TODAY -

Adieu to a maverick IPS officer

Free Thinker *



On 8 December I got a message at around 1pm from Dr. Palin of Shija Hospital that " Moirangthem Shantikumar (IPS) Retd IG is no more ". It was a stunning moment for me and I could neither respond nor react. He passed away as a result of a blitzkrieg Covid attack. None could save him from the merciless killing spree of the virulent virus.

It is a humongous lost for the group of people who believe in things like minimizing corruption in the society, living together peacefully with all ethnic groups, reviving the age old homogeneous social order, saving Manipur pony and promoting Polo, criticizing malpractices and teasing the wrong-doers. His favourite hobby was to flay the ill-gotten wealth & status , in common parlance money & power.

Shantikumar was a very well read and knowledgeable person. As he was too outspoken many times even his friends wanted to escape him. He didn't even leave his closest pals to expose their ignorance or lack of knowledge or even common sense. Sometimes he provoked them to such an extent that they had to leave the conversation and flee .

However his integrity is respected by one and all even by his adversaries. Once he narrated that in a meeting of SPs/Commandants presided by the then DG, he raised the issue of fodder money for the non-existent horses. That time Bihar fodder scam was also in the news.

Everyone kept quiet ; the then DG with a smile responded that Shantikumar is not the only officer who is maintaining horses honestly. Everyone laughed but the impact was very useful for the ponies and horses of the State. Salam Bharatbhusan former Chief Editor of Hueiyen Lanpao told me that he was once entangled in a drunken brawl between Samananda ( late ADG ) and Shantikumar (late IG).

He was virtually standing between the two - one holding a revolver and another pointing a rifle. He told both of them to kill him first before shooting one another. Ultimately they withdrew. Bharatbhusan remembers that scary night and that night itself he decided that he would never drink with these two crazy officers.

After that he could not remember how many times he had wined and dined with them; indeed they were great chums. When I informed him about the sad demise of Shantikumar, he yelled back in shock & frustration.

Yambem Laba , a very respected senior journalist of the State rightly remembers the enthusiastic activities of Moirangthem Shantikumar for promoting polo and protecting ponies ; "Ta-Shanti devoted his suspension days in building up the Horse Riding & Polo Club almost from scratch and had laid the foundation over which it now stands as the Horse Riding and Polo Association".

In fact Shantikumar was in touch with almost all the major polo clubs and pony associations of the State. They tried to form an apex Polo body of the State . Ta-Tombiraj (PTI) recalled that in a meeting cum feast for setting up the apex Polo body instead of building consensus the differences became so explosive that the meeting had to be abandoned abruptly.

In his College days Shantikumar was actively involved in student politics. He was the General Secretary of DM College and he was also the General Secretary of AMSU. At the same time he was an excellent debater .

Once he had to receive a debating prize from his father Shri (late) Moirangthem Gajendra Singh the then Director Industries.That was a very embarrassing moment for both father and son though the father was not a part of the jury of the competition. Shantikumar was the only police officer in the State who remained under suspension for 15/16 years. His suspensions were never on ignominious grounds.

The issues were mostly linked with insubordination or indiscipline certainly not for corruption . He never seriously tried to come back from suspension. Probably he thoroughly enjoyed his suspension days with ponies, polo, Roop Raga, and of course a lot of tours and travels .

Shantikumar was also a dog lover . He encouraged and patronised local breeds like Tangkhul dog ( a bold local breed). When he got married his sapiently trained Tangkhul dog used to bark enviously upon the bride.

He himself was engaged in many activities; he was a shooter, horse-rider, tennis player, TT player, he was also in dramatics ( Fancy Club) and music lover ( associated with Roop Raga); he was a staunch promoter of Polo and Pony. Above all he was a writer and an opinion maker too.

When he was eating paan, he had the habit of asking people to buy paan for him. "Dharen buy me a paan, Ratan buy me a paan, Shyam I don't remember when you bought paan for me last time". He used to carry an empty wallet to show to the world that his demand is genuine and justified. Perhaps he stopped chewing paan because of his deteriorating teeth but he wanted to give credit for it to his daughter Koko, now Dr. Leisana.

Irengbam Arun, the incumbent Media advisor to our Hon. CM once told me that "Ta-Shanti is the only person who has the liberty to take away my father's (Shri late Irengbam Bijoy Singh, the then Law Secretary, an erudite) books and novels ; my father did encourage him to do so , because he could feel the urge of another book lover ".

But Ta-Shanti always forgot to return the books , Arun fondly added in a lighter vein. The day he passed away I could not sleep, I woke up and started roaming and murmuring - he was 99% honest and his integrity was beyond doubt. Immediately I heard a whisper from behind - why only 99% ? I made it louder "even Lord Krishna could not get cent percent".

When the whisper turned hissing ,I increased the marking to 99.99%. This is again favouritism if not nepotism. If he were alive he would have admonished the whisperer. RK Ranjan, present Lok Sabha MP remembers their student days in Gauhati University.

He recalls that "Shantikumar was a night hawk and he used to disturb others in the middle of every night ; he was not only a good student but also a very good debater ; in a debating competition in Gauhati University Shantikumar deliberately spoke in Manipuri perhaps to showcase his mother-tongue , our language to the University Community there.

Unfortunately this interesting and versatile personality is no more with us . Though a misfit in police Shantikumar was an inspiring character for many who have spine .


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on December 18 2020.



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