The 111th birth anniversary celebrations that kickstarted on 20 February 2023 at Ukhrul Headquarters culminated on Monday with John SR Khathing unveiling a statue of his father Maj Bob Khathing at Awontang, Ukhrul in the presence of Brigadier Vaibhav Shinde, Col. Anand Manwal, Col. Manoj Shinde and leaders of Hunphun Village Authority
TFM Ukhrul Correspondent
Seventy-two years after he brought Tawang in present Arunachal Pradesh under India’s administrative control, Assam Rifles under the aegis of IGAR (S) on Monday honoured the legend Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing by unveiling his statue on Monday at Awontang, Ukhrul.
The 111th birth anniversary celebrations of Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing that kickstarted on 20 February 2023 at Ukhrul Headquarters culminated on Monday with John SR Khathing unveiling a statue of his father Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing at Awontang, Ukhrul in the presence of Brigadier Vaibhav Shinde, Col. Anand Manwal, Col. Manoj Shinde and leaders of Hunphun Village Authority.
The unveiling of the statue is significant because Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing has been a household name among the Tangkhuls. Yet it is rare to find any of his pictures or images installed in his memory. Today’s unveiling of statue by Assam Rifles is a befitting honour to the legend for his great service to the nation.
It is also worth mentioning that, in February 2021, Arunachal Pradesh Governor Brigadier (retired) B D Mishra has laid the foundation stone at Tawang, bordering China, at a function which was attended by Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu, among others. A statue of Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing was also unveiled and Arunachal Pradesh government bestowed Arunachal Ratna, the state’s highest civilian award posthumously upon him in recognition of his service to the nation.
Speaking at the occasion, John SR Khathing lauded the initiative of Assam Rifles in organising such program to commemorate the birth anniversary of his father. He stated “It is a very heartwarming occasion for our family to be present here for the closing ceremony of the Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing Tournament. While my wife and I have witnessed the final tournament on earlier occasions, this year, my brother, sister and family are present. I have always been following this tournament the past few years. It has been encouraging to witness the enthusiastic participation by various teams in different games. In fact, today, the football final match was very exhilarating. I congratulate the two teams for putting such a fantastic football display.
“The Assam Rifles has initiated this tournament and other engagements in memory of Late Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing after his birth centenary celebration in 2012. Many may know that during his young student days, then Khathing Ralengnao was a keen sportsman and his favourite game was football. He had been playing football for Ukhrul while in school and was a team member of his college, which was Cotton College, Gauhati. So, the Assam Rifles and Ukhrul District Sports Association have truly, through this tournament honored his memory. Our family fully appreciated and congratulated the organisers for conducting this tournament. Also, we complimented and thanked the competing teams for their participation. After all, without them, this tournament would not have been so successful. Intact, I am told that the response for registration was very high. This is a very good and healthy sign. I believe that such a tournament can usher in peace, unity and love among our people. With such a positive mindset, a lot of good can be achieved.
He further continued, “Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing was just not my father, he was first a son of the soil, a proud Tangkhul. I hope the people of his hometown Ukhrul will become more aware of him and get inspired to achieve even greater heights in life.”
Brigadier Vaibhav Shinde, in his closing address, stated, “It gives me immense pleasure to address you all at the closing ceremony of the 9th edition of Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing Sports Tournament undertaken on the occasion of the 111th birth anniversary celebration. I feel honored to be standing here surrounded by such an incredible community of people who have come together to celebrate the spirit of sportsmanship.” The tournament was conducted under the aegis of IGAR(S) with three major disciplines – the men’s football, women’s volleyball and under-12 years Baby League.
“The tournament this year has been a resounding success and we have witnessed a very scintillating performance during the current final that has just unfolded in front of us. Along with the teams from across the region competing in spirit of sportsmanship and fair play has come to the culmination of this edition. I would like to congratulate all the participating teams, their coaches for their hard work and dedication. You have shown that football and volleyball is not just a game but a way of life that teaches us the values of teamwork, discipline and perseverance. To the young under-12 years, you have shown great enthusiasm and dedication to the sports. Your passion for the game is evident in the way you played and you have inspired us with your energy and commitment. Keep up the great work and never stop playing the game you love.”
Brigadier Vaibhav Shinde added, that “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Ukhrul District Sports Association, the organisor of the tournament for their tireless effort in making this event a success. I also take this opportunity to thank the District Administration, Police, BRTF and Fire Department for their proactive support and cooperation. It is through collective hardwork and dedication that we have been able to witness such a thrilling display of football and volleyball.
“I also take this opportunity to pay tribute to Late Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing in whose honour this tournament is undertaken. Late Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing was a visionary leader who believed in the power of sports and to bring people together and promote the spirit of unity and brotherhood. I am sure that he would be proud of the efforts made by the players and the organisor to make this tournament a success. Finally, I would like to encourage all of you to continue to uphold the values of sportsmanship. Let us continue to strive for excellence, but also let us respect our opponent and celebrate their achievements. Sports bring out the best in us and it is our duty to carry the spirit of sportsmanship forward. I am sanguine that the season has been an enjoyable and memorable experience for all individuals and I look forward to seeing everyone again next year.”
In the final football match played today, Hunphun Phungcham Football Association (HPFA) defeated Haokok FC in a penalty shootout after the match ended in 3-3 full-time to become the new champion of the 9th edition of Maj Ralengnao Bob Khathing Football Tournament 2023. In the penalty shoot-out, HPFA overcame Haokok FC by a score margin of 9-8. Around 3000 football lovers came and witnessed the final match played today.
Organised by the 10 Sector Assam Rifles, Somsai under the aegis of IGAR(S) in collaboration with Ukhrul District Sports Association (UDSA), Maj Ralengano Bob Khathing Tournament is becoming one of the most popular sports events in Ukhrul Headquarters.