Mission friendship after three decades of separation
Dimapur, March 5 (EMN): It is not uncommon to hear of old friends reuniting after decades of separation, but there is an added poignancy when the story involves a former Indian soldier seeking to rekindle a bond he had built with the locals of a village in Mokokchung district during one of the most tumultuous periods of insurgency in Nagaland.
Anil Badhani, an ex-army man, was stationed in Nagaland from 1978-1984. Out of those six years, he was posted at Longjang village in Mokokchung district for two years with his unit, 10th Assam Rifles.
More than three decades since, he has been trying of late to reconnect with friends he had made during his stay at Longjang.
In a telephonic conversation with Eastern Mirror, Badhani, now a 60-year-old veteran settled in Dehradun as a builder, said that he made many friends during his stint at Longjang village (‘A’ khel).
“I was about 20 years of age and I remember Amongla Ao; we used to play cards all the time,” said Badhani.
He shared that Amongla’s grandmother used to make meals for him and his colleagues all the time. He also recalled the sister, Akhala Ao who married an army personnel, Lanu also from the 10th Assam Rifles.
“I even attended the wedding and party of Akhala and Lanu,” informed Badhani.
Despite the decades of separation, Badhani could remember the names of many other friends he had made at Longjang village.
“There was also Meren and his sisters Tiarenla and Watila; Meren married a girl from Longpa village and had a daughter named Chubala,” recalled Badhani and added that Tiarenla also had a son called Yimtiba.
According to him, Amongla’s home was a mere 100 metres away from the AR camp and Meren’s house was below the camp.
Badhani’s story first came to light through a Facebook post in which he had asked for help; and many well-wishers forwarded his story.
Joy Choudhury, an ex-army man himself now working with the Sainik board in Mokokchung, has offered to find out about the said persons.
Choudhury told this newspaper that the first step would be to confirm whether it is actually Longjang village as there is no ‘A’ khel in the village at present.
“One of my staff hails from Longjang village and I have asked him to go there and find out about the people he wants to reunite with,” informed Choudhury.
“It won’t be long before he is reunited with them if we can get information upon reaching Longjang,” said Choudhury.