This is to bring to public attention the situation prevailing at the Indo-Bangla border at Dawki, West Jaintia Hills District. Even before the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now CAA) was tabled, there have been many instances where Bangladeshi nationals have started encroaching into Indian territory. Since there is no proper demarcation or proper fencing and many vulnerable points, it is very easy for them to enter the country illegally. These Bangladeshi nationals are not refugees or immigrants but bandits and robbers. There have been a number of cases, some reported, many unreported of assault, mugging and so on. One case was reported on January 4, 2020 last when two young men travelling from Dawki to Lamin had to stop their car at Shmia Demmu, as the road was blocked with wood and stones. When one of the men got out of the car to clear the way, a group of bandits came through the woods and brutally assaulted him and his friend and also damaged the car. They left them with serious injuries. These bandits dragged them both through the thick jungle to the Indo-Bangla border. They looted them and demanded money for ransom. Another victim travelling not far behind was witness to this event. He drove forcefully off the road, the bandits pelted stones at his car but he managed to escape. He immediately informed the people of Lamin and the news spread to the villages of Dawki and Sohkha as well. The local residents organised a search party and went looking for the two men. As the search party came close, the bandits fled the scene and ran across the border back to Bangladesh. The victims on the other hand were rushed to the hospital where they received medical assistance. Many truck drivers have also fallen victims to this menace.
As a local resident living near the Bangladesh border I find it nerve-wracking to know that there are foreign bandits roaming around freely and terrorising our society and the villages as a whole. This happens because of the negligence and disregard of the Border Security Force and the local police who fail to perform their duties.
The people of Dawki, Sohkha, Lamin and other neighbouring villages are enraged knowing that their safety and the safety of their families are at risk. I urge the concerned authorities to take action before this felonious act gets out of hand. Our Prime Minister ensured and asserted that the CAA will not cause any harm to the citizens but he was wrong. It is high time for the government to realise the impending danger this holds for all of us, and for once, it is expected from the state and central government to keep the safety, security and the needs of its citizens first before that of any other foreign nationals.
Age of lantern or I-phone?
If we do not learn from past experiences then our future will be “dark.” We shall be lagging behind in every aspect. It is nothing strange that as in the previous years, this year too Meghalaya is plunged into darkness at a time of the MeECL’s choice. For this depressing situation we ourselves are to blame. We did not put earnest efforts to bring sunshine to the state. In spite of many years of load shedding we have virtually failed to act. We did not draw up plans to address this yearly phenomenon.
However, the present cabinet meeting called by Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma to resolve this power crisis in the state is quite encouraging, “Government blames non-functional units for power shortage” (ST, Jan 14, 2020). The CM has sincerely assured a solution at the earliest possible. Of course, the long duration of load shedding has adversely affected the studies of students who will be appearing in their Board/University examinations in March. Without power all our activities are halted; our modern technology comes to a standstill.
We can compare the electric currents in the sphere of mechanical technology with “blood” in our veins that carry life-giving oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body. So, the electric current carries “energy” to every part of the technology to make it functional. All modern technology and developmental plans and programs solely depend on power. What’s the point of our boasting of living in the “digital age” when we do not have sufficient power supply to light even our electric bulbs at homes? All electronic appliances, motors, or hi-tech machines in the factory are like deadwood without power. There’s no denying that without electricity this advanced age will be “anaemic” like a human body without blood. Power is integral to run the technology of an advanced age.
So, let’s get together to bring our elected leaders together to find a solution. Kudos also to the anonymous Minister for standing up against load-shedding (news report (ST 15 Jan). I guess, it is worthwhile, that we all scream hard until it reaches to the Centre. This continuous power shortage should be made known to the PMO, New Delhi. Is it not the present government that dreamt and “promised” to make India digitally advanced? How can we have that unless we have sufficient electricity? I think this makes a logical point that we can put across to the Central ministry now. If necessary, we have come to the streets with lanterns! Better and more relevant will be by holding the ‘I-phone in one hand’ and a lantern in another!
Meghalaya Calendar 2020
Through your esteemed daily I would like to bring to the notice of the concerned authority who published and printed the Meghalaya State Calendar 2020. In the picture for August 2020 the caption mentions ‘Nokpante’ whereas the picture depicts Nok A·chik / Nokmong.
Nok A·chik / Nokmong and Nokpante are two different type of dwellings of the A·chiks (Garos) for which a brief descriptions are given below:-
- Nokpante can be described as (in the Garo habitation) the house where unmarried male youth or bachelors live. The word Nokpante means the house of bachelors. Nokpantes are generally constructed in the front courtyard of the Nokma, the chief. The art of cultivation, various arts and cultures, and different games are also taught in the Nokpante to the young boys by the senior boys and elders.
- Nok A·chik / Nokmongis the house where every A·chik family can stay together. This house is built in such a way that inside the house, there are provisions for sleeping, hearth, sanitary arrangements, kitchen, water storage, place for fermenting wine, place for use as cattle-shed or for stall-feeding the cow and the space between earthen floor and raised platform for use as pigsty and in the back of the house, the raised platform serves as a chicken coop for keeping fowl and for storing firewood; thus every need is being fully provisioned for in one house.
Everyone is aware that the calendar of our beautiful State of Meghalaya showcases our rich culture, traditions etc. both within the country and abroad. It is sad that such pictures are published without proof-reading by those who know about the different cultures of Meghalaya. Instead now people are misinformed about our culture, traditions etc.
Louvre Venus Rangsa Marak