On the occasion of International Women’s Day, let us take a look at some of the women from Meghalaya who despite all odds managed to rise above all challenges.
Here are 10 women from Meghalaya who serves as an inspiration for the youth.
Bertha Gyndykes Dkhar
Bertha G Dkhar is indeed a pride of Meghalaya, a woman who inspired many to live up to their dreams despite the odds. Dkhar is a visually impaired Indian educationist, best known as the inventor of the braille code in Khasi. She was honoured by the Government of India in 2010, with the fourth highest civilian award of Padma Shri. She was born in Shillong as a visually challenged child suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, a disease which causes degeneration of the retina, and lost the eyesight completely while she was in college. Continuing with efforts to overcome the disability, Dkhar researched in Braille code and designed the code in Khasi, the local language in Meghalaya. Her undying love for knowledge made her one of the most aspiring women leaders of the state. At present, Dkhar is the headmistress of the Jyoti Sroat School, a school run by the Bethany Society for the visually impaired children.
Wansuk Myrthong scripted history when she became the first women from Meghalaya to scale Mount Everest (8,848 ft) in the year 2013. Wansuk, 30, a Meghalaya was an armed constable in the 1st Meghalaya Police Battalion when she conquered Everest three years back. In recognition for her achievement, Myrthong was later promoted to the post of Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) in the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRBN),Wansuk. She has etched the name of a woman from matrilineal Meghalaya on the ever formidable Mount Everest. Earlier, Wansuk had participated in the pre-Everest expedition on Kolahai peak (5,425 metres) and the high altitude physical conditioning at Mt Papsure (6,451 metres) camp in Himachal Pradesh. She had also bagged two gold medals and a silver in the North East Zone Sports Climbing Committee. After being enlisted in the Meghalaya police in 2006, Wansuk had undergone basic mountaineering course at the Mountaineering and Skiing Institute, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Uttarkhand and secured high grades.
ALSO READ: 10 Personalities from Meghalaya who serve as an ‘Inspiration’ for the people of Northeast!
Patricia Mary Mukhim is a social activist, writer, journalist and the Editor of Shillong Times. She also contributes articles to other publications such as The Statesman, The Telegraph, Eastern Panorama and The North East Times. Her courage and sheer determination inspired many women journalists of Meghalaya and the region to shed their fear of being ridiculed in this male-dominated society and to strive in this profession. The ‘I won’t give up attitude’ of Mukhim earned her the Padma Shri Award in 2000. Besides this, she was also honoured with the Chameli Devi Jain award, ONE India award, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry FLO award, Upendra Nath Brahma Soldier of Humanity award, Siva Prasad Barooah National award and North East Excellence award.
The women are no strangers in the political arena in the state. One such woman politician, who scripted history by becoming the first Lady Home Minister of Meghalaya, is none other than Roshan Warjri. A three-time legislator, Warjri was given charge of the Home department in the Mukul Sangma Congress-led government in Meghalaya, making her the first woman to hold the portfolio since 1972 when the state was formed. The bold woman took charge of this department, a port folio which was once so called ‘A man’s job’, at a time when the state was facing law and order crisis.
The ‘Bold and Beautiful’ woman from Meghalaya, Claudia Lyngwa-an IPS Officer is someone who deserves a thump’s up for her immense display of courage and most importantly for curtailing militant activities in the state capital during the time when HNLC had its stronghold in Shillong. Claudia Lyngwa is the first Khasi woman to reach a high ranking grade in the police forceHer ‘Don’t mess with me’ attitude made her one of the most feared police officials in the late 90s, the years when violence was ravaging the state capital. She is also the first woman from the state who opted for MPS to carve a career in the police force. She has been awarded the President’s Police Medal on three occasions for outstanding gallantry and is widely recognised for her courage. The formation of the Special Operations Team (SOT) owes its credit to Lyngwa, who in 1998-99, short listed 40 extraordinary personnel to create the SOT.
Matsiewdor War Nongbri
Here is a woman from Meghalaya who shot to fame by simply doing what she does best-“Shoot to win”. Matsiewdor War Nongbri is the first person in the history of Meghalaya for representing the state and the country as one of the judges for Archery in the London Olympics Games, 2012. The brilliant archer from Meghalaya definitely knows what she wants and worked hard for, just as she managed to hit the bull’s eye of a target in an archery competition, so also she managed to achieve her target in life. She is presently the Director of the Arts and Culture Department, government of Meghalaya.
Dr Helen Giri
In the art world, one such lady who depicted her love for the indigenous culture and art form is Dr Helen Giri, a musicologist and historian, known for her efforts in promoting Khasi music tradition. A former member of faculty at the North Eastern Hill University, she is a member of the executive council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi. Her love for the ‘Khun ki Hajar of the Bri U Hynniew trep’ is reflected in her efforts to restore the traditional Khasi musical instrument. She has also assisted in the establishment of 35 traditional music institutes and has organized music festivals, besides working for the rehabilitation of physically challenged children. The Government of India awarded her the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2008, for her contributions to Khasi music.
Linza Fenny Syiem
Linza Fenny Syiem made history when she became the first karateka from the state to win a Gold medal in the 34th National Games held at Ranchi in 2011. Her achievements have encouraged many young women of the state to live their dreams. She is the currently the karate coach in the state directorate of sports and youth affairs.
In the science world, a young woman scientist, Jenita Mary Nongkynrih became the first woman scientist from Meghalaya to bag the prestigious title–ISRO Young Scientist Award for her urban information system project in the North East. She is currently working as a scientist at the North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC), Umiam. She has also published various scientific reports and research papers and attended various trainings at international level (through distance mode) and national level. She has also contributed to the capacity building of students from various institutes working under her.
Dr Streamlet Dkhar
The undying love of Dr Streamlet Dkhar for the indigenous language—Khasi was perhaps the reason why she chose to put in all her efforts to popularise Khasi poems, dramas and essays. Presently, Dkhar is HOD of the Khasi Department in NEHU. Proud to be a Khasi, Dkhar left no stone unturned to ensure that the Khasi language is made known to the world and works hard to get the language included in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution. She has been awarded the Mother Theresa Samman 2003 by the All India Poetess Conference.
(By Ibankyntiew Mawrie)