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It is unfathomable that people of high moral standards holding the status of bureaucrats, statesmen, public figures etc., and appearing on the horizon of the Hynniew trep world who try to selflessly and impassionately serve the righteous cause of the indigenous populace have almost vanished from the silhouette. The reason is that such patriotic personalities find themselves at loggerheads with the irrepressible forces at the helm or are victims of circumstances. While elaborating these points of contentions, I may cite a few gentlemen of eminence who were/are the unsung protagonists and I may be discreetly retorted if anyone is at odds with my accounts here.
- W Pakyntein who was the Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills from 1977-1979 at the height of Assam’s anti-foreigners agitation which had resultant reverberations in Shillong had reportedly tried his utmost to ensure that many innocent tribal youths and the law-abiding citizens did not unnecessarily undergo Police/CRPF repressive actions as the then situations was very critical and turning for the worse. Sadly, Mr Pakyntein had but hardly a two-year stint in the office for reasons best known to the powers that be in those late 1970s.
Late M.N. Majaw, as the Revenue Minister in the then Meghalaya dispensation, was by and large instrumental in the introduction of the historic Meghalaya Land Transfer Act, 1971, which stipulates to regulate the transfer of land to protect the interests of the Scheduled Tribes in respect of tribals’ lands from being alienated. The said Act has gone a long way to serve the indigenous tribals from being overwhelmed by the sweeping tide of influx. Notwithstanding such an epoch-making achievement, Mr Majaw lost his MLA seat from Mawhati Constituency in his second attempt and was never again re-elected as a political representative and by and by was a forgotten man till he passed away.
Late Bull N. Lyngdoh, as a President of K.S.U, had exhibited immense fortitude and passion for serving the noble cause of the indigenous people. Incidentally, even while lying in hospital with acute physical pains he had displayed his extreme anguish and infuriation with whatever strength he could muster through his bodily counteraction on learning that the police had dishonoured the K.S.U flag. His untimely demise was unquestionably an irreparable loss to our community.
Another prominent social leader, namely, Mr Ardent Basaiawmoit had unveiled his mission for the local populace as C.E.M of KHADC, an office he held for a brief spell only to be unseated before long and subsequently losing his MLA seat at the hustings last year. I am afraid all his good intentions and aspirations would be consigned to history. And of late, Mr Paul Lyngdoh, while holding the status of E.M in the KHADC i/c Trade Deptt. has unerringly evinced concernment of the imminent danger lurking around the tribals. To counterpoise this menace, Mr Lyngdoh has legally exercised his delegated powers to launch inspections on irregular trade operations by non-tribals without legal documents as issued by the empowered authorities. On this very overriding issue, I am led to cast my mind back to the years when I was with one of the Central Govt. establishments where I was told by one of my co-staff, a non-Khasi at that, who warned me that the uncontainable influx into Meghalaya, even in those years, can never be neutralized by any number of check gates, or the proposed Entry-Exit points, set-up at vantage locations for obvious reasons; he humorously concluded that chasing the infiltrators was no different from chasing flies which only come back again. I see that those forewarnings ring true even these days and which is why Mr Lyngdoh has uncannily grasped the caveats and perhaps felt that the only course of efficacious actions was to nip in the bud the illegal influx. Thus he set his sights on evolving sustainable result-oriented legislations to curb economic pursuits of the doubtful immigrants in the guise of trading/selling of cheap services/labours as the same are sole life-line which entice unabated infiltration. But, lo and behold, he was disingenuously unseated from his chair to the eruptions of joy of the adversaries.
Taking stock of the foregoing narratives, I am constrained to quote the divine words from the Holy Bible when Jesus said: “A prophet is without honour only in his home town”. Furthermore, I’m also impelled to recall what a Roman Catholic priest-poet, G.M. Hopkins in one of his poems entitled “Thou art indeed just, Lord if I contend,” wrote thus: ‘Why do sinners’ ways prosper?’
Jerome K. Diengdoh,
Gorkhas not infiltrators
Home Minister of India, Amit Shah surprised the Indians at large and pained the Gorkha community of India by calling them “Ghuspethi” (infiltrators).In this context I would like to thank Gaurav Gogoi, M.P (Congress, Assam) for reacting against the statement of Amit Shah. It is a well known fact that the Gorkhas living in India for generations are not infiltrators but they are integral part of India. There are nearly four million civilian Gorkhas in India besides one lakh of them serving in the Indian army and para-military forces. They started serving and settling down in India ever since the days of East India Company, long before India came under the British Crown. Today they are there along Indian borders at Siachen, Ladakh and MacMohan line defending our country.
The Gorkhas have made supreme sacrifice by their lives for the sake of sovereignty and integrity of India as well as for maintenance of internal peace and order in Northeast India. They laid down their lives in Pirkanthi/Baramula war in 1948, in Bangladesh war in 1971 and in Chinese aggression in 1962. In the Kargil war (1919) alone, they lost twenty-tow precious lives. Many of them joined Indian National Army (1943-45) for liberation of mother India from British rule and became martyrs.
Today the civilian Gorkhas have fully assimilated with Indian society and culture and become anintegral part of India. They took part in the freedom movement of India and suffered imprisonment. They are purely Indians and love to be identified as ‘Indian Nepalis or Gorkhas’ to distinguishthemselves from the Nepalese nationals who form a small segment in India. They are the people from Nepal and have no connection with the Gorkhas living in India. But they are also not “Ghuspethis” (infiltrators), for they are protected by the Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1950. Clause 7 of the above treaty “grants, on reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature”.
There are millions of Indians too who have crossed over to Nepal and enjoyed the same privileges there under the above Treaty.They are not treated as infiltrators by the Government of Nepal, rather many of them have been given the right of citizenship in Nepal. So the Home Minister may kindly correct himself and consider the Gorkhas as any other Indians.
K K Muktan,