By Reena Nongmaithem
Kakching, Nov.20: Oja Phanjoubam Gourahari of Wangkhei Konsam Leikai, Imphal dedicated 39 years long (1952-1991) of his life not only in nurturing Kakching High School, now upgraded into Kakching Hr Secondary School but also took active role in setting up of the present Kha Manipur College (KMC), Kakching. He became founder member of the college.
Elders of Kakching told this reporter that Oja was a truly honest, kind hearted and purely dedicated person for the upliftment of education at Kakching. It was informed that during the process of setting up of the college, there was no qualified person to go to Gauhati (Guwahati). Oja boldly took the responsibility but due to shortage of money Oja even sold his wife’s gold earring for traveling expenses and gifts for the officers over there.
While interacting with Nongmaithem Ibochou (81), retired Assistant Teacher, Kakching High School and a resident of Mayanglambam Pareng, Kakching Makha Leikai who was once a student of Oja Gourahari and later taught with Oja in the same School for nearly 30 years shared that he was studying in class VIII when Oja joined the school in 1952.
He said besides teaching in the class, Oja had keen interest in farming, Cow rearing, sports and so on.
He initiated certain activities to inculcate work culture among students.
During that period under Oja’s leadership the whole student were divided into four groups led by one teacher each. Each group was assigned with 1 Lourak (1.05 acre) of School’s paddy field to compete in producing more yields. “I was one among the teachers leading the students in farming”, recalled the elderly teacher.
Most of the trees growing presently in the campus were planted during those days, reminded the teacher and said he was also SUPW (Socially Useful Productive Work) teacher incharge at that time.
Various inter as well as intra sporting events both for boys and girls were organized under Oja’s supervision.
Oja Gourahari was actually like a messenger of God to the People of Kakching, he said when in 1952 the then School Committee was in search of a qualified teacher to be Head Master of the High School, school committee approached to a teacher from Kakching who was teaching in a school at Imphal before going to Oja Gourahari, but the teacher refused the committee’s request to come to Kaching. However Oja’s heart was big and bold enough to accept the request with the salary of Rs 120 only per month, Ibochou thankfully graced his teacher.
Still today people of Kakching gracefully and affectionately addresses the teacher as Oja Gourahari of Imphal.
In his remembrance, every year Library and Information Centre, Kakching conferred “Phanjoubam Gourahari Singh Awards” sponsored by Phanjoubam Trust, Imphal to two outstanding students in HSLC Examination, Manipur.