[M Panging Pao]
Since Arunachal Pradesh became a union territory in 1972, many Arunachalees have charted pioneering paths to succeed in varied fields. When most of the state was underdeveloped, without basic facilities like electricity, roads and communications, and with very few schools and colleges, these pioneers toiled and persevered to venture into previously unknown fields.
Many of these pioneers had to walk for days to reach their schools, and were the first in their families and villages to study in schools and colleges. Many had to travel to far-flung places in the Northeast and other cities of India for further education like graduation, medicine, engineering, law, etc.
These trailblazing Arunachalees include Jomin Tayeng (the first direct IAS officer), Dr Odang Lego (the first doctor), Daying Ering (the first union minister), Chowkhamon Gohain (the first MP), C Manpung (the first engineer), and Yeshi Dorjee Thongchi (the first Sahitya Akademi winner).
This list of pioneers includes Colonel Rimo Karbak (the first Army officer), late Kuru Hassang (the first pilot), Taru Talo (the first Navy officer), and Robin Hibu (the first IPS officer).
Among the pioneering women are Omem Moyong Deori (the first Padma awardee), Dr Beena Namchum Karbak (the first lady doctor), Mamang Dai (Sahitya Akademi winner and Padma awardee), Indra Mallo (the first lady IAS officer), Tine Mena (the first woman to climb Mt Everest), Major Ponung Doming (the first lady Army officer), and late Binny Yanga (social activist and Padma awardee).
Pioneers in sports include Indrajit Namchoom (who was captain of the Indian football team), Gumpe Rime (who played football at the national level), Tapi Mra (the first to climb Mt Everest), Lhakpa Tshering (the first to win the Himalayan Car Rally), and RK Mission School, Aalo, which was the runner-up in two Subroto Cup championships.
The first and only college in the state for many years was JN College in Pasighat. The NERIST was the first engineering college. The first medical college, TRIHMS, was opened last year only. There was a period when there was no university to award degrees. Presently, there are many colleges and universities in the state.
Then there was Hangpan Dada, the first Ashok Chakra of the state. Presently, there are many winners of the Kirti Chakra and other gallantry awards like the Sena Medal and Arunachal Ratna.
Today, Arunachal has super specialist doctors, scientists, top engineers, professors, doctorates, top lawyers, and many more. Many young Arunachalees are doing well in Karate, Taekwondo, weightlifting and other sports. Talented young Arunachalees have participated in India’s Got Talent, Voice of India, Indian Idol, Dance India Dance, etc.
Yet, there are many more fields to be conquered by Arunachalees. We need more top pilots, astronauts, chartered accountants, managers, entrepreneurs, progressive farmers, sportspersons, etc. To be pioneers in different fields, one has to persevere and work hard to succeed.
By the way, yours truly is the first from the Northeast and Arunachal to command a Sukhoi-30 squadron. Are there any more Arunachalees who are willing to dare? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)