“Heavenly Father, I ask for Your grace in Christ, to protect my son from Coronavirus – the unseen enemy — as he continues with his services for the people. Keep him safe from the virus in his every step, no matter where he sets his foot on. Lord, grant him Your sovereign wisdom and triumph. Open him the door in all his steps forward and fill him with the fullness of serving the needy in Your presence ever…”
This prayer (loosely translated from Tangkhul) was a priceless gift Chingai MLA Khashim Vashum received from his octogenarian father on Sunday on the occasion of Father’s Day – a day for honouring fatherhood and paternal bond.
While not many get the chance to spend a meaningful time with their beloved fathers on Father’s Day, the MLA has had opportunity to sit with his 89-year-old father Lungrei Vashum and mother Phamila Vashum and pray with them on the special day at his native place Tusom CV village which is located about 100 km north of Ukhrul town.
On June 20, Khashim was on a fourth round of his Covid-19 tour that he has been making in remote villages under his assembly constituency in the current second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Amid his tight schedule, he snatched out a moment and devoted it to his parents to mark the occasion. Ostensibly, in years, he got to share an emotional moment with them on the special day, though it lasted for as short as some 30 minutes.
Timed to coincide with Father’s Day, MLA Khashim also held another prayer session with the local pastor Rev Bejoy and Church elders at the premises of Tusom CV Baptist Church. He prayed for the safety, wisdom and longevity of all fathers in Tusom villages.
Urging his fellow villagers of Tusom CV to never lose faith in God, while holding on to discipline and SOP laid down by the government, he said that: “This should mirror the grace that God has shown to us all for over a century.”
He said that CV in the village’s name stands for Christian Village and that the local Church is one of the few Churches in the district which has celebrated 100 years of Christianity.
As part of his village tour aimed at connecting with the village folks in the pandemic battle, the MLA arranged a free Covid-19 vaccination camp for Tusom CV, Tusom Khullen and New Tusom villages, by roping in the services of one doctor and two nurses. A total of 30 persons from Tusom CV and New Tusom availed the benefits of free vaccine.
“Let’s all behave responsibly in this fight against the disease. If you take care of yourself, you are already taking care of others. A collective stand is all we need to overcome this malaise,” he pleaded.
He extended assistance to the villagers in the form of face masks, hand sanitizers, pulse oximeters, thermal scanners, sugar and money to help the locals engage themselves in the ongoing battle.
So far, no Covid positive cases have been reported from Tusom CV and Tusom Khullen villages, except two cases from New Tusom recently.
MLA Khashim went to reach out to Challou and Kuingai villages. Along with holding separate prayer sessions with the locals, he extended similar assistance package.
He, nevertheless, made a strong case for not providing PPEs to the villagers. “I have tons of PPEs but I won’t give you that because I don’t want you to have a premonition of tragedy,” he said.
In these villages, too, the locals have not seen any Covid cases in the current second wave of the pandemic.
Interacting with the villagers at Challou river bank, the MLA assured them of blacktopping the Awangkasom-Chingai road at the soonest.
“I have personally requested the concerned contractor to expedite the work progress,” adding that he is also currently pursuing for establishment of fire sub-station office at Chingai headquarters.
For the locals of Kuingai village, Khashim has been the only MLA who has visited the village so far.
In the words of headman Solomon and Mantri Sangam, many MLAs from the Chingai AC have come and gone, but none of them ever came to their village, let alone helping them. “Our present MLA is the only local legislature who has visited us not only once but thrice. This is proof of his genuine concern for the villagers,” they said.
MLA Khashim has been making a series of tour in villages across Chingai constituency to reach out to the village folks and has so far covered dozens of villages so far.