GUWAHATI: As Meghalaya celebrates 50 years of statehood, a proposal to honour the first female cabinet minister of the Indian Subcontinent has been put forward.

Meghalaya is planning for the installation of a life-sized statue of Mavis Dunn Lyngdoh, the first woman minister of the subcontinent 83 years ago. 

Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh has written to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma with the proposal to honour Mavis with her life-sized statue.

Metbah Lyngdoh in the letter to the Chief Minister wrote, “Appreciating the state government’s effort to celebrate the golden jubilee in a grand and befitting manner, it will also be proper for us to honour the late Mavis Dunn Lyngdoh. I would like to request the government to consider putting one full-size statue of her on the premises of the State Central Library (in Shillong) and honour her for her achievement and service to our people.” 

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As per the reports and data, Mavis became a cabinet minister in Assam in 1939. 

She became the first female to hold a cabinet ministerial berth eight years before Sarojini Naidu was appointed as the governor of the United Provinces in 1947.

Mavis who had won the elections as an independent candidate joined as the minister at the invitation of then Prime Minister of Assam in British India, Sir Mohammed Syed Saadulla.

She was 33 when she joined the government. 

Born on June 4, 1906, to H Dunn and Ka Helibon Lyngdoh, Mavis studied at the Welsh Mission Girls’ School, Shillong.

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She attended Bethune College, Kolkata, and obtained her BT degree. 

Apart from being the first woman cabinet minister, she was also the first Khasi woman to qualify to practise law from the University Law College, Gauhati.

She entered active politics in 1937 at the age of 31. She was elected as a member of the Assam Assembly as an independent candidate. 

While in office as the health minister, she created the posts of nurses in government-run hospitals, and women trained in public and private institutions were appointed. 

However back then, then were no state training schools for nurses in the Northeastern region.

She never married and retired from politics in 1946.

She passed away in 1962, exactly 10 years before Meghalaya attained statehood.

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