RECALLING - THE MAN OF GREAT VIRTUES P.A.SANGMA
Eastern Panorama|September 2020
As September approaches there begins a change in Delhi, morning becomes cooler, midday sun a bit friendly, humidity too pretends to be packing off and a sense of an all-pervasive thermal comfortability becomes visible outdoors. I still remember P A Sangma was born on 1st September 1947and the remembrance takes me to look back and a montages of memories come crowding in: some events are still clear while some got blurred, perhaps the inner flash is partly diffused.
I first got him as my student at St Anthony’s College Shillong. Generally students write about their teachers, but today I plan to write about my former student Purno Agitok Sangma who always carried a basketful of sunshine where ever he went. Padma Vibhushan (well deserved though Posthumously Awarded) Purno had a meteoric rise in politics. Meghalaya is grateful to Father Giovanni Battista Busolin, who became Purno’s ‘philosopher and guide” who had spotted in this young boy the seeds of brilliance and a brighter healthier tomorrow, who felt that the chrysalis in him was bound to turn into a charming butterfly ready to crest the peak of excellence. Purno is always remembered for his bustling and cheerful style. An impressive orator his lapidary and piquant speeches had a distinct flavour of bubbling humour smeared with a pinch of refreshing wit, sometimes sprinkled with oxymoronic tidbids. In fact, he had that infectious smile which was a simulacrum of happiness.

I still remember, when I heard the news of Sangma’s sudden death on 4 March 2016, I was at Delhi and was stunned. I could not believe that Purno would leave us so soon. My first reaction was why such a bright star of the Indian political sky had to leave the world so early and felt uttering like Lear “stay a while”. My prosaic language was unable to reflect the poetry of the silent anguish of my feelings. And soon memories began sandwiching and I could see Purno as a young boy of BA first year. Since then, I was fortunate for he had maintained contact with me off and on despite his very busy schedule: as a young leader of the Indian National Congress, then as an MP, as Union Deputy Minister etc and finally as Speaker of the Lok Sabha.

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