Wangpha Lowang was one of the chief architects of Arunachal Pradesh and the Nocte community. He served as the Counselor of Tirap during the N.E.F.A. days, as a Cabinet Minister of Arunachal Pradesh and as the Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha).
The first child of Wangwai Lowang and Chalon Bangsia, Wangpha Humchha Lowang was born in 1937. He was born in Hakhunthin, the first settlement of the present-day Namsang village. He is a product of several ethnic origin. His father was a Hawa and came from the lineage of the Chief of Namsang, his mother was a Khapa from Sipini village, and his grandmother was a Hakhun.
Wangpha’s grandfather, Kemwang Lowang was a head-hunter and a front leader in the battles Namsang had fought during tribal feuds. His entire body was tattooed as a mark of heroism and was the richest person in the whole of Namsang area with vast lands for cultivation. But Wangpha’s father had a was a simple cultivator, who worked hard to feed his family while his mother, looked after the children. He had a very difficult life and faced acute financial crisis, but had never asked Wangpha, to stop studying.
Chalon Bangsia died of high blood pressure in 1958. Due to poor communications at the time, Wangpha received the news of his mother's demise 25 days after her burial. He was in eight standard and studying in Pasighat Government School. Wangwai Lowang died on 22 January 1976 from throat cancer. At the time of his father's demise, Wangpha was a Minister in the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh. Wangwai was being treated at Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh.
Wangpha Lowang had a total of eight siblings, five brothers and two sisters. The eldest sibling was a girl named Chalat Lowang, who died in early childhood. His other younger sister, Charon, and younger brother, Wanghang, died when Wangpha was studying in Middle School at Margherita, Assam. Another younger brother, Longwang, also died early.
Wangpha's other three younger brothers, Wangmok, Khenwang and Nanne survived and grew up with him. Wangmok retired as a Pharmacist in 2005. As of 2020, Khenwang is the Gaon Bura of Namsang village and Nanne is the Senior Government Advocate in Guwahati High Court, Naharlagun.
In his lifetime, Wangpha Lowang went through extreme hardship and had to endure a number of deaths in his family. In addition to that, he had to go through two migrations for two reasons:
1. There were commotions in the entire Hakhunthin village due to World War II (1939-45). Army personnel visited his village seeking help for transportation of luggage and other tasks. Apart from that, the entire Nocte and Wancho areas were living in constant rivalry and there was little peace in his village. Therefore, the Hakhunthin was shifted to a place called Sumsi near Laptang in 1944. Wangpha was only seven.
2. The shifting to Sumsi was a blunder on the part of the village chief and his associates. Sumsi was not at all suitable for human habitation. It had acute shortage of water and had no suitable lands for cultivation. Many villagers died in Sumsi due to disease and starvation. Dead was so common that Wangpha recalled, "Instead of playing with toys, we used to have a mock burial for fun and would cry over it." The migration significantly reduced the village's population.
Therefore, the village was once again shifted in 1948 to the present day Namsang village, also known as Thinnyan, which means new land and Sumsi means sour salt.
On 5 January 1970, Wangpha married Changun Hondik, from his own village, and had three sons, Litwang, Chonwang (Monto) and Wanghan (Chintu). His wife played a pivotal role in looking after the family and making the family a success. In his own words, Wangpha described Changun as an "ideal wife", "supportive from all sides" and "understanding".
In 1948, Wangpha Lowang started his primary education from the government school in his village, Namsang.
Wangpha completed his middle school in 1956 from a school named, Demonstration School at Margherita in Assam, managed by the then N.E.F.A. Administration. He had to travel from his village to Margherita by foot, covering more than 30 kilometres through dense forest.
For high school, Wangpha went to Pasighat Government High School and cleared his matriculation exam in 1961.
Wangpha went to Shillong for PUC (Pre-University Course) in St. Edmund's College. Unfortunately, he was hospitalized for a year in N.E.F.A. Government Hospital at Margherita, Assam. He had to withdraw from the college after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.
After a gap of four years, Wangpha went back to Shillong and enrolled in St. Anthony's College. He passed out with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in 1969. During his college studies, Wangpha worked in the N.E.F.A. Secretariat as a L.D.C. (Lower Divisional Clerk) for a year.
After graduating from college, Wangpha Lowang joined the administration as a Circle Officer, through a competitive exam, in January 1969. He was posted in Khonsa.
Three years later in March 1972, he resigned as a Circle Officer to join politics, beginning with the newly introduced Panchayati Raj system and got elected as Vice President of Tirap Zilla Parishad.
In 1972, Wangpha became the Counselor of Tirap Frontier Tract and he held this post till 1975.
When Assembly was granted to Arunachal on 15 August, 1975, the Pradesh Council Members and the Counselors from the five districts were appointed the Members of Legislative Assembly and the Cabinet Ministers, respectively. From 15 August, 1975 to 1977, Wangpha served as the Minister for Education, Panchayat etc. in the Provisional Ministry of Arunachal Pradesh, where P.K. Thungon was the Chief Minister and Sobeng Tayeng, Tamo Riba & Tadar Tang were the other Ministers. Nokmay Namati was elected the (first) Speaker of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly in the Provisional Ministry. K.A.A. Raja, the Chief Commissioner of the Union Territory, was the first Lieutenant-Governor of Arunachal Pradesh.
In 1977, Wangpha joined the Janata Party, along with all other members from Arunachal, and contested from Lazu and Dadum area in February 1978, the first Assembly election in Arunachal Pradesh. However, he lost this election. Due to political instability in India, election was held after two years in 1980, but Wangpha did not contest.
In 1984, with an I.N.C. ( Indian National Congress) party ticket, Wangpha contested in Parliamentary election & was elected as a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) for one full term, i.e., til 1989.
After Arunachal Pradesh gained the Statehood status in 1987, he contested in Assembly election from 54-Namsang Constituency and won. In 1990, he was appointed as the Minister for Health & Family Welfare in the Cabinet of Chief Minister Gegong Apang. A year later, in 1991, Wangpha was appointed as the Minister for Animal Husbandry & Veterinary and served in this capacity till 1995.
In 1998, Wangpha ran for Parliamentary election with the ticket of the national party, Indian National Congress. However, he was in the opposition party, because the Center was ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the State was ruled by the regional party, People's Party of Arunachal. For this reason, Wangpha could not muster enough political support and finance for campaigning and was defeated.
In 2004, Wangpha tried to get a party ticket from the Congress to contest from 54-Namsang Constituency. However, for various political reasons, he was not selected as a candidate by the State Congress Unit. After this, Wangpha voluntarily steered away from the political arena.
Wangpha Lowang is now over 80 years and leads a healthy life from his home at Deomali. He is a proud grandfather of one grandson and two granddaughters. He is a content man as his entire family grew and consolidated by his lead. He has retired from politics, but the people still remember him for his selfless services. Among other works, he played a major role in setting up of the finest school in Tirap: Ramakrishna Mission School at Narottam Nagar in 1972.
In 2006, he wrote "The Noctes in Brief" and in 2012, he wrote a book "My Story" where he pens down his personal life, the cultural and political history of the Noctes and that of Arunachal Pradesh. Currently, Wangpha Lowang is the President of the Managing Committee of Ramakrishna Mission School at Narottam Nagar in Tirap. He is also a Special Invitee of the Namsang-Borduria Fund.
Signature of Wangpha Lowang signed on 4 July 2020.
Indian martyr who laid down his life for the country after killing four hardcore terrorist who were trying to infiltrate in India, Hangpan Dada was posthumously award the Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime military decoration, on 26 January 2017. The story of his supreme sacrifice echoed throughout the country and his Nocte tribe.