By Miss Reiveine
It was a pleasant Sunday morning and an unusual buzz going around in the Church did take my attention towards this unassuming and friendly person in uniform attending the Church service, quietly listening to the Pastor. He had an imposing personality but was carrying it very humbly. The thing that crossed my mind several times was absence of any gun totting guards around him, for he certainly seemed a senior officer. Soon we heard the Pastor introducing him as the Commander of the Senapati Brigade, who had joined the Sunday Mass to give us all a message. He spoke in a very friendly manner and his genuine concern for the local population did draw an impressive applause.
I took it as a one odd interaction, but soon we realised that the Brigadier was persistent with his efforts at reaching out to us. He travelled frequently to the interior villages like mine and for the first time we could walk up to his office and meet him anytime. Very soon the entire Senapati & Tamenglong Districts saw the Army & Assam Rifles persons moving in the remote areas to create awareness about the job opportunities available. The army people were coming forward to help and guide the children. I was surprised to see Army persons reaching out to remote interiors like Dikuiram & Lyai (remote villages of Tamenglong and Senapati distts)
Soon, we came to know that a coaching center to guide the children for various competitive examinations is being started with the help of the army. It was named as “Tamjham Career Point”. We all were excited to join this institute as Senapati and Tamenglong had no such facility. I was one of those fortunate students who belonged to the first batch of this Career Point. I fondly remember the day when I hesitantly entered the Tamjham Career Point being at the Senapati Brigade. We were welcomed by the Senapati Brigade Commander, who introduced us to the teachers and army officers who would guide us on the various subjects. We were given books and study material free of cost. Mr Anthony and Ms Kaini, who were co-ordinators, gave us the program for the classes. Timings were strictly followed and teachers and the army officers put in extra efforts to guide us towards our destiny. This was the start of our journey.
All of us started dreaming to become doctors, engineers, civil services officers, army officers and nursing officers. Commander Senapati Brigade, every day would come and give us motivational talk. And since that day I have never looked back. I still remember the moment our batch of 70 students was flagged off from Senapati by the Brigadier for taking the written exams for Military Nursing Services at Guwahati. We were given free transport and our stay was arranged at Guwahati under Army arrangements. Then, 12 of us who cleared the exams were provided with cost free transportation by the army to Lucknow where we appeared for our interview and medical exams. I had for long wanted to join the Military Nursing Services, but my ambitions and aspirations received wings only because of the solid support and motivation from Senapati Brigade. I realized that behind those uniforms there are soft hearted humans just like us, who want to reach out to us, learn from us as well as give back valuable lessons. The only thing required is to open our hearts to them. All of this, made me realise that all Indians love us, want us to amalgamate with the multi hued cultural canvas called India. I now know that my services are of paramount importance for soldiers of my country, our brothers in uniform. Today, I stand a proud cadet of Military Nursing Service, in service of my great nation, looking forward to earn my stars and sure of a respectable position as an officer and citizen of India.
Today, as I look back at the persistent efforts of the Army in getting me and my friends` admission in Military Nursing Colleges, I feel nothing but a sense of deep gratitude. I am sure the feeling of gratitude will be in other thousands of children who have joined Civil Services, Armed Forces, and CAPF.
The concerted efforts of the Army persons have resulted in a unique trust and faith that has developed between the civilians and army. I still remember the day when as a young girl from Senapati, my mother allowed me to travel with my friends all the way to Guwahati for written exams and further to Lucknow for the Interview guided and accompanied by an Army man from Tamenglong to appear for my interview. That decision gave me this opportunity to join the most prestigious Armed Forces Medical College at Pune. I can now say that those twelve days in Lucknow have changed the course of my and my friends` lives.
The frequent Employment awareness Symposiums and Seminars organized by army have facilitated our understanding of immense opportunities available beyond the State for employment. The children from interior villages are now confident and better aware to exploit these opportunities, thanks to the persistent and genuine efforts of all the army persons of Senapati & Tamenglong. I and my friends owe gratitude to the units of Tamenglong and Senapati and have been privileged to have come in touch with these people.
There efforts has transformed the outlook of the society towards them and has brought peace and joy in Senapati and Tamenglong. People forgot bandh and blockade and started channelizing their energy towards better future. We could see vehicles moving at night which could never happen earlier. We were not scared to meet and interact with the army and Assam Rifles persons, Who were helping us?
Today, on this occasion of Republic Day, when I saw the name of Brigadier SK Sharma (We used to call him Senapati Tiger), being awarded Yudh Seva Medal. I felt a sense of responsibility to pen down my wonderful experience with the Army for the benefit of many of those who still feel hesitant in approaching the Army. I feel proud and thank god for bringing him to Senapati Brigade. I am sure; the people of Tamenglong & Senapati join me in congratulating him on this achievement. Thank you Sir for being there and changing the way we looked at the Army.
(Writer is Miss Reiveine from Tungjoy, Senapati Manipur. She is presently undergoing Military Nursing Training in College of Nursing, AFMC Pune)