Hamlet Bareh dies at 81

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 25.07.12
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Shillong, July 24: Noted historian, writer and Padmashree who was the first Khasi to be awarded with a PhD from Gauhati University, Hamlet Bareh Ngapkynta, passed away this morning at his residence here. He was 81.

A resident of Lower Lumsohphoh in Nongthymmai, Ngapkynta was born on May 3, 1931. He is survived by four children. Ngapkynta was the first Khasi to be awarded a PhD for his thesis The Origin and History of the Khasi People in 1963 from Gauhati University.

Ngapkynta was also the man behind the first 35mm Khasi film, Ka Synjuk Ri ki Laiphew Syiem, produced by Khasi Cultural Society in 1981. He was the editor of District Gazetteers of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland from 1965 till 1976. He also worked as the publicity officer of the Union Christian College, Umïam, and a lecturer of history at St Edmund’s College, Shillong.

Ngapkynta started the Centre for Creative Arts at North Eastern Hill University, where he had served as the head of the department from 1985 till 1993. He was also the president of Khasi Cultural Society, Khasi Jaiñtia Welfare Association and a member from Meghalaya in Sahitya Akademi from 1981 to 1987, a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research from 1984 to 1987 and others.

The mortal remains of the historian would be laid to rest on Thursday at the cemetery of the Church of North India in Bishnupur, Shillong at 1pm.

Ngapkynta has around 50 books to his credit. These include The Economy in Meghalaya, Progress of Education in Meghalaya, The Art History of Meghalaya, William Carey in a New Perspective, A Short History of Khasi Literature, Meghalaya, The History and Culture of the Khasi People, and The Church of England (currently the Church of North India).

He was awarded the National Fellowship from the University Grants Commission from 1998-2000 for two subjects — “Statesmanship” and “Economy in Meghalaya”.

Ngapkynta’s name had also featured in the Who’s Who Men and Women of Achievement in 1989 and also in Learned Asia Vol.1 of Educationists Who’s Who in 1992.

In 2004, he was awarded the Meghalaya Day Award for his contribution to arts and literature and on June 30, 2004, the then President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presented him with the Padmashree award.

Recently, he was appointed as the chairman of the executive committee of the Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh.