President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday appointed Professor David R Syiemlieh as the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). While doing so, Prof Syiemlieh became the second person from Meghalaya, after Rose Bathew Kharbuli to achieve the feat. It is to be noted that Prof Syiemlieh was also the pro-Vice Chancellor of NEHU in 2011 and succeeds Alka Sirohi, a retired IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre.
However here are five things you should know about the new UPSC Chairman:
- He was born in 22nd January 1953. He studied in Dr Graham’s Homes, Kalimpong (1958–1970) and graduated with history honours from St Edmund’s College, Shillong. This was followed with a master’s degree in History (1976), MPhil(1980) and PhD (1985) from theNorth Eastern Hills University, Shillong.
- He taught undergraduates in St Edmund’s College (1977–1979) before joining the Department of History, NEHU, in 1979. He rose in the profession to become a Professor in the Department of History. He held numerous positions in the University, including Dean of Student’s Welfare, Head Department of History, Controller of Examinations, and Registrar. He was also the President of North East India History Association (2010-2011).
- Prof Syiemlieh was also the pro-Vice Chancellor of NEHU in 2011. Not only that, the current UPSC Chairman has served in other Northeastern States too. He also served as the Vice Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University, Doimukh, Arunachal Pradesh. He was appointed as a member of UPSC in 2012. And with the advent of the New Year, he was given charge to lead UPSC.
- Prof Syiemlieh is a multifaceted genius. And his genius is reflected in the books which he had written during his career. The new UPSC Chairman is credited with discovering the date of death and other details of the last days of Tirot Sing, the Khasi chief of Nongkhlaw who resisted British colonial expansion. He also located the grave in Calcutta ofThomas Jones, the Welsh missionary who first arrived in the Khasi Hills.
- Prof Syiemlieh is a recipient of the Charles Wallace Grant for research in the UK; India France Cultural Exchange for research in Paris, and the SeniorFulbright Fellowship for research in the US. He was affiliated to Notre Dame University. On a personal note, he is married to Maxine Sohkhlet and has two sons – Colin and Reuben.