Dr. Rev. Ben Wati: A tribute

PANGER AONOK, Advocate
Shillong Bar Association, Shillong.

On the fateful morning of 16th June 2012, with deep sorrow and pain my family at Shillong got the sad news of the demise of Dr; Rev, Ben Wati, from my nephew Mr. Samuel Lam, of Dimapur. Dr Ben Wati a contemporary of my father (Late) I. Sensen Aonok, was born on 18th December, 1920 at Impur. He was the eldest amongst 12 (twelve) siblings of (Late) Imchaba Master of Changki village, Nagaland, and the most illustrious son. He was a true discipline and apostol of Christ, a man endowed with boundless wisdom, his worldly knowledge know no bound, a Bible scholar of great repute, an outstanding theologian, a very learned man and a gentleman of the highest order, and above all a very simple man and down to earth creature. During his life time he has relentlessly make all effort to popularize and espouse  the cause of Ao literature and literary work. Keeping this in mind he has authored a good number of books and composed songs in Ao naga dialects. His Autobiography (Peitakemzelu Ka) “Impur Chanu” written in Ao dialect published in 1999, is a masterpiece and worth  reading. One of his literary work also includes in the translation of Gitanjali, “where the mind is without fear” composed by the nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore into Ao dialect (Vernicular Ao Language) in the year 1959. Over and above his greatest contribution towords the Ao naga community and the Ao churches in particular was the herculean task of translation of Holy Bible into Ao Temeshi Lai, in this endeavour he has not only devoted and sacrifice 13(thirteen) long years but rendered his services free of cost without any wages and remuneration, when the entire world has become materialistic. This is a true reflection and proof of his intense love for his tribesman and the churches worth emulating by fellow Christian and mission workers. After completing his mission in life over the years, he left for his heavenly abode, and arrived at his destination; rendezvous (the heavenly home) and lying at the feet of Jesus whom he has  preached so faithfully and with great devotion. Today the greatest son of the soil is no longer with us but certainly we will find some strength and solace in his hidden presence amongst us. May the noble deeds and ideals of Dr Ben Wati continue to inspire the people eternally including me.

With a heart full of grief and sorrow but with abundance of love respect and gratitude through this writing I express my tribute to my conscience keeper and spiritual guide to whom I owe a lot. May he and his family receive a hundredfold for his great spirit of sacrifice and service. 

Rest in Peace, Dr Ben Wati