Hijam Irabot dominated the politics of the princely state of Manipur between the years 1938-51. He was a founder member of the Nikhil (Hindu) Manipuri Mahasabha, which in 1938 adopted an overtly political agenda for the establishment of a democratically elected state government. Irabot was deeply concerned for the welfare of the peasants and the urban poor. He spent two periods in jail, during which time he came under the influence of Communist ideology. Though elected to the first democratic government of Manipur in 1948, he was forced to go underground by his political opponents, and subsequently became the figurehead for insurgency protest against the absorption of Manipur by India.