My Tryst with Manipur by former Chief Secretary of Manipur, Jarnail Singh, describes the amazing journey of a simple country boy from Punjab who spent 23 years in Manipur, trying to understand its people, solve their problems and focus on development.
The lucidly-written memoir, laced with gentle humour, is an anecdotal narrative of his jottings and vivid recollections when he served in the state, first as a Sub-Divisional Officer and later as the Chief Secretary. From weeklong tours on foot in the interior hill areas, to taking initiative to secure about 8,900 sq km area of the so-called 'liberated area' by the militants in 2004, to improving the law and order situation, strengthening the bureaucracy, streamlining pension payments, supplying electricity and drinking water-all have been well documented in this book. It reveals Singh's zeal, determination and innovative style of functioning.
In a nutshell, the book provides the readers with a window into the administrative transformations Manipur has undergone over the last five decades, and what one officer can help in achieving if he is honest, sincere and devoted to his work.
Shirui Lily, the subject of the book cover, is a rare terrestrial lily that grows only on the upper reaches of the Shirui Hill range in Manipur. Nowhere else in the world will you find this flower! The photo was taken by nature photographer Priyojit Akoijam at a height of 8,500 ft above sea level. Declared as the state flower of Manipur in 1989, the lily is today considered an endangered species. The bell-shaped pale pinkish flower blooms only between mid-May and mid-June every year.