Chief Minister Conrad Sangma officially released the Meghalaya State Anthem on January 20, commemorating 52 years since the state’s establishment. Crafted to honour the shared identity of the land and its people, the anthem represents a thoughtful effort coordinated by Arts & Culture Minister Paul Lyngdoh and facilitated by the State Anthem Working Association (SAWA), led by Commissioner and Secretary for Arts and Culture, Frederick Roy Kharkongor.
Meghalaya, carved out of the then-combined Assam on January 21, 1972, during the Hill State Movement under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, now boasts its unique anthem after over five decades of statehood. The anthem, composed by the late Neil Herbert Nongkynrih, founder of the Shillong Chamber Choir, features indigenous instrumentation by Shillong-based folk-fusion band Summersalt and NOKPANTE of the Garo Hills.
The anthem, crossing temporal boundaries, reflects the aspirations of the people, skillfully incorporating indigenous rhythms like the Ksing shynrang of the Khasi people and the Dama of the Garo people. Commissioner and Secretary Kharkongor highlighted the anthem’s equitable lyrical representation of the Khasi and Garo communities, emphasizing its contribution to preserving cultural identities.
English lyrics, penned by Neil Nongkynrih, underwent refinement by a team of writers, including Arts and Culture Minister Paul Lyngdoh. Khasi and Garo lyrics were expertly crafted by Kit Shangpliang of Summersalt and Mrs. Iris Watre Thomas, respectively, with additional input from the minister. Commissioner Kharkongor praised the anthem’s fusion of melodies and incorporation of local words, creating a harmonious representation of Meghalaya’s rich cultural tapestry.