A tribute to PI LHINGJANENG GANGTE; First Padmashree Awardee from Manipur in the field of Social Welfare -

A tribute to PI LHINGJANENG GANGTE; First Padmashree Awardee from Manipur in the field of Social Welfare -

Written By: / Articles / Thursday, 28 April 2016 17:34

By Leivon Jimmy Lamkang
Lhingjaneng Gangte, the first woman of Manipur to receive the prestigious award of Padmashree for her dedication in field of Social welfare is no more with us. She left for her heavenly abode on April 27, 2016.
She is one of those who pioneered the social welfare movement in Manipur.
Born on 18th December, 1939 at Laijang Village, Tamenglong district headquarters, Lhingjaneng is the sixth daughter of eight siblings, which included seven sisters and a brother. Her father Mr Jamkithang Sitlhou was the first circle officer among minority tribal.
She received her high school education at Tamphasana Girls’ High School in 1955 and graduated from Dhanamanjuri College (DM college) in Bachelor of Arts in 1965. Lhingjaneng landed in the field of social service in very early stage.
After finishing her matriculation in 1956, she got the opportunity to be the Chief Welfare Organizer at a Social Welfare project at Churachandpur District for the first time (Social Welfare department was not in existence during the time) and started revolutionizing the benefits of the Social Welfare for women and children of Manipur.
Thereafter gradually, she began to make her presence known in the field of Social Work. During her 19 year-long period in the field of service, Lhingjaneng took charge of many key posts in her service period and other civil bodies including
1. ‘in-Charge of Tribal Women Training Centre’ (established at the Governor Bungalow campus),
2. President of the Manipur Council Child Welfare (1965- 1974),
3. Member of the Tribal Advisory Committee, Govt. of Manipur ,
4. Member of the Education Advisory Board, Govt. of Manipur.
5. Member of the Planning Board, Govt. of Manipur.
6. Member of the Excise Committee., Govt. of Manipur.
7. Member of the Manipur State Social Welfare Board.
8. Chairman, Project Implementing Committee, Churachanpur.
9. Vice-President, Manipur State Social Welfare Board.
10. Chairman, Manipur State Social Welfare Board.
11. Member, Adimjati Shiksha Ashram, Manipur.
12. Member, State Kala Academy, Manipur.
13. Founder Member of the Board directors of the Women’s Bank, Imphal, Manipur.
14. Director, United Bank of India and member AICC.
Many societies or training centres for both women and children have been formed under her initiatives like the Balwadi, Mahila Mandal Society, Tribal Women Training Centre etc. Besides, she was also Founder Member of Churachanpur College and Chairman, Kangpokpi High School till its conversion.
At the same, she was also appointed as the Member of Territorial Council member, representing the Kuki people in 1962 and later the council was upgraded into Legislative Assembly after which she was Member of Legislative Assembly for two terms (1967- 69).
Giving due cognizance to her dedication and contribution in Social Service, she was later conferred with the Padmashree Award in 1975 by the Government of India to commemorate the International Women’s Year. She was also selected “Women of the Year 1997” by ABI, USA.
Receiving the Padmashree was not the end of her social service career. She was also members of State Commission for women for a three terms (2007 to 2010). Apart from Social Service, she has a great enthusiasm for Law. Lhingjaneng Gangte also did her Course in Law at the LMS Law College Manipur in 1966-9167. However she could not receive a degree in law due to her busy schedules.
But she has kept her keen interest for law alive till today. With the motive to equip with the knowledge of law to the minority tribal especially women-folk, along side with her late husband TS Gangte, the then Director of Education (U), Manipur, established the Law College Churachandpur in 1984 which is still in existence today at Hill Town in Churachandpur distict of Manipur. Since its inception the College is solely run by her family without any morale or financial support from the Government despite being recognized by New Delhi in the late 80s.
The Law College is home to only some working youths with enthusiasm for Law. The reason for this, she explains that minority tribal communities are economically retarded. Although they have keen interest in Law, most of the youth cannot effort to enroll as regular students. Usually after earning their Bachelor Degree, they are job seekers and cannot give their full time.
As a Social Worker, she believes in communal harmony, that, it is key for prosperous and developed society. According to her, any majority communities have a vital role in building the bonds between communities and developing other minority groups.
Giving clear perception of her interest and thoughts, Lhingjaneng has written three books sparing her busy time. The books are “Humour in Law”, “Communal Harmony”and “Poetry of Women”.
She also served as the Chairman of Law College Churachandpur.

About the Author

Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since 2013. An avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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