Meghalaya’s grand old lady turns 100
SHILLONG, Nov 12 – Decked up in golden ‘dhara’ (traditional Khasi wear) and gold ornaments, with her silver hair neatly braided, Silverine Swer giggled like a school girl as she said, “I am not as young as I used to be in the good old days.”
It was a special function at the sprawling lawns of Raj Bhavan today. Meghalaya Governor RS Mooshahary and Arunachal Pradesh Governor JJ Singh joined to celebrate the 100th birthday of Padmashree Silverine Swer, a leading citizen, teacher, administrator and social worker who is still not only active in body and mind but speaks with dignified clarity.
“It is so nice to see you, still young at 100. In her twenties, she must have been a rage with many falling flat,” Mooshahary remarked amidst peels of laughter and Silverine looking refreshingly shy.
Governor read out a birthday message from President Pratibha Patil which expressed optimism that Swer would continue with her social work in remote parts of the nation.
“You must have been a real beauty in your youth, which is reflected today and must have broken many hearts,” said Arunachal Governor J J Singh, drawing radiant smiles from the birthday girl.
“I stand here with a heart of gratitude as you greet me on my 100th birthday,” the grand woman stood up and spoke with pin-drop silence all around.
“I thank God for blessings. I am not young as I used to be in the good old days,” the centenarian said with a touch of innocence.
“I spent unforgettable years in Arunachal Pradesh, which people used to refer to as the ‘wild west’ those days. But I found the locals very welcoming and they taught me to dance,” Silverine, who had served in the filed of education in the erstwhile North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA), recalled.
Born on November 12, 1910, Kong Sil, as she is lovingly known, has countless achievements in her life.
She had served the British during World War II as the assistant controller of rationing, the chief social education officer and the pioneering principal of teachers training institute, Changlang and Tirap district of present Arunachal Pradesh and chairman of Meghalaya State Social Welfare Advisory Board and a host of other important posts.
This was the first centenary birthday celebration in the Governor’s House with Mooshahary having declared that all citizens of Meghalaya who attain the 100th mile-stone are welcome to party in the majestic Raj Bhavan. –PTI
Source: The Assam Tribune