Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'
- Part 1 -

Aheibam Koireng *

Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'
Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'

Proceedings of A Daylong Seminar on
Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei
organized by Kalyan Ashram, Manipur (KAM),
at the venue of Linthoingambi Girl's Hostel, Palace Compound, Imphal
on Sunday, the 30th April 2017 Time: 10.30-4.30 pm.

Aheibam Koireng,
Assistant Professor,
Centre for Manipur Studies,
Manipur University

Prof. Gangmumei Kamei (born on 21 October 1939) was a multifaceted personality who devoted his life in pursuit of sincere and honest initiatives on critical and socially paramount concerns of 'our society. He passed away on Monday, the 5th January 2017. In academic life, he was well-known for his contribution in the regional history of Northeast India. He served as a professor of History in Manipur University and had also successfully guided many scholars leading to the award of the Doctorate Degree. Also he had guided a number of major research projects in history as Coordinator of the Centre for Manipuri Studies & Tribal Research of Manipur University.

Some of his well-known books are: Lectures onHistory of Manipur, N. Delhi: Akansha 2012; Rise of Middle Classes in Manipur, N. Delhi: Akansha 2012; Ethnicity and Social Change: An Anthology of Essays (Latest Edition), N. Delhi: Akansha, 2009;On History and Historiography of Manipur (Latest Edition), N. Delhi: Akansha, 2006; A History of the Zeliangrong Nagas: From Makhel to Raini Gaidi, etcnliu, N. Delhi: Akansha, 2004; A History of Modern Manipur 1826-2000 (3 Vols.); and A History of Manipur: Pre-colonial Period, etc.

Recognition and Awards he received in his lifetime includes: 1. Member, Advisory Committee of the Anthropological Survey of India (1984-87); 2. Member, IndianCouncil of Social Science Research (ICSSR) panel on Tribal Studies; 3. Awarded the Platinum Jubilee Samman by the Manipuri Sahitya Parishad for his contribution to history and tribal culture in 2010; Awarded National Fellowship by Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in 2010-2012.

Achievements in his political life which could notably be mentioned include: 1. Foundingthe Federal Party of Manipur in 1993; 2. Getting Elected to the state assembly twice, in 1995 and 2001, and also served as a minister on two occasions holding key portfolios like Technical and Higher Education, and Forest and Environment; 3. Contesting for the lone Scheduled Tribes Reserved Seat of the Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency (OMPC) in the 2014 General Election for 16th Lok Sabha; Appointment and serving as Member, North Eastern Council (NEC), Shillong since July 2011 till his last breadth.

KAM organized this seminar with the main objective to highlight and to outreach Prof. Gangmumei's' Frame of Mind', and 'Rationality of Thought' to the larger sections of the society through informal discussions. This way, Kalyan Ashram Manipur wishes to offer homage through 'deliberation among esteemed citizens on his life and contribution to enhance our commitment for our culture, people and nation'.

The inaugural Session of the seminar was graced by Ojha L. Brajakumar Sharma, President, Manipur Cultural Integration Committee (MCIC) and Founder Member, KAM as the Chief Guest. Other dignitaries in the dais are Smt. Dikidoma, Secretary, Kalyan Ashram, Manipur and Shri. Jaleshwar Brahma, President, Janjati Faith and Cultural Protection Forum respectively as the Guest of Honour and the President.

With the dignitaries in the dais occupying their respective chair in the dais, the inmates of Linthoingambi Girl's Hostel, Kalyan Ashram Manipur presented the Opening Song in Kabui Dialect. It was followed by the offering of ceremonial light to the portrait of Balasaheb Deshpande Ji, Founder, Kalyan Ashram to invoke the blessings together with the lighting of incense sticks to carry high the prayers to the almighty. Hymns were also recited in rhythm while doing so. The Floral Tributes were then paid to the portrait of Late Prof. Gangmumei Kamei by his Family Members, Dignitaries in the Dias, and everyone present.

A hearty Welcome was extended by Smt. Dikidoma. In her welcome address, she said, she was very much humbled and consider herself privileged to have the opportunity of delivering Welcome Address in connection with the Seminar on Prof. Gangmumei Kamei, a fatherly figure of Kalyan Ashram Manipur, who in his lifetime had contributed so much for advancing and realizing the cause and vision of Kalyan Ashram Manipur as its Patron.

In her Welcome address, in addition to extend hearty welcome, she also informed the gathering that Kalyan Ashram Manipur (KAM) was established in the year 1978 with the objective of protectingindigenous faith and culture. To realize it, KAM have continuingly executed three projects, to mention, a boy's hostel each in Kakching and Senapati, and Linthoingambi Girl's Hostel which hosted the present ongoing seminar. Moreover, KAM particularly in Hill Areas also run 40 Balwadi Tuition Centres. KAM also run one Lower primary school in Senapati District which has education facilities upto Class V (five).

Inaugural Speech by Chief Guest, Ojha L Brajakumar Sharma Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'
Inaugural Speech by Chief Guest, Ojha L Brajakumar Sharma : Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'

The Inaugural Speech was delivered by the Chief Guest, Ojha L Brajakumar Sharma, who for a long time had associated with Prof. Gangmumei Kamei since 1960. He said, Prof. Gangmumei Kamei, during his student's days in the Gauhati University as post graduate student, in addition to his academic brilliance, he was also very much active on issues of socially profound common concerns. He was General Secretary of Gauhati University Manipuri Student's Association (GUMSA), and also Editor of the Bulletin published by the History Dept., of Gauhati University.

Further, he said, in the mid-1960s, various threats arising out of illegal immigrants, other external factors and bad governance casted a gloomy spell in the inter-community relations of the native people in Manipur. At such milieu, social workers were very much concerned of the trend of growing cleavage between and among the people of Manipur and the strain in the inter-community relations.

He further said, in an attempt to redress and deal effectively with it, the Manipur Cultural Integration Conference (MCIC) was established in October, 1967 with the objectives - to enrich the common cultural heritage of Manipur and develop a sense of brotherhood and broad common outlook in the context of a large vision; to widen as much as possible the area of agreement and understanding among the hills and plain people of Manipur in social and cultural sphere; to promote social harmony and sense of oneness among the various sections of the people inhabiting Manipur and thereby accelerate this process of cultural Integration of the hills and plain people of Manipur. In it, Prof. Gangmumei Kamei shouldered a major share of his responsibility as the first General Secretary of MCIC. He concluded his speech by upholding the rational and vision of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei that indigenous faith, beliefs and cultures should be preserved, protected and promoted.

Jaleshwar Prasad, in his Presidential speech said, Prof. Gangmumei Kamei is a very dynamic person with multifaceted personality who left his trails in various aspects of life, be it academics, social service, politics. His life is a true testimony of the saying, 'pen is mightier than the sword'. The Janjati people owes to Prof. Gangmumei Kamei for making them realized and also for bringing to light that the Janjati faith and culture were nothing less and equally worthy in comparison with any known religion of the world, he further stated. He concluded by appealing that, the Janjati faith, as desired by Prof. Gangmumei Kamei, which has also been the objective of KAM, should be preserved, protected and promoted for the posterity to come.

The Inaugural was followed by the technical session.

The whole technical session of the Seminar was moderated by Prof. N. Joykumar, Former Director, Centre for Manipur Studies & Head of History Dept., Manipur University. Prof. Joykumar received his Ph.D Degree under the guidance of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei.

In the first session, Shri P. Suryanarayanji, President, Janjati Faith and Cultural Protection Forum, North East India, spoke as Resource Person. He said, Prof. Gangmumei was not an armed chair scholar but a very 'practical personality'. Because of the examples, he set, he is counted as a 'role model'. In his lifetime, he led the life of a visionary. His voice equals that of the Kalyan Ashram Manipur that is, 'all round development of the tribals' while keeping intact their respective indigenous faith. He concluded by saying that as long as indigenous faith is maintained and practiced, there would be no inter-tribal conflict, and there would instead be inter-tribal cooperation.

Prof. Sadananda (Functionary, United Religious Initiative, Manipur Chapter & Senior Citizens for Society, Manipur) said he fully endorsed the views of Narayanji in so far as the philosophy of Prof. Gangmumei is concerned. Gangmumei in his later life was a brilliant scholar. Prof. Gangmumei believed the inter-faith cooperation is very much the need of the hour. His understanding of 'unity of religion' is that of going together and not of obliteration or merging.

With it, the first session was declared closed by the moderator.

[With inputs from Dr. Hanjabam Ishworchandra Sharma (Economics Dept., Manipur University), Dr. Beeju Kamei&Dr. Hanjabam Shukhdeba Sharma (Dept. of Social Work, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Regional Campus-Manipur]

To be continued,....

* Aheibam Koireng wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at akoireng(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on May 11, 2017.

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