CHOW INDRAJIT NAMCHOOM: UNSUNG SPROTTING HERO AND FORMER SPORTs MINISTER OF ARUNCHAL PRADESH HAD BREATH HIS LAST

NAMSAI, Oct 24, 2013:- CHOW INDRAJIT NAMCHOOM: UNSUNG SPROTTING HERO AND FORMER SPORTs MINISTER OF ARUNCHAL PRADESH HAD BREATH HIS LAST: After a long illness Chow Indrajit Namchoom a great sports hero of Arunachal Pradesh and Politician of Chongkham village, Lohit District had passed away at Kolkata. Many youngsters of today’s generation may not know Chow Indrajit Namchoom and those who knows him as ‘pathfinder in sports’ may also have chosen to ignore him but fact of the matter is that Chow Indrajit Namchoom is still the first ever sporting hero of Arunachal Pradesh in truest sense. Yes, maybe he is the unsung sporting hero today. He is the first person from Arunachal to represent India in an international football tournament, way back in 1964. And perhaps, he is the first one from Arunachal Pradesh to represent India in any international event. His chequered career across different fields reflects his passion for exploring new avenues and shows streaks of never-say-die attitude. Career in football to bureaucracy and then to politics, he has done it all. In many ways, he may have lost few battles of life here and there, but he has won the war of life with courage and determination like legendary ‘King Bruce’. Sipping tea in his cozy living room of a modest home at Vivek Vihar in Itanagar, Indrajit vividly remembers the Asian Youth Football Championship held at Saigon, Vietnam in 1964 as if it was played yesterday. His narration of that international football tournament is flawless. “Eight countries participated and even then India ended up last but one at rank 7 in the tournament,” he shares with a chuckle and mischievous smile on his face. With pride and nostalgia, he shares, “In our pool we played well to draw with Malaysian and Vietnamese team but lost to Burma.” Sharing his journey from small village to big city of Gauhati during NEFA days, Indrajit says, “In 1956 I went to Don Bosco High School, Gauhati and in 1960 I completed my matriculation and then joined Cotton College.” This was the period when he got introduced to football for the first time and it was a God gifted footballing talent that got embellished and meteorically, within 3 years of introduction to the game of football, he played the most prestigious tournament of then and of even now-Santosh Trophy in 1959. For 8 years, between 1960 upto 1968, he played club football in NEFA; and his loyalty was tied to the best known football club of that era, Guwahati Town Club. But as he puts it ‘ paradigm was completely different and football was not a lucrative career option those days like today’. Given the practical situation and options in life, Indrajit chose a career in bureaucracy; he joined as Circle Officer with NEFA government and took up his first assignment at Anini in 1969. “Those days, I tracked for days to reach Anini….once I reached Anini never left the station for 3 years,” he said. In 1972 he entered into nuptial bond and the very same year, he along with his newly-wed wife went to meet Chief Commissioner of NEFA, KAA Raja at Shillong. Impressed with his pedigree and that of his wife who is the first woman from Arunachal to possess MA degree, KAA Raja offered jobs to both of them at Shillong itself. Later in 1973 he moved his base to Itanagar along with rest of KAA Raja’s bureaucrats which included luminaries like JM Tangu, Takap Ringu and Jikom Riba. And he served government of Arunachal Pradesh till 1994. That was the very year when he opted for voluntary retirement from GoAP to enter electoral fray for legislative assembly from Chowkam. Though he lost the election that year but he came out victorious in his second attempt in 1999 from the same constituency. At later stage of his tenure as MLA between1999-2004, he handled Sports and Youth Affairs portfolio too. Once again, he became the first sportsperson to handle this ministry! he breath last at kolkata after a prolong illness and confined to his wheelchair yet his indomitable spirit is awe- inspiring despite the fact that many officials in state’s football federation and Olympic Association feel shock to heard the news of his death. It would have made a perfect picture to have legendary sporting heroes like Indrajit and Gumpe on the same dais during events like Queen’s Baton Relay. Wishful thinking may be! May his soul rest in peace.