Thank you people

Jeremiah Pame *

'People's Road'  connecting Tousem in Tamenglong district with Halflong in Assam
'People's Road' connecting Tousem in Tamenglong district with Halflong in Assam :: Pix - Hueiyen Lanpao

We have fought the good fight.
We have finished the race. We have kept the faith

Armstrong Pame, IAS has been transferred/removed/ promoted

I still remember vividly how difficult it was for Armstrong to be posted in our own hometown last year. One year has just passed by without even waiting for us to take a proper rest and say 'well, we had a good time'

May be, we had been too busy to even say 'thank you' to each and every one who extended help in times of need.
It feels like just yesterday when we decided to kick off with wonderful people what and how to begin the journey of incredible endeavour.
I, Jeremiah Pame, on behalf of Armstrong Pame and the entire family take this marvelous privilege to say,

to all the members of The People's Road family and the whole world.
Together we began, Together we built, Together we finished.
When Armstrong's posting at Tousem was confirmed, he could not sleep for several nights because of so many pertaining reasons. The impending task was too big to carry on his shoulder.

* Manipur is one of the most backward states in India
* There are nine districts in Manipur
* Out of which, Tamenglong is the most backward district
* There are four sub-divisions in Tamenglong district

So, in order to start a career from a place like this was a terrifying beginning...
More than half of the villages don't have motorable road. Only few villages have electricity. Literacy rate of Manipur is 79.85 %, while Tousem sub-division could hardly reach 45 %. Almost all the villagers are living hand to mouth. Poverty has been their worst enemy, but they fight a losing battle every year during harvest.

Many children stay back in the villages, because their parents are too poor to send them to town for education. Farmers have no more interest to cultivate in the field, ‘coz the land is not productive. Even the little produce that they get would be consumed or wasted, since there is no market.

Families and relationships are torn apart by politics. Love and hatred co-exist with not much choice to make. People have lost faith in humanity. Being good and doing right things can hardly survive. So many young people have given up faith 'coz it is better to swim along the current and live, than to go against the system and perish.

Armstrong, as a young IAS officer had to find ways to penetrate into the darkness of this area. Human endeavor alone would have been impossible. Many people from all over the world came to his rescue. And we could wade through the troubled water.

When we decided to begin the road construction without even a single penny from the government, many people thought we were crazy. Some even said,
" ....hey don't be a fool.
Many people have come and gone with promises.
but nothing gets done here....
you have studied so hard to become an IAS officer,
so why waste your time trying to do impossible things.
just enjoy yourself and be happy"
But we were determined to walk the crazy road.
Being a fool in people's eyes for doing good is better
than being wise for doing nothing at all.

Then the heaven opened the floodgates of love. So many people from all over the world came forward to help and contribute for the road construction. We received donations from people living across 25 countries all over the world. So the name of the road evolved as


The dream-road of the people which they had been waiting for more than 40 years,
we could do it in 6 months... it is like a miracle...
we still cannot believe that the road is done.
People in the villages saw vehicles for the first time in their life.
Since it was too good to be true, and too hard to believe that it was for real, many children and grown-ups surrounded the first vehicle just to touch and smell it.
When people come together for a cause, nothing is impossible...
we can move mountains...
* we have given sight to the blind
* we have treated and cured the sick
* we have brought smile to the dying souls
* we have built the roads to connect their villages
* we have built shelters for the poor
* we have brought healthcare to their doorsteps
* we have brought rice to the hungry children
* we have brought education to villages

All these things would have been impossible without the support of each and every one of you. We have accomplished so much. Therefore, victory belongs to all. Armstrong has been here for one year. Now, time has come for him to say ‘GOOD BYE’
There are still so many broken walls which we could mend together...
there are still so many tasks we could accomplish together...
there are still so many roads we could build…
But, time has come for us to depart and bid farewell to the people.
Now the only wish of Armstrong before he moves out:
The world we live in is not what we imagine to be.
It is a world of contradictions and painful realities.
Thank you for everything. All of you have done wonderful things.
Because of what we have done together, we will have a story to tell.
Our children will be proud of us. Let us carry this legacy and strive for the best.
As Armstrong moves out to other place, let us remember to pray for him.
Your love and support will be his source of strength.

This is his commitment:
"The roads are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep!
And miles to go before I sleep!

* Jeremiah Pame wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer is Asst. Professor, University of Delhi
This article was posted on August 02 2013, 2013.

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