On the 75th Independence Day, Dr Sunil Mohanty, (RSS, North East Media Co-Ordinator), S Premananda Sharma (Officer on Special Duty, Govt of Manipur) and Kh Binanda Singh, Imphal Vibhag Pracharak paid respect to Padma Major Ralengnao Bob Khathing by offering floral tribute at the memorial stone of the late hero yesterday.
Ralengnao Khathing popularly known as Bob Khathing is one of the unsung heroes of Manipur born on February 28, 1912 in Ukhrul district. He was the first graduate among the Manipur tribe and first to be an Indian Ambassador to Burma, said secretary of RSS Imphal.
He founded Tangkhul Student Union for the development of Tangkhul students. He was also a poet, a music composer and a songwriter.
He was the area commander of Manipur prior to its merger with India, recalled RSS Imphal.
He is a relatively unknown figure in Manipur and even India, but people of Tawang still remember him with respect for being the sole Indian official to come as their saviour when the Chinese threat loomed large, it recalled.
Tawang was brought under the Indian Territory back and tricolour was hoisted in the soil of Tawang for the first time in 1951 without shedding a single drop of blood all thanks to Bob Khathing and thus he was conferred Arunachal Ratna’ Arunachal Pradesh’s highest civilian award, RSS Imphal secretary recalled.
The award was announced by Chief Minister Pema Khandu in his name. Former Arunachal Pradesh Governor Brig. (Dr) BD Mishra had laid the foundation stone of Major Ralengnao Bob Khathing Memorial Museum.
He served in the British Army and fought World War II and got the name Bob after a British officer who found it difficult in calling Ralengnao named so, it recalled.
During World War II, he served in the famous V Force and for his gallantry, he was awarded the Military Cross (MC). He also received the Award of Member of the British Empire (MBE), it recalled.
Major Bob Khathing was inducted as an Assistant Political Officer (APO) in November 1950 in Tirap division and was posted at Pasighat and then at Kameng division with headquarters at Charduar.
He is believed to have started on an arduous journey from Charduar with a team of soldiers from the 5 Assam Rifles on January 17, 1951, it said.
This was the first expedition to negotiate extremely inhospitable terrain in sub-zero temperatures, and Bob Khathing with his team of Assam Rifles soldiers reached Tawang on February 6, 1951 and helped establish Indian presence up to the extent of the McMahon Line.
He then interacted with numerous Gaon Burahs and quickly and effectively established authority over Tawang. The Indian administrative presence was thus established in this remote part of the country, it said.
Even as Assam Rifles organises “Major Bob Khathing Football tournament” in Ukhrul in his honour, he remains an unsung hero among Manipuris even in this 21st century, it continued.
(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)