Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Recently, from 24 November to 2 December, a new concept and vision was introduced in the remote state of Arunachal Pradesh. A new idea called ‘Pay Back to Society’ was ushered in the state under the stewardship of Governor BD Mishra.
The Pay Back to Society programme envisaged that all serving officers of the Indian armed forces hailing from Arunachal Pradesh would come back to the state and address students and staffs of various schools and colleges, covering maximum districts and towns. The broad aim was to motivate the students and staffs of remote areas of the state, make them aware about life and careers in the Indian defence forces, and instill a sense of nationalism into them.
Once the idea was mooted, a core team was formed to carry out detailed planning and execution of the Pay Back to Society programme. Coordination meetings were held with various departments of the state government and with service headquarters of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. A day-to-day programme was worked out and put in place well in time.
Finally, 27 officers of Arunachal Pradesh serving in the Indian defence forces, led by Major General Jarken Gamlin, arrived, and a detailed briefing was carried out at Itanagar under the chairmanship of the governor, in the presence of MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju.
The officers were divided into eight teams and dispersed to address the students and staffs of various schools and colleges, covering maximum districts and towns.
In the next 4-5 days, the teams travelled about 10,000 kms and addressed 25,000 students and staffs in different corners of the state. The teams covered 23 districts, 38 towns, 85 schools and 15 colleges. After covering the major towns, remote towns like Jang, Lumla, Sangram, Koloriang, Yingkiong, Hawai, Hayuliang, Pangchao, Longding, etc, were also covered. The response was so positive that schools/colleges in a few unplanned towns requested the teams for presentation/talks.
After the hectic tour around the state, the teams assembled back in Itanagar, and a detailed debrief was held at the Raj Bhavan with the governor, the chief minister, the deputy chief minister, and other officials in attendance. In the meeting it was resolved that the Pay Back to Society programme was a unique event, and that similar programmes would be planned as an annual event in the state.
In a remote but strategically important state like Arunachal Pradesh, there is a need for achievers in various fields to come back and motivate the youths of the state. Many of them have the talent and ambition but are simply not aware about these different and adventurous careers. After all, there are so few officers and jawans in the Indian armed forces from Arunachal Pradesh.
Let’s hope to see many more Arunachalee officers in the armed forces. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)