Remembering Late Dr. Thingnam Kishan Singh
By Former Students DBS Imphal *
It was sometime after spring
you and me were mourning
with smile, you and me were crying
how we would miss the burning flame
that ceased by the rain of bullets
We knew such heroism lasts only in literature
it will last only in hearts
the hearts of the weakest of the weak
And now today they have taken you in my heart,
the weak heart of mine.
I value you, my brother
you deserve more than this poetry
and the condolences
you deserve a come-back
the ghost of yours who will haunt and be head of
the great people of our times.
Having known Kishan very closely, it is indeed shocking and unbelievable to know that he is no longer with us today. He was a person – joyful, gregarious and full of life. Although relatively short in height, his grit and determination overcame his size. Our childhood days in Don Bosco were the innocent ones where we plunged into Rock n Roll, memorized the lines of Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jethro Tull and many more.
Grand Funk Railroad's 'Closer to home' was one of his favorite song. But there was never a day; we deviated from the rigors of school life. We grew up in a cosmopolitan environment where we studied together with various ethnic groups of the northeast India. Shunchonngam Jatak Chiru, who is an IAS Officer today, was one of our best friends. Don Bosco instilled in us the 'will' to excel. This Kishan proved with his achievements in life.
His student days in Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi, where he completed both graduation and post-graduation in English literature are filled with stories that most student goes through staying out of home and studying. We tried to unravel the mysteries of Das Capital, dissect the enigma that surrounds Che Guevera, Mao Tse Tung and hum the edgy lines of Bob Dylan. Those were the heady days of the adventurous youth.
He was the English teacher for a short while at Harvard School, Imphal teaching the secondary school students. Many of his students fondly remember him for the manner in which he taught "The drought" by Saratchandra Chaterjee.
May be Manipur has not or rather the younger generation has not experienced a similar draught, he taught them how colonialism could wreck the fabric of the society, create chaos and impose suffering. In relevant context, he also taught them the meaning of "No woman, no cry" a popular reggae song by Bob Marley, which many considers to be a romantic love song. The song encapsulates the suffering of Jamaica under French colonialism.
Delhi taught us many good things but also the harsh reality of racial culture. However, Kishan could rise above the minority complex syndrome, struggled and excelled. He did his M.Phil from University of Delhi and also had the rare distinction of teaching in Shyam Lal college, University of Delhi. He received his doctoral degree from Manipur University.
His academic excellence rightfully placed him as a faculty in the premier DM College, Imphal. By the time he joined the MCS officer, he also had the call letter for Asst. professorship in Manipur University.
Meanwhile, he was the Editor of Alternative Perspectives (formerly Alternative Frames), an academic quarterly journal. He had also published two books, Rethinking Colonialism (2006) and Look East Policy & India's Northeast (edited, published in 2008). He was a regular contributor to Eastern Quarterly and other similar academic journals. He was also a vocal speaker in numerous gatherings, seminars and workshop. His incisive mind could analyze the problem of our society and provoked the intellectuals of our time.
After he became the SDO of Kasom Khullen, he used to share with us the plight of the villagers, the undeveloped state of the sub-division including roads and other infrastructure. Villagers remember as a down to earth officer, who would innocently chide them for not sending their children to schools or for not availing medical facilities when their children fall sick.
He was a common man's officer. He also showed us pictures of his office and the road leading to it (both of which were in very bad shapes) and lightheartedly making fun of them. He was a determined Officer who believed that changes are possible. But he could not live longer to fulfill his goal of bringing about a drastic change in the other-wise corruption ridden bureaucratic system of our state. He was brutally murdered even before he could start his journey.
Today, this glorious son of Manipur lies battered and butchered in a corner of the RIMS morgue, his body still unclaimed, his last rites still un-performed. Words cannot even begin to express our sorrow to know the loss of one of our Bosconians. Pained and angered as we all are, as all sane humans should, we should at the moment not lose sight of the task at hand, but at the same time we should also not lose sanity ourselves. Although many things are still not clear, bits and pieces have started coming and it is hopefully expected to get to the bottom of things sooner rather than later.
We believe the culprits would be brought to justice and punished.
Kishan came with a purpose to earth, which he strived to fulfill till his last moments. Let us pray that his soul rest in peace in heaven. Let us also pray that his brave wife and two young daughters get the inspiration and the courage from the departed soul to get through this difficult time.
In Kishen's memory, we must continue to stand in solidarity, to struggle against such inhumane acts of violence and finally, wish for communal harmony.
* Former Students of Don Bosco School, Imphal consisting of [ Akhu, Basanta Rajkumar, Balan B, Padameshwar Nongthombam, Nelson E, Lokanta, Robert Ningombam, Deepak Khundrakpam, Robert Ningombam, Dwipen Khwairakpam, Ringo Pebam] wrote this for The Sangai Express. This article was webcasted on February 19, 2009.
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