The Bridge Impact: Dingko Singh's wife gets job at late husband's workplace
Six months ago, The Bridge visited legendary boxer Dingko Singh's wife, who said her pleas for help had fallen on deaf ears since her husband's death. Today, she has a job at the SAI complex in Manipur.
On August 15 last year, when most of Manipur stayed inside their homes even as Independence Day decorations lined the streets with as much frequency as security personnel, The Bridge was making an unusual journey - to Sekta village on the outskirts of Imphal.
We had landed in the capital city in wake of the medal rush at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, eager to find stories of hope and redemption. We hoped to find new superstars, but on our first day at the boxing coaching centres in the city, we got word that there was one old story which was crying out for our attention. | PROJECT MANIPUR
Recently deceased boxer Dingko Singh's wife was living in abject conditions and she had sent several letters to many authorities which had been ignored, a boxing coach told us with a rueful look. And so we set out for Sekta, a village of less than 1000 houses, asking for directions to the Asian Games medallist's house.
"Life was very different when you had visited me last, my entire routine has changed now. I have managed to get a job at the Special Area Games (SAG) Khuman Lampak sports complex in the administrative department. Though it is on a contractual basis, this job has been getting me a fixed income of Rs 30,000 since the start of this year," Ngangom Babai Devi, the late Dingko's wife, told The Bridge on Wednesday.
After years of wait, Babai Devi was given a job by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in December 2022.
"I want to thank the media fraternity for standing by me during a difficult time. It gives me great joy to be working at the same place where Dingko Singh had been posted as a senior boxing coach," she added.
Though it may be a drop in the ocean, The Bridge is glad to have managed to make some positive contribution to the well-being of Dingko Singh's family, who had been left in dire straits since the legend's death of cancer in 2021.
"Dingko Singh meant a lot of different things to different people, but for me, he was my everything. As long as he was there, a salary used to come to this house. Now there's only a pension. With two children to take care of and medical loans still left to pay back, I have been in financial distress since his death," Babai Devi had told The Bridge four months before she would finally get her wish.
"I expected more from the government. I thought they would take it as their duty to help someone who brought so much glory to the nation, but no one even asks about us after his death," she had said.
Her two children, Dingson and Arena, both of whom are studying in Imphal, have both moved away from boxing after having initially tried their hand at it. These days though, Babai Devi gets to meet them more often due to her work in the city, even though it means she has to travel a lot more. For now, she is happy she is able to provide them a semblance of the life they would have had if Dingko Singh had still been alive.