IMHAL, Febr 28: “What separates a great leader from the common is the ability to have foresight for bringing about development of the society, a leader must have the vision. Today what we need is such men.But ,today we don’t find them in the highest places here, or in India”, Governor Gurbachan Jagat stated in his speech at the Birth Centenary observance of late Major Ralengnao ‘Bob’Khating ,which was held at Valley View,Mantripukhri today.
The centenary observance was attended by IGAR (South) Maj. Gen. UK Gurung, GOC of 57 Mountain Division, Maj. Gen. Binoy Poonnen, MP of Rajya Sabha Rishang Keishing, chief secretary DS Poonia, principal secretary of Nagaland HK Khullu along with friends and family members of late Major Bob Khathing.
The Governor in his speech stated that Major Khathing was an unique personality who was equally at home within the army,in the civil services and later in the political arena and yet still retained his integrity and professionalism and belief in God.
He mentioned that handling troublesome circumstances and simply ‘fighting fire’ is not having the quality of a true statesman but rather must focus on bringing about an institution which is based on human values. “What we lack is commitment and integrity.Today the system has degraded and earning money has taken more importance”,he added that the old value systems have eroded and people have become more materialistically inclined.He stated that Manipur is indeed fortunate to have such a person like Major Khathing born in its soil and exhorted the need for citizens to follow in his footsteps.
The gathering also saw senior citizens who were closely associated with Major Khathing and many narrated of their experiences with him. MP Rishang Keishing in his address spoke of their close affiliation and that Major Khathing was eight years older than him. “What I am today is because of him, I am indeed fortunate to have met him”. He recounted of the time when they were studying at college in 1937 at Cotton College,Guwahati. Mentioning war time incidents , the veteran politician recounted the ordeals they went through together. “He was a brave person, a true leader, administrator and a visionary, he will forever live on in our hearts”, he added.
IGAR (South) ,Major General UK Gurung also paid homage to the memory of Major Khathing ,quoting the latter as “A legend of the East”.He stated that Khathing was a committed soldier, a man of conviction and determination for whom nothing was impossible in the true ethos of the Army. “ We salute this great son of the soil and today I stand here with pride and gratefulness that such a legend was associated with the Assam Rifles”, he said. Further, UK Gurung in a gesture to commemorate Major Khathing’s anniversary announced that a memorial football tournament will be held annually in Ukhrul beginning from this year onwards.
The occasion also saw messages from Chief Ministers of the north east states and high ranking officials being read out in regard to the centenary observance.A traditional dance troupe from Nagaland also performed at the observation.