There has been a lot of drum-beating by the Government recently about environment protection. All of it is mere eyewash to rope in more funds from the Central Govt and aid agencies, rather than a genuine effort to protect the environment. Once the money comes in, all such talk will be forgotten and the money will be diverted elsewhere. This is a pattern we have seen many times before. If Mukul Sangma is sincere about protecting the environment, let him first declare a complete ban on mining. Let him revamp the Forest Department from the ground up and place a credible person as the minister in charge. Let him make policy changes wherever necessary to protect the forests. The present Minister for Forests appears to be a hardcore fan of the rock group ‘Status Quo,’ so we cannot expect any changes from him. The recent item in the newspaper about increase of land under forestry is highly controversial. One suspects this somehow ties in with hustling funds from outside agencies in the name of environment protection. The reality is somewhat different, as every citizen of Meghalaya knows. Unchecked deforestation by the timber industry and mining cartels (coal, limestone and sand) has completely changed our eco-system for the worse. Pollution of water sources, water reservoirs and ground water through unscientific mining and lack of sewage disposal/ treatment has meant that our state is left with a looming water crisis and pollution issue of gigantic proportions. Cheap talk and spinning dreams is all that government have been doing thus far. Environmental pollution is what will hit out future generations the hardest – but is anyone listening?
New Delhi 110001
I am amazed that a locality in Shillong has been named as R&R Colony (UMPLING). If the purpose is to fall back on tragic history of partition, the purpose is ill served. Surely after 66 years of post partition and independence, the relief and rehabilitation process should have come to an end and the unfortunate victims assimilated into the State’s mainstream. Except in Meghalaya, the migrants have merged themselves with the locals everywhere and there are no colonies such as refugee camps or localities left over. Even in Delhi, EPDP (East Pakistan Displaced Persons) colony has been renamed as Chittaranjan Park to remove the stigma and the bias that is likely to be associated with this form of discrimination. I suggest that the name be changed suitably, otherwise Meghalaya will lose the moral right to raise its voice against minority discrimination as its own record of handling a handful of law abiding migrants would be seen to be poor.
Subir K Deb
Mawrie’s faulty logic
Loyalty to one’s own religious faith has been a feature of human nature for a very long time. Unfortunately,that loyalty has only too frequently been matched by intolerance and hostility towards all other faiths. As a consequence many vicious and destructive wars have been fought on religious ground. Today, people are able to move about the world with greater freedom than ever before. If they are to become constructive and happy members of their new communities, there is a really urgent need for people of different faiths to become more tolerant of each other’s belief.
Fr. Barnes Mawrie’s argument that acceptance of Christianity by Niam Tynrai and Niamtre communities would help in eradicating the “cult of nongshohnoh” is bases on his ‘religious prejudices’. His belief that Christianity is the only TRUE religion in the world is an expression of intolerance of non-Christian values.The Khasi people adhering to indigenous belief systems do not support the practice of U Thlen, Taro etc. It is suspected that this evil cult is practised by a few families including Christian converts. Therefore, one cannot generalize that it is an evil cult indulged in by everybody in the Khasi society. Today we live in a society of scientific reasoning and ‘myth’ has fallen into disrepute. A ‘myth’ is something that is not TRUE. It was never intended as an accurate account of historical events.
Religion is a personal matter
Barnes Mawrie’s open proselytising through newspapers is a blot on the fair name of Christianity. Adherents of every religion think that their religion is the saviour of mankind. More crimes have been committed in the name of religion than anything else. The way forward is to relegate religion to the home where it belongs. One day the world will realise this, but not the likes of Barnes Mawrie since, he perhaps has a vested interest in it!
Interestingly, and ironically, Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Indian Rationalist Association now lives at an undisclosed location in Europe, after receiving death threats from Catholic fanatics in Mumbai.