E-Pao! Essay - Inspiration around us

Inspiration around us

By: PIB, Defence Wing *

Recall the days of yore. A family with even ten children was not a very uncommon sight. Things have changed now. Rather than being regarded as a symbol of masculinity, a man having ten children will be ridiculed apart from acquiring an amusing identity which one can do without anywhere in the country, Manipur included.

Being father of nine children is one thing but ensuring that all of them get good education and are well settled is a Herculean task indeed as very few have accomplished such a feat.

Late Shri L Thakendrajit (LT) Singh of Thangmeiband, Khomdram Selungba Leikai, Imphal was one such person who through his vision made the impossible becoming a possibility.

Late LT Singh and Smt Konon Devi were blessed with nine children, five sons and four daughters. They knew the importance of good and quality education and had decided that they would leave no stones unturned to get their children the best of education as that was the only asset that they as parents should and can give them.

But apart from dedication and good intention, God also has to be kind so that none of the children go astray. Imphal of seventies was one such place in the country where young people would often be lured by drugs.

LT Singh and Konon Devi however were extremely fortunate as their eldest son laid a good foundation and became a role model for his younger siblings.

Laiphrakpam Nishikanta (LN) Singh was the eldest of the nine children. His parents had pinned all their hopes in young LN and he never belied their trust. Young LN had his primary education in Tombisana High School.

Seeing the dedication of their son, parents decided to send LN to study outside the state. As Sainik Schools provide quality education and Sainik School Imphal did not exist then, LN Singh joined Sainik School Purulia only after passing a tough entrance test.

Rest as they say is history. After passing out from Sainik School, LN joined National Defence Academy, NDA Khadakwasla and passed out from Indian Military Academy, IMA Dehradun in 1979 and joined 9 Bn of JAK LI Regt.

That young child from Thangmeiband who had his primary schooling in Tombisana High school is now Brig LN Singh, only the second officer from Manipur to reach this rank after Brig Himalaya Singh.

In a career spanning about three decades, the officer was awarded three commendation cards, one each in 1991, 1997 and 2007. He was also conferred with Vishisht Sewa Medal, VSM in 2002 for distinguished services. He also has a unique distinction of being the first Manipuri officer to attend the prestigious Higher Command Course at Army War College Mhow.

Though it may not be universally true, it often happens that deeds good or bad of the eldest are emulated by younger siblings. This would at least hold true of Thakendrajit’s children. LN Singh obviously was a role model for his younger brothers.

They too wanted to join Sainik School as whenever LN returned home during leave, he would often eulogize his school; talk of discipline, tough regimen of a sainik school student, plenty of games and fun apart from quality education. His younger school going siblings would envy him which had a positive impact as they too would put in extra hard work to get a seat in Sainik School.

It definitely was financially difficult for late LT within his limited salary to send his other sons too to schools outside the state but at the same time a conscious and sensitive person like Thakendrajit would not like to deny his other children the same facility especially when they too had proved to be equally worthy.

Often God comes to help in various guises when the intentions are good and that is what happened with late LT. Sainik School Imphal was established by then and two of Brig LN’s younger brothers, L I Singh and Jogendra Singh passed out from the school.

L I Singh went to NDA and after passing out, joined his elder brother’s regiment and has also attended the prestigious Higher Defence Management Course at Secundrabad recently.

L Jogendra Singh is a Manipur state government employee, while out of the other two, one is an advocate and another is an engineer at present working with the State govt. With NCC in Manipur having been revived and Sainik School Imphal doing a yeoman service in imparting quality education, the number of youngsters joining the three services, especially the Army is likely to increase.

It is interesting to note that the number of youngsters joining the armed forces from Manipur is increasing every year. The two Brigadiers from the state - Brig Himalaya and Brig LN Singh could be the perfect role model for many youngsters who wish to join the armed forces.

Not only the sons but Thakendrajit knew the importance of educating his daughters as well. Fondly remembering his father, his son Jogendra Singh says that his father was of the opinion that when you educate a boy, you educate an individual but when you educate a girl you educate a future family.

And hence Late LT ensured that all the four daughters attended college. While one daughter each has settled in Kolkatta and Bangkok, the other two daughters are in Imphal and one amongst them is a District Media Extension Officer.

As good foundation has been laid with late Thaken-drajit as its Architect and Brig LN Singh as an important pillar, even the next generation in the family too is doing well. The eldest daughter of Brig LN Singh is an air hostess with an international airlines and the second one will be completing her B Tech from Bangalore University.

After retiring from the State Government service, Late L Thakendrajit Singh had established “Shri kalachand Ashram” in Phumlou near Leimakhong for old and infirm and for education of downtrodden children. Establishing the Ashram was his way of thanking Almighty and a humble contribution towards the betterment of society to which he felt he owed a lot.

A charitable trust looks after the affairs of the Ashram and after his death; Thakendrajit’s daughter is the chief administrator of the Ashram now which has a strength of about 340 children from the lower strata of society.

There are enough inspirations around us that can exhort us to remain focused towards our commitment to the family and the society provided we recognize them. Late L Thakendrajit Singh and Smt Konon Devi of Thangmeiband, Khomdram Selungba Lekai, Imphal are one such perfect inspiration around us.

* PIB, Defence Wing published this on The Sangai Express. This article was webcasted on October 22nd, 2007

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