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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2642

Remembering Two Comrades – Xavier Rutsa and Limatemsu Jamir

By Oken Jeet Sandham

When we were yet to recover from the shocks of untimely and sudden demise of our Kohima Press Club (KPC) President, Xavier Rutsa, we have plunged into another shock by the untimely demise of our another media friend, Limatemsu Jamir.

These tragedies happened in a span of less than a year and unbelievable that they really left us for their heavenly abode. The saddest part is they left this earthly world at their young ages when they were leading from the front for the larger interest of the media fraternity. Their lives were cruelly snatched away when we needed them the most.

Xavier left us on June 11, 2018. We were scrambling to know how it happened to him. He was still serving as President of the prestigious and premier Press Club – ‘Kohima Press Club popularly known as ‘KPC.’ His tenure as President of the Club remains till June 2019.

Late Xavier was one journalist who continuously remained connected with members of the Club and also with other media personnel within and outside the State. He would always update members on the upcoming events and programs. The way he developed a relationship with media fraternity inside and outside the State was remarkable.

He successfully ran his own brand of Social Media News Platform called ‘News Of The Day’ (NOTD) with over 40 thousand users at the time of his demise. Looking at the way he updated NOTD on the latest news, it was like a running commentary. Sometimes, I was surprised as to how he updated NOTD on the latest news. But one thing was sure, by doing so, he was not only pulling a large number of readers and people towards NOTD but also helped the media persons who had the hunger for news. His news was widely considered as genuine and it was so.
Xavier came to this world of journalism in the late 1990s. He worked with leading local dailies that included the largest circulated and first daily, Nagaland Post, and North East Herald. He worked with a regional magazine, Eastern Panorama and also with leading national daily, Times of India.

He was sincere, punctual, hardworking and committed. He did not hesitate even for a moment to take a risk when his service was sought for. I remember asking his service to a couple of emergencies. He would, without question, rushed up to collectively solve them.

He always maintained good rapport with members of various establishments, institutions, civil societies, NGOs and political parties. He also served as an office bearer of some sports organizations in Nagaland. He was known as the encyclopedia of Nagaland as he was so thorough that he knew the sequence of many events in Nagaland.

One saddest moment that was writ large in his face was when our KPC Building was reduced to ashes, because our KPC building was part of the massive building blocks that were burnt down by the violent mobs on February 2, 2017. ‘Sir, our whole KPC Building was gone. We tried but we could not salvage our belongings,’ he told me with visibly chocking voice and misty eyes.

Later, he, KPC General Secretary Alice and I walked through the debris of our Club Building. None of us was talking. We were intensely emotional with gloomy faces as we walked through rubble. As we kept touching the remains, Xavier began murmuring once, ‘Here lies our KPC Building.’ It was unbearable seeing my two leaders looking and rummaging through the ruins.

When our tears and memories of Xavier were yet to leave us, we were woken up abruptly only to get news of untimely passing away of another sincere, hardworking, committed and informative journalist, Limatemsu Jamir, popularly known as Lima, on April 17, 2019.

As in Xavier case, Alice informed me to confirm if our friend Lima was no more. I was literally devastated but started panting with my heartbeats rising. ‘Oh, no, what is happening to us,’ I talked to myself as I was struggling to call up my media friends and non-media friends in Medziphema and Dimapur. ‘Yes, he passed away, today,’ they said.

Lima was a peculiar journalist who would successfully utilize the Internet. When Social Media came to our lives, he did not take time to use it, the most powerful weapon of the 21st Century.

One couldn’t help but appreciate the way he managed a WhatsApp Group called ‘News & Awareness Forum.’ Within no time, he could bring hundreds of media persons and non-media persons across the country to the ‘Forum.’ The members included from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Goa to North East and even from overseas.

He would include anyone who wanted to be in the ‘News & Awareness Forum.’ He developed a close relationship with many high-profile politicians not only from the State but also from other States and even from Delhi. He even kept a close relationship with high-profile bureaucrats. This clearly showed that he had an extraordinary journalistic quality.

He was also brave and always against the fake news. When others put up old news as fresh news, he would easily detect them in a few minutes. He would politely ask them to take them down. He was so intelligent that he would be able to see things well ahead before others were not even dreaming of. He always had a positive mind, even if others tried to mock at him, he would turn the game in such a way they would come to his side.

When the members were engaged in heated debates in the ‘Forum,’ sometimes, with parliamentary words, he would act as arbiter without hurting their egos. He would bring them to a level playing field.

It was uncanny that whenever he had health issues, he would not hesitate to share with almost all his friends whether he came across or never met them. This is something others could not do.

Look at the way condolences pouring in Social Media Platforms and ‘News & Awareness Forum’ from people who said they never met him. They even shared that they were all informed that he was not keeping well. That was how he earned his sincerity and honesty from all.

For me, sometime last part of 2018, I saw him frail when I met him at Kohima. We had mushroom soup together and I never knew that would be our last meeting.

I could not help him much but thank God that we could meet TR Zeliang, who had returned as Chief Minister that time, at the Secretariat. I explained to him about Lima’s health problem. Zeliang was kind enough for his generosity to him. I personally thank him for it.

A person’s deeds are only known when they left us from this earthly world. And whoever becomes a leader of any organizations, their works, contributions, and dedications are usually not known by their own followers, by their own team members, and even by their close associates. We often fail to realize the works, responsibilities and even risk they usually take while leading the organizations. But all these extraordinary qualities of leaders are only known when they left us.

It is so unique and mysterious, sometimes, that leaders will never share their personal problems they have undergone. Most of the time, they will keep all their personal problems and pains behind and start listening to others’ problems with smiles ever ready to face them together.

It is so sad that we lost our two prominent, sincere, dedicated, committed, dependable and informative journalists – Xavier and Lima – in a span of less than one year.

Yet, we never knew about our journey as to how long they will last. It is not in our control. We have also learned lessons from our leaders as to how they endured in this unpredictable and complicated world. All these incidents only give as to understand our lives in a deeper way. Our Comrades’ untimely deaths should not go in vain. It would only give the fraternity more strength, and at the end, we are only human.

- Asian Tribune -
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 Kohima Press Club President, Xavier Rutsa, and  media friend, Limatemsu Jamir.
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