The fire that reduced one of Meghalaya’s oldest schools – Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Girls Higher Secondary School – into the ashes has also destroyed valuable antiques and old records of the school.
According to school authorities, a school piano which was brought by the Welsh missionaries a few years after it was established in 1892 was also lost in the inferno.
School authorities said that old letters and documents since the period after the school was set up were also devoured by the fire.
The 131-year-old school has produced some of the most renowned women in Meghalaya’s history. They include first Khasi woman minister in the Assam government Mavis Dunn Lyngdoh, former Assam MP Bonily Khongmen, Padma Shri awardee Silverine Swer and first Khasi chairperson of Union Public Service Commission Millian Rose Bathew.
Being the only school for girls in the North East over a century ago, the KJP Girls’ Higher Secondary School celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2017.
The school was an offshoot of an erstwhile school established by the Welsh missionaries at Nongsawlia village in Sohra (erstwhile Cherrapunjee), where it was converted into a proper school in 1864.
The school became an exclusive school for girls in 1892 when a missionary of the Welsh Presbyterian Mission Society took over the administration of the school.
Meanwhile, the destruction of this century old school has raised concern over the safety of many other heritage buildings in the State.
At least three historic structures in Shillong built during the colonial era have been destroyed by fire.
It may be mentioned that in the wee hours of November 17, 2019, the century-old Church of God at Qualapatty was reduced to ashes in a raging fire.
The church was built in 1903 under the leadership of Church of God pioneer Rev. J J M Nichols Roy who is also known as the framer of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The new church building is under construction and is expected to be completed in two years.
The 125-year-old structure that housed the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly at Khyndai Lad was burned down in a devastating fire on the night of January 9, 2001. The historic structure was constructed in 1937.
The foundation stone of the main structure was laid by the second Governor of Assam, Sir William Sinclair Morris on September 28, 1921.
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