Hekani Jakhalu is an Indian lawyer, social activist, and politician, who contested the 2023 Nagaland Assembly polls. She made headlines in 2023 after she along with Salhoutuonuo Kruse became the first woman to be elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Nagaland.
Hekani Jakhalu Kense was born in 1975 (age 48 years; as of 2023) in Toluvi, Dimapur, Nagaland. EastMojo She attended the Holy Cross Higher Secondary School in Dimapur after which she studied at Bishop Cotton Girls’ School in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Later, she enrolled at the Lady Shri Ram College For Women in New Delhi, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in arts in political science. In 2002, she earned a bachelor’s degree in arts in international studies from the American University. In 2008, she enrolled at Harvard University in the United States, where she pursued executive education. Later, she earned a bachelor’s degree in law from Delhi University. Thereafter, she obtained a degree in executive education from the American University. Later, she enrolled at the University of San Francisco, where she earned a master’s degree in law. LinkedIn Later, she worked as an intern with the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Status of Women. Facebook – Hekani Jakhalu
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Hekani Jakhalu was born into a middle-class family belonging to the Scheduled Tribe (ST) in Nagaland.
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Suhoi Inashe Jakhalu, was a retired lieutenant colonel of the Indian Army. He died in October 2017. Her brother, Akheto Jakhalu, is an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot.
Husband & Children
Her husband, Kevilezo Kense, is a businessman. She has a son named Vik and a daughter named Zavi.
Hekani Jakhalu follows Christianity.
Hekani Jakhalu resides at House No. 87 (A), Lane -04, Toluvi Village, Dimapur, Nagaland- 797116.
After completing her formal education, she began practising law in New Delhi. Later, she co-founded a law firm in Delhi that provided consultation to its clients in the field of civil and corporate law. She, however, resigned from the firm in 2005. As a lawyer, she represented her clients in the Delhi High Court as well as the Supreme Court. She practised law at the Delhi High Court till 2005.
Hekani Jakhalu joined the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) after she left practising law in New Delhi and shifted back to Nagaland. She contested the 2023 Nagaland Assembly elections from the Dimapur III constituency on NDPP’s ticket.
In the elections, she defeated Azheto Zimomi, a Lok Janshakti (Ram Vilas) candidate, by 1536 votes, becoming the first woman to enter the state assembly in Nagaland. While giving an interview, she said,
I won because people wanted change. I have been into social service for the past more than 17 years. All along, I have worked with the youth. I will work for the minority communities (read non-tribal communities). They make up more than half of the population in the constituency.”
In 2002, Hekani began working with Amnesty International in San Francisco. She worked there till 2003. In 2006, Hekani Jakhalu left practising law in New Delhi and shifted to Dimapur, where she founded YouthNet, a non-profit organisation. Thereafter, the NGO established several job centres in Nagaland to provide employment to the people of the northeast based on their educational qualifications. The NGO has tie-ups with global organisations such as JW Marriott Hotel and Pullman Hotels and Resorts. Later, the NGO began providing the youth with vocational courses at a very low fee. While giving an interview, she said,
We give them an orientation for a week, and explain to them about the sector. Also, we keep in touch with them, especially the first-timers. We have a mechanism with which we track them and take care of the young peoples’ security and accommodation for a year.”
In September 2008, she became the chairperson of Young Indians and remained in the post till September 2010. In 2013, with the intent of promoting young entrepreneurs, YouthNet started an event named “The Entrepreneur” in which many budding professionals represent their ideas.
While giving an interview, Hekani Jakhalu said that she decided to start her NGO in Nagaland after she saw a large number of youngsters from the northeastern parts of India work in New Delhi, away from their hometowns. Talking about it, she said,
At every store in every mall, you could see young boys and girls from the northeast working there. I wondered what was driving young people from the northeast to the metros. Was it out of choice, or compulsion? Also, as most came from small villages, these cities were not safe, were expensive to live in and culturally different.”
In 2018, to promote local products from Nagaland, YouthNet established Made In Nagaland, a centre where the producers sell their products to consumers.
- In 2018, the Government of India awarded Hekani Jakhalu the Nari Shakti Puraskar, India’s highest civilian award presented only to women.
- In 2021, Hekani Jakhalu received the Prerna Award from Schneider Electric.
- Cash: Rs. 2,00,000
- Bank Deposits: Rs. 22,55,761
- Motor Vehicles: Rs. 10,65,540
- Jewellery: Rs. 2,30,000 (a gold finger ring and a Cartier Wrist-watch)
- Non-Agricultural Land: Rs. 37,50,000
- Commercial Buildings: Rs. 3,50,00,000
Note: The given estimates of movable and immovable assets are according to the year 2023. It excludes the assets owned by her husband. MyNeta
Hekani Jekhalu’s net worth in 2023 was estimated to be Rs. 4,25,01,300. It excludes the net worth of her husband. MyNeta
- Hekani Jakhalu owns a Toyota Innova Crysta. It was reported that Hekani and her husband own more than six cars.
- Hekani Jakhalu is a Hodophile (one who likes to travel a lot) and has visited many countries.
- In 2008, Hekani Jakhalu shared a photo of herself in which she was smoking a cigarette.