Post Mortem

Tribute to late Sir Yajen Aier, my mentor

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/8/2018 10:21:54 AM IST

 Mother Nagaland has given birth to many worthy sons and daughters, who have carried the banner of this great land to a long way. Nagaland has produced many reputed politicians, distinguished educationists, lustrous players, doctors, engineers, administrators and so on. Their names are written in letters of gold in the annals of Nagaland as well as of the whole India.

Among all these great personalities, the name of Late Sir Yajenlemba alias Yajen Aier is shining brightly. He may well be called a luminary in the sky of Education of Nagaland.

An unforgettable and unfading personality that he was, Sir Yajen Aier was born on 16th August, 1914 at Mopungehuket village of Mokokchung District. His father’s name was Martsiingba Aier and mother’s Imlikala Jamir.

He had a happy childhood. As a student, he was very intelligent and disciplined. He was loved by all his teachers. Sir Aier lived a value-based life. Christian values illuminated his whole life and it was rooted in his childhood. From his very childhood, he was God-fearing and possessed a keen moral sense. After his schooling, he was admitted into Serampore College and from that college, he obtained his graduation in 1945. He had an innate love for education, which brought him to the profession of teaching. He joined as an Assistant teacher in a school at Mokokchung. Later on, in 1952,  he joined as Deputy Inspector of schools at Kohima. He was rising to the peak of his career and in 1967, he was appointed as the Director of Education of Nagaland. As the Director of Education, he was dynamic and brought about many reforms in the Education System of Nagaland. He retired in 1975.

In 1997, Late Sir Aier wrote a book “Growth of Education in Nagaland.” The ‘Foreword’ of the book was written by Dr. S.C. Jamir, the then Chief Minister of Nagaland. In his ‘foreword’, Dr. Jamir wrote, “This book, which is perhaps the first attempt to trace the history of education in Nagaland will be useful not only for the students of education, but also beneficial to policy-makers when we attempt to define new parameters of education in Nagaland for the future. I am happy that such a book has been brought out with great effort by Shri Yajen. Aier, who has been a pioneer educationist in Nagaland. He has also rich experience in the Government of Nagaland education processes having worked a number of years as Director of Education. I am sure this book will be of great benefit to one and all”. This ‘Foreword’ is self-explanatory.`

After his retirement, he settled in Dimapur. But he was not the man to sit idle. He was a true Christian and a philanthropist from the very core of his heart. His heart was filled with the milk of human kindness and so, he became absorbed in Social Services. 

He was associated with many organisations, some of which are mentioned below:

i. Member, Zonal Board of LICI (North East).

ii. Member, Sahitya Akademy General Council.

iii. CBCNEI Education Board.

iv. Member & Vice-Chairman, Nagaland Peace Centre.

v. Chairman, Nagaland Bhasa Parishad.

vi. Vice-Chairman, Nagaland State Co-oprative Bnak Ltd.

vii. Member, Marketing Consumer Federation.

viii. Executive Member, ABAM.

ix. Permanent invitee to the Indian confederation of Agriculture etc.

x. President of I.N.T.U. and Vice-President NPCC (I).

I am fortunate enough that I had a personal relation with him. He was my friend, philosopher and guide. He was my mentor. He loved me from the very core of his heart. I am proud that I am blessed with his love and affection. I used to go to his residence ‘Grace Cottage’ at Lake View Colony, Dimapur very often and he discussed with me about many affairs. He talked about Nagaland - the land of myths and festivals, brave warriors and tribal richness. They lure the adventurous hearts. The dazzling array of ethnic lifestyles opens up a fresh insight into a land that has a prism-like beauty. Blue-hued mountains and emerald expanses present an unforgettable panorama. Late Sir Aier was an ardent lover of nature. He used to tell me about the rich tradition and natural beauty of Nagaland.

Under his active and far-sighted dynamic guidance, we opened a literary-cultural organisation “GALAXY” in 2001. It was a little effort for the literary and cultural assimilation of the people of North-East. Late Sir Aier was the Founder President of the organisation, while Navojyoti Datta was the General Secretary.

In 2002, we published a booklet ‘CHETANA’ means ‘AWARENESS’ (First issue- the name was suggested by Shri Abakash Chakraborty, the Joint Editor of ‘Chetana’). In that booklet, a renowned poem of Rabindranath Tagore ‘Where the Mind is Without fear’ was translated into local dialects like Ao, Tenyidie, Sumi, Lotha, Hindi and Assamese. Late Sir Aier personally took the initiative and he himself translated the poem into Ao dialect. Other translators were Mrs. K. Terhuja, Ex-Principal, Christian Higher Secondary School, Dimapur, Rev. Inaho G. Swu, Pastor, Dimapur Sumi Baptist Akukuhou, Dimapur, Rev. E.N. Ezung, Senior Associate Pastor, Lotha Baptist Church, Dimapur, Shri Deben Chandra Bora, Jorhat, Assam and Mrs. V. Shivani, Hindi-Teacher, PVHSS, Dimapur. In 2002, as per the direction of Sir Yajen Aier, we met Shri Shymal Datta, the then His Excellency Governor of Nagaland. We gave him the reference of Sir Yajen Aier and showed him our works. He was very much impressed and invited the team of ‘GALAXY’ to join the Nagaland Festival to be held at Swabhumi, Kolkata, West Bengal. Sir Aier was very happy and permitted us to join the Festival. It was held in the month of November, 2002. In that Festival, Miss Sharmistha Mukherjee, a member of ‘GALAXY’ presented two songs of Rabindranath Tagore in Ao dialect, while Gayatri Roy Choudhury, another student member presented two Rabindra Sangeets- one in Nagamese and another in Lotha dialect. When we came back to Dimapur, Sir Aier was overjoyed and he blessed us. Later on, Mrs. Priti Bhattacharya, another member presented one Rabindra Sangeet in Tenyidie in a programme, organised by NEZCC, Nagaland in Dimapur. Afterwards, in another programme, organised at Town Hall, Dimapur, Mrs. Priti Bhattacharya sang another song in Sumi dialect. After the programme, Sir Aier blessed Mrs. Priti. 

In 2003, we published the second issue of ‘CHETANA’, wherein five songs and poems of Rabindranath Tagore were translated in most of the dialects of North East like Ao, Tenyidie, Sumi, Lotha, Mizo, Kokbarakh (Tripura), Adi (Arunachal Pradesh), Lyngngam (Khasi-Meghalaya), Manipuri, Nepali, & Assamese . Besides the local translators, scholars from outside Nagaland also translated the poems into their local dialects. Moreover, two Ao Folk tales were translated into English by Shri T. Susan Ao and Bengali by Shri Prakash Chakraborty. The Editor of ‘CHETANA’ was Navojyoti Datta and the Joint Editor Shri Abakash Chakraborty, while Shri Chitta Das was an active member. The President of the Editorial Board was Sir Yajen Aier. 

Whatever we did, it was possible only because of the initiative and active guidance of Late Sir Yajen Aier. We shall remain indebted to him for ever.

Sir Yajen Aier is no more. He left us for his Heavenly abode on 8th April, 2011. But his spirit is still there, which is always guiding us. His life is his message. It is a message that a person can reach the pinnacle of glory through his earnest endeavour and determination. His life will remain a source of never-ending inspiration for all of us and for the posterity. 

I convey my heartfelt thanks, gratitude, love and regards to the Heavenly soul of Late Sir Yajen Aier. 

Sources :

i. ‘Growth of Education in Nagaland’ by Yajen Aier.

ii. The first and second issues of ‘CHETANA’, published by ‘GALAXY’, Dimapur,             Nagaland in 2002 & 2003.

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