The people of Meghalaya on Sunday were engulfed in a pall of gloom as the state witnessed the death of its first Padmashree Award winner Sitimon Sawian after an illness at her residence in Umsohsun. She was 92. Here are 10 facts you need to know about the the first Padmashree awardee from the State.
1. Sitsimon Sawian was an educationist and social worker who was born on February 21, 1924. She was awarded the Padmashree in 1974.
2. She was also honoured with the Mondon Bareh Award in 1993.
3. She was an active member of the Seng Khasi, a socio-religious organization of the Khasis and took charge as Headmistress, Seng Khasi Primary School Mawkhar, Shillong, in 1955.
4. Ms Hathi Singh the youngest sister of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, had paid a visit to Sawian at her Umsohsun residence in Shillong. Mrs. Indira Gandhi also personally met Sawian, during her visit to Shillong .
5. She relinquished the post of Principal in 1972 after she was incapacitated due to the aftereffect of anti-rabies injections.
6. She had served as member – Textbook Advisory Committee (Khasi), Khasi and Jaintia Hills from 1956- 61 and also as member of Syllabus Sub-committee (Khasi) under Board of Secondary Education, Assam from 1970 to 1972, member of Central Advisory Board Of Education (1967- 70) and member of Central Social Welfare Board (1976 -78).
7. She also functioned as member of the National Committee on the International Women’s Year (1975-1976), the National Committee on the International Women’s Decade and the Committee of the Working Group of the International Women’s Year, Meghalaya (1976)
8. Sawian was also a founder member, honorary secretary and treasurer of a women’s welfare organization – Ka Synjuk Kynthei.
9. She was the founder chairperson of the Jeebon Roy Memorial Welfare Institute, Shillong and also founder president of Indian Council for Child Welfare, Meghalaya, besides being the founder principal of Lakreh Memorial School, Umsohsun, and founder member of the North East Network.
10. She married Rev. B.M. Pugh in 1976.
As is evident, Sitimon Sawian had lived a purposeful life serving the downtrodden and ensuring welfare of the people.