The Winds Cannot Read

By Danny Pariat

Recently, while waiting for a flight, I was quietly sipping a cup of coffee in a small shop where I was the lone customer. Looking around I spied a discarded newspaper in one corner and, having nothing else to do, I lazily went over it’s front page. A quotation in one corner leapt out, ” When the wind of change blows some people build walls while others build windmills”. Immediately my mind flew to our Khasi Hills and the several agitations about keeping out outsiders by not allowing the many projects proposed by either the state or central governments to take off. I asked myself are these movements walls or windmills and the clear answer was, of course, walls, as these actions do not create opportunities for our people. Will such walls be effective? Walls had been constructed for defensive purposes for thousands of years – forts and castles dot the country side of most countries all over the world but history has shown us that these walls were effective only for a certain amount of time for, when the wind of change blows, walls eventually become ineffective for the wind of change is a powerful element.

Just before the Second World War when Hitler was at the height of his power in Germany, that country was at that time, probably the cleanest country in the world. City streets were cleaned regularly and no litter or garbage was to be seen anywhere and this made Hitler extremely proud. The story goes that one day Hitler was being driven through the streets of Berlin and seeing everything ship shape was feeling quite proud of the fact that all this cleanliness was because of him. However, coming to an area which had trees, he was not pleased at all to see leaves on the ground and asked one of his officers as to why the area had not been cleaned. The officer in question explained that the place had been swept clean that morning but it was difficult to keep the place clean all the time as the wind, being unable to read the orders prohibiting littering, continued to blow the leaves off the trees. Hitler, probably the most powerful man in the world at that time, accepted the explanation and the wind continued to blow and to litter the streets with leaves – this illustrates the futility of fighting against forces that one stands no chance of overcoming.

             The purpose of the above illustration was to show that adaptation is a constant need in order to protect a people’s interest. To think that walls comprising of resentment, threats and assaults will prevent change is silly. In any case what guarantee do these type of walls have that they will work. What we do need is, first of all, a detailed study of the problem – why is the state being flooded with immigrants, what is it that attracts these people to our state? this has to be done by experts with long years of work in this field as the problem is complex and cannot be pin pointed by hot headed NGO’s. Having pinpointed the problem we then have to find the answers and here again experts are required as with such complex problems the answers will not be easy to come by. However, If and when we do find the answers then the question comes in, who will implement these difficult control mechanisms? this perhaps, is the most difficult part. From what we see in Meghalaya today, implementing anything effectively is difficult due to the rampant corruption amongst a large majority of the ministers, MLAs, government departments and the public at large. Implementing the control mechanisms will need the honest and persistent effort of honest and disciplined people from the village level up to the CM’s office – tell me, can we find such people?  Once the coal mines open up again will we be able to keep the immigrants out? I very much doubt as there is very little that can prevent them from coming back by the truck loads.
>> So, what is the solution? from instances around the world we can see that one important thing that keeps a people strong is hard and honest work. Unfortunately we, as a people, do not have the reputation of being fond of hard and honest work and, when it comes to wasting of time during working hours, we excel in time wasting. For example, our workmen take long breaks for kwai, cigarettes, tea and lunch and, nowadays, on the mobile phone. So if we want to keep unwanted elements away then the only way is to beat them at their own game by improving our work culture, to work harder and better and soon influx of immigrants will taper off – this applies to all fields of work but especially where manual labour is involved. Unless we are prepared to do hard and honest work the problem of illegal influx will remain for we must remember that, where rules and regulations are concerned, the Wind(of change) cannot read.

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