Developed By: iNFOTYKE
I am grateful to The Shillong Times for publishing the picture of the decaying parts of Brookside Bungalow(‘Decaying Heritage’ ST March12, 2018) After the visit of the President of Bangladesh Md Abdul Hamid, the focus is now on the dilapidated condition of the rear portion of Brookside Bungalow which has not been renovated since 2010 when Rs 70,30,350 was sanctioned by the State Government of Meghalaya for that purpose and is, till date, being used as the branch office of ICCR. The condition of the roof, wall and floor are also pathetic. In February 2012 and during September 2013 two inspections were carried out by the Ministry of Culture, New Delhi and the State Government of Meghalaya respectively to save Brookside and renovate it.
In September 2013, just before the former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Brookside it was decided by the then Art and Culture Minister, Clement Marak that after the President’s visit the portion at the back of the bungalow would be renovated. But four years have passed with nothing being done. Since 2007 till date several remeinders have been sent to the State government with pictures of the broken glasses, damaged roof etc so that it would be properly protected. While we are thankful to the State Government, Department of Arts & Culture for allowing us to celebrate Tagore’s birth and death anniversary, Basanto utsav etc regularly but we would be grateful if they protect the heritage houses of Shillong where Tagore and other stalwarts had stayed during the British period by passing laws in this regard.
Apropos the article, “Active but peaceful resistance” by Ananya Guha (ST, Mar 17, 2018). If we fail to take care of the hands that feed us then we have to face the music. And there is no escape. The recent Oxfam report shows that our inequality is widening. How can we harmonise our economy in such a reality? How can business persons and farmers market their products if the purchasing power of the masses gets reduced? Even a machine cannot work well if there is a conflict among its parts, let alone a state or a society. We need to become a truly labour and farmer friendly economy to achieve healthy inclusive growth and human development. First of all, we need to empower our small farmers with the help of land reforms. Moreover, our banking sector must have a paradigm shift in their policy to replace NPA generating macro credits by micro loans for farming, cottage and small enterprises that mainly contribute to current livelihoods in our country. It will generate more employment and thus boost the market by enhancing the purchasing power of the masses.
We must create, so to speak, an employment bridge by which our farmers can take excess food to hungry mouths to solve the ludicrous problems of agricultural over-production and food wastage in the land of hunger where 48.2 million children have stunted growth as a result of malnutrition and hunger. That bridge can only be built with the help of labour intensive technology, land reforms and micro loans. This trident can indeed banish poverty and make India a strong and happy country.
In poor taste!
Through the columns of your newspaper, I would like to voice out my opinions and thoughts regarding certain posts that have been doing the rounds on social media. On March 17, I saw a post comparing the Class IX Social Science textbook prescribed by MBOSE to the photo of a non-tribal man in a Dhara. The latter was posted on 16th March. While I agree that the textbooks prescribed by MBOSE are in need of extensive proof-reading and re-writing, the comparison was uncalled for. It can be assumed that the man, who most probably was a tourist, wanted to try our attire. This was in Ward’s Lake. There’s obviously nothing wrong with wanting to immerse yourself in another culture, even by means of trying out an attire. What is wrong is the fact that whoever gave him the Dhara/dressed him up, clearly had a spiteful intention, an intention to humiliate him.
Having gone through some of the comments, I noticed that some people even went to the extent of saying that it has degraded the value of our culture. One comment was even homophobic in nature. What is degrading the value of our culture is the way we choose to conduct ourselves in such matters! If presumably, the man had seen his photos doing the rounds, what notion would he have regarding our morals and standards (the same morals and standards that we, as Khasi and Jaintia people, talk so highly of having)? What would you do, if supposing you were in his place? Would you like it if people shared your photos all over social media and laugh at you! Not WITH YOU! But AT YOU!
Is is not unknown that some of our “Khun Hynniewtrep” have a certain dislike for the “dkhars”. While on one hand we talk about racism against us in mainland India, on the other hand, we indulge in the same behaviour with the non-tribals in our state. We refer to them using slurs and derogatory terms. How is this a progressive step towards the future? We constantly argue that there is a need to drive the “dkhars” and the “khariap” out of our land, lest they exploit us. I’m not saying that we should let others exploit our beloved Ri Khasi-Jaintia, our Hynniewtrep Hynniewskum. We should monitor the people who enter Meghalaya without proper documents, particularly the ones from the border areas. I would also like to take this opportunity to add that the way some people have responded to the address given by the Governor in the Assembly, was again uncalled for. I mean sure, there should have been an Interpreter, but there was no need of mocking the Governor. One questioned his educational qualification. One questioned his literacy. Is all that really necessary? Some people even questioned whether it was an agenda of the Hindutva movement and ideology. In my opinion that is really not possible. Our Constitution provides us with our Fundamental Rights! And if our Rights and Liberties are taken away from us, we are in a position to fight for it. (In a civilized way!)
While it is understandable that we don’t want our mother tongue to fade away in this day and age but who can we blame except ourselves? We are literally the only ones in the entire world who speak Khasi! It is a part of our identity and we should preserve it.
But let’s not insult those who cannot speak our language (and those who aren’t fluent in English as well). And I am just going to add that for those of you who intend to move out of the state to pursue higher education and/or to work, it is imperative that you are conversant in Hindi, at least. This, I’ve learnt from experience. And for those who will continue to stay in Meghalaya, I just want to say that there is no harm of learning a another language! My thoughts might resonate with some and not with others. We are however, entitled to our opinions.
Once again I request each and every one of us to not bring each other down. But, we should in fact, lift each other up.