Nabam Runghi – the man he was!

Let’s make Itanagar of

Runghi’s dream: CM

That is why CM Khandu during his last rites on Tuesday made a fervent call to one and all to make Itanagar as state capital of Runghi’s dream.

Beyond the Horizon

By Pradeep Kumar

Former NEFA Council member Nabam Runghi, a prominent social worker born on 20th April, 1935 passed away around 9 pm on Sunday leaving behind a rich legacy.

Born to Nabam Tajik and Panye Yamer of Bobia village under Leporiang circle, Sagalee sub-division of Papum Pare district, he is survived by wives Ngurang Yania Nabam, Tana Yaya Nabam and Panye Yami Nabam, sons Nabam Changring & Nabam Hachang and lone daughter Nabam Yaker while wife Panye Yassap Naba had died.

Though he had settled down at Bormai, near Tarasso under Balijan circle of the district, he continued to work for the state and its people. He had visited Ambala, Mussorrie, Dehradun, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, UP, Sikkim and Darjeeling on India tour & attended Republic day celebration in New Delhi in 1966; visited Haflong Assam as part of home guard training in 1967 and selected as group leader; appointed as GPM, ASM in 1968 and became ZPM later but in 1969 elected as Agency Council member from Subansiri district, document given by family sources said.

The council held total four sessions in the tenure – 1st  on 03.12.1969, 2nd on 10-11.08.1970, 3rd on 6-7.02.1971 and 4th on 12-13.08. 1971. In inaugural session of the Council on 03.12,1969, a committee was constituted headed by development commissioner to select site and recommend for NEFA Capital then in Shillong. During the last session, he had proposed to identify place soon at least 50 miles inside NEFA to set up its headquarters.

Reflecting his wisdom, Runghi as committee member, carrying few half bricks of historic Ita Fort and a roasted fish caught from Ganga Lake went to Shillong and demonstrated before panchayat director in support of his proposal to set up capital at Itanagar. This received approval from then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who at at Shillong on 28.02.1972 put her seal of approval on Itanagar as stage capital. In fact, she had granted union territory status to NEFA rechristened as Arunachal Pradesh at Ziro on 20,01,1972.

He was very conscious religiously and in close co-ordination with then Sagalee EAC Jagir Singh had spread the message of peace and brotherhood in 1970 after atrocities were committed against Christian community. With deteriorating situation due to rising law & order problems, Singh had urged him to abandon Christian on 24.02.1971. But he continued undeterred due to his love for Christian faith. He was Baptized at Karoi Baptist Church by Evangelist Taying Baat in 1972 and instrumental in establishing 54 churches.

He was Subansiri Baptist Christian Association president (1974-1977)   but faced the wrath of few groups who on 24.04.1974 had burnt down Bobia Baptist Church, many houses including his own with properties while many were injured.   He had raised the issue oppression of Christians and loss of their properties in 37th annual session of North East India Christian Council (NEICC) at Tezpur on 02.05.1974, submitted detailed report to NEICC president at Shillong on 17.05.1974 and the same year he along with youth leader Neelam Taram went to New Delhi and met PM Gandhi in her official residence to apprise her of rising persecution of Christians in the state.

He had submitted a memorandum on behalf of Nyishi Christian to Chief Commissioner about reconciliation meeting between Nyishi Christians and other Nyishis on 06.0575 at Doimukh. Its copy was sent to PM, Home Minister, MoS (Home), AICC president Prof. A.K Kisku, state chief secretary, councillor Tadar Tang, Lakhimpur deputy commissioner, NCCI secretary & EFI executive secretary.

Then Lt. Governor K.A.A Raja one day along with councilor Tang met Runghi tried o tempt him offers to give up Christianity and withdraw complaint lodged with PM Gandhi. He offered a truck & a bus for business, 1000 hectares of land free and a Govt bungalow. But, Rungkhi refused, saying “how I can surrender Christianity for sake of my personal benefits” and vowed to stick to his faith and not to withdraw his complaint.

His invaluable services were recognized on numerous occasions.

On 16.11.18: Nyishi Baptist Church Council Department of Women Affairs felicitated him as pioneer Christian and former Subansiri Baptist Christian Association (SBCA) president

On 09.02.18: Arunachal Christian Forum felicitated for the same purpose at Papu Nallah CRC

On 02.01.08: Capital Complex Resident of Leporiang Welfare Committee honoured him as prominent social worker

On 20.02.17: The GoAP conferred state award (Gold Medal) on him as NEFA Council member & founder of state capital at Itanagar

On 29.09.16: Nabam Welfare Society (NWS) felicitated him as NEFA Council member at Nirjuli

On 12.05.16: The GoAP led by CM Kalikho Pul reconised his services by awarding a Bolero SUV car and Rs. 2 lakh for establishing Itanagar as state capital atJote Eco Tourism resort

On 20.02.16: The GoAP  felicitated him for his contribution to the state and pioneering service for democratic governance through Panchayati Raj  system at RGU.

On 02.04.05: The NES had honoured him for facilitating  Itanagar as state capital and for help for smooth conduct of its 7th general conference at Sagalee

On 03.10.14: Nyishi Baptist Church Council Mission Department  felicitated as a pioneer Christian and former Subansiri Baptist Christian Association president

On 29.06.13: The GoAP led by CM Nabam Tuki recognised his contribution for making Itanagar state capital.

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