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River Onell Wallang

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River Onell Wallang was one of the first Khasi men to serve in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), joining the service in 1977 and serving till his retirement in 2008.

Bah River was born in July 1948, into a lower middle class family in Lumparing. He studied up to the primary level (Class 3) in Laban Presbyterian Middle English School before shifting to, what he calls, the ‘poor man's public school’, St. Anthony's High School. He passed his Matriculation in First Division (quite rare for Khasi boys in those days) in 1964 and continued college in the Science stream in St. Anthony's college, Guwahati University.

He stared his career working as an L.D.C in the NEFA Secretariat (then in Shillong) before moving up as an Auditor in the A.G’s office. He was persuaded by friends to attempt the civil services and managed to get into the Indian Foreign Service in 1977. Bah River served in various levels in Delhi and in nine other countries till his retirement in 2008 reaching a milestone in 1997 when he became Ambassador/High Commissioner

After his retirement, he returned to Shillong in 2009 and settled in Umpling – a house he started constructing in the late Eighties when, as he says, it was still affordable for government servants like him to buy land!!

Bah River was married to Dr. Wesline Shympliang, MD, in 1980 with whom he has a son and a daughter and is now blessed with two grand children

Bah River was also involved in the Hill State Movement since high school and college as an enthusiastic volunteer.


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