Uninformed article


Sitting in Jammu, I chanced upon a write-up by Keshav Pradhan (Looking Northeast, eyeing development) in the Chandigarh edition of the Times of India recently. The article speaks of the challenges facing Prime Minister Modi in his quest to speed up development of the ‘Northeastern region of this country’. What caught my attention, first, was the casual and perfunctory labelling of certain states of the region as Christian and Buddhist. We live, we must remind ourselves, in a secular country. It is incorrect, and possibly unconstitutional, to suggest that any region of this country may be divided up on sacred lines; to do so is misleading and misinformed.

If we are to refer to Nagaland or Mizoram as being Christian, rather literally, based on their majority populations, I might agree with Pradhan. However, Meghalaya, where I was born and live now, has a vast population of people who are of the indigenous faith, and lakhs of Hindus, Muslims, Jains, et cetera, besides. The addition of their numbers is more than half of this state’s official population figure. To say that Meghalaya is ‘Christian’ is politically and mathematically incorrect.

For heaven’s sake, please, let us remain secular and truthful with our numbers. Information in the press should aim to bring out the nuances of a country as diverse as India; especially, when discussing a region such as the Northeast which is linguistically, ethnographically and even theologically a very intricate mesh of peoples. Such a desultory way of looking at the Northeast is an insult to its communities. And to refer to the region’s ‘psychological alienation’ later in the piece, without irony, is stupider still.

Yours etc.,  

BK Dey Sawian,

Via email.


When the poor are manipulated


Every time a bandh is called I would only hear about the plight of those people whose economic life is shattered whenever such activities takes place. But I have never witnessed first-hand how bandhs affect the poor until today. I went shopping in the morning with my friend to Iewduh to find the over –the-top bustling life, as expected with the HYC public rally about to commence and the scheduled
public rally the next day which falls on a Saturday. I am not a shopper per se. In fact was simply following my friend around the market negotiating my way through the busy, congested lanes and being pushed around by fellow- shoppers. The torrential rain made the vegetable shopping even more challenging. Buyers were running helter- skelter from one shop to another. Sellers were trying hard to woo buyers. In all this, I was suddenly led by my friend to a small make-shift shop where an elderly lady was selling various leafy vegetables. She was old enough to be my grandma. And here she was trying to earn a living. As my friend was buying vegetables from her, I couldn’t help but notice the look on her bespectacled face. It was more of a pensive mood than a joyous one. It saddened me and got me thinking. It’s easy for people like me to chill out at home and welcome bandhs whenever they are announced as they don’t really affect me. But I am left with unanswered questions. I mean what about all those who toil day and night just so that they can bring their produce to the markets to make ends meet? In this show of power between people with a dictatorial and egoistical attitude why should downtrodden people suffer? What wrong did they do to deserve this? I wonder how many people get a decent morsel of food and how many others go to bed with empty stomachs in this State of ours. I don’t really know for how long this tug of war will continue
but over-all it is common people, specifically the poor who will continue to suffer. Today’s shopping was an eye opener for me and I am slowly but surely learning how to admire earnest and hardworking people even more.
Yours etc.,

Name withheld on request

Masterpiece of sarcasm!


I agree with Jason Mairom’s letter (ST June, 1, 2015) that Balajied Kharshandi’s letter (May, 16, 2015) was a masterpiece in sarcasm.

No one in his right mind would term the ILP “leaders” as “role models of simple living, honesty, courage, humility, wisdom, hard work and purity”. The entire letter carries on in the same vein, extolling the “virtues” of the “leaders of the Jaitbynriew”, concluding with “…cleansed of all unwanted outsiders”. Everyone knows that if the so-called outsiders go, the “income” of the “honest, simple, hard-working” ILP leaders will vanish, and their carefully built-up extortion racket will collapse. It is a shame for us that we have installed a bust of the “honest, hard-working, humble, simple” Bull Lyngdoh at Dhankheti. Are these the type of people the Jaitbynriew look up to?

Your etc.,

 Damanbha Diengdoh,



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