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St. Anthony's College pays Tribute to Late Purno A. Sangma

By Michael Makri
Dignitaries representing the various faith communities of Meghalaya at the function.
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Shillong, Mar. 16. St Anthony's College organized an all-faith memorial service to pay tribute to the late Purno Agitok Sangma, former Lok Sabha Speaker and Tura MP on 12th March in the College Auditorium. Mr. Sangma was an alumnus of the college, where he had completed his graduation in political science in the year 1956-58. He passed away on March 4 in New Delhi following a massive heart attack. People who attended the service and paid tribute included students and college alumni, representatives of different religious institutions, church leaders, political leaders and Sangma's family.
The gathering turned emotional while watching a video clip of the last speech made by him where he expressed concern over the lack of debate in Parliament. They were touched by Sangma's articulate presentation and were moved to tears.
Archbishop of Shillong, Rev. Dominic Jala, recalled his personal experience with Sangma at Don Bosco Dibrugarh, where he (Sangma) was a teacher and looked after the boys in the hostel. He also attended law classes in the evening. The Archbishop said, '' He was like Don Bosco to the people. He helped the young students who were the weakest and as for the students who were struggling, he provided them tuitions.''
Arch. D. Jala added, ''He was never depressed or discouraged and would never want us to get things easily, including reservation, as he believed that we should work hard to achieve things in life. The nation has lost a leader who always fresh with ideas and committed to development''.
Many leaders from various religious groups spoke on the occasion. Among many others who spoke were Rev. G.S. Lyttan, administrative secretary of the Presbyterian Church of India, Sayeedullah Nongrum, general secretary of the Shillong Muslim Union, Rev. E.N. Sangma of the Baptist Church,  Assistant secretary of Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Vedasarananda, Rev. Pachao of the Mizo Baptist Church, Amit Ranhotra of the Sikh community, Advocate M. Khalid Khan, activist and editor of the Shillong Times Patricia Mukhim.
H. Syiem, Political science professor of the college termed Sangma a ''humble man in his greatness'', whom many were expecting to contribute a lot. ''He will be one of the most-remembered political leaders that the college has produced. When will another like him come?'' Syiem wondered.
Sangma's eldest son and MLA James thanked God for giving him such an exemplary father and conveyed the family's gratitude to the alma mater of late Sangma for the memorial service. He thanked the Salesian fathers who took his father under their wings and nurtured him physically and spiritually. He also thanked everyone who had supported the family and for their prayers in their bereavement.
Floral tributes were paid by dignitaries, including home minister Roshan Warjri, in the presence of MLAs Nihim D. Shira and Saleng A. Sangma, among others. A moment of silence was observed as respect for the departed soul. Special numbers including Abide with me led by Abigail and group poignant the auditorium. (Fr. Gervasius Nongkseh SDB)
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