One of Meghalaya’s political stalwarts who had fought for the creation of a separate hill State in the 1960s, Hoping Stone Lyngdoh passed away in Shillong on 26th September.
11 times MLA, one term as Lok Sabha member, seven times Member of District Council (MDC), and founder and president of Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) since 1968, Lyngdoh passed away at the age of 86. The State government has declared a three-day mourning and his funeral will take place on 29th September at his native village Mawkyllei near Pariong in West Khasi Hills district, about 75 km from the state capital.
Having lost his father at the age of five and beginning his life as a cow-herd at a remote village of Khasi Hills, Lyngdoh’s life story can perhaps rival Prime Minister Narendra Modi, if not better it.
Born on 15th March 1929, he lost his eyesight due to some illness when he was just six, but was cured a few years later by his grandfather who was a folk medicine practitioner. Since then there was no looking back for him. At 10, he had to work in the fields, at 11 had to look after the family’s cattle and goats, during which he also picked up the art of working on bamboo and cane.
But he did not give up hope, and also attended school. While a student in middle school, he even taught in the village morning primary school, earning Rs 15 a month. In 1949, his grandfather packed him off to Shillong, where he got his hostel fees waived in the Government High School by virtue of being a brilliant student who also took undertook the responsibility of running the mess.
In his spare time, he would make smoking pipes which he sold at Rs 5 a piece, and on completion of Intermediate (Science), he set up a senior basic school at village Lawbyrtun, where he gathered a number of drop-outs and put them through vocational courses like agriculture, fishery, bee-keeping, piggery and marketing.