UKHRUL| Feb 19
In honour of one of the legendary figures of the Ukhrul in particular and the State as a whole, the Assam Rifles have been celebrating the birth anniversary of Maj Bob Khathing Ralengnao every year since 2012. And the 107th birth anniversary of Maj Bob Khathing celebration held on February 18 at Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) Ground, Ukhrul witnessed people of Ukhrul paying tributes to the late legend.
The celebration was attended by additional DIG, colonel Param Jeet as chief guest while president of TNL, Hopingson A Shimray and John Khathing, son of Maj Bob Khathing shared the dais as guest of honour and special guest respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, colonel Param Jeet stated that the Assam Rifles have been observing the birth anniversary of Maj Bob Khathing and organising this tournament since 2012 and added that it will continue to do so in the coming years. He also acknowledged the immense contributions of Maj Bob Khathing not only to the Tangkhul community but to the whole of North East and the entire country. “He was a person full of talent as military officer as well as a teacher; and he was also the first tribal graduate and the first tribal to become ambassador of India to Burma; and the entire nation is proud of his services,” colonel Param Jeet added.
Colonel Param Jeet further informed that for the first time, the Assam Rifles had also organised the “Maj Bob Khathing Baby Football League” with the intention “to catch them young.” Besides this, there is also the women’s volleyball and choral singing competition, he continued while wishing good luck to all participants.
Hopingson A Shimray, in his speech lauded the achievements of Maj Bob Khathing stating that his achievements are a matter of huge pride for a small community like the Tangkhul community. While reiterating his record as the first tribal graduate and first tribal Ambassador of India, Hopingson added that the 7th edition of the Maj Bob Khathing Tournament was a proud moment for all the Nagas in general and Tangkhul community in particular.
He further expressed his appreciation for keeping the memories of Maj Bob Khathing alive while lauding the services performed by the Assam Rifles. Calling for peace and harmony across the land of Tangkhuls, Hopingson stated that logical conclusion for a lasting peace is prayer for all the Nagas and Assam Rifles must continue to ensure maintaining peace and tranquillity in Tangkhul areas.
John Khathing also extended his thanks to the Assam Rifles for organising the tournament while expressing his hopes that through this event, the Tangkhul community would know that there was a person from their own community who rose from humble origins to become the first tribal Ambassador of India. “My father never failed to help anyone and always tried to do his best for the community,” he recollected while adding that through the tournament organised under the initiative of Assam Rifles, his father’s name has been made known to the Tangkhul community scattered in different corners and also to the rest of the world.
Acknowledging the role played by the Assam Rifles, John Khathing said, “During all these years, they have never failed in meeting the commitments towards the success of the tournament.” His father had been a sportsman in his student days and this was one of the most appropriate ways of paying tribute and to that end they have met their objectives, he added while thanking the Assam Rifles especially the Somsai Brigade, in honouring his father by organising such tournament.
Football star of the State and Footballer of the Year, 2014 awardee, Bala Devi lighted the inaugural torch; after which colonel Param Jeet declared the opening of the 7th Maj Bob Khathing Football Tournament.
In the opening match, reigning champion Ukhrul FC defeated Kachai FC by a score of 2-0 through Khangatar Tungshangnao (Jersey No 20) in the 20th minute and Samuel (Jersey No. 6) in the 23rd minute of play time.
A total of 15 football clubs will vie for the coveted football title while the women’s volleyball tournament is being participated by 8 teams.
The opening ceremony also witnessed a folk song rendition dedicated to the legend by Hunphun Khanuithot Cultural Research Forum. While Awungtang Youth Organisation presented folk dance and students from Assam Rifles Public School showcased Meitei and Nepali dances, the Assam Rifles presented the Gorkha Kukri Dance which enthralled the huge crowd. The lively ambience of the opening ceremony was made even more lively by the awe-inspiring performance by famed child artists Lanlan Huileng of Tanrui and Ramchanphy Zingkhai of Kachai and another performance from Horyaowon Pheirei of Kachai Village, winner of SANSA’s Got Talent 2019, Season 6.
The celebration will culminate with a wreath laying programme at Mantri Pukhri, Imphal, on February 2, the birth day of legend Maj Bob Khathing Ralengnao.