One year has almost passed by when the legendary Prof. Gangmumei Kamei breathe his last but his legacy continues to live on. Even though he might have been gone physically his works and vision continue to be very much alive. Prof. Gangmumei Never Dies. He continues to inspire the livings today and will continue to do so for generations to come.
In fact, when I started thinking of writing one obituary Article for the Prof. I began to shudder as I know that I would not be able to do justice to the multifaceted personality through this write up. One would need at least two or three years of vigorous research and study to present a fair picture of the man, the genius and hero of all times to come. However, my purpose here is not to write a profile about the Prof. as he needs no further introduction since he was a very well known person in the region and even throughout the country. My purpose is to pay homage to the man on my own behalf and on behalf of all his admirers who might not be physically present on his First Death Anniversary Programme being organized on 5th January, 2018.
When our society is passing through a difficult time where we need a dedicated and visionary leader, it is indeed saddening that Prof. Gangmumei Kamei is no more with us physically. The Nation, particularly North East India has lost one of its illustrious scholars, statesmen and a visionary leader. The vacuum he has left behind is being felt particularly in Manipur and the Zeliangrong people. His contributions to the academia in North East India is unparalleled. His yeoman service for the upliftment of the downtrodden people and his commitment to maintain communal harmony in the Region had been widely acclaimed and appreciated by one and all. The future generations will continue to be inspired by his great contributions in various fields and will be fondly remembered forever.
Prof. Gangmumei was born on 21st October, 1939 in Imphal. He hails from the Zeliangrong community which is spread across Manipur, Nagaland and Assam. However, his vision and commitment were not confined for his community alone and perhaps, that was one of the reasons why he joined active politics to serve the larger cause of humanity. He founded the Federal Party of Manipur in 1993 with a vision to strengthen federalism in the State and the Nation at large. He got elected as MLA for two times and served as Cabinet Minister in the Manipur Government as well. Later he joined the BJP and was made the National Vice President of ST Morcha. He passed away in Imphal following protracted illness on 5th January, 2017 while he was still a Member of the North Eastern Council (NEC) where he was trying his best to bring equitable and balanced development in the entire North East Region.
Prof. Gangmumei Kamei, who specialized in history served as Prof. in Manipur University. He was elected President of the Northeast India History Association (NEIHA) in its Kohima Session of 1986. He was also President of the Manipur History Society and Coordinator of the Centre for Manipuri Studies & Tribal Research of Manipur University.
Prof. Gangmumei had authored several books and a large number of research papers. Some of the popular books includes: A History of Modern Manipur (1826-2000), A History of Manipur: Pre-colonial Period, On History and Historiography of Manipur, History of Zeliangrong Nagas: From Makhel to Rani Gaidinliu, Ethnicity and Social Change, Lectures on History of Manipur, etc.
Prof. Gangmumei Kamei was a historian of national repute. He was a member of the Advisory Committee of the Anthropological Survey of India (1984-87) and also a member of the ICSSR panel on Tribal Studies. He was awarded the Platinum Jubilee Samman by the Manipuri Sahitya Parishad for his contribution to history and tribal culture in 2010. He was also awarded a National Fellowship by Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla in 2010-2012.
Despite his busy schedules with all these engagements mentioned above he was able to find time for his beloved community too. Prof. Gangmumei was one of the close associates of Rani Gaidinliu who co-founded the Zeliangrong People Convention (ZPC) in 1980 and was the last President of the organization. He also co-founded the reformed religion, Tingkao Raguang Chapriak (TRC) to promote and preserve the indigenous faith, custom and culture. He was a fatherly figure and Guru to academia and his people. Even though the legendary Prof. is no more with us physically his legacy continues to live on in the hearts of his dear and near ones and the world at large.
LONG LIVE PROFESSOR GANGMUMEI KAMEI!
The writer is Chairman, Spring Charitable Trust and can be reached at mathiupuang(at)gmail(dot)com
The article was originally published in The Sangai Express