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Bob Kathing remembered

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Ngangbam Indrakanta Singh Published 13.01.15, 12:00 AM

Imphal, Jan. 12: Northeast's legendary figure, Major Ralengnao (Bob) Khathing was remembered on his 25th death anniversary, which was observed today at his home -Valley View Mantripukhri in Imphal, where he breathed his last.

The family of Bob Khathing, relatives and people paid tribute to the memory stone of the brave citizen at Valley View.

Deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, former chief ministers of Manipur - Rishang Keishing and Radhabinod Koijam, Deputy Speaker Preshow Shimray, rural development and panchayati raj minister Francis Ngajokpa, R.K. Nimai, consultant to the Manipur government and Maj. Gen. Rajeev Chopra (IGAR South) were present at the gathering.

Gaikhangam said, 'I, as a part of the Manipur government, am guilty that the state and central government have not done anything worthy in memory of the great personality who was conferred the Padma Shri. The Centre and the state need to arrange something in his memory.'

He said today's youth do not know Bob Kathing, who is the symbol of unity in Manipur and India. Everyone needs to remember him and understand his principles.

Rishang Keising said, 'Because of his contribution we are proud to be a Manipuri and an Indian.'

On the occasion, meritorious students in the last HSLC and HSSLC exams were presented awards in memory of Khathing.

Chopra said, 'Khathing's contribution to the nation is remarkable. In the army and Assam Rifles he is the epitome of a soldier who contributed towards the unification of India.'

Kathing was born on February 25, 1912, at a tribal home in Ukhrul district. He had a vibrant army and civil career and retired as the ambassador of India to Burma during 1972-75.

He joined the army in July 1941. During World War II, in February 1942, he was commissioned to the 19th Hyderabad Regiment, but was soon deployed to 'V' force Operation as the local captain, Manipur sector to operate behind enemy lines in the Burma front.

He was conferred the Member of the British Empire and the Military Cross.

After the war, he joined the interim government of Manipur as minister in charge of hill administration.

In the first Manipur election in 1948, he was elected and became the minister of hills administration and Manipur Rifles. However, the Assembly was dissolved and Manipur joined the Indian Union in October 1949.

In 1950, Bob Khathing joined the Assam Rifles as a commandant. The same year he was appointed assistant political officer of the North East Frontier Agency. He trekked to Tawang with two platoons and hoisted the national flag there for the first time. In 1962, he became the development commissioner in Sikkim.

In 1972, he was sent to Burma as an ambassador.

He was conferred the Padma Shri in 1957 in the field of public affairs. He died in 1990.

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