Interview with Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar (Meetei Nongsha) -
- Mr. World (Natural) Body Building Champion -

Nganthoi Lourembam *

Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar at Imphal in July 2014
Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar at Imphal in July 2014 :: Pix - Shanker Khangembam

Natural Body Building Champion, Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar also known as 'Meetei Nongsha' says 'no' to steroid and he believes that being natural makes him look younger and more active than others who use steroids and other chemicals. In an interview with E-pao on his ten days visit to Manipur, his homeland for publishing his first autobiographical book entitled 'My journey,' Shantikumar spoke about his journey as a player and revealed his forthcoming ambition. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

E-pao: Could you please share your childhood experience?
Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar: I was born to a poor landless peasants' family in Uripok, Baspati Leikai. My families moved from place to place in search of livelihood. So I grew up in Kanglatongbi where I spent my childhood being a Sanjenaha (Cowherd) in a barn sharing with cows, dogs and chickens. While in Kanglatongbi every morning after school with half emptied stomach I used to lead cattle to the open fields and while returning home I used to bring back a bunch of dry wood on my head.

I supported my family in every way as possible as I was a good boy. That's how I spent my childhood at Kanglatongbi till I was 12 years old. Then I was brought to Sagolband Moirang Hanuba Leirak by my elder brothers considering my future education.

E-pao: How did you become a body building champion while being a doctorate in Lingusitic?
Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar:Though I was born to a poor family I never gave up trying and I believed in hard work and determination. I studied my graduation in Dhanamanjuri College of Arts. In the last year of my college in 1989 I joined body building sports. After being trained for six months I took part in Mr. Sub Junior Manipur body building show and got placed in 1st position in flyweight group and 2nd in overall (among all the winners).. That was my first competition in Manipur.

I continued my education in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi that's where I completed my Master, M-phil and Phd in Linguistics. When I was in Delhi I continued taking part in body building competitions and bagged the title of Mr. Delhi four times, Mr. Northern India three times and overall title one time. Then I got married to Chen Nan Tai, a Taiwan citizen on 20th dec 1996. I stayed six months in Taiwan and the other six months in Delhi and finally I completed my Phd degree in 1998.

The Mr. World Title that Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar won
The Mr. World Title that Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar won :: Pix - Shanker Khangembam

E-pao: How did you bag the title 'Mr. World?'
Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar: In 1997 while I was in Taiwan I took part in Mr. Taiwan National Championship through a coach called Mr. Yang and I got placed in 1st position for three consecutive years. In 1999 I took part in Mr. Senior Asia Championship representing Taiwan and marked the history of being the first Manipuri to win Mr. Senior Asia. That's when Poknapham News honoured me with the title 'Meetei Nongsha.'

I bagged Mr. East Asia, Mr. Hong Kong Invitation, Mr. Taiwan National Games and Mr. Taiwan tittles. In June 2013 I took part in Mr. World 2013 Body Building competition at Zakynthos in Greece which was organised by International Natural Body Building Association (INBA) and bagged the title 'Mr. World.'

E-pao: Have you never used steroid or any other chemicals?
Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar: In my 26 years long career of Body Building I have never used steroids. I am at my 50s still young and I don't have any artificial tooth (laughs...). According to my thinking most of the young players of Manipur depend on steroids and growth hormones chemicals. But what's the point of winning the game by harming your health.

I like being natural and hence I joined INBA. I also received the title 'Mr. World gold medal award of excellence' in June 2014 which happened in Slovakia. I was the only person among 300 athletes to receive the title judged through all directions; proportionate body, muscle size, educational qualification, character, personality, attitude and my dedication towards natural Body Building.

E-pao: What's your future plan?
Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar: Once I achieve one dream then I dream bigger. To get success in life one must have dreams, dream bigger and learn to look beyond the present failures. And my bigger dream is to compete in INBA Natural Olympia in November of this year, San Diego, California, USA.

E-pao: What is your comment on crime against women and any feedback for the young players of the state?
Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar: In my opinion how we treat women shows how developed the society is. I have seen this in many developed countries they treat women equally but in any uncivilised countries women are treated as low species. I believe in hard work more than using steroids and drugs.

I believe in health, happiness and long lasting lives. You cannot get these things if you use steroids and drugs. Don't sacrifice your lives for few medals or titles. In my opinion both boys and girls are equal so go ahead and do what you are good at.

E-pao: What do you think of the two hot topics ILP and AFSPA?
Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar: I think Inner Line Permit System should be implemented. I fear we, minority people will be swallowed by the mainland Indian if they have free access to come in here. Once the rail link becomes operational many mainland Indians will hop in if we don't have ILP system. I fear that all the North East minorities will be drowned in the ocean of these mainland people. So implementation of ILP is a must. I support Irom Chanu Sharmila and her cause with my heart.

In my opinion AFSPA is used in the name of National Security whereas many innocent lives have been tamed by this very Act. Because of AFSPA we have lost the value of lives in Manipur. I think AFSPA has not been removed from the state because Manipur is just a tiny state which doesn't have power to influence the Indian Government.

E-pao: How do you see Manipur in ten years?
Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar: Looking at the present situation of the state there is no hope for a bright future but I believe Manipur will change, because the communication system in the state is so good now. We have Ivalley Talk, Dynamic Change and many other global internet systems linking to everyone across the world.

Manipuris living outside the country are also giving support and ideas in facing the issues of Manipur. Nothing can remain unchanged and thus eventually Manipur will change, it's just a matter of when.

Photo gallery: Releasing of Dr Ng Shantikumar Meetei's Autobiography 'My Journey'

Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar at Imphal in July 2014
Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar at Imphal in July 2014 :: Pix - Shanker Khangembam

* Nganthoi Lourembam conducted this interview in the third week of July 2014
The interviewer can be contacted at lchanu28(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on July 27, 2014

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