Riding Shotgun, Meghalaya style


This is a letter in the form of a story for the readers of this esteemed paper.

A throwback to the days of the American Wild West. A western movie on the big screen. A stage coach thundering across the plains of the American prarie. Alongside the stagecoach driver sits a guard with a gun across his thighs. He is riding shotgun to protect the coach and its cargo. Suddenly an outlaw appears on the scene with the vile intent at daylight robbery.

 He throws out a challenge. “Stop! Your money or your life!”

The shotgun rider replies with a thunderous volley from his shotgun. The outlaw backs off and the stage continues on its way safely to distant Dodge City. Evil is defeated. Truth prevails.

Fast forward to 21st century Meghalaya, sometimes in the month of April 2019, a 12- wheeled truck laden with illegally mined coal rolls surreptitiously in the night along the National Highway from East Jaintia Hills on its way to the coal depots of Beltolla.  At a check gate, a police officer torch in hand and in all his splendid khaki regalia of office, waves the truck to a halt.

“ Kit aiu? Dewiong ne? Mem tip ka long beain? Don kot don sla?” (What are you transporting? Coal? Don’t you know its illegal ? Show me your papers) demands the majesty of the law.

The driver of the truck pokes his head out of his cabin and languidly answers, “Don  re. Sa batai malik ba wan nadien ( Don’t have any papers. The owner following behind will explain).”

A Duster that had been trailing the truck from behind slides up silently besides the policeman. A hand with a bundle of 2000 rupee notes reaches out. A short whispered conversation ensues and the policeman then waves the truck forward with the command “Khie Iaid” (Proceed on your way). It trundles on its way to Beltola city. No shooting. No violence.  Riding shotgun the Coal Mafia way, Meghalaya style!

In the morning a SUV with Govt nameplates, accompanied by gun toting security men visits the police checkgate. The police officer of the night before emerges and hands over a bulky newspaper wrapped packet to the safari suited, PA looking guy in the SUV and says  “Mynne mynmeit 110 tylli ki masi dud. Ka jingkhein lah buh lang ha kato ka song. Sa ong ia U Minister ba donburom ba wat khuslai. Ka iaid beit ka kam “.( 110 milch cows passed through here last night. The accounts are there in the given packet. Tell the honourable Minister not to worry. Everything is fine here)

Everyone is happy and life goes on in the abode of the clouds.

Yours etc.,

Toki Blah,

Via email

Of concocted write-ups?


The trend is very unhealthy! If you happen to oppose some silly announcements of doles/freebies by political parties as a whole (not mentioning any particular party), you are very quickly told that you are biased and do possess some ulterior ‘motive’! If you mention some of the achievements of present Prime Minister or count the accolades he received the world over, you are immediately reminded that you are wrong and do support a particular ideology, as if you are a criminal and the only person on earth who praises the PM! Are not all these pure cases of ‘intolerance’ too? It seems that some writers (very few, of course) do not care to correctly apprehend the contents or even read the full text of a write-up but come forward quickly with self-made and unfair conclusions in their desperation to silence the writer of that letter. It’s worthwhile to mention here that I have been enjoying the writings of some excellent writers appearing in this daily for a very long time. Most, I repeat ‘most’, of this magnificent writers belong to our Khasi/Jaintia community and they express their views in a very decent and respectful manner on whatsoever be the subjects. I was never accustomed to witness such irresponsible, shamelessly biased and concocted write-ups as coming up in recent times!

Yours etc.,

PS Gupta,

Via email


Readers have a right to their views


Apropos the letter “One should not be judgemental,” by Salil Gewali (ST April 16 2019), I once again have to intervene. A.K Singh had crossed the line. A full stop at a particular paragraph should suffice what the writer wants to express and the readers could already grasp the meaning – We shall not pass judgement that may have hurt someone. Again awards and awardees crop up and let me clarify that all these awards are driven by political compulsions and better International trade relations. Putin’s award that had been announced may be because of the good relation India has had with USSR especially in defence procurement and I do believe there is nothing wrong at all with the timing. Prime Minister Modi’s contributing a Library in Afghanistan might have been the cause for the award.

It is rather sad that even after seventy two years of Independence, with the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre never forgotten, we still have an inferiority complex. With DRDO’s successes, we are at par with any developing country in the world. Who cares if some NRI in USA fights the election and what is the profit we would harvest? Rather talk on the Balakot air strike with Modi as the hero, millions of megawatt of power for rural India, crores of LPG connection to the rural poor, lakhs of houses and toilets in rural India, health care at Rs 6000 per year for farmers, honouring the MSP statue of unity, cleansing the CBI, regulating the RBI, strengthening the ED’s and IT’s which had performed yeoman service and many more. Let us also advise that writers should never be enthusiastic to the point of believing that

any one rooting for Modi is standing for truth and anyone against Modi is untrue. As a referee assisted by reviews let me advise Mr AK Singh not to be judgmental and to Mr Gewali not to be over enthusiastic. With six phases of elections still to go, readers had better be advised not to miss

a single paper everyday.

Yours etc.,

  1. Khyriem,

Shillong- 14

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