WORLD CHAMPION PROFESSOR: Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar Meetei – I

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Source : Finding The Voices

Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar Meetei grew up in a very poor family of 10 siblings. He was born at Uripok as the youngest child of all the siblings while his parents were taking shelter at his mother’s elder sister’s home at Uripok Polem Leikai, Imphal. Being illiterate, his parents couldn’t get jobs to feed the children at Imphal. It was the heaviest burden his father and mother bore. So the family moved to Kanglatongbi to earn a living. Two of his brothers and a sister died at their tender age unable to fight the endless torture of malnutrition. Shantikumar grew up most of his childhood at Kanglatongbi. When he was about 12 years old, his eldest and second brothers brought him to Sagolband Moirang Hanuba Leirak, Imphal, and thus he started his schooling there. He was admitted to one of the cheapest school at Tera Sapam Leirak. In those years, the family of a world champion seldom had two meals a day even though his brothers so hard in Imphal and his parents working in other villager’s farms day and night.

Student Life

He acquired his bachelor’s degree in English from DM College, Imphal in 1989. The family still fought the war of poverty but his will never let him down to achieve something precious. He could pass out the National Entrance Test to admit to University and thus he was admitted to JNU, Delhi. Out of all the odds he did MA, M Phil and Ph.D. there at JNU. The 8 years of student life at JNU is still haunting his memories, he recounts. Poverty was the only hurdle he could not cross throughout the youth part of his life. He could not even pay his hostel mess fees, although it was just a sum of Rs 400-500 a month. So his name was almost always at the top on the eviction list. In the first 2 years, he got help from his elder brother, Manglemjao and the next year from his brother, Ibocha but they were poor, too. So he stopped asking help and hold in his heart that he would not bother them anymore. To make up the pot-holes in his financial stringent, he began searching part-time works. He worked at Airport that could earn Rs. 100 to 200 in a night shift, he worked as salesman selling products for some company or sometime he worked as an English tutor getting Rs. 80-100 in an hour. Thus he kept on searching for one or other works to support himself. He also worked in the gyms. Shantikumar worked for money, but sometimes he got milk instead of money from the gym Manager. He never complained or regret on whatever they repaid him. What he never quitted was to study, no matter his stomach was empty or starved. But the last more than a year was different. His wife helped him financially, thus could finish his Ph. D. peacefully.

Regret Most

The incident he regrets most and will remain forever in his heart was during his bachelor in DM College. Once he had to buy books as the Annual Examination was getting near, but he had hardly any money. He was so sad and frustrated, so, he decided to sell his blood to the District Hospital to get some money. He walked down to the Hospital and set ready according to his plan. The fellow in the counter took the blood sample and went for few tests. After few minutes Shantikumar was told that his blood couldn’t be sold as the blood group was found to be AB+. The AB+ blood could be transfused to only those who have the same blood group, AB+, and there were no blood banks to store the blood for future use. He was so frustrated and disappointed as he couldn’t even sell his own blood. Many a time he cried secretly to quench the sadness of his misfortune. Sorrow never let him free, his mother died young at the age of 56 when he was at JNU. He did not have enough money to come back home timely to see her before her last journey to heavenly abode. The day when he reaches home, it was already nine days passed from the day his mother died. He felt very sorry that he could never repay the debt he owes her. Being the youngest child in the family he never got scold or beat from his mother. He was the most loving son to his mother. So he dedicated his Mr. World title to his mother and to all the mothers of Manipur, Shantikumar recounts.

Life and Journey to Taiwan

The year, 1995 when Shantikumar was pursuing higher study at JNU, South Korea organized an International Youth Festival in which students and scholars from different culture representing their own country or state turned up there. He represented India and flew to South Korea where he met his wife for the first time. She is Chinese from Taiwan and M.A. in Sociology. In response to her invitation to come to Taiwan, Shantikumar went there and met her parents, friends and all near and dear ones. He stayed there for 13 days. The next year in 1996 she came to India and they got married in Manipur on Dec. 20 in Meetei culture. Next year, in 1997, Shantikumar came to Taiwan to be around with his pregnant wife. Now the father and mother are blessed with 4 kids – 2 daughters and 2 sons.

Memoirs of a Body builder cum Professor

Shantikumar is now 49 years old. Sport is something that he loves a lot and education is the one he never compromise. Being grown up in a poor family, he suffered at every intervals of life. He never had good diet to strengthen up his weak and tired body. While he was at JNU, he used to buy clothes and shoes from Sunday Market only because it was the only means that lie within his affordability. He kept it secret from his friends in fear of discrimination. He was helpless and there were no room for poor people like him in Delhi. He narrates from his memory about the incident of Hostel-Night at JNU. He had hardly any money to invite his friends to join the party and the dinner. But he had to invite, as it was the JNU culture. In many Hostel Nights he would sit in a corner and think about how to pay back the extra mess fees instead of marry-making and joining the party, he recounts. Most of the time he couldn’t even pay his single mess bill making his name on top in the eviction list.

His father died in 2005 at the age of 80 and he could not see him like that happen to his mother’s. He was not allowed to leave Taiwan, as he had not served in the army yet (compulsory in Taiwan).

Achievements

Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar Meetei, Ph.D., Professor of English won 1st positions in Mr. Sub-Junior Manipur (1 time), Mr. Delhi (4 times), Mr. Northern India (3 times), Mr. Northern India Overall title winner (1 time), Mr. Taiwan National (14 times), Taiwan National Games (3 times), Mr. Hong Kong Invitation (1 time), Mr. East Asia (1 time), Mr. Senior Asia (1time, becoming the first Manipuri to get the title), and most recently, in the month of July, 2013 Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar Meetei beat the whole world in the Mr. world Champion, 2013, Greece   and brought Gold medal for Manipur.
Also, He had competed East Asia (4 times), Senior Asian (7 times), Asian Games (2 times, 6th position twice, and Mr. Universe 6 times (2 times 9th place, 3 times 10th place and 1 time 14th place).

He clearly writes, in his nearly complete chapter “Alien in my own Country”, that JNU is a place of good social-minded people, there are no discrimination inside the campus unlike the views and responds of the people outside.

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