Khomdram Gambhir Singh — widely-known as ‘Manipur’s missing man’, who was found in Mumbai 40 years later in April 2018 courtesy a viral YouTube video — killed himself early Thursday, authorities said.
“A man identified as Khomdram Gambhir Singh, of Imphal West district’s Khumbong village, was found hanging under a bridge near his home,” said H Sanjoy, of Patsoi police station, under which Khumbong falls. He added that the deceased was discovered by joggers early Thursday morning, who alerted the police.
Gambhir’s story went viral on social media when in April 2018, a video of him singing in Mumbai’s Bandra locality surfaced on the internet, subsequently reuniting him with his family after four decades. In the late 1970s, Gambhir disappeared from his village in Manipur without a trace.
After not hearing from or about him for decades, a YouTube video shot by Mumbai-based street photographer Firoze Shakir caught the attention of Gambhir’s relatives. In an operation coordinated by the Manipur and Mumbai police, Gambhir was brought home in April 2018 to a rousing welcome in Imphal.
At the request of Gambhir’s family, the police have not registered any case in connection with the incident.
“We have not registered any case in Singh’s death as the Pradhan (from the local Panchayat) of the village and family members submitted a written request stating that they (family) do not want to trouble anyone,” said H Sanjoy.
“I still cannot believe what my brother did to himself — we are very shocked,” said Kulachandra, Gambhir’s younger brother, whom he had been living with since his return to Manipur, “My brother did express his desire to go back to Mumbai and live his old, carefree life. He would always worry that he was becoming a burden on everyone here,” said Kulachandra, who is a farmer.
Gambhir’s childhood friend, Devadas, who owns a small eatery in the village, said he had visited him on Wednesday evening. “These two years, he was unhappy after coming back from Mumbai — he missed his old life. When I met him yesterday, he told me life had become very hard for everyone after the coronavirus. He was worried about the days ahead,” said Devadas. “I had told him not to worry and that we are all there to help him, but this is the news we woke up to in the morning.”
Unlike his welcome, which attracted hundreds from around Imphal, Gambhir’s last rites were performed in Khumbong in a very low-key manner, attended by relatives, a few elders of the locality, and Konthoujam MLA Dr Sapam Ranjan.