At the stroke of last midnight, the Mait Shaphrang Movement (MSM), an anti-graft brigade of Meghalaya, heralded the New Year in an unusual way. They have been doing it for the last 21 years and this time was no exception. Braving sub-zero temperature the members of MSM plunged into ice-filled swimming pool at midnight and resolved to fight corruption.
As the rest of the country welcomed 2018 with revelry, some brave-hearts in Meghalaya led by former influential student activist and convener of the Mait Shaphrang Movement, Michael Syiem, heralded the new year by taking a ‘ritualistic’ midnight dip at the Crinoline swimming pool here at sub-zero temperature.
Syiem started the midnight dip on New Year’s eve alone about twenty one years back. Gradually, many people started joining him.
Last midnight twenty-six people, including two women along with Michael Syiem plunged into the Crinoline swimming pool at sub-zero temperature. There were two sexagenarian in the group among whom one was a heart patient. To make things even chillier, seventy ice-blocks were lobbed into the pool one hour before the plunge.
For 68 year-old Disil Nongrum, the oldest participant, a dive into that icy pool was a challenge that he overcame in the first few minutes of the New Year itself.
“This dip is all about inculcating in ourselves a fighting spirit to overcome the odds that we are facing today,” Syiem said.
While saluting all the soldiers who laid down their lives for the country, Mait Shaphrang Movement members also sought to bring about gender equality in Meghalaya.