44 years since Meghalaya attained its Statehood, the state has witnessed growth in various aspects, if not infrastructure entirely but other aspects which reflects the importance and growth of Northeast India.
Meghalaya has produced many stalwarts in various fields who serve as an inspiration to the people of the state and the Northeast as a whole. They rose above many challenges in their lives to carve a niche for themselves in this highly competitive world.
One good thing about their achievement is their cultural, educational, entrepreneurial, fashionable, musical and artistic representation of the place they belonged to.
Here are 10 renowned personalities from Meghalaya who serve and will continue to serve as an inspiration for many
Prof. David Reid Syiemlieh
He is one educationist from Meghalaya who managed to climb up the success ladder through his sheer hardwork and dedication. He has recently appointed as the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). From a lecturer to a professor to a registrar to a pro-vice chancellor to a vice chancellor to a member of the UPSC, Prof Syiemlieh has done it all and now at the age of 63, he has been named chairman of the UPSC, one of the most coveted posts in India’s educational hierarchy.
Born and brought up in Tura, Meghalaya, Dutta believed that knowledge has no limitations. Holding on to this belief, she went ahead to pursue her education in various universities in India and abroad. Currently, she is the Assistant Professor of Psychology at University of Massachusetts of Lowell. What is intriguing about Dutta is her love for the region (Garo Hills). That admiration did not stop there; she went to conduct a research on that one thing which has plagued the region for far too long – Insurgency. And this earned her the prestigious “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award”.
Mark Laitflang Stone
He is another personality from Meghalaya who has helped paved the way for young people of Meghalaya to shape their career. An award winning youth entrepreneur, Mark is committed to Social Enterprise and is the Founding Chief Executive & Managing Director of Group Avenues – a brand synonymous with youth empowerment and human resource development in North East India with its headquarter in Shillong.
Public Sector Undertaking
AG West Kharkongor
He is the first Khasi officer of Meghalaya to occupy a full time board level position in North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO). He is an alumni of IIT, Bombay and IIM, Calcutta. He currently serves as the Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) of the Government-owned PSU with it’s headquarter in Shillong. It may be reminded that Kharkongor’s professional journey was not a smooth one as he was targeted and maligned from various quarters including those who wished for the top post themselves. His ‘not giving up’ attitude has caused union Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain, and a top functionary of NEEPCO to come under fire for their alleged attempt to stop AG West Kharkongor from becoming the Chairman and Managing director (CMD) of the company.
Here’s another film director who managed to create a niche for himself in the Indian film industry. He recently managed to create waves in New York after his movie, ‘Mantra’ won the Best Feature Film Award at the South Asian International Film Festival 2016, presented by HBO, held in New York. A management student turned director, Nicholas proved that if given an opportunity, people from Shillong as well as other parts of the northeast, are capable of crossing over and directing films for the larger Indian audience.
He is another talented director who won the hearts of many through his creativity and sense of reality. He is a two-time national award director who is keen is exposing the ugly truth behind of modern society. His movie, ‘RI-Homeland of Uncertainty’ produced way back in 2014. This is the first time ever that a Khasi film has bagged the National Award for ‘Best Feature Film’ in the language specified other than those in listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution. Again in 2016, his movie, ‘Onaatah-Daughter of the Earth’ has earned his another national award during the 63rd National Film Awards held this year. Onaatah tells the story of a girl on a journey to rediscover the purpose of life and the diversity of relationships.
Related: Interview with Merlvin Mukhim
Ruth West Kharkongor
We have all heard the idiom, “The sky is the limit”, but for this 21-year-old girl, even the sky is not the limit. At such a young age, this talented lady from Meghalaya has been able to carve a niche for herself in the field of aviation by becoming the first Khasi lady pilot to possess a flying commercial license from an academy in USA.
His mind and focus is all on Football. His love for the sport made him abandon his degree in Electronics and Telecommunication. But that did serve him well, for his popularity and his skills have rightfully earned him a spot in India’s finest football club. A former Shillong Lajong and Rangdajied player, Lyngdoh caught the attention of I-League winners (2013–14) Bengaluru FC who wasted no time in taking him in. Eugene would then create history by scoring Bengaluru FC’s first ever goal in Asian continental club competition in the AFC Champions League qualifier. He became the first player from an I-League club to score in all four club competitions in the season. Later in 2015, Lyngdoh was signed by Indian Super League club Pune City in the player drafts for Rs. 1.05 crore for the 2015 Indian Super League. On 20 December 2015, Euegenson was voted by the coaches in the I-League as the best among the Indians, thus winning the “2015 AIFF Player of the Year”. Eugeneson made his debut for India on 12 March 2015 against Nepal in the first leg of a two-legged 2018 FIFA World Cup pre-qualifier in a 2–0 win where he assisted the second goal.
Though born and raised in Shillong as an urban child, Phrang Roy better known as Bah Phrang never cease to let go of his indigenous knowledge and works day and night to promote and preserve the knowledge of indigenous communities to ensure the children of today do not lose their links to their identity. As chairman of the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society, an organisation active in 41 villages in Meghalaya, he promotes indigenous forms of knowledge through food, agriculture and biodiversity. He is also an international councilor for Slow Food International, and the organiser of Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 (ITM2015) in Meghalaya, India that celebrates sustainable food and biodiversity. He is a retired Vice President of UN IFAD. His efforts to strengthen indigenous cultures in Meghalaya has gathered much appreciations and applauses especially in times like these, when the world is battling with ‘Climate Change’.
He is one tough man to break. The best thing about Daniel is that the same man who has wowed fashion connoisseurs at top-notch fashion events in the country, is so keen in taking Meghalaya’s culture to the world, and mind you, he has done it even as he draw his inspiration from the rich culture of his home state and says his motto is to make traditional fabrics mainstream. Recently, Daniel’s designs was acknowledged worldwide during a fashion show in London where he showcased designs highlighting the eco-friendly and organic fabric called Ryndia (eri silk) which has its origins in the Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya. There are a whole lot of many shows that Daniel has appeared and made headlines. And all this is because he gave more importance to what Northeast culture has to offer.