CHOW KHOUK MANPOON - FIRST POST GRADUATE FROM ARUNACHAL PRADESH
By Indrajit Tingwa
In his late eighties, Chow Khouk Manpoong the first post graduate of NEFA (North East Frontier Agency) now Arunachal Pradesh spends his time preparing a multi-lingual dictionary for his tribe the Khamti, one of the most progressive tribes within the Tai race in North East India. In his twilight years now, Manpoong lives alone in his humble residence at Manmaw village just a few kilometres from Namsai town on the NH 52.
Even at the ripe age of 87, he still is mentally and physically in a sound state. He has domestic helps to take care of him. His wife expired a few years ago and without any children, he makes out his life all alone though visitors often keep him busy. He is a man well versed with the evolution of the state and its polity back then and now.
Born in 1940 at Sengsap village about 11 kms. from the then Sadiya town, Chow Khouk Manpoong is the youngest amongst 13 children of Chow Thon Manpoong, father and Nang Kyamuk Manpoong, mother. He is the only one fortunate to have been educated amongst his siblings of 6 brothers and 7 sisters. Today, he is the only one alive.
He recalls his early childhood as a period of great struggles. He enrolled for studies at a primary school about 5 kms. from his village alongwith a few other boys at the age of 13-14 years. Having to traverse the dense forests infested with wild animals on a daily basis to reach school, the other boys slowly dropped out with only him remaining. However, he continued alone attending the school even coming face to face with a tiger a couple of times. At one point, he thought of dropping out but his parents and elder brothers persuaded him to continue and even escorted him through the forested road to school for two years.
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