TODAY -

An interview with Armstrong Pame - IAS 2009
- Taken on June 14 2009 -

By Azonnah Zaspar *

Manipur's pride and Tamenglong's toast, Armstrong Pame bares his heart Success of Pou Armstrong Pame in the recently declared UPSC examination 2009 has been the talk of the town in Tamenglong.

The fifth child of Haitung and Ningwangle of Impa village, Tousem Sub-Division, Tamenglong district, the young IAS officer talked to our Tamenglong correspondent Azonnah Zaspar. Armstrong Pame is the fifth IAS officer from the Zeliangrong community.

Here is the interview:

Azonnah Zaspar(AZ) : What made you take the chance and try for the IAS after getting the IRS which is quite promising ?
Armstrong Pame(AP) : Yes, that is the big question. Thousands of Zeliangrong People were praying for my success in the IAS and I could not make it last year. That had saddened me a lot. So, I had to take the risk keeping my people in mind. (I had also made up my mind not to keep trying for the IAS if I happened to fail this time, too. I had even distributed my books to new IAS aspirants). I lived with and grew up with all the hurdles of life and I know the problems being faced by the mass in this side of the Nation and I have to realize their dreams.

AZ : Did you have that confidence of cracking the IAS examination ?
AP : Yes. Since childhood I have had the dream and the determination that the odds of life could not alter. It was while I was in Class VIII that I made up my mind to study in St Stephen's in New Delhi and achieve something exemplary. Now I realize I have made it. I wrote them I down in my diary and that old diary is still lying. I also believe in God.

Gaikhangam presenting gift to Amrstrong Panmei
Picture Courtesy: Hueiyen Lanapao


AZ : What has been your source of inspiration ?
AP : The prayers of the millions and the hope that they reposed on me has been a source of encouragement. My family also extended their unstinted support. My two elder sisters Pourei and Ramning gave all that they could to see me what I am today. My elder brother Jeremiah, who is also an English lecturer in Delhi as well as my nephew Simon were and are very supportive.

AZ : How did your family help you in achieving your goal ?
AP : Firstly, my mothers used to pray to God to keep her children safely and to bring them up in a way worthy enough to be remembered. When you hear your mother weeping and praying early in the morning while you are still in the bed, you can not simply go astray.

Secondly, my father despite his limited income never discouraged us. He never said sorry or I don't have money but assured us that he would try his best to meet the needs whenever we asked for.

AZ : Everyone have their own share of problems but what exactly are the hardships you faced through the way ?
AP : It will be very hard to believe, but when I as in school I never wore new pair of shoes, no new uniforms. I used to wear somebody's second hand. At a point of time my family could not clear our tuition fees of Rs. 80 per month and only three of us were to give the examination.

My elder brother and elder sister gave me the chance to sit the exam. It was very heartening. An again, after completing my HSLC exam under BOSEM my elder brother Jeremiah Pame and I went to Shillong to pursue further studies despite our family's financial constraint. There we experienced hard experiences. Once, our hostel was closed for the winter vacation and all the students left for home but we had no enough money to go home. So, my brother and I had a discussion and my brother went home while I stayed back.

According to the plan, he was went to Guwahati and from there caught a train to Mohur (Assam) and from there he went on foot till our village Impa. And, myself since I could not pay mess fee in the hostel I took only one meal a day that too only half meal for three consecutive days.

During that time, one day, I wanted to save the food- dal, squash and rice cooked together and kept it. At night after my study I took out the food to eat only to find it had gone stale ! My brother came back from home with the money and we reached home happily. Such was our condition. I don't want to say more.

AZ : Given the situation and your financial background how come you studied in one of the best colleges in the country at St Stephen's, Delhi ?
AP : Everyone wondered how I made it to St Stephen's where only Ministers, VIPs' and wealthy families could afford to keep their children. After my High School and Higher Secondary School Leaving Examinations people started coming to me with all praise and were willing to extend help.

Some gave us money as loans and still other made their contribution saying I should come back with success and laurels for my society. That is why, as I have said I opted for IAS. I also won scholarships. I won Rs 6000 something from Meghalaya Govt under Science Meritorious Awards for securing 4th rank in the Class XII examination.

After landing in the capital I was awarded the Lot's Carey Mission, United States which extended Rs 2000 per month. Not only the scholarships most of my expenditures were met with the cash prizes, I won from various debate competitions organized by Delhi University.

AZ : That is great on your part. There are still many IAS aspirants in our society what would be your advice to them?
AP : Life without dream or challenges is meaningless. Those successful men are not super intelligent, they only work harder. Have a vision, write them down, know what your heart wants, be willing to take risks, there is nothing too great to achieve. One must not forget the love of God.




* Azonnah Zaspar tok this interview and was featured in The Sangai Express on June 14 2009 edition . This article was webcasted on July 06, 2009.

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