The only surviving member of India’s first Parliament from 1952-57 usually strolls “a few paces” to keep fit. He is now walking that extra mile for his son.
Meet Rishang Keishing, the grand old man of Manipur’s often volatile politics. At 87, he is the oldest MP and the last link to the country’s first Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha member from Manipur.
Congressman Keishing is a living legend across the Tangkhul-inhabited hills of Manipur’s Ukhrul district, and his popularity is matched perhaps by that of his bete noire Thuingaleng Muivah, fellow tribesman and general secretary of the NSCN (I-M).
Keishing contested the first assembly election from his home constituency Phungyar in 1972. He won the seat seven times and become the state’s longest serving chief minister in several installments.
But time — rather, the NSCN (IM)’s agenda of integration of Naga-in habited areas — caught up with him and he lost Phungyar for the first time to Wungnaoshang Keishing of the regional MSCP in 2002.
Undaunted, Keishing made way for his eldest son Victor (44) to reclaim his constituency. “I am confident my son will live up to his name,” says the veteran leader.