TODAY -
Dr Thingnam Kishan : A life lived with truth and courage
Source: The Sangai Express / Ranjan Yumnam

Imphal, February 19 2009: There was something about Dr Thingnam Kishan, a quality indescribable that fails every effort of articulation.

The late MCS officer was a man of conviction, and if he embraced a point of principle, he would stand by it, forcefully, loyally without any question of turning back.

He was fierce in the defence of his beliefs and had a clear worldview.

While we struggle to wade through black and white on most issues that dogged us, he saw only one definite colour and stuck to it with his own set of solid justification.

The sheer self-confidence was enough for us to be drawn into his way of looking at the world like a magnet pulling everything onto it.

Only one word can sum him: Extraordinary.

He was a humble man despite his vast and remarkable academic accomplishments.

He was a repository of history of Manipur in the manner of a person who is a librarian zealously guarding rare masterpieces and as a teacher who was itching to open up its treasures.

With this spirit, he wanted to solve the problems facing Manipur with the past as the guide and his firm convictions to steer the direction of the future to the extent possible in his modest capacity.

His unassuming nature was a model of conduct for the fellow officers.

Once he chided an erring colleague: "We are not here to throw our weight around.

We are first and foremost the servants of the people.

We should quit the job if we are here for another objective".

I instantly felt smaller.

I saw with amazement, as did most of my colleagues, flashes of his brightness turning into aura at the National Institute of Financial Management, Faridabad, where we attended a foundation training course before we were inducted into the State civil service.

Day after day, he stunned the financial wizards at the institute with his original ideas and arguments that challenged the conventional wisdom of economics, particularly the American style unregulated free-for-all capitalism that idolizes individual accumulation of wealth and mocked at the poor masses for their supposed incompetence.

He was right.

America is in recession for the same inherent flaws of market economy, which Dr Kishan had lambasted and challenged the Professors at the NIFM.

His ideal of organisation of society's resources was equitable distribution.

At this, the naive among us called him halfjokingly and half-endearingly 'Dr Equitable Distribution'.

It is unfortunate that the valiant and the most upright MCS officer among us suffered the most heinous atrocities of a bunch of barbaric hoodlums.

Alone ! Before we were posted to different places, he told me he preferred to be in hills because that's where he could get a relatively larger involvement in the development process.

He wanted to focus on health and education and most heartbreaking to know, in hindsight, was that he wanted to help bridge the growing chasm between the plains and hills.

He was a man clearly on mission unlike many of us who joined the service for bread and butter, status and other superficial reasons.

His integrity was beyond question.

He was immune to the temptations that joining a coveted service thrust upon us.

One of the factors which infuriated the cowards who murdered him, I am sure, was his no-nonsense attitude which wouldn't submit to any falsehood.

Dr Kishan respected only one thing : The true path for which he could confront anyone, the mighty and the powerful, irrespective of personal consequences—and evidently paying his own life.

I strongly believe that even till the last breath he might have stuck to his stand and not surrendered an inch to the perpetrators of the crime.

It is sad that we could not help him in any way when he was sharing with us the difficulties he faced during his last few days pertaining to his work in Kasom Khullen.

It was obvious that he was in great mental turmoil due to threats and acts of harassment from goons for easy money and other absurd demands; yet he was devoted to his work and continued to venture in the field, visiting almost all the nooks and corners of his Sub-Division.

Tired by constant interference from certain undesirable elements and lack of support, he was even suggesting swapping postings among us.

Never did we realize that the problem was that grave and would come to this horrendous pass.

Truly a gentleman, he was a caring husband and a doting father of two daughters.

His only other passion in life, other than work, writing and pondering about Manipur's issues, was to spend time with his daughter Nikita and lately his six-month old baby.

My heart breaks when I saw Nikita playing and laughing oblivious to the fact that she would never be able to see her father again.

But I am somewhat spirited by the fact that Tamo Kishan's wife is a remarkable woman on her own and on the face of such a tragic incident of the highest degree, she remains in control.

Though nothing will ever compensate for the loss of her husband, she is a resilient woman and we hope she will pick up the loose threads and weave a new life in the image of her husband.

I am hopeful because she is a highly educated woman (holding a first class masters degree in Political Science) and that would stand her in good stead when raising the children without their father.

(In fact, she is well qualified to be an MCS officer given her stellar educational background).

I have never met a person in my life who was more energetic and driven than Dr.Kishan was.

In his untimely demise, Manipur has lost a great son and an intellectual giant.

For me, it's a huge void that is irreparable.

He was my guide, brother and friend.

At times, I envied him for all the qualities he possessed in abundance that I lacked.

His sudden demise is extremely shocking and has shown how fragile and vulnerable human lives are, especially in Manipur.

It tells us the stark truth: Life is short.

While alive, put your best foot forward and give the maximum back to the society.

The most valuable tribute to Dr.Kishan would be to follow his dreams of a united and developed Manipur.

Let's bring that agenda forward and fulfil his dream.

May his soul rest in peace.


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