RIP Tamo Khelen: You will be always in our heart

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It is natural – if you are born you will have to die one day. Thousands are born every day and thousands died each days. Among the people die everyday – few are remembered for the kind of service they provided for the people and humanity. Their names are engraved to the heart of every right thinking people. And their names continue to shine in the future too.
Among the few, Senior Journalist Khelen Thokchom, who left us all for heavenly abode yesterday, is one. To the younger journalist fraternity he was a mentor, an advisor and an inspiration for all. To the people he was a critic, a messenger of truth. When he got free time he wrote satirical words at social networking site Facebook. His every post at FB makes his friends who are known either physically or virtually, ‘smile’.
When he spared times with journalist colleagues, he made no difference between young or old, new comers or experienced one. He would make jokes that carry thousand meanings. He indirectly inspired every one near him to stand up for truth and truth only. He redefined kitchen gardening not only for living but for own pleasure and for saving the environment.
Before his visit to Gujarat on journalists’ tour organized by the Manipur Legislative Assembly, something started disturbing his mind very seriously. I went to his home to comfort him. We two of us sat together for a while. Instead of telling me what actually disturbed him he taught me how to take decision at time of critical reporting. He suggested me how to extract the resource from experts while interviewing or anchoring programme like discussion hour at ISTV. I thought of spending that whole day with him, but could not as I had another assignment including a marriage ceremony of the daughter of his close colleague (another senior journalist Irengbam Arun).
Four days back we met again at ISTV discussion hour programme. Every time we met, he used to talking something which made me happy and smile. That very day he sat quietly and again said that he was not feeling very well.
As we started our programme discussing about the question leak problem of CBSE, I was a little bit worried as I was told that he was seriously disturbed (personal problem I guessed). But to my surprised, when it came about issues he gave logical reply and also suggested many good things which could bring a change in the system.
After the discussion hour, we stood together for a while at BT road sharing a puff of cigarette in front of ISTV Network. He never told anyone about his personal problem. But then I insisted him to tell me what exactly, was that thing that made him unhappy and disturbed.
Well, the thing which he was worried was the rotten system of our society. The culture of suppressing people, who wanted change by using means which sometimes made him voiceless. At 58 he had a young and energetic mind. But then like every father or husband, he wanted his wife to be respected by all and his son and daughter to be the best. Except having some moments at late evening and morning he hardly found time to spend his only belongings. At 58 he knew he will retired soon and he was little worried about his son’s and daughter’s future as he would be retiring after 2 years.
Another thing which he told me was about an incident which he felt that he had not committed any wrong except cracking some jokes as he usually did to many of us. However, When I insisted him to tell me about it he said, it was late, he would tell me some other day. When I started my two wheeler bike to go back home, he said, “that incident is the only thing that really hurt me, and I am left in such a situation that I have to keep quiet as I have great love for my son and daughter”.
I could not trace out what that incident was which kept such a courageous journalist mum his mouth even though I had heard him many times arguing with the most powerful men of this state.
Rest in peace Ta Khelen, you will always be in our heart. Hope the truth about Tamo Khelen’s worries comes up from someone who knows about that incident.

Imphal Times Editorial

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