Meet India’s Next Dashrath Manjhi
Remember the story about Dashrath Manjhi? Here’s a similar story of dedication and selflessness.
Meet Armstrong Pame. Having graduated from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, Pame became the first IAS officer from the Zeme tribe. He currently lives in Manipur, located in Tamenglong, India.
So what’s so special about this guy?
The same as Dashrath Manjhi, because of his love for his town, Pame built a road connecting his town to its neighbors, Nagaland and Assam. And like Manjhi, this is a result of a promise that was never made true: the local government promised that the road asked for would be constructed.
An outbreak of malaria and typhoid also made matters worse. It took villagers two days, on foot, to reach the nearest hospital.
Pame decided that his village couldn’t wait any longer. The villagers really needed that road. So he reached out to family and friends in order to start the construction of the 100-kilometer road.
Pame’s brother, Jeremiah, said: “Armstrong and I grew up in a village in Tousem amid a lot of hardships. Our father was a schoolteacher and had a limited income. We used to walk down to the district headquarters about 60 km away, and carry 25 kilos of rice back home. It used to take us four days to go and come back, and the rations used to last for two weeks. When we came to Delhi for higher studies, we would survive on biscuits for days without enough money to buy food. The remoteness of our village ruined its economy, and we knew that unless there was a road, there would be no development. So when Armstrong proposed to undertake the venture, we all threw our lot with him.”
“My wife and I donated our one month’s salary, Armstrong paid five months’ of his, and our mother paid our dad’s one month’s pension of 5,000 rupees. Our youngest brother, Lungtuabui, recently started working. He donated his entire first month’s pay for the project,” Jeremiah added.
After gathering enough funds from friends, family, and other donations, the project is now ongoing. As of today, already the majority of the road is done. Roughly 70 kilometers is already finished.
“Work moved at a swift pace because there were dirt tracks already, but laying the next 30 km will be difficult as it is covered by dense forest. Nevertheless, we hope to complete the project before Christmas,” Armstrong Pame said.