persianate Gharib Nawaz.[1]

Kingdom of Manipur
Part of History of Manipur
Kings of Manipur
Ching-Thang Khomba1769–1798
Maduchandra Singh1801–1806
Chourjit Singh1806–1812
Marjit Singh1812–1819
Gambhir Singh1825–1834
Raja Nara Singh1844–1850
Debindro Singh1850
Chandrakirti Singh1850–1886
Raja Surchandra1886–1890
Kulachandra Singh1890–1891
Churachandra Singh1891–1941
Bodhchandra Singh1941–1949
Manipur monarchy data
Ningthouja dynasty (Royal family)
Pakhangba (Symbol of the kingdom)
Cheitharol Kumbaba (Royal chronicle)
Imphal (Capital of the kingdom)
Kangla Palace (Royal residence)

During most of his reign he was engaged in warfare against the Kingdom of Burma and against the local Tangkhul ethnic group.[2]

Early life and conversionEdit

He was born on 23 December 1690 in Manipur to Pitambar Charairongba and was crowned Meidingu ("king") on 28 August 1709 (the 23rd of Thawan, 1631 Saka Era).[3] During the early 18th century, Hindu missionaries from Sylhet arrived in Manipur to spread Gaudiya Vaishnavism. They were led by Shantidas Adhikari and his associate Guru Gopal Das who succeeded in converting the King from the old Meitei religion to Vaishnavism in 1710. Later during his reign, Pamheiba made Hinduism the official religion, and converted nearly all the Meitei people to Hinduism.[4]

Military conquestsEdit

His reign lasted 39 years. During that time, the realm of Manipur extended from the Irrawaddy in the east to Cachar and Tripura in the west. At some points during his reign, his realm extended into the Chittagong Hill Tracts.[citation needed]

Shortly after taking power from his father Charairongba he invaded Burma after the Burmese King insulted his sister. The Burmese King asked for the hand of another of Charairongba's daughters in marriage. Instead of a princess, the King of Burma was met by cavalry, led by Pamheiba that massacred the Burmese army, and brought many prisoners of war to Imphal.[5]

In 1734, Pamheiba invaded Tripura and captured 1100 prisoners, who were absorbed into the Meitei community.[6]


Pamheiba had eight wives, and a large number of sons and daughters. His eldest son, Samjai Khurai-Lakpa, was assassinated by his younger son Chitsai, who came to power after Pamheiba's grandson Gaurisiam. The reign was then followed by Ching-Thang Khomba.[6]


  1. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 17, p. 186.
  2. ^ Thangal General, Charai Thangal And Pamheiba Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine Manipur Online – 13 May 2003
  3. ^ Sana, Raj Kumar Somorjit (2010). The Chronology of Meetei Monarchs (from 1666 CE to 1850 CE). Imphal: Waikhom Ananda Meetei. p. 59. ISBN 978-81-8465-210-9.
  4. ^ Sheram, AK (2012). "Manipuri, The". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  5. ^ Garib Niwaz: Wars and Religious Policy in 18th Century Manipur KanglaOnline
  6. ^ a b History of Manipur Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine – IIT Guwahati

Preceded by
Pitambar Charairongba
King of Manipur
Succeeded by