Friday, June 14, 2024
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Gambling in the name of fun

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Editor,

I would like to bring out an incident which really shocked me. On December 8, my son came back home from his farewell party in St. Edmund’s Higher Secondary Section. On being asked how the farewell party went I was shocked to hear that the students played Housie and some of his friends won money while playing it. My sone told me that it was organized by some so called ‘Rector’ who conducted the entire Housie. Housie as we all know is a direct form of gambling and why was it played in an institution really shudders me. I had also passed out of the same institution which taught me moral and cultural values  and hence it really pains me when I come to know that students are entertained by means of Housie a direct form of gambling. There cannot be any justification for this morally degrading episode which took place in the Institution. The Rector is a Brother from the institute and it was not expected of him to indulge in such activities. This is a very bad precedence and has sent a wrong message to the students. I as parent can only hope that such incidents are not repeated in a sacred place such as an educational institution of such repute.

 Yours etc.,

A concerned parent

(Name withheld on request)

Sub-standard food for children?

Editor,

The Geneva Declaration says, “Humanity has to do its best for the child.” The news report on sub-standard, unhealthy food supplied under SNP was very well reported. It’s horrific to read about a department, whose primary role is to take care of children, supplying instead food containing MSG (Monosodium glutamate). MSG is a toxic substance and ingestion of this toxin has been linked with diabetes, adrenal gland malfunction, seizures, high blood pressure, excessive weight gain, stroke and other health problems. I feel anger and dread when I think of little ones, from BPL families, who have ingested this trash in their already malnourished bodies. Would these officers feed their kith and kin with these foodstuff that they supply to the general population? Most certainly not. Even though the basic ingredient of the instant noodle is wheat flour, it is not advisable to eat on a regular basis due to its high MSG content and wax coating (the wax separates the noodles when cooked). It can of course be had as a change in the regular menu, if it is prepared appropriately. For those who do not have a choice but to eat these daily, the following preparation method can minimize the amount of MSG in their diet. Boil the noodles in a pot with water. Once the noodles are cooked, drain the water (Repeat the procedure 3 to 4 times). Boil another pot of water and put the noodles into the boiling water and then turn off the flame. Only at this stage when the heat is removed, and while the water is very hot, put the powder into the water, to make noodle soup. If you need dry noodles, take out the noodles and add the powder and toss it to get dry noodles. I implore the officials and all those involved with the ICDS to make guarantees that ensure balanced nourishment to each and every child. Basic nourishment is a human right and is essential for the development of the child.

Yours etc.,

Lorna Bang,

Via email

VIP misbehaviour

Editor,

I refer to the editorial “VIP Menace” (ST Dec 6, 2012). Prominent Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve has indeed done a great service to the citizens of this country by filing a petition in the Supreme Court against the inconvenience caused to the public by VIPs and their entourage. We are hopeful that the court will take due cognizance of this pestilential issue and provide relief to the citizens by freeing us from the burden of these VIPs. Screaming sirens and red lights, baton-wielding thugs in uniform escorting VIP cars, traffic laws broken at will (ref. recent photo of Ampareen Lyngdoh’s vehicle on the front page), and the huge expense of providing security cover to these VIPs are some of the things that instantly come to mind. A number of Meghalayans have been quite vocal in the past about the misuse of VIP privileges. But sadly, their voices have been silenced thus far until Mr. Salve’s petition unexpectedly cropped up! Did we really have to wait for Mr Salve to raise his voice before highlighting this issue?

The VIPs of India and especially those from the north-eastern states are prone to exhibiting feudal behaviour in their day to day actions. They demand ‘respect’ from the common citizen which is more often than not confused with ‘fear’. They need to be feared in order to be respected. They also demand the right to unchecked corruption and to increase their stranglehold on society by sponsoring immediate relatives as budding politicians to create dynasties! If we look closely at the present crop of Meghalaya’s political class, we would easily see that the current trend is to sponsor relatives in politics to expand power bases. Since political careers here are sold to the highest bidder, every prominent politician from Purno Sangma and Mukul Sangma downwards are guilty of exhibiting dynastic behaviour.

The question that begs asking is, can we have feudal lords disguised as politicians in a democratic setup without undermining the very principles of that democracy? Isn’t it naïve to expect politicians to work for the people when the only reason they have been voted to power is because of the money they dispense to the citizens during elections? After all, these “peoples’ representatives” have to recover the huge costs they incur to kick-start their political careers! Who can blame them if they want a hundred-fold return on their investment by siphoning off the public exchequer? We, the people, are equally guilty for voting such mercenaries to power by indulging in mercenary behaviour ourselves at election time! The Election Commission is more of a pussycat than a watchdog which has time and again failed to detect election malpractices in Meghalaya. They treat our politicians with kid gloves and prefer to look the other way during the run-up to elections! In such a dismal scenario the only way out lies in a constitutional change which allows the “right to recall” of public representatives and strengthening the Election Commission.

Yours etc.,

Daisy Kharkongor

Shillong

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