“Everything came to a standstill when I conquered Mount Everest”

Behind every successful life, women are equal partners", believes Muri Linggi, the third woman to conquer Mount Everest.

“Everything came to a standstill when I conquered Mount Everest”

Muri Linggi is the third woman from Arunachal Pradesh to conquer Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. In this interview, the 40-year-old, who’s a proud mother of four little girls, talks about growing up in a gender-equal society, the importance of kinship, and how it played a pivotal role in her achieving her dreams.

Excerpts:

You’re a government employee who decided to climb Mount Everest – how did people react?

Born and raised in a free and equal society where there are no gender differences, I was determined to do something different and unusual for a woman. When I decided to climb Mount Everest, I experienced mixed reactions. In our culture, we have a society of kinship that goes back 15-16 generations. This kinship is very important to us. They were all scared and emotional about my decision. At the same time, they believed in me and prayed for my success. There were a few others outside my kin who thought I was strange to want to do this. They looked at me as if I was an alien!

Did you have any second thoughts about the expedition?

I was emotionally moved by the tears of my family and friends, but it did not discourage me or give me second thoughts. Rather, their undying support inspired me. I was even more determined to finish what I had started, as it involved the pride and honour of my loved ones as well. 

How did you feel when you reached the top?

Conquering Mount Everest is a moment I will cherish for a lifetime. I felt I was standing in front of heaven’s gate. Tears rolled down my face and everything came to standstill. I wished it could last forever. 

You became the face of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’. How do you feel about it?

I’m blessed to be born in a free society where girls are equally allowed to compete if they have the talent, the potential, and the guts to chase their dreams. Being a proud mother of four little angels, I wish all parents in Indian society allow their girl children to live their dreams without any Lakshman rekha (boundary line) drawn for them.

As a woman, what are the challenges you have faced in your professional life?

There have been instances where people have put me down or tried to embarrass me just because I am a woman. But I think the trick lies in handling such situations and not giving anyone the power to make you feel inferior. These experiences only drove me to succeed.

What is the kind of world you want to see your daughters grow up in?

In today’s materialistic world, nothing is predictable. But I know my angels will live a far better life than I did. I want them to be known for their qualities and talent, not just as daughters of an Everester.

After conquering Everest, what is your next quest? 

I believe life is uncertain and every moment is a new challenge. I want to fly. So I am looking at paragliding as my next pursuit. I also want to climb Mount Everest again.

What advice would you give to professional women who want to pursue their passion?

Gone are the days when we would hear lines such as, ‘Behind every successful man, there’s a woman’. I believe, ‘Behind every successful life, woman are equal partners’ and they walk together with you. Everything seems impossible till we try it. So, dear beautiful women and girls, if you have the zeal the sky is just another milestone to be conquered.

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