RK Shitaljit Singh : A brief life sketch

Daniel Chabungbam *

RK Shitaljit Singh
RK Shitaljit Singh

A brief life sketch of
RK Shitaljit Singh
Born on August 19, 1913
Expired on June 8, 2008

Born at Kangabam Leikai of Imphal City now known as Imphal West on Monday, the 18th August, 1913. While he was 8 years old his mother died. Then he lived with maternal uncles at Keishamthong of Imphal West. He passed class II examination (called Lower Primary examination) from Keishamthong Lower Primary School and got admitted to class-III at Chingamakha Upper Primary School.

After passing class-III annual examination he took transfer certificate and got admitted to class-IV at Bengali Middle English School, Imphal. After passing the annual examination of class-VI examination he got admitted to class-VII at Johnstone High School. Then he passed the Matriculation examination in 1932 from Calcutta University in the first division with letters in History and Sanskrit. He was the first students of Manipur to secure letter in History.

Then he went to Gauhati for admission to I.A 1st year class in 1932 and passed the I.A. final in 1st division. Then he got admitted to BA 3rd year class. He had to appear in BA final examination 1936, but after the test exam he felt ill from malaria and could not sit for the final exam 1936. So he passed the BA examination in 1937 with second class Honours in History. He was the first Manipuri to get History Honours. Then due to poverty he stopped further studies. His main occupation in life was teaching in High Schools.

Before the BA results were out he could get a chance of teaching at Bengali High School for three months with pay. Then he work for one month at Tamphasana Girl's High School without pay. After he passed the BA exam, he became the Assistant Head Master at Ram Lal Paul High School. Then in 1941 took leave from the school to go to Ajmer with Maharajkumar Jaya Singh as his tutor guardian, there at Mayo College he acted as teacher of Manipuri language for the Maharajkumar.

Just after his return to Manipur in April 1942 the Imphal town was bombarded. As the result of bombardment by the Japanese army, the town was left by all the people and all the institutions became defunct till the end of the war. During the war, he left his home to be a refugee at the outskirt of the town.

After the war was over the Tamphasana Girls High School was re-opened. There he acted as an assistant teacher for six months. Afterward when the Johnstone High School and the Tamphasana High were taken over by the Government the then Education Minister sent to him an appointment letter to serve at Johnstone High School. He accepted the appointment and served for more two years. Then he became the Head Master of Ram Lal Paul High School till he retired at the age of 63.

Other activities of RK Shitaljit

Manipur had no newspaper sale agencies, he first acted as the selling agent of Amrita Bazar Patrika and also the Statesman. He acted as the Reporter of these news papers and also the Associated Press. Before him no one was to do the reporter's job.

He was the first editor of Lalit Manjui Patrika, a monthly published by the Chitrangada Press at Imphal. Then he opened a Printing Press of his own and published at Manipuri daily called Manipur Matam.

He also acted as a Life Insurance Agent till the Life Insurance Corporation of India was established by the Government. He acted as the Secretary for first Co-Operative Society in Manipur established by Manipur shopkeepers before Secong World War.

He was also writer on various subjects. The number of school text books was more than 13 in both English and Manipuri for classes III to X. He compiled one big Friend's English to Manipuri Dictionary and also one Friend's Pocket English to Manipuri Dictionary.

Fellow of the State Kala Akademy,
National Teacher's Award from the President of India (1967),
Doctorate (Honorarium) from Manipur University,
Jogendrananda Giri Award of the Manipuri Sahitya Parishad,
Thoibi Award,
Scroll of Honour awarded by Manipuri Sahitya Parishad,
Award by Manipuri Sahitya Parishad's Diamond Jubilee.

He expressed that the translation work of SHRIMAD BHAGAVATAM will continue so long as he can and completed the translation work of Shrimad Bhagavatam Canto-V published by ISKCON. He acted several times as Judge of Manipur Drama Festivals as well as Jatrawali or Shumang Leela Festivals organized by Manipur State Kala Academy. He was a regular talker as well as recite of poems of All India Radio and Imphal Doordarshan.

On the Governing Bodies of Imphal College and Oriental College he acted as members to represent the Gauhati University and the Education Department of Manipur before the Colleges were converted. Since the opening of the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur he was nominated as a member several times.

As a representative of Secondary Education Board he took part in a conference of Secondary Boards at Patna. He participated as a representative of the Education Department of Manipur in a Conference organized by the Centre at Madras (Chennai). While he was the Head Master of Ram Lal Paul High School, he purchased many books on school administration, Child Psychology, technique of teaching, etc.

He read these books by several writers to help him in school administration. Assam Government's publication school manual was also studied well and it helped him much in conducting school administration.

Although he was a trained teacher he could run his school just like a trained teacher. Before the Second World War, Manipur saw the establishment of a public body called Nikhil Hindu Mahasabha of Manipur. He was the youngest member of the executive committee of that Mahasabha.

Since 2009 the Death Anniversary of Shitaljit was observed every year by Shitaljit Memorial Service Samiti and honouring to the highest scorer student in Manipuri subject in the HSLC Exam (BOSEM).

Birth Centenary was observed jointly by Sahitya Thoupang Lup with Shitaljit Memorial Service continuously for one year at various places of Manipur (Imphal, Kakching and Sugnu), and by other organizations at Tripura (Agartala) and Assam (Silchar) in 2013.

106th Birth Anniversary was observed by the Cultural Forum Manipur on August 18, 2018 at Manipur Hindi Parishad, Imphal.

* Daniel Chabungbam is a frequent contributor to
This article was webcasted on April 26 2021.

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