For those at the helm of affairs to be compassionate and empathic to the state of existence of the ones most affected by their governing of those affairs is a ‘qualification’ that might not be vital to their scripting own tales in success. But in availing for their own that certain contentment and satisfaction that which is the most befitting definition of true success, it would be but such desires in community betterment and social upliftment that works out the path leading to a definitive identity in such superhuman almost standards in doing that makes them the idols and role models and changemakers and therefore the true epitome of success in and by themselves as a whole.
Precedents like this might not be too few and far between in a world harbouring still ideals in goodness but they sure aren’t as commonplace as well. Which is why perhaps the ones embodying for real such aspirations as part of their very nature tend to enjoy so much exaltation of their stature as humans even when it is something only basic that need to occur out of our proclaimed identity in species superiority. No wonder then it occurs as more than heartwarming an encounter of true humane revelation when one chances upon such accounts of real success that relates to both these constituents in ordinary a lauding of extraordinary spirits that exudes in much prominence the pride of a human quality.
Among one such champions of change, celebrated in all their virtues, is a Manipuri man who has dedicated his prestige of the IAS identity in standing as close to his core identification as a civil servant as possible. Fondly called the Miracle Man for his effecting indeed what is no less than a wonder and blessing alike for the people of a region he himself hails for, the ‘ambitiously named’ Armstrong Pame has strived to remain as rooted to his grounds as possible, unfurling in tandem an exercise in immense but humble responsibility while drawing upon the power of a position he yields by sheer dint of hard work and determination.
As the first such government officer of high rank to have the IAS recognition alluding to him in his arising from the Zema Naga tribe, Pame’s distinction is anyway one that accords him all the respect and admiration and exaltation back home in the greatest measure of what is imaginable. But it isn’t recognition upon which he feeds, deriving instead his soul satiating share from being a selfless server of the society that has made him what he wanted to be. In his more than a decade long career as a true son of the land, Pame has done all that is within his capacity and even beyond to do full justice to his inclusion in one of the most prestigious arenas of societal and national administration.
The mavericks effected by this man of many resolves might be as miscellaneous but what endows him that special identity of being the Miracle Man that he is is his stupendous effort in facilitating the construction of a 100 km road without any government aid whatsoever. A native of the Impa village of Tousem, Pame had been first hand witness of the hardships and neglect that the dwellers in that remote part of the country has been enduring since forever.
Particularly in the absence of a well defined road, the residents of the area have forever found themselves bearing the burden of an existence in general and a survival in particular, both in terms of essential life commodities and services as an appalling but defining attribute of their identity. Stirred by such encounter in inaccessibility since as long as he could remember, Armstrong Pame took it upon himself to carve a path- very literally indeed- that would provide the people of the region with a route through which they can march upon to attain the goals in development.
Pame did indeed seek out government funds initially but once he was unable to secure the approval of the finances, he took it upon himself to still make that vision a reality. And thus he began with his own contribution of 5 lakh rupees, followed by his elder brother lending a sum of Rs 1 lakh even as his mother chipped in with the Rs 5000 out of her husband’s pension. Even his youngest brother contributed his entire first salary for the cause before they all set about utilising the immensely ‘endowed’ platform of Facebook to raise a significant fund of Rs 50 lakhs.
Help poured in even from overseas for Pame to realise his intentions, following which he even negotiated with the local contractors and managed to secure the earth movers and road rollers for free. Not to be left behind were the people for whom this undertaking was carried out in all spirit by the worthy son of the region as they all engaged themselves physically in this daunting task of road building.
After much efforts, Armstrong Pame along with the people of his community succeeded in building that long stretch of what would very aptly come to be known as People’s Road, connecting first the 60 kilometer stretch from Tousem to the district headquarters, then to the nearest highway running between the states of Nagaland and Assam and finally to a railway station at Mahur in Assam.
That a road connecting three states of the country could be eked out outside of a government proposal by the intentions of a single individual was already a massive win in itself but the fact that the construction involved navigating and cutting across the hilly terrain also further demonstrates the arduousness of what was undertaken and points therefore to the grit and commitment of this young officer who managed to make it a thumping assertion in reality. Completed as well in just a year of its inception in August 2012, this monumental task of massive significance in both its physicality and essence continue to define the identity of Pame and the region alike, declared as it has been the National Highway 137 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways underlining indeed its importance in strategic as well as basic intent.
Such pursuit of his person, that which defines in fact the dynamic resourcefulness that Armstrong Pame encompasses within himself are lauding of the character of this civil servant and not just in the magnificence of them. It also is his intriguing means in constantly attempting to effect such changes in society that has made Pame standout as one of the more celebrated bureaucrats of the country. Particularly in his 2017 gesture in inviting school children to his home every Friday for dinner to grant them an insight into the the mechanism of work that goes on inside the office of the District Administration so as to motivate them to strive and emerge as a part of the setup, Pame manifested once again his administrative brilliance and continues to do so time and again with such innovative and as wholehearted endeavor that has only made him all the more favorite a presence among his people.
It isn’t just the masses that are so personally impacted by the intent and effort of this young soul buzzing with ideas that are in awe of Pame’s efficiency in governance. Recognised also in this vein of his working with numerous honors and awards bestowed, like the Abdul Kalam Innovation in Governance Award, the All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice’s 2015 Most Eminent IAS Officer Award and India’s distinguished IAS Officers Award 2022 for Excellence in Public Policy and Governance has been this 2009 batch officer of the Manipur Cadre.
Recognised also as a Global Leader of the class of 2018 by the World Economic Forum as well as one of the 100 Future Leaders emerging as being one of the most influential young people in the government, it still is his road building prominence though that charted out for Armstrong the route in real success rather early on in his career. In fact so trailblazing had been his single handed drive in making a road out of nowhere that also earned him an invitation from Facebook at their headquarters in California to share with them how he leveraged the potential of the social media site to this effect. The association followed also with Pame finding public acknowledgment from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who hosted him for high tea at the DAVOS World Economic Forum, 2019.
What has ensued for Pame in terms of success and recognition and applause throughout the span of his career in much distinction, notably effected at the global level even in his more concentrated working within regional realms, is only an extension of the numerous such accolades and achievements that have been the marker of his character since his school days. A brilliant student all his life, Pame’s 3rd position standing in First Division in his Higher Secondary exams paved the way for his admission to the prestigious St Stephen’s College in Delhi where his merit helped him stay put on the strength of scholarships and financial aids. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 2005 along with the distinction of being the Best Student of the Year, Pame rounded up his college days with also the reputation of being the Best Debater on numerous occasions at both the University and National level.
Pame’s shining measure of success also manifested in his 7th standing in the all India rankings at the All India Level Entrance Examination for Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in 2005 though he would not go on to pursue engineering. The journey continued unabated and in fact charted out greater heights of glory for the hardworking young lad who in 2007 cleared the Civil Services Examination to avail for himself a position in the Indian Revenue Service in Custom and Central Excise. Bettering this already phenomenal performance the very next year by cracking the top ranks to find identity as an IAS officer, Armstrong Pame established himself in a recognition that continues to define his person and not merely in the status of it.
In attaining his life’s mission to become a civil servant and serve thus the society with all dedication and enthusiasm for the betterment of it, Armstrong Pame has scripted a story that isn’t just about basking in the success of his efforts. It in fact is in continuing to endeavor for such success that concerns all, outside his own as well and in ultimate satisfaction that this Miracle Man of Manipur has achieved already in his youth much of what he dreamt about making a reality in his truly worthy life.