[ Brig (Dr) SS Parmar ]
Sainik School Imphal (SSI) was inaugurated on 7 October, 1971, in the salubrious climate of Imphal valley with the vision that gifted students from the northeastern Indian states of Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and the friendly country Bhutan should be caught young and provided with quality education, so that their capacities and capabilities-cum-latent talent are so developed and channelled that, along with their overall development of personality, they also become an asset to the nation in different fields, especially defence forces and help, giving a boost to the national economy.
Indeed, I feel privileged having served as the principal of SSI, from mid-1999 to mid-2003 with the well-knit team of students possessing high potential, trainability and dignity of labour, along with versatile, dedicated and professionally competent staff members.
I consider SSI, being a pole star amongst the galaxy of Sainik Schools of India, as a representation of mini-India with national feelings and pervasive international integration fragrance. Before I joined the school, my uncle, who had served as a senior army officer in Limakhong before 1989, educated me about the simplicity, genuineness and hospitality of the people of Manipur and the natural beauty of Imphal valley, which enhanced my confidence to interact freely with the local people living in the vicinity of the school, besides meeting different people from all walks of life during my four-year tenure in Imphal.
Though I have seen a few other valleys in India, Imphal valley has been the best with salubrious climate and panoramic view, highly hospitable people with names resembling many of Punjabi names like Duleep Singh.
As the principal of SSI, I had the golden opportunity to interview young aspirants from five states of NE India and friendly country Bhutan for admission to the school. An aggregate of my academic exposure, ie, MSc (physics), MPhil and PhD (personality traits and adjustment problems), qualified psychologist of DIPR (New Delhi) as well as experience of having served in Chail Military School, IMA, OTA, services selection boards, different unit/formation headquarters located in various parts of India, especially Pak/China/Bangladesh borders, helped the SSI team of facilitators to tackle routine situations of school effectively. It also strengthened the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health of students, as a result of which the school achieved highest academic excellence (especially in 2002-2003) among all the Sainik Schools of India, with a large number of cadets joining the TES besides the NDA.
The school also represented All Sainik Schools (by defeating all other Sainik Schools) in the Subroto Football Cup. I can’t forget Tiken Singh, Director SAI, government of Manipur, for his generous support to develop the sports infrastructure of the school, and the inspiring Oja Ajit Singh, the then senior master of the school and an outstanding athlete, for his role in achieving higher proficiency in athletics and games by the students.
By introducing much-needed relevant mid-course corrections in the existing schedule to provide an environment essential for imparting quality education, the school had no failure during my tenure of four years. Many +2 class students got rare ‘All India scholarship in biotechnology’ for securing exceptionally high marks in the CBSE 12th board examination for three consecutive years.
My four years at the school were one of the most satisfying times in my life. The school was in transformational stage in the field of academics, financial growth and general cleanliness. To make optimum use of available resources, the wastage, especially of food in the cadet mess, was reduced to almost zero with willing participation and cooperation of students and staff members.
The cadets and staff planted numerous flowers and fruit plants in the school campus. Harmony was visible in the hearts, minds and souls of the people in Manipur during my tenure. Seeds of sound foundation sown upto 2003 have paid the dividend directly upto 2010 and indirectly will always be a part of the continuous growth of SSI. Many cadets have become full colonels in the Indian Army like Naga cadet Shimray, RK Banerjit, Romesh, etc. Many others have excelled in other fields too – like Bupenda has joined politics, Radhabinod in IAS, Peter in Manipur civil services, etc, as well as other fields around the globe.
I am grateful to the then chief ministers of Manipur, (late) W Nipamacha Singh and O Ibobi Singh, for their generosity, understanding and matured care for the school’s overall development through provision of adequate funds for infrastructural growth of the school. I am also thankful to the then chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Mukut Mithi, the then chief minister of Nagaland, SC Jamir, and the then chief minister of Mizoram, Zoramthanga for their concerns like guardians for the cadets of their respective states.
I am also thankful to the principals and staff who contributed their best for converting these events into a process, especially the present Principal, Group Capt Rajneesh Kumar, Oja Rommel, Senior Master Oja Arambam Ashok Kumar Singh, Oja Premananda and other staff members for their wholehearted contribution for uplifting the school’s status at the national level as well as organizing the golden jubilee celebrations.
I am also grateful to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh for giving his blessings on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of SSI.
I wish the Sainik School fraternity the best of luck for a very bright future on the occasion of its golden jubilee celebrations. Jai Hind! (The contributor is a former principal of SSI, Manipur)