Release of "Waiting for an Equal World: Gender in India’s North East"

On the 30th of March 2019, Martin Luther Christian University, for the first time, released an in-house published book titled “Waiting for an Equal World: Gender in North East India.” The book is written by noted columnist and The Shillong Times editor, Patricia Mukhim.

Besides being the editor of The Shillong Times, Mukhim is also a regular contributor to The Telegraph, The Statesman, The Assam Tribune and The Hindu. She is known for her candid and incisive style and her unwavering coverage of sensitive and controversial issues. Constantly in touch with all echelons of society and engaging herself in the issues of the day, she brings an unmatched authenticity to her writing. During the turbulent years of militancy in Meghalaya, she initiated a movement “Shillong We Care” with a few like-minded individuals. Among the many causes she has espoused are corruption, landlessness, gender and environmental conservation. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2000 and was a member of the National Security Advisory Board from 2012-2014.

This is Patricia Mukhim’s first book and is an anthology of her articles and editorials written in newspapers, magazines and papers presented at academic and professional meetings. It is the outpouring of thoughts and analysis from a woman activist and writer whose reportage has emerged from the heartbeat of tribal grassroots and the ground zero of political and social activity. The book is for social activists, political scientists, community-centered academicians and all those who have a concern for gender equality.

The book was released at Royal Heritage, Shillong by Dr. Govind Kelkar, Senior Adviser, Landesa, Seattle, USA & New Delhi, India, in the presence of Patricia Mukhim’s close friends, associates and fellow journalists.

Manas Chaudhuri, the former editor of The Shillong Times, speaking on the event, narrated briefly about the author and her growth from being a contributor to The Shillong Times’ ‘Letters to the Editor’ to becoming its editor to publishing her very own book.

Dr. Govind Kelkar, in her speech, termed the book “a gender analysis and gender audit of the complexities of a matrilineal society.’ She stated that the book mirrors the much needed change in attitudes and norms in relation to women’s movements that have gained prominence in contemporary society.

While addressing the gathering, Patricia Mukhim said that a chief inspiration for the book was her deep concern about how things were not working as they should and her desire to do something about it. She further said that many of the events that find mention in the book shook her when they occurred which pushed her to chronicle them in the hope that they are not repeated in the future.

The release was followed by a Panel Discussion on “Unlearning Gender Roles: Striving towards an equal society." The panel comprised of Patricia Mukhim, the author of the book, Dr. Govind Kelkar, feminist and author, Sanjoy Hazarika, journalist and author, Toki Blah, social activist, Sukalpa Bhattacharya from the Department of English, NEHU, Karen Donoghue from the Department of Journalism, NEHU and Jennifer War from the Centre of Gender Studies, MLCU.

One of the major points of discussion was the urgent need to give women more representation in agencies and arenas like the police force whereby more transparency and accountability can be expected with the inclusion of women. The panellists also stressed on giving more recognition to the roles that women play, for example, the women who acted as moderators during the violent riots in Nagaland and Manipur.

It was also felt that more empowerment to women should be given as most often a matrilineal system is not empowering enough as is seen in the North East where women are victims of witchunting. The recent NRC move also brought to the fore another predicament that women face; their lack of proper documents and credentials because of their lack of education and the fact that they are married off at an early age. A need was also felt for initiatives to help young, unwed mothers.

Another sad reality that was brought up in the discussion is the fact that women have no say in the administration of properties that they own. This is further worsened by the recent bills passed by the KHADC which disinherit a woman who marries outside her tribe viewing her as an agent who alienates the land.

In order to resolve all this, it is essential to unlearn the traditional myths of gender all the while letting go of age-old traditions because it is high time for the “hen to crow.” Discourses about gender should be made more inclusive thus preventing hyper-masculinity. This will in turn lead to a check in the spike of violence against women. However the most important of all these is to begin the process of teaching and sensitising from one’s own home.

The art works of Careen J. Langstieh, who provided the cover art for the book were also exhibited during the event. The evening culminated with a performance by the Shillong Chamber Choir.

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Mission Statement

To contribute to the sustainable development of Meghalaya and Northeast India, by providing knowledge, skills and values that will enable our students to become global citizens while upholding gender, ethnic and religious equity for all, conserving its bio-cultural heritage, and  by recognizing its Christian legacy and commitment .

Student's Pledge

We the incoming/outgoing students of the Martin Luther Christian University vow to always uphold the principles of Honesty, Sustainability, Tolerance and Respect, Quality, Perseverance, Humility, Teamwork, Leadership, Accountability and Recognition as upheld to us in the University. This pledge we make freely, fully understanding that these values will make us good humans and role models.

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Martin Luther Christian University
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