A tribute to late Ngulkhohao Lhungdim

Published on March 17, 2005

By Seikholen Thomsong

March 17, 2005: The Late Mr. N Lhungdim, founder of – the most widely read and circulated bi-lingual daily of the Kukis- The Sumkawn, was a personality who never needed an introduction, he was so well known. I shall not talk about his achievements and his contributions. They are far too many to be recorded in this short tribute of mine. I would leave it to men more worthy and more capable than I am. His failures- well, it is known to all that- they towered over many a man’s successes.

So, I shall talk about the invaluable lessons of life that I learned from him through the proximity that I fortunately had by some quirks of fate. Father left home when I was ten and never came back. He took me in not just as one of his ward but as one of his children. Thus I had the privilege to observe him in his hours of glory and unfortunately through some of his worst depressions too.

THE MAN AND THE IMAGE

Most of us would remember him for the leadership that he gave to the Eimis through some of the most remarkable times in our history. He was a man honest to himself and could ever harbour no nonsense. He was a man who stood for something that he believed in, no matter how nasty the antagonism would be. He was not only a politician but also a journalist. It was required of him to be diplomatic as politician but his ethical commitment to journalism made him speak many unpleasant truths.

Many contemporaries who failed to understand the compulsions of the aforementioned traits nursed grievances against him. But those who understood that he was compelled to be objective, truthful and straightforward as a journalist remember him for his wits and hearty chortles.

All said and done, he was one of the modern leaders that all the Eimis could look up to. His demise, premature, was an act of betrayal by the Great Lord (Forgive me if I blaspheme) on the Eimis, was a great loss not only to the Eimis but also to the people of Manipur. Some of the most unforgettable lessons that I learned from observing him are listed as below.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

When defeated in elections, his courtiers and hangers on left him for greener pastures. The Naga-Kuki hostility soon enveloped the whole NE India. It was one of the ironies of his life that at the very moment when the Eimis needed him the most he was out of office. He however continued to vociferously decry the insanities through his newspaper, The Sumkawn.

His heart broke because he saw that the hapless political situation of the time was partly an outcome of some of the mistakes that some of his contemporaries had made. He seemed to blame himself too in many ways. And that somehow made him succumb to his ailments sooner than one would have expected.

One also could sense the air of frustration around him as the setbacks to his dreams and vision loomed large in his mind. However the courage and face with which he took it all showed me how important it was to have that indomitable faith in self, even when, one’s whole world crumbles. This stood me in good stead in my post adolescence when I almost threw my life away owing to a very deep depression and an acute sense of failure.

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

He was human and fallible like any of us. He was honest enough to admit that he was just that in his autobiography ”MIHEM HINKHO”. It takes moral courage to own up for the wrongs one commit. Those who have tried it would understand how humiliating or humbling it is. Thus only the strongest of men who have unshakeable inner strength can admit to their ugly mistakes.

He was one strong and ethical man, a rarity in modern politics. He was true to himself that is what set him apart. How many of us come across people in our lives who tend to admit their mistakes rather than try to justify? Not many if you are speaking the truth.

SPEAK THE TRUTH HOW UGLY IT MAY BE

He was criticized as being too blunt with just anyone and everyone. But if you scratch beneath the surface such a personality is derived from the very fact that the person has a clear conscience. His intentions in telling someone just what he thought about that person were all well meant. He felt happy when someone spoke the truth than try to flatter him. He very often laughed mercilessly at some people who tried to curry favours by flattering him.

He loved truth and tolerated no falsehood. Truth is better how hurting it may be at that precise moment because sooner or later one realizes that the hurt of falsehood goes much deeper and leaves much greater scars. Many who nursed grievances against him or were feeling insulted would somehow eventually agree with what I just said.

CONCLUSION

His time on earth was cut short by an illness. He left without having seen many of his dreams fulfilled. He ought to have been given more time but we were just mere mortals and could never question the wisdom of the Almighty. Thus whom the Lord loved left this earth early and young, for his place in the heavens. His demise marked the end of an era in the political history of the Eimis. Nothing remained the same ever again in EIMI POLITICS thereafter. His memories remain with those like me whose life fate had destined him to touch upon.