At a time when the state is experiencing one of it’s coldest winters, the proposed 8 hours load shedding starting from January 13 has come as a rude shock. Afternoons will now be spent shivering in the cold and for the elderly and the very young it will be a battle trying to keep warm. A number of families now depend solely on room heaters for heat and to cut off this one source of heating is inhuman.
For students preparing for their various exams, it is sheer cruelty to deny them the use of electricity during this critical part of their preparations. Not only will their internet access be greatly hampered by the load shedding during the afternoons but sitting and studying for even a couple of hours without any heat in this cold weather is unthinkable and unbearable. For those who like to study till late at night, the electricity will be turned off at 11pm and for those who like to get up early in the morning and study, heaven help them. They will have no electricity and no heat till 6.30 am. I’m surprised that the government is not showing any concern at all for the students’ exam preparations by implementing this new timing for load shedding. Our children need to be comfortable in order to concentrate in their studies and the 8 hours load shedding seems designed to hamper the exam preparation of the majority of students.
The board exams are crucial for our children’s future and the government should be extending every help possible in order to help them excel instead of acting as a hindrance to their progress. I therefore request the government to revoke it’s decision of increasing the load shedding hours.
Load shedding a crime
On Monday, January 13 2020,the revised load shedding hours have started and straight away the arbitrary nature of the MeECL has surfaced. The second daily dose was supposed to end at 4 pm, but, in Nongrah Nongpdeng, Shillong, electricity came on only at 4:27 pm. Students who are preparing for various exams are already facing problems and if the MeECL is going to stretch the load shedding hours at their whims and fancies, it is only going to make things worse for the students and for everyone else who depend on electricity for lighting and cooking, primarily, and also for other activities. Domestic power users, despite paying their bills regularly, have always been the worst sufferers at the hands of the MeECL, which however, uses kid gloves when dealing with defaulters and the subsidised industrial units. We are simply the public who pay our power bills regularly and it is none of our business if the water level in the Umiam lake recedes. It is incumbent upon the MeECL to find a solution to the situation, not to forget too, that this is an annual affair, with the MeECL citing the same reasons all the time. When will the people at the helm of affairs take their jobs seriously and do the job they are paid for? Or does this issue also require judicial directives to ease the paying public’s suffering?
Via email .
College students to the fore
When the going is tough and the pressure is on, when reserves of strength are waning and the victory over CAA still not in sight, the men and women we need are not lawyers, politicians, historians, economists, social reformers, scientists, however important they may appear to be but the students across India. Students carrying placards of the Constitution, claiming liberty to march with knowledge and discipline and most of all in the spirit of satyagraha of Gandhi – a weapon more powerful than the might of the pre 1947 British Empire are what’s needed today. It may sound impossible but if we really value our hard earned freedom and also remember the freedom fighters in Kalapani who were brutally tortured and murdered, then we are ordained to join in. If any amendment is worth bringing in then it is Art 25A because of which our students are coined tukde-tukde gangs.
Dr Matoo, professor of JNU pins his hope of fighting majoritarian rule, on students. According to him, it was the students across the US that forced the mighty carpet bombing US Air Force using also chemical warfare, to admit defeat and exit from Vietnam. It was students across the length and breadth of India that protested against the Emergency and landed Indira Gandhi in prison. And lest we forget, Indira accepted it with grace, a true leader with shortcomings.
Modi is no different. The only difference will be that when a powerful, dictator falls, the fall is as great and shattering as the crash of the recent Vikram Lander on the moon.
In addition, as citizens the Supreme Court is where we can take refuge. On January 10, 2020, the three justices of the Supreme Court N.V Ramana, RS Reddy and BR Gavar cited graphic lines from Charles Dickens, (A tale of two cities), saying, “It was the best of times (prior to the internet shut down), it was the worst of times (post shutdown). It was the epoch of wisdom (prior to abrogation of Article 370), it was the epoch of foolishness (post 370). It was the epoch of belief (para 3 of the preamble); it was the epoch of incredibility (trampling of para 3). It was the spring of hope (the dawn of August 15, 1947) and the winter of despair (159 days shutdown in Kashmir).”
At long last we see a ray of hope in the student protest. And the flag that stirs every Indian when the winds of prosperity blow; when our youths are employed; when poverty is alleviated; diseases are eliminated; social evils abolished and nepotism destroyed. Also, only when we transcend religious hatred, accept the victims of acid attacks and raped victim sisters as family will India truly walk the path of progress. God bless our India.
St Edmunds College
What’s wrong with college students protesting?
Recently Sunil Gavaskar had asked college students to be Indians first and to go back to their classrooms. He said, “The country is in turmoil. Some of our youngsters are out on the streets when they should have been in their classrooms.” During the time of the freedom struggle and also during the time of emergency, college students hit the streets instead of just confining themselves inside the classrooms because they were indeed conscious and ideal Indians. They played a great role to make India free from colonial yoke during the Gandhi satyagraha movement. They again did take a major part to save our democracy during the JP movement. Those who dared to join those movements put the interest of India above their career goals. Indeed we salute them for their sacrifice.
Commenting on Gavaskar’s super slow first world cup one day cricket match against England in 1975 in which he scored just 36 runs from 174 deliveries, the then team manager, GS Ramchand had said, “It was the most disgraceful and selfish performance I have ever seen.” We do not want to remember this innings where self interest of the batsman ruthlessly jeopardized the country’s interest. But we will certainly remember selfless freedom fighters for their coming out of their classrooms to the streets to peacefully protest against the British raj for the sake of India.
College students have often been advised not to join politics. But if they do not join politics then where will we get young educated leaders from? It is true that students should give maximum attention to their studies. However, the Universities need to teach students about our Constitution, how to logically present one’s views and the art of listening and thinking about others’ opinions. This will enable graduates to be conscious citizens to objectively exercise their voting rights and even to become political leaders to lead the country.
There must be a clear road from University campuses to local self governments, assemblies and parliament. We need more young educated youths in politics rather than local goons. The equation between machismo and politics needs to be banished with logic and reasoning. What we need from politicians is empathy. But machismo is against the idea of empathy.