A legend passes away

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Throughout history, Manipur had its share of giants among men and Professor Gangumei Kamei is one them. The renowned historian has left us for his heavenly abode, but his legacy will remain forever among us through his ideas and books. His tenure at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) centre and Manipur University was a wonderful experience for many students and teachers of those days. He was indeed an inspiration for not only among students of history but also in other areas of social sciences. He has written scores of books on regional history and historiography. He etched the name of Haipou Jadonang the freedom fighter and Rani Gaidinliu who fought the British regime through his book. His last publication was a set of three books written by Professor Gangmumei Kamei “A History of Modern Manipur (1826-2000 A.D): A Study of Feudalism, colonialism and Democracy” which was released today by former Chief Minister Rishang Keishing at the auditorium of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, Porompat, Imphal. The retired professor of History, Manipur University was also a former National Fellow of Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla and his last books were a result of his stint at Shimla. His remarkable contributions in shaping the history and historiography would forever be remembered. And with his departure, it will take a long time in trying to fill up the void left by him. What was most remarkable about him was his intellectual honesty. As a Kabui Naga, he was never sectarian and his deliberations were from his intellectual self. He once said that the Meitei community is so lucky to have shed its tribalism 2000 years ago and venture into a brave new world of cultural civilization. His sojourn in politics began with the founding of Federal Party of Manipur in 1993. He was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the year 1995 and again in 2001 Manipur Assembly. He was the minister for Forest, Environment and Higher Education and has held important portfolios in the then Manipur Govt. led by Wahengbam Nipamcha Singh in 1998 and 2001. He was a strong believer of regionalism and its importance in politics. The stint in politics did not stop him from delving in academics and he came back again and again. In 2012, Gangmumei Kamei have joined the BJP and contested the outer Manipur Lok Sabha Constituency but he was not elected. However BJP had made its presence felt in the hill districts of Manipur. Yet, considering the vast knowledge and experience of more than 40 years in the fields of academia, social activism and politics seems to have impressed the ruling BJP to utilise him for policy formulation. Prof Gangmumei was nominated for two very important and prestigious assignment, namely, as member of the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) by the HRD Ministry, Govt. of India and as member of the regional planning body, the North Eastern Council (NEC) under the aegis of the DoNER Ministry. As a social activist, he roamed the interiors of the valley and hills with the likes of MK Priyobarta on the campaign for cultural integration and communal harmony. May his soul rest in peace.

Leader Writer: Irengbam Arun

Source: Imphal Free Press

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