He is not just a differently able person but just a great person. He is a writer, a social worker, and a dynamic dealer of hopes for many people living with disability in the state though a tragic unfortunate accident occurred during his teenage days left him disable.
Pheiroijam Kripa Meitei, from Nongada Awang Leikai, born in 1967, is an ordinary Differently Able Person (DAP), who has performed extraordinary tasks braving extraordinary challenges met in his life. Though his body parts are entirely paralysed, he has managed to write four books. But he does not write with his hand on paper or computer but with his mouth. When he writes anything he clenches the pen in between his upper and lower teeth. And today, his extraordinary courage and hard work helped him win many awards and recognitions from different individuals and organisations for his contributions towards empowering differently-able persons of the state.
He has won awards like: Man of Achievement Award, 1999 from International Publishing House; Best Citizen of India Award, 1999, 2000- 01 from International Publishing House; Bharat Jyoti Award, 2001 from India International Friendship Society; Role Model Award from Spastic Society of Manipur, 2009 etc.
For some time, the mishap knocked his life down completely, and his hopelessness hit the rock bottom. “I have confronted with lots of poignant pains in life and also lived about three-fourth of my past phases of life with an intense feeling and affecting thoughts, which made me ponders for an easiest way to die”,this is what P Kripa Meitei told Manipur Times while having a long but engaging conversation at his home located at Nongada Awang Leikai, a village on Imphal-Ukhrul road, which is nearly 25 km away from Imphal.
He added, “For almost 28 years, from 1985 to till today, I’ve been living my life happily using a wheel chair and a bed.”
But today, self-discrimination is a word which Kripa has learnt to delete from his life’s dictionary, and self-empowerment is what he has embraced with courage and strength to prove the world that differently able persons can become responsible, accountable and productive members of this society. And his works have made him received acknowledgement from people, and also some little economic source which made him not much dependent on his family rather he is economically supporting them up to some extent.
He said, “Today I want to live, I can’t die simply. I have realised that I am living in the condition of being essential to my birthplace and needed by the people like me.” He further maintained, “Now, my sole aim is to do something for my people, especially for disables”
Besides writing books, Kripa also actively involves in various disabled people’s organisations of the state that exclusively works to help address the issues faced by DAP, and he has also hold many analogous posts and also volunteered himself for any organisation and his role is like a bright light that lit up the life of many downtrodden and excluded ones.
According him, he has served as Secretary , Games & Sports in Eastern Lion Club, Nongada from 2004 – 2005; President in Eastern Lion Club, Nongada from 2006 – 2008; External Auditor in Amada Lamlai Local Council; Editor in ‘Matamgee Singnaba’, a quaterly journal; Spokesperson in Spastic Society of Manipur; Founder President of The Angamba Disabled People’s Organization, Manipur’; Founder President of Kangleipak Kanba Kanglup (KKK); Founder President of Rural Social Upliftment Welfare Organization, Nongada; Chairman of Managing Committee in Destitute Children English School; Treasurer of Sports Development Committee, Nongada; Founder President in Youth Amateur Boxing Academy.
Kripa, son of (L) Ph Krishan and (L) Nunghi, wished to nurture the young playersof his village before the mishap. He is a games and sports loving person who used to play football, Karate (martial arts) and Kabaddi etc. From the very early days of his life, he had a keen interest in social development works. He has also participated and volunteered in various welfare works with civil society organisations.
But, 12 April, 1985 came as a tragic day in his life. While playing gymnastics, his hand slipped from the bar and fell to ground from a 15 ft high that struck his neck and damaged his spinal cord severely. After admitting to the hospital, doctors told them the he might not come back to life and chances for recovery was too less. He remained in the hospital for 26 days in suspended animation mode. But he survived, though his body was entirely paralysed. He said, “I don’t know whether it was God’s grace or my destiny, that I survived’
After Mishaps and Success
Though, Kripa has spent 28 years of his life taking assistance of wheel chair and bed, he lives a successful and a vibrant life. He said, “I don’t feel depressed or ashamed to call me a disabled person because, I, myself understand who am I, my identity and my status. I empowered myself, and then showcased my ability to people what I can perform “.
When Manipur Times enquired how he has learnt to write and started writing, he recalled and said, “One day, I felt itchy on my head, so I tried to scratch the area nipping a sketch pen with my teeth but suddenly and eventually it gave a sketch on my hand that looked like a shape of a fish. This gave me an idea that I can possibly write through nipping pen with my teeth by giving some effort.’
Kripa has the written four books so far, and it has helped him earn recognition as well as money. His First book’Nungshiba Natte Tingkhangni’ was published in 1993, which is a novel, and later on he published three more books – ‘Tokpagi Macha Tokpa’, ‘Keigi Macha Kei’ (poetry)10th Nov 1997; ‘Revolutiongi Hiden Amada’ (Novel) 15th April 2000; ‘Phongkhidraba Paokhongsing’ (Novel) 14th November 2012 etc.
Now, Kripa has become a role model to many differently able persons of state. He told Manipur Times that many have started following his endurance to fight with uncouth reality, and his images and story gave strength and courage to many DAP to live and appreciate themselves. And he said his mission in life is ‘To empower and inspire Persons with Disability to live with dignity’.
When Manipur Times enquired about the support given to him in course of his journey, he said, “With love and empathy, my family gave me every care and support without exhaustion. And without them, I may not be the person I am now.” Kripa, who’s now 48-year old, is living with his brother’s family.
He further said, “If disable people are supported with love and care emphatically, then it can be said that there’s nothing impossible they can’t do”.He then said, “In this tiny state, we have got lots of talented persons who are disabled but they can perform exceptional tasks if they are provided a platform”.
Few of the Awards that L Kripa Meitei has received:
1. Man of Achievement Award, 1999 by International Publishing House
2. Best Citizen of India Award, 1999, 2000-01 by International Publishing House
3. Bharat Jyoti Award,2001 by India International Friendship Society
4. Millenium Medal of Achiever Award, 2001
5. Citation Awarded by RESEDO, Thanga on 3rd Dec.2008
6. Role Model Award by Spastic Society of Manipur, 2009
7. Dr. Ambedkar National Fellowship Award, 2011 by Bharatiya Dalit Sahitya Academy on 11th – 12th Dec. 2010 at New Delhi
8. R.K. Sanatombi Devi Memorial Award, 2011 on 10th Sep.2011 at Asha Hall
9. Mayanglambam Aber Ningsing Mana, 2012
His Mission: To empower and inspire Persons with Disability to live with dignity.