It is indeed a unique privilege for Mawmluh to be instrumental in the naming of the latest geological age. The Meghalayan Age is named after the State, courtesy the stalagmite that was taken from Mawmluh Cave for sample study in the University of California.
Mawmluh, even before the coming of the British, had been well known among the Khasis and Jaiñtias for varied reasons. It was a premier province of the Hima Khatsawphra generating huge revenue for the coffers back in Nongkhlaw through its flourishing iron industry. It produced the finest warriors for the Hima. The rich and extensive limestone deposits in Mawmluh tempted the British and they snatched it away from the Hima Khatsawphra to make it a British area. Two of the greatest stalwarts of Khasi Literature, Rabon Singh Kharsuka and Radhon Singh Berry Kharwanlang, hailed from Mawmluh. And, of course, in later years, it became famous for the cement produced by the Mawmluh Cherra Cements Limited, because of a high-rated quality of limestone from the Mawmluh quarries.
For general information, especially to tourists and cave lovers, in the State and the outside world, no visit to the cave is allowed till the rainy season ends. At places, the water inside the cave reaches almost to the ceiling. Lay people should not enter the cave without guides for it is ultra-difficult to negotiate. In the meantime, any party intending to visit the cave for research purposes should contact the Sirdar of Mawmluh.
Article 16 a myth in the State Agri Dept
Article 16 of the Indian Constitution states that “there shall be equality of opportunities for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state,” but this is being violated by the State Agriculture Department. In a recent examination conducted by the Department for the technical posts in Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) of Meghalaya, the advertisement stated “preference will be given to bonded (sponsored/stipendiary) candidates” (letter No. DAD-773/RCMT/2017-18/48. Dated- Shillong, the 18th April 2018). Isn’t this an injustice to all the agricultural graduates who also slogged and sat for the examination held on May 23- 24, 2018? Yes, the bonded candidates or the so-called Meghalaya Agricultural Students and Graduates Association (MASGA) were the chosen ones sent by the Government to study as they secured higher percentage in their XII board exams (scoring a high percentage is not a hard task if you qualify from outside the state board exam, which some of the members of MASGA have). Isn’t it a discrimination that due to limited seats offered by the state government, the non-MASGA, had to undertake their own education by getting a meagre stipend from the government? Why is the State Agriculture Department allowing this Union to think that what they scored in their XII board exam determines their right for a job? It’s already been 10 years since the last recruitment in the Department. All the agricultural graduates are suffering equally and especially many of the seniors are on the verge of crossing the age limit for recruitment. Why can’t the department give a fair and transparent system of recruitment where every candidate is equal and not judged by their Class XII board exam results?
Non-bonded Agricultural Graduates of Meghalaya
(names withheld on request)
Why this needless expenditure?
I cannot help but agree with CSWO and TUR in their protest over the decision of the State Government on the extravagant spending of public money. It is an open secret that at the time of their election campaigns, the representatives made tall claims and false promises before their voters, the fulfilment of which is forgotten once they are elected. It’s common knowledge that a career in politics is one that establishes power and influence. Once they assume office, our representatives set their priorities well and place the self before the others. Swanky and expensive vehicles are a prime need of our representatives. All this at the expense of the public exchequer! While this is one side of the reality that our representatives enjoy, the other side is that of the general public that is sad and grim.
The general public have to face poor health care and sanitation, poor educational outcomes, unemployment, bad roads and of course the daily traffic jams. What would our Ministers and MLAs know about any of these? Let’s take the example of teachers who are not paid their salaries for months. Do they even know under what circumstances these teachers fulfil their basic needs? Or let us turn our eyes towards the bad roads and traffic jams. How many of them experience a ride on roads filled with pot holes and puddles and how many of them are ever stuck in traffic jams? Roads that they ply to daily are repaired and black topped even if the they are still in good condition while roads that they do not travel on are left unrepaired and dilapidated. As they are the higher echelons there are no traffic rules for them. They can ply on any lane even if there are signages like ‘NO ENTRY/NO RIGHT TURN/NO PARKING.’ Even when there is a heavy traffic jam they will use their red beacons or blow their sirens and the poor traffic policeman has no choice but to be hard on the common man and allow them to pass through.
What is wrong with the present vehicles that they are using which are expensive and swanky? Why not limit the cost of vehicles for our representatives and make good, proper, needful and accountable use of money for the common good? The million dollar question is will they? Well the answer is known to all. Alas this is a sorry state of affairs!
Women of all ages have a right to enter temples
This refers to the letter, “Demeaning mothers is ungodly” by Salil Gewali (ST, August 4, 2018). I thank Salil Gewali for reminding me that a little learning is a dangerous thing. Indeed, we need to remember it all the time because it becomes dangerous only when we forget that we have learnt only a little. As Socrates very aptly said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Indeed, we need dialogue, debate and plasticity of mind to judge everything in an objective way.
Every day we attack the dirt of our body with soap, the dust of our home with a broom and the wastes of our country with a Swachh Bharat Abihiyan. But why do we do so? Is it because we hate our bodies, our homes and our country? No, it is only because we love our bodies, love our home and love our country. Similarly, when we criticize one of our dear friends for his tobacco smoking or a temple for banishing women for forty prime years of their lives, it is only because we want to keep our country healthy.
The writer of the letter rightly points out that I love to quote from Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo. It is because they had a deep love for our diverse cultures from North East India to West India ~ from North India to South India, for our diverse religions and above all they had profound regard for our country’s unity in diversity. That was the reason why they had very categorically criticized our prejudices, practices, myths and superstitions. They did it because of their love for the people of our country. As parents often criticize the wrong doings of their own children out of care and love for them.
The Supreme Court of India must be congratulated for its ruling that women of any age have the right to go inside the Sabarimala temple in Kerala just like their male counterparts. The Khetra Samrakshana Samiti told the five – judge Constitution Bench that the judges should not stop the religious practice of restricting the entry of women between the age 10 and 50 years into the Sabarimala temple. Representing the group, their lawyer said, “Any interference with the age-old custom will result in another Ayodhya and will create social tension in Kerala.” But the Bench rightly responded to this with the comment, “Your custom must stand the test of constitutional provisions.”
We see that the practice of the Sabarimala temple management enforcing a ban on entry of women for forty long years when they are the prime of their lives ~between the age ten and fifty which is also the age of their menstrual cycle, is nothing short of labelling women of that age group as not wanted or the most unwelcome group so far as the entry into the temple is concerned.