Jomin Tayeng: A man larger than life

[ Tokong Pertin ]

The mind reveals the profile of a person. The wish to be different with a positive perspective in life, not just in outlook but from within, can ascertain a man’s journey of life to a different angle from an ordinary man’s life. This is a tribute to the man who has given each and every one of us the courage and hope that dreams can be woven into reality, that there are no limits to what one can do if the intentions are honourable with a firm belief in oneself to achieve one’s dream; the man who is known across the length and breadth of our state and the NER states as the first IAS officer from the then NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh), Jomin Tayeng.

Late Jomin Tayeng, whom I have always called head makbo (senior-most brother-in-law) fondly, has been my inspiration and I am indeed honoured to get this opportunity to share and throw light upon his academic accomplishments. He was a man personified for his works, for his struggles that make the journey of his life a worthy example to many. The man with utmost calmness, sincerity in his eyes and the values of a principled man that has made him the first direct Indian Administrative Service (IAS 1968) officer from the Arunachal Pradesh is not just a compliment for an individual but a proud moment for each one of us.

He started his schooling in Dambuk school in 1947, which was then known as Pangkom school (established in 1946) as the school was located on the bank of a small stream called ‘Pangkom’, near the Bangal Yapgo Stone Stockade constructed during the Anglo-Abor independence war in 1894. Later, he went on to study in the Teacher’s Demonstration School in Sadiya, Assam, which was then shifted to Margherita in Assam, as during the great earthquake of 1950, Sadiya town was completely washed away. He passed ME (Class 6) from the same school in 1956 and then shifted to Pasighat high school, the then North Eastern Frontier Agency, now Arunachal Pradesh. He passed his matriculation in first division from Pasighat high school and became the first student from the NEFA to matriculate with 1st division. On the advice of some of his teachers, he was taken in a group to Shillong and admitted into ISc (intermediate science) first year in St Edmund’s College. He passed his ISc in 1962 in 1st division and then joined an MBBS course in the Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, but his stay at AMC, Dibrugarh was short-lived and he took readmission in St Edmund’s College again to pursue his graduation. He completed his BA with English honours in 1964 to become the first honours graduate from the then NEFA and went for further studies in law from the law faculty of Delhi University. He completed his LLB in the year 1967, once again to become the first law graduate of the then NEFA. And in 1968, with only a month and half preparation, he qualified the civil service examination of the Union Public Service Commission on his one and first attempt, securing all-India 51 rank and became the first direct Indian Administrative Service (IAS 1968) officer from the state of Arunachal Pradesh. He got the Assam cadre, which included the NEFA, but which later became the Assam-Meghalaya cadre since the NEFA became a union territory and came under union territory, later on to be called the AGMUT cadre. He held various important key portfolios in Assam and Meghalaya government, including his short span as the secretary to the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, as well as the state’s first director of industries, with effect from 1 March, 1977 to 1 August, 1979, and later on, retired as the chief secretary to the government of Meghalaya in the year 2004.

Born to late Bapang Tayeng and late Oshor Lego Tayeng of Dambuk, late Jomin Tayeng was the youngest among the five siblings. The odyssey of his life is exemplary because he came out as a winner. He began his schooling from the Teacher’s Demonstration School, which was an orphanage and as an orphan, he did not have a home nor any family to call his own. He could attain heights/excellence in his academic career from various scholarships and contributions from his benevolent teachers. The magnanimity of this man, who did not hold any grudge against life even after facing hardships in the early days of his life, can be seen in his sheer willpower that made him accomplish his dreams and while serving as MLA of Dambuk ST AC, he breathed his last on 7 May, 2013.

As in the words of late Jomin Tayeng, for an interview that I had taken for ‘Diigok Roli-2011’, a souvenir of the Itanagar Solung Festival Celebration Committee: “I feel that as time changes, we must change too. But the change should always be for the better and not the worst.” Think it, believe it, and do it. The way of optimistic approach, a positive attitude shown by late Jomin Tayeng, will be imbibed in the hearts of all of us for his excellence as a student, as an administrator, as a statesman and personally for me, as a teacher, and I hope his life will be an inspiration for all – late Jomin Tayeng, who is larger than life.

I pay my respectful homage to this great son of Arunachal Pradesh on his 9th death anniversary with the quote of Nikola Tesla: “I could only achieve success in my life through self-discipline, and I applied it until my wish and my will became one.” (The contributor is retired director, trade & commerce, GoAP. He can be reached at