Thursday, June 20, 2024
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End the alignment controversy

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Editor,

Apropos the controversy over the highway expansion at Umsning, half of the residents want to retain the existing alignment, while the others desire the bye-pass. I would like to suggest that we have both. Realizing that it is difficult to change an approved proposal and respecting the wishes of the people, may I suggest that the existing road be improved to provide a two lane highway, with tow away zones and wider footpaths, and the bye-pass may be constructed for two-lane traffic, with lay-byes.

The traffic from Shillong to Guwahati may use the existing alignment, while the traffic from Guwahati to Shillong may use the bye-pass, or vice versa depending on which side the alignment of the bye-pass lies. Perhaps this would be the most economic solution and may perhaps be considered by all concerned for early completion of the four-laning.

Yours etc.,

S.Ahmed

Shillong

 Revisiting religion

 Editor,

Apropos the editorial ” CPI(M) & religion” (ST 28th November 2011) it is interesting to learn that the Indian Marxists want religion to be included in the new party thesis being drawn up by Politburo Member, Sitaram Yechuri whom I respect most amongst the Communist Party Leaders in India. Karl Marx born on May 5, 1818 in Trier, Germany was a Jew converted to Protestantism in 1824 in order to avoid anti-semitic laws and persecution. Karl Marx passed away peacefully in his arm chair on March 14, 1883. He is now asleep next to his wife at the Highgate Cemetery in London. Marx wrote, “The religious world is but the reflex of the real world”. The Indian Marxists could draw some inputs from Austine Cline’s, “Karl Marx’s analysis of religion” wherein he points out that Marx has three reasons for disliking religion. First, it is irrational- religion is a delusion and a worship of appearances that avoids recognising underlying reality. Second, religion negates all that is dignified in human beings rendering them servile and more amenable to accepting the status quo. In the preface to his doctoral dissertation, Marx adopted as his motto the words of the Greek hero Prometheus who defied the gods to bring fire to humanity: “I hate all gods,” with addition that they ” do not recognise man’s self-consciousness as the highest divinity.” Third, religion is hypocritical. Although it might profess valuable principles, it sides with the oppressors.

Jesus advocated helping the poor, but the Christian church merged with the oppressive Roman State, taking part in the enslavement of people for centuries. In the middle ages the Catholic Church preached about heaven, but acquired as much property and power as possible. Martin Luther preached the ability of each individual to interpret the Bible, but sided with aristocratic rulers and against peasants who fought against economic and social oppression. According to Marx this new form of Christianity, Protestantism, was a production of new economic forces as early capitalism developed. New economic realities required a new religious superstructure by which it could be justified and defended. Marx’s most famous statement about religion comes from a critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law: Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.

Yours etc.,

VK Lyngdoh,

Via email

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