Friday, June 14, 2024

Pride brings about a need for moral education


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: Humans because of their egoism and pride, are inclined to violate the natural order, hence, the need for moral education which the tradition provided with the help of stories is needed, observed the Former Dean of School of Humanities, Languages and Education-NEHU Prof Sujata Miri.

“The tribal leaders extended the idea of respect to the natural world not because they conceive it, it is an extension of human community but as equal members inhabiting mother earth, Ka Mei-Ramew”, Prof Miri said.

Prof Miri was addressing a national seminar on Environmental ethics on tribal societies with special reference to north-east India, organised by the department of philosophy of Lady Keane College in collaboration with the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi and ICSSR-NERC, Shillong at Lady Keane College on Wednesday.

Narrating a story of two river goddesses, namely Umngot (Myngngot) and Umiam, which depicted Umiam, the younger sister as the proud one and Umngot as the steady sister, the Former Dean said the elders emphasised the underlying motive of all rivers to flow for the welfare of mankind and to set an example to rash and arrogant men by showing the victory and steady Umngot river.

“Umngot’s actions can be seen as embodying the quality of natural goodness in contrast to her Umiam, who went against the laws of nature through ignorance and stupidity, meets a violent end”, she said.

Different legends never tire of describing the majestic and splendor of natural forces. “There is a deeper message for their progeny pointing to certain guidelines for living a good life and the Khasi way is one of joyousness, an open-hearted acceptance of life which regards the universe as basically good”, she added.

“The moral obligation on tribal thought springs … not because of the rational will or some other subjective consideration of man but it springs rather from the sacredness of the entire natural order. Man, animals, rivers and mountains are equal members of a community, having obligations and duties to one another”, Prof Miri said.

She also opined that tribal thought is strictly non-hierarchical and no species exists for the sake of another, all exist for the sake of all and for the sake of the entire community of species which is sacredly grounded.

“Instead of theorising about this fact in academic journals, tradition taught this through songs and stories, sung and told on appropriate occasions”, she said.


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