Meghalaya remembers Hill State Movement leaders


SHILLONG/ MAWKYRWAT/TURA/ NONGSTOIN, Jan 21: Many places in Meghalaya, if not all, were in a celebratory mood today — and why wouldn’t they be? The state, after all, has turned 50 years.

The gathering at office of the DC, Nongstoin, on the occasion of 50th Meghalaya Day.

Albeit the statewide celebrations were, to some extent, fouled up by few probable protests and the prevailing COVID-19 situation, euphoria still environed the hill state, with Meghalayans, without their spirits dampened, came forward to celebrate not only the Statehood Day but, more importantly, the partakers in the Hill State Movement.
East Khasi Hills
In East Khasi Hills, Mawkhar locality, which was the epicentre during the Hill State Movement, celebrated the day at the community hall of the Dorbar Shnong.
It may be mentioned that many of the people of the locality had partaken in the non-violence movement by raising slogans such as ‘No Hill State No Rest’.
Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong informed that Mawkhar had produced many of the Hill State Movement leaders and volunteers. “Many of them are no longer with us. But I want to pay my befitting tribute to all of them for their sacrifices, which ensured we get 50 years ago,” Tynsong said.
He also paid tribute to the former political leaders who were responsible to frame laws for safeguard of the indigenous people. “Many good things have happened in the past 50 years. We have seen developments and changes in the localities and also in the districts. But yes there are lots which need to be done in the next 50 years,” he said.
Assistant Rangbah Shnong of Mawkhar, Ransom Sutnga, said the Dorbar Shnong had played an important role during the Hill State Movement, adding that the movement had started from the locality.

A band performs during a programme to celebrate Statehood Day,
in Mawkyrwat

He said that Khasi National Dorbar had submitted a memorandum to the commission for the hill state, and all this began from Khasi National Dorbar Hall, located in Mawkhar.
During the programme, the Dorbar Shnong also feted two young sportsmen, viz. Aenam Graffenberg Jyrwa and Freddy Branson Syiem.
The deputy chief minister along with Chief Postmaster General, North East Circle, Shillong, Amitabh Kharkwal, also released a commemorative postage stamp on ‘50th year of full Statehood Day’ to mark the day.
Meanwhile, the Department of History along with the cultural committee of Shillong Commerce College celebrated the 50th Statehood Day by organising a skit on ‘Hill State Movement & the Creation of Meghalaya’, jointly performed by BA and BCom students of the college. Other events include song and dance performances, and a speech by college principal, Dr Sabita Sen.
William Carey University, too, organised a virtual programme to mark the day during which discussion was held on ‘The success and challenges of Meghalaya post statehood’.
West Garo Hills
In West Garo Hills, a programme was organised to celebrate the Statehood Day at DC Park in Tura, which was attended by Deputy Commissioner Ram Singh as the chief guest.
Singh, in his address, recalled the history of the formation of the state, and urged the citizens to safeguard the rich and unique geographical features, exotic flora and fauna of the region.
Former GHADC CEM, Albinstone M Sangma (90), during the programme, shared his experience from 21st January, 1972, at the Garrison Ground, Shillong. He is one of the surviving members who actively partook in the Hill State Movement.
Blessibon R Marak, who was a student volunteer during the Hill State Movement, said his heart swells with pride on being a part of the movement.
“The main reason to demand separate Hill State was due to imposition of Assamese language in the state. The then leaders, led by Captain WA Sangma and many others, fought till the attainment of statehood on this day. Much development has taken place in various sectors and I hope the state moves forward to greater heights in the years to come,” she said.
The programme also saw felicitation of members and student volunteers of Hill State Movement, performance of patriotic songs and instrumentals, among others.
South West Khasi Hills
In South West Khasi Hills, the leaders of Hill State Movement were remembered during a programme held in Mawkyrwat to celebrate the 50th Statehood Day.
Joining the celebrations at JN Stadium Complex, Shillong, virtually, South West Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner, C Kharkongor, dedicated the day to the leaders of the Hill State Movement and their sacrifices.
Highlighting various achievements of Meghalaya, she said the state, in the past 50 years, has added many feathers to its cap despite obstacles.
West Khasi Hills
In West Khasi Hills, Nongstoin MLA Macmillan Byrsat, SP HG Lyngdoh, district officials, traditional heads, prominent citizens, among others, gathered at DC Office campus in Nongstoin to virtually partook in the Statehood Day celebration.
The National People’s Party Youth Front (NPPYF), on the other hand, marked the day by donating gift items to a total of 30 needy families in Nongstoin town.
“With the assistance from Nongstoin MLA, we decide to celebrate the Meghalaya’s 50th Statehood Day in a very simple and unique way by celebrating with the poor and needy,” said Working President of NPPYF, M Marwein.

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