Rediscovery of Gangmumei Kamei : Book Review

Dr S Ibocha Singh *

Author : Naorem Joykumar Singh
Publication : Akansha Publishing House, New Delhi 2018 Page 192.

1. Introduction : There is an African proverb which says "We live in deeds, not in years". It goes without saying that men are remembered not by their professions but by their deeds. It holds true in respect of Prof Gangmumei Kamei. The famous people born in the world are remembered even after years of their death for the good deeds done by them and not what they were holding the posts in their lives.

Thus Abraham Lincoln is remembered less as a President of the USA and more as an exponent of Democratic principle of 'Government by the people, for the people', Niccolo Machiavelli for his book 'the Prince' and as propounder of the notion 'End justifies the means 'Kautilaya for his 'Arthasastra,' Mahatama Gandhi for his 'Satyagraha', so on and so forth.

2. Title of the Book : The title of the book is 'Gangmumei Rediscovered'. What actually has been discovered by the author in Gangmumei Kamei and what new discovery has come up about Gangmumei which will amount to call it as 'rediscovered'. As it is termed as 'rediscovered', something might have already been discovered about Gangmumei earlier and the author might have discovered something inherent or contained in Gangmumei anew.

The author writes in the preface about the aptness to call this book as Rediscover as "I put the title of the book as Rediscovery of Gangmumei Kamei….. Indeed his greatness was not by birth but by his deeds"(page xiii – xiv)….. On the basis of this sole objective I thought that time has come to 'rediscover' Prof Gangmumei Kamei again for the people of both state and nation …."( page xiii – xiv).

It is clearly written in the Preface to the book that the present book is the outcome of what he had already written earlier about Prof. Gangmumei. As a man closely connected with the writer (Prof N. Joykumar Singh, an eminent historian himself) as a student, as an academician, as both the teachers were working as teachers of history in the same University where the Professor was working, more so as both of them were members of the same political party, it is a fact that no other person than the author will know better than the author the inns and out of Prof. Gangmumei.

3. Contents of the Book : The book is made up with six different sub titles.

These are -
1. Introduction,
2. Philosophy of History and Regional Historiography,
3. Cultural Integration and Social Federalism,
4. Electoral Politics-and Centre State Relationship,
5. In Search of Social Federalism and
6. A Path – Finder of a New Manipur.

As it has been mentioned above, the author has rediscovered Gangmumei and found that apart from being a renown historian, Prof. Gangmumei was a man of principle, a humanist, a man of above board and he introduced interpreting history in history of Manipur. What the author has rediscovered in Gangmumei Kamei is given by the author in the last part of the book which is quoted here, "From this remarkable contributions in every aspect of life of the country he may be undoubtedly regarded as a great 'Path Finder of a New Manipur' ". (Page 182).

4. Type of the book : The book is not a pure biography of Prof Gangmumei Kamei nor is a reminiscence of the author of the events and occurrences of the life of Prof Gangmumei Kamei vis-a-vis of the author.

It is thus neither of that type of book like that of Dr Johnson's 'The Lives of Poets', Lytton Strachey's 'Eminent Victorians', Boswell's 'Life of Johnson' which are purely what in literary genre are famous books of biographies as a class nor are reminiscences like Pamela's (Lord Mountbatten's daughter on her father's ) as in 'India Remember' which is about her father Lord Mountbatten and personal historical accounts and events remembered in that of Mint U Thant's 'Rivers of Lost Foot Steps' (About Burma and his family's connection with Burma and its history). However this book will come into the category of biography in the literary genre.

5. Conclusion : It is a book written by a disciple about his mentor Professor remembering memorable events which will be required in knowing such an eminent historian as Professor Gangmumei Kabui was imbued as man of multi-faceted personality of highest qualities an humanity as an academician, as an agent of peace and cultural integration, as a politician and minister and as a member of North Eastern Council in the end and who has been rediscovered as A Path Finder of New Manipur.

In this book, considering the way of presentation, use of diction which abounds in metaphors and poetic prose style of writing, we have discovered a different Joykumar much different from the earlier Joykumar whom we know as a Professor of history, a historian and writer of books of history.

* Dr S Ibocha Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The reviewer, (retd IPS& IGP, is State Information Commissioner and Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize Awardee).
This article was webcasted on November 30, 2018.

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