Recalling the Oja in Prof Kamei A teacher beyond the classroom

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The only thing certain in life is death and in as much as death is a certainty, it is uncertain when death will come knocking at one’s door. Professor Gangmumei Kamei is no more. And while the late Professor was not in the best of health lately, the news of his death must have caught quite a lot of people by surprise. But life goes on and while The Sangai Express is certainly not an expert on the late man or competent enough to dwell on his life and work, this commentary may be taken as a simple act of doffing our hat to a well known personality. To many he was Oja. It was with a sense of reverence and respect that this term was used while referring to the late Professor and it will continue to be. A Professor of History at Manipur University, Gangmumei Kamei will be known not only for what he taught inside the classroom but also for his keen sense of observation and his ability to strike a chord with almost anyone and perhaps here lies the most likeable aspect of the man. A teacher in the true sense of the word, a teacher not only understood within the four walls of a class room, but also as a guide and teacher outside and it was in line with this that he was Oja to many. Many hats he donned during his lifetime and from the classrooms of the university, he also dabbled in politics, finally moving to the North Eastern Council, where he was a member until his death. His association with politics may be remembered with his foray onto the stage of electioneering when he contested the Assembly election from Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency back in 1980.

For a man who was not tied down by the shackles of community line, his support base ranged from the Zeliangrong community to the Meiteis and others. Here, significant to note that Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency has a significant number of Zeliangrong people, with at least three settlements. This is also reflective of the time gone by when there was no trust deficit between the hill people and the people from the valley area. Something which the present generation can learn from. From Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency, it was Nungba AC that the late Professor moved to but not before founding the regional political party, the Federal Party of Manipur (FPM) in 1993. It was as a candidate of the FPM that late Professor Gangmumei Kamei won the 1995 Assembly election from Nungba AC and then again in 2001. The FPM is in the past tense now, but the legacy that the late Professor has left behind as the founding leader of the regional political party will remain. From the classroom to politics and in between the late Professor also wrote a number of academic books, such as Lecture on History of Manipur, On history and historiography of Manipur, A history of the Zeliangrong Nagas-From Makhel to Rani Gaidinliu, Rise of middle class in Manipur etc. Professor Gangmumei Kamei is no more but his works will continue to guide the present and latter generations.

Source: The Sangai Express

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