We scouted for Northeasterners who is just awesome, worthy of approval and simply cool. And from the valleys of Manipur to the chilly Chicago streets, we have managed to put up a list (in no particular order) of the Coolest Northeasterner of 2015. As we celebrate our heroes and thank our eminent jury members for painstakingly chalking out this list as below:
Bijoy Gogoi is a veterinarian who saved a leopard’s life without caring for his own. For details see http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/salute-this-man-risked-his-life-and-limb-to-save-a-leopard-from-drowning-in-a-well-234453.html
Sunita Bhuyan a violinist of the Hindustani style is the recipient of the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini award for Music. Sunita is the brand ambassador of South Asian women’s Fund and the icon for the Election Commission, India. She pursues her passion for spreading the benefits of music among children and cancer patients and is associated with the Don Bosco Street Shelter, ADAPT (Spastics society), S’Prayas and Cancer Patients Association having covered more than 7000 children and adults so far through her workshops.
Nisha Bora has a unique, innovative venture – Elrhino Paper . This is an innovative way to make tree-free paper out of animal poo! Her vision is to build an ecosystem that is favourable to the protection and proliferation of the Greater One-Horned rhino, an endangered species native to Assam. Her for-profit social enterprise manufactures, markets and sells rural artisan crafted, tree-free paper and paper products made out of forest waste and animal dung.
Thingnam Girija is a flower enthusiast from Manipur. She awarded Young Achiever Award 2010 by the North-East Centre for Environmental Education and Research, Imphal, for her contribution towards the promotion of biodiversity and environment of the country. Her association with Dr Tabish Qureshi of Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi led to the creation of the website www.flowersofindia.net, which is a one of its kind of site on the flora of the country.
Roopa Sharma resides in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Vice President of AANA (Assam Association of North America) from 2011-2013, President of ASSNA (Asom Sahitya Sabha of North America) 2013-2015, she had edited and published the annual magazine ‘Luitor Pora Mississippi – the annual mouthpiece of AANA – the last one she published through her breast cancer treatment. The magazine acts as a bridge between Assamese in India and the USA. She started a small project children ‘learning to speak Assamese – one song at a time’.
Chanam Urmila is working to create awareness around issues of menstruation and hygiene. Through her campaign Breaking The Silence, Chanam (an HIV/ Aids and public health professional, activist, journalist, and a National Laadli Awardee) has been spreading awareness about menstruation in rural interiors for the past one year, using her own resources and finances.
Kismat Bano, a 20-something is a promising theatre artiste and director from Assam. Acted in over 15 plays in different languages including Assamese and Hindi. She has performed in different festivals including Bharat Rang Mahotsav, Nandikar, E z c c, Sangeet Natak Academy, Prithvi, Nehru Centre, PDA festivals, kalashetra Chennai, Octave festival (Goa and Rajasthan) and at Qadir Ali Baig theatre festival. Her play ‘Helen’ received rave reviews.
RJ Mandy is a radio jockey with Red FM, Guwahati. She was awarded a certificate in recognition of participating in UNICEF–AROI(Association of Radio Operators for India) Radio4Child Award on Immunisation in Mumbai 15th September 2015 by Unicef Celebrity Ambassador, Madhuri Dixit. She was the only one chosen from the entire East Region.
Mascot in Guwahati & Mumbai Pinkathon. A single mother, Monali got cancer in September 2014. Started taking chemotherapy from November, radiation, medication, counseling everything continued till February 2015. “I could not believe myself when I first finished 3 km in 13 min. I was excited and full of positivity. Now I see my life differently.”
Virendra Mittal, IAS is Deputy Commissioner of Sivasagar district of Assam. He calls himself a Swachata Doot and he is working relentlessly to make the district open-defecation free. As a person entrusted with responsibility of the district, this IAS officer is unlike a typical babu. He is known for his out-of-the-box ideas and knows that he owes his power to the community. And his trusted lieutenants are the community and Panchayat leaders, especially women.
Our jury members include
RAKHSHANDA JALIL: Jalil is a well known Indian writer, critic and literary historian. She is best known for much-acclaimed book on Delhi’s lesser-known monuments called Invisible City: The hidden Monuments of India and a well-received collection of short stories, called Release & Other Stories (Harper Collins, 2011). Jalil runs an organization called Hindustani Awaaz, devoted to the popularization of Hindi-Urdu literature and culture.
KISHALAY BHATTACHARJEE: Kishalay Bhattacharjee is an Indian, senior journalist and author, executive director Reachout Foundation, Former resident editor NDTV, Chair internal security and senior fellow IDSA, Trainer, and documentary filmmaker.
PRERNA SINGH BINDRA: Prerna Singh Bindra is a conservationist and writer. She was member, National Board for Wildlife and its core Standing Committee (2010-2013). She is on the State Board for Wildlife, Uttarakhand. She is Founder-Director of Bagh trust. She edits TigerLink and is associated with Wildlife Conservation Society-India.
HUSSINA THOKCHOM SALAM: Hussina is an entrepreneur based in Guwahati. She is a member of FLO, the ladies wing of FICCI
JARPUM GAMLIN: Gamlim is the publisher of Eastern Sentinel, Arunachal Pradesh.