Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Preserve what ought to be preserved

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‘Memory is the treasure house of the mind wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved’ – Thomas Fuller

THEN and NOW: The evident contrast in the respect given to the age-old monument. (L) The monument in a respectable moment of being clean and (R) the hawkers and cabs that surround the vicinity of the structure now.
A closer inspection would highlight the worse happenings of lime and kwai stains adorning the walls.

Reviving and preserving our culture and history is one way to keep our identity alive and this could be done in various ways either through music, poems or even through monuments.

However, it is sad to note that one has to strain his/her eyes to get a clear look of the famous monument, Motphran (stone of France), a monument dedicated to the memory of the 26th Khasi Labour Corps, who had fought for the British in France during the First World War.

This monument which was erected decades ago in the heart of Shillong city at Iewduh has now been blocked from all sides by big red buses (STPS) which are stationed there besides being occupied by hawkers who are careless about the beauty and essence of this monument.

It is more disheartening to notice that maintenance of the same is also very poor; the same monument which reminds us of the pain and the conditions our forefathers went through during the war has now turned into nothing but a mere stopping zone for buses.

Worse, it is now known to most of the people not as the monument which once holds some meaning to the common people of the state but as a stone kept there as a landmark for meeting and a location for hawkers to spread their items.

Expressing disappointment over the current state of affairs of this monument, one senior citizen said, the proposal of the government to beautify this area by highlighting this monument should be materialized.

He, however, stated that it would take years for the same to see the light of the day keeping in mind the pace at which the department works and implements its projects. “Look at the Khyndai Lad for example. The deadline to complete the beautification process ended a long ago, yet MUDA is still struggling with the tiles”, he said.

The senior citizen also suggested shifting the monument from its current location to Lady Hydari Park thereby giving more exposure at the same time, revealing a part of our history to the world.

“I think it would be a perfect and an appropriate place for the monument to get more importance, with a clear view for the public to see and learn about our past”, he said.

Cleanliness and maintenance is another issue which often leaves a bad mark on the state ranging from plastic and other wastes matters, uncontrolled rubbing of lime and spitting anywhere and everywhere. Civic sense is such a big and difficult thing for the people of the state to uphold.

If only, people can see what is missing and what needed to be filled in, then Motphran now would have attained a special attention from tourists at the same time, regain its sanctity like Henry Waxman, a U.S. Representative says “The sanctity of our battlefields, monuments, and veterans institutions is of utmost importance to preserve military history and pay respect to those who fought.”

(By Ibankyntiew Mawrie)

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