TODAY -

Dr Sanajaoba (Pumpkin Doctor / Dr KS Singh)
Reminiscence of his association as a colleague and guide

Dr N Irabanta Singh *



Dr. K. Sanajaoba was born on 13th October, 1940 in Haobam Marak, Kangjam Leikai, Imphal West District as the 4th sibling ( 1 - elder Sister, 2 elder Brothers and 1 Younger brother) of late Kangjam Mukta and Kangjam (O) Manjuri Devi.

He had his Collegiate Education at DM College (Now DM College of Science), Imphal. He passed B.Sc. from this College in 1959 having Botany as one of his optional subjects under Gauhati University, Guwahati - 14 and also passed M.Sc. ( Botany ) in 1963 from the same University.

Prior to joining Agricultural Botany Department, Gauhati University as Junior Research Fellow, he served Singjamei Boys High School, Imphal; Kakching Girls High School, Kakching as Assistant Teacher and Tamphasana Higher Secondary School, Imphal as Lecture (Bio-botany).

Dr. Sanajaoba received his PhD. Degree in Agricultural Botany (Plant Physiology) from Gauhati University in 1969 under the Supervision of Prof. N. Das, PhD (London),Prof. & Head, Department of Agricultural Botany, Gauhati University. The title of his PhD thesis was “Induction of seedless fruits in cucurbits by the application of Phytohormons (Auxins)”.

He was the first Manipuri Scholar who received PhD. Degree in Agri.Bot.(Plant physiology) from GU. He published quite a good number of research papers in reputed journals along with his supervisor out of his PhD. research works.

Dr. K. Sanajaoba Singh joined St. Edmund’s College Shillong (Meghalaya) on 11th August, 1969 as Lecture in Botany. After a couple of years, he took over as Head of the Department. It was late Prof. L. Janmejay Singh who helped the present writer to get Lecturer in Botany Post in the St. Edmund’s College, Shillong through his friend, late Dr. K. Sanajaoba Singh, popularly known as Pumpkin Doctor/Dr. K.S. Singh. On 4th September, 1972, the writer joined St. Edmond’s College, Shillong as Lecturer in Botany.

He was helped by Dr. K.S. Singh to find out an accommodation outside the College campus. The writer stayed 2 months in 2 rented houses outside the College Campus. After that Dr. K.S. Singh helped the writer to get an accommodation in the Bachelors’ Quarter located near students’ hostel in the College campus.

Dr. K.S. Singh was already staying in one of rooms in this Bachelors Quarter. The writer’s monthly salary was Rs 420/- (Basic Pay Rs 350/- plus D.A- Rs. 50/- and College allowance Rs 20/-). The college authority deduct a sum of Rs. 15/- per month as room rent from his salary.

After accommodating in the said Quarter, the writer was allowed to join a common mess having 4 members (Assamese muslim – 1, Goanis – 1, Manipuri – 2). The writer was entrusted by Dr. K.S. Singh and other two members to do kitchen marketing duty for our common mess.

On every Sunday, we use to have mutton curry dish prepared by our Nepali cook. Dr. K.S. Singh used to plug healthy mint/pudina shoot grown wild near our Kitchen and asked our cook to prepare mint pepper sauce as an item to be taken along with mutton curry. We really enjoyed those s undays menu.

As a teacher, Dr. K.S. Singh was very popular among the students of St. Edmund’s (both College and School). He also used to take Biology (Botany) Classes for Class IX and X for the St. Edmond’s School. The writer also learn a lot from him about how to deal with Bengali Students in the College who always have ego that they come from West Bengal.

Further, both College Hostels Wardens were also Bengali from Kolkata. So, they (Bengali Students) always take upperhand among the student community. In order to control these students (P.U Science Class numbering about 200 plus BSc. Botany Class numbering about 50 ), the writer was compelled to learn speaking Bengali for controlling these students.

Dr. K.S. Singh left St. Edmund’s College on 31st July, 1977 for joining Applied Biology/Life Sciences Department, JNU PG Centre/M.U. The writer felt like a fish out of water after Dr. K.S. Singh left the College. Some how, the writer adjusted himeself in order to complete his PhD thesis entitled “Studies on Airspora of Shillong and its Suburbs” which was submitted to Gauhati University, Guwahati -14 during April, 1981.

The writer also left St. Edmund’s College, Shillong on 31st July 1981 and joined the Manipur Agricultural College, Iroisemba on 1st August, 1981 as Asst. Prof. (Microbiology). He, then shifted to Manipur University on 21st July, 1984 as Assoc. Prof./Life Sciences.

Unfortunately, Dr. K.S. Singh could not get a regular post in the Manipur University. As such he left Life Sciences Department on 31st January, 1982 after serving the Department for about 5 years on contract basis and joined CSIR – RRL- Sub-station. Lamphelpat on 1st February, 1982 as Scientist- In-Charge.

Dr. Sanajaoba used to narrate to the writer that in order to save the boundary of thisprecious campus from the hands of corrupted politicians of Manipur he had to struggle a lot. Even hired Goons tried to attack him while he was staying in Lamphelpat Quarter, where his wife was working as kitchen steward at RMC (now RIMS).

The fruits reaped by the present generation of employees of CSIR – NEIST, Imphal Centre is because of Dr. K. Sanajaoba Singh who sheds his blood and sweat to save this campus. He even approaches for help from the then CM/Manipur, Late Shri Rishang Keising to write to the Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, New Delhi for saving this campus.

Dr. K. Sanajaoba Singh retired from the service of CSIR – RRL, Jorhat on 31st October, 2000 and the family shifted to his own house at Kwakeithel Ningthemkol and stayed happily his retired Life. He expired on 28th October, 2019 after long protected health. He left behind his wife, 3 sons and a daughter with a host of grand children.

The passing away of Dr. K. Sanajaoba Singh is a great loss to Manipur in general and Agricultural Botany students of Manipur in particular for his outstanding contribution in the field of plant physiology. May his soul rest in peace in his heavily abode.


* Dr N Irabanta Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is former Professor (Higher Academic Grade)/Life Sciences, MU and former Dean, School of Life Sciences, MU and can be contacted through irabanta(DOT)singh(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on November 20, 2019.


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