A Brief Profile by Jimmy Leivon
Lhingjaneng Gangte, is the first woman of Manipur to receive the prestigious award of Padmashree for her dedication in field of Social welfare. She is one of those who pioneered the social welfare movement in Manipur.
Born in 18th December, 1939, at Laijang Village, Tamenglong district head quarter, Lhingjaneng is the sixth daughter of eight siblings, which includes 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 year 1955 and graduated from Dhanamanjuri College in Bachelor of Arts in the year 1965. Lhingjaneng landed in the field of social service in very early stage of her life.
After finishing her matriculation in 1956, She got the Opportunity to be the Chief Welfare Organizer at a Social Welfare project in Churachandpur District for the first time (Social Welfare department was not in Existence during the time) and started revolutionising the benefits of the Social Welfare for women and children of Manipur.
There after 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; in-Charge of Tribal Women Training Centre, President of the Manipur Council Child Welfare, Member of the Tribal Advisory Committee, Govt. of Manipur, Member of the Education Advisory Board, Govt. of Manipur, Member of the Planning Board, Member of the Excise Committee, Member of the Manipur State Social Welfare Board, Chairman, Project Implementing Committee, Churachanpur, Vice-President, Manipur State Social Welfare Board, Chairman, Manipur State Social Welfare Board, Member, Adimjati Shiksha Ashram, Manipur, Member, State Kala Academy, Manipur, Founder Member of the Board directors of the Women`s Bank, Imphal, Manipur, Director, United Bank of India and member AICC.
Many society or training centres for both women and children was formed under her initiatives like the Balwadi, Mahila Mandal Society, Tribal Women Training Centre etc. Besides that she was also Founder Member of Churachanpur College and Chairman, Kangpokpi High School till conversion.
At the same, she was also appointed as the Member of Territorial Council member, representing the Kuki people somewhere around the year 1962 and later the council was converted into Legislative Assembly after which she was Member of Legislative Assembly for two term (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. The particular year was declared as International Women`s Year coincidentally. Adding feather to her cap, 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 year term (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 the year (aprox. 1966-9167) however She could not, received a degree in law due to her busy schedules.
Nevertheless, 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, alongside 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 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 who have an interest for Law. The reason for this, she explains that minority tribal communities are economically backward. Although they have keen interest in Law, most of the youths cannot effort to enroll as Regular students. Usually after earning their Bachelor Degree, they have to look out for job and hence cannot give their full time.
As a Social Worker, she believes in communal harmony, that, it is the key for a prosperous and developed society. According to her, the majority community has a vital role in building the bonds between communities and developing other minority groups.
Giving clear perception of her interest and thoughts, Lhingjaneng have written three books sparing her busy time. The book includes “Humour in Law”, “Communal Harmony”and “Poetry of Women”.
Currently she is the Chairman of Law College Churachandpur and staying at Churachandpur or at Sharon House Old Lambulane, Imphal with her children.