‘Meenu’ linked me to nature trove Arunachal: MoS Sarangi  

Beyond the Horizon

By Pradeep Kumar

Present Union MoS for MSME, AHD and Fisheries Pratap Chandra Sarangi, as Odisha MLA in 2012, had motivated 50 Arunachalee girls in Bhubaneswar as reception committee chairman of “students’ experience in inter-state living programme”, conducted by Akhila Bharati Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), ‘Meenu’ aka Menung Yangda said.

“His speech was inspiring as he had exhorted us to be good human beings by taking up works for the greater welfare of the society and become worthy citizens of Mother India,” she recalled while talking to this editor on Friday.

Sarangi, who had campaigned on bicycle during 2019 elections, during his thought provoking speech as chief speaker of 8th Rutum Kamgo memorial lecture on “abrogation of Article 370 & 35-A in J-K, Dorjee Khandu Convention Centre here on Nov 06, on his maiden visit to Itanagar had referred to Arunachal daughter ‘Meenu’ twice, by going back to his memory lane to explain the relation he has with this state and its people.

“I received a call from ‘Meenu’ who had visited Bhubaneswar with her friends. She called up to inquire about my visit which I confirmed. I do not know if she is present but she is still in my memory. And that is the prolonged relation I maintain with this state,” he recalled.

With some efforts through Sukhdeb Biswas, founder of Arunachal unit of Sanskar Bharati, a national NGO, ‘Meenu’ was identified as Menung Yangda of New Seppa, a graduate from Himalaya University, who had toured Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Gujarat, UP, MP and Pune to have firsthand experience of rich cultural heritage and multiple languages. This initiative of ABVP aims at integrating India by bringing its population closer through the uncanny similarities in diverse languages and cultures which makes Bharat a great nation and a symbol of ‘Unity in diversity’.

Menung admitted that she was present in the venue, and the minister had addressed and interacted with them in an event.

An orator per excellence, Sarangi, born on 04.01.55 in Gopinathpur village, Nilagiri of Balasore district, he had revolutionalised primary education in rural areas of Odisha through his innovative concept of community funded Ekla Vidyalaya or single teacher schools. Initially, Sarangi served as a district level volunteer of Rashtriya Swayamseval Sangh but later opened schools, called Samar Kara Kendra under the Gana Shikhsa Mandir Yojana in tribal villages in Balasore and Maurbhanj districts. He was elected to state assembly from Nilgiri constituency twice (2004 to 2014) and used to spend major portion of his MLA pension to support the education of poor children in his area.

A graduate from Balasore’s Fakir Mohan College in 1975, he also served as national executive member of the BJP before contesting for second time from Balasore Lok Sabha constituency in 2019 as a BJP candidate, to defeat Biju Janata Dal sitting MP Rabindra Kumar Jena with a margin of 12,956 votes.

A spiritual seeker since his childhood, he wanted to become a monk and visited Belur Math, HQs of Ramakrishna Order in Howrah repeatedly. But the monks there had insisted that he should serve his widowed mother. After his return, he got involved in various social activities and there was looking back for him.

He is uncle of my bosom friend Kishore Hota, who frequently visits Itanagar on his work as a chartered accountant and due to visit again by this month end.

In fact, his maiden speech on 24.06.19 had rocked the Parliament: In his Hindi speech, intermingled with Sanskrit, Bangla, Odiya, and English, Sarangi had asked if the country will have a place for those who do not accept “Vande Mataram”.

Jinko humara priya pawan bhoomi se pyaar nahi, jinko Bharat ki azaadi aur akhandata sweekar nahi, jinko Bharat ki ‘vande mataram’ sweekar nahi, kya unko Bharat mai rehne ka adhikar hai [Those who do not love our country, those who do not accept the country’s integrity, those who do not accept ‘Vande Mataram’, do they deserve to live in India]” Sarangi had said to the thunderous applause of the members.

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