Unsung Heroes: Recognizing the profound sacrifice of fathers

Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | June 17

 Father’s Day serves as a poignant reminder to celebrate and appreciate the sacrifices of fathers. While the contribution of mother are often celebrated and acknowledged, the sacrifices made by fathers many a times go unnoticed. Beyond the stereotypical image of a breadwinner, fathers selflessly devote themselves to their families, quietly making sacrifices. 

“My grandpa adopted my father, and he should inherit the little property that belongs to my grandpa. But after his demise, my father was no longer considered his son, and he was left with nothing but a wife and children. However, despite all the struggles, my father never fought back to claim the property.”

On the eve of Father’s Day, even as Wedekhro Naro recalls this incident, he professes that the greatest lesson he learnt from his father is “to never fight for something that is never yours and not to claim something from someone that is not yours.” “His honesty and integrity will always be with me”, he says while reiterating that “my father has always been honest and that is the most valuable thing I will take from him.”

His father—Kezupe Naro is a cultivator, carpenter and a ‘self-styled architect’ as Wedekhro would put it. “He is my world! I wouldn’t say he is a perfect father, but he is the best father.”

For Kemya Yanlem, the memory of her father sitting beside her on her bed and teaching her how to pray is something that has stayed on through the years even as she says, “I still begin my prayer the same way he taught me when I was a little girl.” Her father is also the person she goes to, for anything. “When I need advice or answers on anything- from life’s toughest decisions to questions about history, geography, literature, etc, his wisdom and knowledge never fail to amaze me”, she puts across.

Further citing that her father is the first person who would go through her drafts and edit her writings, she also pronounces that “I am the person I am today because of him.” Her father, she says, “has taught me the value of time and the people in our lives, and how important it is to remember. He also taught me to remain humble through every circumstance in life; to love every creature as our own, and to be responsible towards our environment.”

On the occasion of Father’s Day, she further expresses, “I would like my father to know that he is never too old or ‘outdated’ for this world; that it is never too late for anyone to pursue their dreams and passion in life.” 

“Pa, I hope you realise that it’s okay for you to live for yourself, sometimes. You still have so much of life ahead of you and so many goals to achieve,” she adds. Her father, T Honlong Konyak, is a retired principal of Mon Theological College, and is currently serving as a pastor at the Mission Centre, Mon. 

For Longang Luklem, whose father, Phokhe Konyak, currently serving the Nagaland government in NAP, is one of the people he fears to lose because in his words, “he is irreplaceable and life without my father is something I fear to even think about” and as his mother would say, “he’s the roof of our family.” Having learnt from his father to be honest, dedicated and sincere in one’s work, he says, “one of the qualities of my father that clearly stands out is his love for his siblings and that's the one I admire the most.”

His father, he recalls wasn't around most of his childhood as his duty demanded so. In some relationships there is love, he goes on to say, but that “its expression is always missing, in verbal language at least.” Stating that it's easily found between him and his mother, he, however says that it's entirely different with his father. 

“But if I could, I would tell my father so many things I am grateful to him about. For all the sacrifices he made in life to provide for us and all the sacrifices he's making even now to make sure that his children will always have a shelter. And if I could, I would let him know how sorry I feel for him. For him having to stay away from home at his prime age, for him having to stay away from my mother in such a short time after their marriage, for him having to miss out on so many things about his children at their growing age”, he articulates.

And one last thing, he adds, “if I could, I would tell my father is that I am happy and satisfied. And that he should stop worrying about us, that there's nothing for him to fear about my future or my siblings' future, that he should take care of his health and my mother's health, and that they are the greatest gift we have.”