Former Indian diplomat and Mizoram‘s renowned writer and song composer Lalthlamuong alias L. Keivom passed away after prolonged illness at a hospital in Delhi on Sunday.
He was 82.
Family sources said the former diplomat had been suffering from complicated ailments since June.
Later, he was diagnosed with cancer and had remained bed-ridden since then.
He breathed his last at Max Super Speciality Hospital in Delhi around 5:46 am on Sunday, sources said.
He is survived by four children, who live abroad.
Keivom, who was nicknamed as ‘Zoram Khawvel Pa’ after his masterpiece ‘Zoram Khawvel’ (a voluminous book) and for his outstanding contribution towards integration of ‘Zo hnathlak’ (descendants of Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi group), was born at Pherzawl, a remote village in Manipur’s Churachandpur district (now Pherzawl district) in 1939.
He belonged to the Hmar tribe, one of the major tribes of Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi group.
He graduated from DM College, Imphal (1963) and obtained master degree (History) from Gauhati University (1966).
He joined Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Excise) in 1967.
Later, he joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1970 and was posted in at least six foreign countries, including Italy and New Zealand, during his 32-year stint as an Indian diplomat.
He retired from service in 2002.
Keivom did not sit idle after his retirement as his passion and thirst for literature and music, which he believed was one of the most important contributing factors towards the unification of ‘Zo kindred tribes’, let him travelled different places of the Zo tribes and carved a niche among famous Mizo or Zo litterateurs.
During his 82 years long sojourn, Keivom had written and published at least 22 books in Hmar, Mizo and English and composed over 150 songs, including Hmar patriotic songs.
His book ‘Zoram Khawvel’ (8 volumes) won the prestigious Book of the Year by Mizo Academy of Letters in 1991.
Besides, he won many awards for his literary works and contributions towards Zo unification.
His book ‘Zoram Khawvel-4’ is sometimes compared with Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ for its insightful and authoritative discourse on Zo nationalism and unification.
He also translated Holy Bible and Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize-winning work ‘Gitanjali’ (both in Hmar language).
In 2009, he launched a website – Zoramkhawvel.com – the first professionally designed Mizo e-book of his works to enable Zo kindred tribes living in different parts of the world access his writings online.
Keivom was a student leader during his college days and designed the emblem (logo) of Hmar Students’ Association (HSA), one of the oldest student organisations among Zo kindred tribes established in 1939.
Meanwhile, sevaral Zo organisations, including Mizoram’s apex student body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Hmar Literature Society (HLS) and HSA have expressed sorrow over the demise of Keivom and conveyed condolences to his bereaved family.
The HSA has announced 7-day mourning at the demise of its former leader commencing from Monday.
The students’ body in a release on Sunday said the organisation flag will be flown at half-mast at its general headquarters campus in Churachandpur from November 29-December 5 as a mark of respect and tribute to the dignitary.