Imphal, July 1 : The 114th passing out parade of the National Defence Academy (NDA) had something special this year.
Something special about the cadet, who commanded the passing out parade, as he made history in more than one-way.
The cadet was Romen Yumnam Singh from Manipur who became the first from Manipur to achieve this distinction in the history of the Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Khadakwasla.
What set Romen apart from the 286 gentlemen cadets who were commissioned as armed forces' officers? He was the first from Manipur to be awarded the President's Gold Medal for merit in academics and sports. He was also the recipient of the Best Army Cadet medal.
Romen and six other Manipuris of the 114th course have been commissioned as officers in the armed forces.
"If you want to dedicate yourself for the country, I feel defense is the best profession. It is a proud privilege like coming from the village and dedicating yourself for defence," said Romen.
A farmer's son, 21-year-old Romen comes from Langmeidong Maning Mayai Leikai of Thoubal district. His parents cannot speak Hindi or English. But their happiness is evident from the smile on their faces and the glint in their eyes.
For them, Romen is not only a source of pride for the family, but also an inspiration for the whole state.
"I am really happy. It's like a dream for us coming from a small village. The hard work and effort that my son went through and the sacrifices that we as parents made, we feel very happy. I believe that this happened because of the almighty," said Y. Pramo Devi, Romen's mother.
"We as parents didn't realize the extent of the achievement. It's a mixed feeling for us. We realized that the labour of my son has bore its fruit. Seeing the achievement of my son, I feel really proud and I am very grateful," said Yumnan Yaima, Romen's father.
Romen represents the new face of Manipur and the new attitude of a new generation. He represents the aspirations of all those who want to excel in life and proves the point that Manipur does not want to be cut off from the mainstream and wants to contribute to the nation building process and strengthen the unity and integrity of the country.