Maya John Ingty – India

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005

Maya John Ingty (born in 1932) plays a unique role in the conflict-ridden Northeast region, bringing together powerful Christian and secular organizations to work for peace. Several states in the Northeast have been torn by conflict and strife, both internal and with the security forces. This conflict has left the economy and society in a shambles. The region has a high number of school and college dropouts and there are a number of young widows who have to fend for themselves and their young children. Ingty, the first woman from the Karbi tribe to complete a Masters degree, has been involved in social work right from her college days. In 1956, she was appointed Special Officer (Social Welfare) through an application and interview in undivided Assam, when Shillong was the capital of Assam. Meghalaya was formed as a separate state only in 1972 … (full text).

… Maya is also a respected member of the Church and plays an important role in critiquing the regressive positions of the Church. She has pushed for greater involvement of the Church with social issues and with other secular and non-Christian organisations in their work for peace. As Secretary of the Diocesan Board of Participatory Development, she has undertaken several programmes to help young people develop self-employment skills. She firmly believes this will lead them away from the gun culture. The activities include natural resource management, weaving and tailoring, vermicomposting, fishery, and training people to be barefoot veterinary doctors, automobile drivers and electricians. With no training, and often no forum behind her, Maya has worked with marginalised people since 1956. She has also been active in ecological and conservation programmes. Many young people received training in vermicomposting in Tinsukia (Upper Assam) under an eco-friendly waste control programme. Since then, many of them have taken up organic farming. In her individual capacity as well, Maya has been a member of important peace missions and committees in the strife-torn Northeastern region. (full text).

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Maya John Ingty – India

She works for the Diocesan Board for Participatory Development, for the Interdenominational Christian Women’s Forum, and for the Northeast Christian Council Women’s Assembly (no own website for all three groups).

Tribute to an Educator and Peace Builder, 5 pdf-pages.

(1000peacewomen): Being a respected member of the church does not constrain Maya from critiquing its regressive positions and pushing for its greater involvement with social, often secular, issues. Maya John Ingty plays a unique role in the northeast, bringing together powerful Christian and secular organizations to work for peace. She is strongly driven by her conviction that working for social justice issues should not be determined by caste, creed, or religious persuasions.

She also mobilizes the youth and women-through group discussions, skill-building, and alternative ideas for sustainable development for women-toward education and employment as a means of drawing people away from the pervasive culture of the gun.

Maya John Ingty (born on 16 March 1932) is a Karbi, an indigenous, marginalized tribe in the Indian Northeast. With four brothers and sister, she was born into a family committed to social issues. Her father was a dubhashi (interpreter/translator of the court). Maya was the first Karbi woman to complete a Masters degree. She did her Bachelors and BT from Gauhati University and her MEd from Allahabad University. Her eldest brother, Samseen S Ingty, influenced the creation of the Karbi Anglong district in Assam.

Maya was involved in social activities from her college days through the Student Christian Movement of Northeast India. In 1956, she was appointed special officer (Social Welfare) in undivided Assam, when Shillong was then its capital. (Meghalaya became a breakaway state only in 1972.) After her marriage in 1958, she resigned and joined the Union Christian College (UCC) in Meghalaya, where her husband worked.

As a government officer, Maya was a desk-bound upper-level bureaucrat. But her heart was in grassroots activities. While at the UCC, she mobilized a group of women and formed a women’s association, which conducted several health programs and started a primary school. It also helped in the formation of a high school in Umbir village in Meghalaya. The women’s association is still exists and continues to run healthcare programs, school education, and immunization camps.

For six years, Maya worked as president of the Northeast India Christian Council Women’s Assembly, conducting many workshops and discussions on topics relating to women’s development. Much of this work was transacted with people working in conflict situations. She regularly visits the Northeast’s conflict-ridden areas, trying to support women and women’s groups who are struggling to bring a modicum of peace to their villages.

Maya has become well-known in the region, and is often sought out for counsel. In 1967, at the UCC school, she chanced upon a young boy bleeding from the nose. She promptly fetched the leaves of a plant locally called Nephuga, which she crushed and applied to the boy’s nose. Years later, a young paratrooper came up to her when she was visiting the local bank at Shillong. He introduced himself as the young boy who she had cured with the “wonder plant”, and said that he would always remember her as a friend of the village people.

Although Maya is an active, committed, and respected member of the Church of North India, and secretary of the Diocesan Board of Participatory Development, she does not hesitate to critique the Church’s regressive positions. Under the Skill for Progress program undertaken by the Diocesan Board, she has been instrumental in initiating programs for young people in natural resource management, weaving and tailoring, vermicomposting, fishery, and training people to be barefoot veterinary doctors, automobile drivers, and electricians.

She has been instrumental in pushing for greater commitment to social issues by the Church, and for its involvement with other secular and non-Christian peace organizations. Maya’s role in the region is unique – bringing together powerful Christian and secular organizations under the umbrella of peace. She is strongly driven by her conviction that working for social justice issues should not be determined or limited by caste, creed, or religious persuasions.

One of the Northeast’s abiding problems is its high number of school and college dropouts. Primary among the many reasons is insurgency. Young widows who have to fend for themselves and their young children are multitudinous. The dropouts are given non-formal training in order to enhance their self-employed earning capacity, which effectively weans them away from the prevalent “gun-toting culture”.

Maya has also taken up various state government schemes to support her work with the youth. It was through her initiative that vermicomposting training was imparted in Tinsukia (Upper Assam) under an eco-friendly waste control program. Since then, a good number of young people have been trained in the process, and have taken up organic farming.

In her individual capacity, Maya, who has been a member of important peace missions and committees in the Northeast, uses group discussions, networking, awareness programs, skill-building and training, and alternative ideas for sustainable development and livelihood. With tenuous training, and frequently lacking the support of a forum, Maya has been working in the villages with the marginalized people since 1956. It is a measure of her illustriousness that she is welcome in all communities in the region, without regard to caste, religion, or creed. (1000peacewomen).

links:

Shillong on wikipedia, on Shillong online, on Shillon travel guide, on encyclopedia.com;

Video results for Shillong: Manipuri song in Shillong, 5.31 min, May 19, 2007; Devoid – Possessed at Shillong, 3.04 min, September 03, 2007; Shillong XBHP, 3.00 min, June 06, 2007;

Highlights of the International Conference on Conflict Resolution, Peace … , by Tebtebba Foundation, 7 Oct 2008, 93 pages;

The Middle East, By Library Information and Research Service, 2004;

Reclaiming Balance, By Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Joji Cariño, Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education;

Meghalaya Women’s Alliance MWA;

WE WILL KEEP THE PAST NOT BEHIND US BUT IN FRONT OF US! – MANILA DECLARATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CONFLICT RESOLUTION, PEACE BUILDING, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES;

Christian Women Today.

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