Prez ''highly impressed'' by Meghalaya's matrilineal society

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Shillong, Oct 23 (UNI) The woman of ''substance'' President Prathibha Devisingh Patil was ''highly impressed'' by the matrilineal society of Meghalaya.

The President, who retained her surname even after her marriage to Dr Devisingh Ramsingh Shekhawat, said matrilineal societies have given women a ''place of primacy.'' ''This structure arises out of feeling that the mother is the source of their race, who gives the very best that life needs to grow and prosper,'' the President commented about the unique matrilineal society of Meghalaya.

The first Indian woman citizen stressed the importance of women's education for the ''overall development of the state and nation.'' She said women empowerment will help develop the country at a fast-pace.

A member of the President's elite entourage said, ''the President had brought the soft feminine and motherly touch to the Rashtrapathi Bhavan that was never there before.'' Many women turned up yesterday to have a glimpse at the first woman President of India and one of them a school teacher at Mawphlang, Geradol Nora Malngiang, said:'' We are from a matrilineal society where women are supposed to be powerful. But ironically we don't have any women in a powerful position like her in the state.'' Ms M Ampareen Lyngdoh, the lone legislator in the 60-member House, echoed the school teacher: '' yes, her visit would surely encourage the womenfolk in Meghalaya to be active participants in key decision making process in the state and country.'' ''If Pratibha Patil, a woman from patrilineal society can become India's President, why could not women in Meghalaya's matrilineal society produce a powerful women like her in the state and country,'' Ms Lyngdoh said.

Ms Lyngdoh added that she had requested the President on the need to provide more platforms for ''political empowerment of women'' and setting up of women study centre in the North Eastern Hills University.'' Meghalaya being a matrilineal society, never had more than three women legislators in one term and this time the 60-member is being represented by the lone Ampareen Lyngdoh. However, Meghalaya has also sent its youngest woman Member of Parliament Agatha K Sangma in the last Tura Lok Sabha by-election.

Meanwhile, deputy press secretary of the President Nitin Wakankar told UNI that the President is '' very passionate about women empowerment'' and women's education.

Wakankar feels that at the end of Patil's tenure women empowerment, education and children welfare would be the hallmark of her contribution much like former President Abdul Kalam's 20-20 vision and youth.

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