Thursday, December 7, 2023

Holiday to honour Thomas Jones?


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The decision of the state government to declare June 22 as a holiday is a hasty and ill-disguised ploy. The coming of Christianity to these hills has been a double-edged sword. Undoubtedly, the advent of Christian education has contributed immeasurably to progress and development, but Christianization and in its wake, Westernization, has damaged culture irreparably. Many of the youth of our state lack cultural confidence and pride, and suffer from identity confusion.

For a balanced well-researched account, one may read Welsh missionaries and British imperialism: The Empire of Clouds in north-east India written by Melbourne University historian, Andrew May, and none other than the great-great grand nephew of Thomas Jones. The title implies and the book makes aclear case for the double-pronged domination of the colonial doctrine of manifest destiny.

Declaring a holiday is easy. If the government truly wanted to honour the man who gave Khasis the alphabet, they should start with school education, clean up the mess of the poor learning indices of our children, which are the poorest in the northeast region. They should do something about the dropout rate, highest in the country. 

After almost half a century of statehood, there is no Education Policy, for obvious reasons. Why not create an education policy and name it after Thomas Jones? That would do him proper honour. Jones was a proponent of vocational education, a fact not known to many. Instead only seminaries have been erected in his name.

For all his accomplishments, Thomas Jones had no impact in the Garo Hills, so why should it be a state holiday? The creation of this holiday is nothing but a pre-election sop to the conservative Khasi Christian community.

Yours etc.,

Glenn C Kharkongor,

Via email

Dress code important!


A dress code is of utmost importance. A formal occasion demands a suitable formal manner of dress and this basic dress sense does not have to be enforced; it should be inculcated along with our education. Should one err in such a situation, persons in authority, seniors, and elders are expected to intervene and address the errant member, who should accept it gracefully because the advisor cares. Propriety, appropriateness, dignity, neatness, tidiness, cleanliness, smartness add up to a dress code. It is sad to note that a stake holder had to be reminded of this professional ethics.

A college is an institution run by a Management comprising the principal, faculty, staff, working together for the welfare of the prime segment- the students. Women’s College is now over three decades old and internal matters such as those relating to computer software, salary hikes and broken flushes are in the custody of good and reliable hands. Let us leave such matters to the rightful custodians and strive to excel in our respective roles and thus serve the student community to the best of our capability.

Yours etc.,

Principal, faculty and staff

Women’s College,


Consequences of flooding


One of the most common challenges across South Asia during the seasonal monsoon is flooding; and with flooding there are two serious threats that endanger human life, namely- communicable diseases and snake bites. Although the outbreak of diseases capture our major attention; however, the numerous reported and unreported deaths due to snake bites in the rural areas is grossly neglected and misrepresented. The flood water that enters the local forest areas, plug the nesting holes of the snakes with water forcing them to come out in the open. The snakes in the flood hit areas of remote and rural spaces then start looking for dry areas and unfortunately come in close encounter with the local human habitants resulting in disasters. The overflow of flood water, results in snake outbreak in the water bodies as well as adjoining river banks, around forest fringes, agricultural fields, granaries and even in the inundated villages and rural homes.

The deaths due to snake bites result due to the following unfortunate factors: lack of proper transportation to the nearby health centers for quick injection of anti-venom, inadequate supply of anti-venoms in the remote, rural health centers or even in district hospitals, lack of enough skilled medical personnel properly trained in diagnosing and treating victims of snake bites, lack of education and awareness among rural communities and above all superstitions regarding snakes. It is sad to note that many rural families turn to traditional healers for treating snake bite victims who only delay the process of proper medical treatment through their useless and fake show ups for treating the unfortunate victims. Mass education and awareness regarding all kinds of snakes; both non-poisonous and highly poisonous (like the cobras, king cobras, kraits and viper) species are necessary for the rural communities. As long as lack of awareness, infrastructure and communication bottlenecks exists in the rural and remote areas and superstitions as well as inadequate and improper treatments remain the challenge deaths due to snake bites will continue unabated every year.

 Yours etc.,

Saikat Kumar Basu
Lethbridge AB Canada T1J 4B3

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