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Apropos the editorial by Albert Thyrniang titled “Sinister Motives at work in Meghalaya” (ST November 5, 2019), I entirely agree that no religious deity, that signifies a particular faith, should be installed in an Institution of Learning be it administered and run by the State or Central Governments, or are fully or partially funded from public resources, either by the Government of India or the University Grants Commission. Further, I am not aware whether the NGO which calls itself the Legal Rights Observatory is truly representative of the followers of the indigenous Khasi Faith. Nevertheless, no outside Agency or Forum has the right to dabble in the internal affairs of a community which has stood the test of time and has been on its own feet for thousands of years. I would, however, request the author to desist from misleading the common man with his unrelated and false commentaries, which found malicious emphasis in his article.
It is known to all, that Christianity originated from the Levant which is culturally, historically and politically not a part of Asia. So, therefore, any ascription that it is a religious order that originated in Asia is incorrect. However, we do accept that Christianity came to the Indian sub-continent almost 2000 years ago, and for many centuries was confined to a community of Syrian Christians who inhabit what is today the state of Kerala.
It must be acknowledged that conversion from indigenous and traditional beliefs is an erosion of one’s indigenous identity, as religion and culture are two sides of the same coin .Regarding the comment that neighbouring tribes of Assam have been Hinduised and have lost their identity, it must be clear that conversion to any other faith from the indigenous, tantamount, without any doubt, to a change and is therefore a loss of the original identity, as religion and its intrinsic culture is the bedrock of any indigenous identity.
From time immemorial human civilizations have evolved by drawing upon the values of society, and certain aspects of the culture of their neighbours without their assimilation into the alien culture. On the other hand Abrahamic Faiths, which believe in the Doctrine of Proselytization, have completely annihilated the cultural values, ethos and traditions of indigenous societies not only in the Asian continent but also in faraway Africa & Latin America.
Lastly, I would like to categorically state here that the Seng Khasi elders and community do not harbour nor house any anger or angst against anyone, but rather are resolute, firm and content in being upholders and defenders of the indigenous Khasi Faith. For they are the keepers of the original “Khasi way of life and Worship of the Almighty!”.
Evil of single use plastics
In the last few days there have been news items and letters to the editor by sensible citizens about the environmental hazard caused by the continuance of single use plastics. None can deny that a lot of awareness was created about the evils of use of plastic. However, hastening the process may have adverse impact. Most of those who give out plastic carry bags are small time shopkeepers and businesses. There is no cheap alternative available as on date, and citizens are also not habituated to carry their own bags for shopping. As a result, small time businesses are still giving away single use plastic carry bags.
If the citizens continue to be alert and sensitive and refuse these single use plastics, then their use would continue to diminish. What is important is an aware citizenry who must make it a habit to carry their own bags.
Maharashtra power game
The impasse over the formation of government in Maharashtra continued but a big shift has occurred in the ideological stand of the Sena party. It has outsmarted the BJP in the political ruse to stake claim for the new government which was evident as the plot thickened. Shiv Sena’s honeymoon with the BJP is over and now it makes fresh overtures towards Congress- NCP alliance to make sure that the roadmap for its government formation is devoid of any hurdle.
With the BJP having failed to get Sena’s support for the Government formation, it was forced to decline to form a government. The Sena’s fatal blow to the BJP by being stuck to its adamant stance has indeed wounded the BJP’s psyche – one that they will not forget soon. The saddest part of the drama is that the single-largest party (BJP)’s dream to form government in Maharashtra has been shattered.
Another fast-paced development was that the bargaining power of the opposition the Congress and NCP has increased as the Sena has only 56 MLAs, which is far away from the halfway mark of 145. Another curious thing is that the newly-elected Sena MLAs currently staying at a suburban hotel in Mumbai went into a huddle. They later moved to Matoshree, the Bandra residence of the party Chief Uddhav Thackeray for another meeting.
If the Sena party tries to form a government with the support of the NCP and the Congress, then surely it is an insult to the mandate of the people because Shiv Sena and the BJP fought the Assembly elections as allies. Now the spotlight has swiveled to the NCP-Congress.
The Sena has 56 MLAs, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44. The halfway mark is 145. If the NCP-Congress combine backs the Sena, such an axis would have 154 MLAs. In the event of Shiv Sena forming a government with the support of Congress-NCP, how far the honeymoon would go smoothly is something to watch.