LK Achumi: An important life lesson

Y Merina Chishi
Dimapur | November 13  

“Those who work to help others enjoy a glorious life” is Luhevi K. Achumi’s motto in life. This former District and Session Judge and an avid social worker has lived by this motto throughout his life. His exemplary life has won him several prestigious awards including the “Best Social Worker” from the Authority of Academy of Universal Global Peace, Bangalore, and was conferred a PhD in Social Work from the internationally acclaimed organisation World Peace, UN and USA, and American University, in July this year- an honour previously bestowed on the late Dr. Hokishe Sema and Dr. SC Jamir.  

Achumi’s career as a lawyer and social advocate spanning over four decades is filled with achievements that few people have to their credit. He has framed Constitutions for some of the most prominent civil organisations and churches; settled inter-tribe disputes and has been a socially active member of several organisations.  

Achumi was born on January 1, 1950 at Keltomi village in Zunheboto district. He was one of the first educated persons from his village. After completing his school education from Government High School Zunheboto, he graduated from St. Edmund’s College, Shillong, and went on to pursue law studies from Bombay University. According to Achumi, he “tricked” his parents to go to Bombay because money was scarce but he was determined to fight the odds to study.  

He started his law career in 1975 as an Advocate in the Guwahati High Court. He rose to the rank of a District and Session Judge and retired in 2010. During his career as the first District and Session Judge in Nagaland, Achumi was also Chairman, Nagaland Human Rights Committee and Special Judge, Anti-corruption Act, NDBS Act and the CBI.  

But it is his time, resources and skills which he took beyond the courtroom that distinguishes him from other lawyers. Being one of the first law graduates among the Sumi tribe, Achumi framed the constitution and pay rules of the Sumi Baptist Church Association, Aizuto and frontal Sumi organisations like the Sumi Hoho, Sumi Totimi Hoho, Sumi Students’ Union and Kukami (GB) Association. He was also member of the drafting committee, Nagaland Missionary Movement and Property Committee, NBCC. It was during his tenure as ADC Judicial that he helped NBCC acquire land for setting up Christian Higher Secondary School, Dimapur. He also rendered his legal expertise in framing the NSCN “Yezabo”.  

Achumi is also competent with the Naga customary laws and is known for his good administrative skills. He was awarded a Governor’s commendation certificate for his role in preventing inter-tribe dispute in Mokokchung in the late nineties. He has contributed and assisted the government in many other legal and social development issues. He has also been an activist for indigenous peoples’ rights.  

In his endless pursuit to contribute socially, Achumi and his family set up a school adjacent to his house in Purana Bazar. This way, he says, he is able to help produce “a few good citizens.” In a career spanning over four decades, Achumi defies the stereotype lawyer image and his contributions remains notable. He has firm belief that any selfless deed will never go waste. Achumi urges the new generation to do the same. “We must try to enrich the society through our profession. Everyone is good at something,” he says.