MDA Govt’s mid-term evaluation

Your front page story “Bouquets and brickbats at halfway for Sangma ministry” (ST Sept 8, 2020) amused me a lot. Firstly, there were more plaudits, homilies and platitudes which made for the “bouquets”, but where were the “brickbats”? I didn’t see any criticism for the many failures and the lack of developmental activities which have come to a halt in the state.
You chose to feature a cabinet minister and chief of planning body in the state (which carries status of CM). They were expected to tom-tom the achievements of the government they are running. But we did not find any major achievements enlisted by them to shout from the roof tops. I think both of them missed the opportunity to showcase their performance. Perhaps, as your report said “to be fair” to the government, the unsettled law and order situation and COVID pandemic was their bane. But they went off tangent.
Normally, every government should take pride in lasting two and half years without any threat of political instability. That MDA government did not come out with any publicity of its own achievements, tells me that it has nothing to show to the people. Truly speaking, the ruling coalition is barely managing to stay in power without being too assertive about governance or development. There is no push from any quarter.
What is curious is that you interviewed an opposition Congress MLA to give his take on the performance of Sangma ministry. Coming from an opposition MLA, I read through over and over again to search for any hint of critical assessment in his statement. His was full of gas but little criticism of the government. Being a retired bureaucrat, perhaps the legislator brought his diplomatic skills to play for camouflaging his mind. The statement he made in this regard does not read like it has come from the opposition. Or is it a studied response for the shape of things to come? The grapevines here are speculating about some Congress MLAs seeking greener pastures. This was accentuated by another Congress MLA’s brazen eulogy for the Prime Minister for an official acknowledgement he received from the PMO regarding a complaint about floods in Garo Hills. The MLA should have known that PMO acknowledges every letter, memorandum or email sent to the Prime Minister. By heaping praise on Modi, the MLA has let the cat out of the bag!
Yours etc.,
K. S. Pariat,
Shillong- 14

Rejoinder from Police Dept

Apropos the letter captioned “Why this double training” (ST September 9, 2020), it is worth emphasising that the Cadre Course for the promotion of Leading Fireman to the rank of Sub-Officer will be conducted to check the capacity and capability of the eligible candidates who are due for promotion,as most of the F&ES personnel had undergone the specialized training at Nagpur about 9-10 years ago, hence, there is a need to conduct fresh training so as to enhance their proficiency and to refresh the subject knowledge of the personnel, which in this case are mostly related to technical knowhow. Further, the Cadre Course will also enable the Department to impart specialized trainings in connection with Search and Rescue Operations as well as handling of modern sophisticated equipment which are currently available with the Department and more so, to impart training to the personnel in accordance with the topography and in-situ surroundings of the State, so that the personnel will be well adapted to the environment during rescue operations and mitigation of disasters.
Pertaining to allegations of inclusion of junior personnel in the Cadre Course and superseding of promotion by junior personnel, it is hereby informed that the allegations are untrue and based merely on conjecture. Till date the established procedures for promotion to the next rank is through the Cadre Course which are being conducted from time to time. On completion of the course, a Viva Voce is then conducted by the Departmental Promotion Board and thereafter, based on the number of vacancies and merit of the successful candidates, promotions are granted. It is also informed that promotions cannot be given only on the basis of Viva Voce as the F&ES is purely a Technical Organisation where technical knowledge and aptitude of the personnel is imperative in the official discharge of duties and thus, granting promotion on the basis of Viva Voce will not be justified and will also be detrimental to the functioning of the Organisation.
The allegation that the time is not conducive to conduct training due to COVID-19 pandemic, is once again based on surmise as prior to the commencement of the training, all personnel will have to undergo medical tests to ascertain their physical and health condition, and based on the opinion of the medical expert, the personnel will then be permitted to attend the Cadre Course.In addition to this, the organisation is currently having deficit manpower among the Sub-Officer rank and hence, there is an exigency for conducting the course so as to enable the Department to meet the manpower requirements.
Lastly, the allegation that the department is in chaos where jealousy, hatred and manipulation of the staff is rampant and is demoralising the personnel is devoid of facts and an insidious attempt to tarnish and malign the reputation of the Organisation and the members of the disciplined force who are working endlessly and also risking their lives towards ensuring a safe and secure environment for each and every individual.
Yours etc.,
G. K. Iangrai, MPS
Asstt. Inspector General of Police (A), Meghalaya

Western influence on history

Most articles and books on International Relations written by western scholars have western points of views. Western scholars do not look at the big picture of what’s happening in the eastern side, instead, they look at it from a western perspective hence, treating it like a field work that needs to be resolved, without actually understanding the inside story. Cultural divide also plays an important role in this matter as most western scholars do not completely understand the cultural aspects of the eastern countries when doing research.
There’s a difference between learning and studying the culture vs. actually understanding the culture. Hypothetically, if a research paper or an article is written by an eastern scholar about the eastern issues, it would’ve been more cohesive, in my opinion. You can see this in most articles and books written by scholars who are actually from the region they write about. For example, history was viewed very differently, by the west, than it is by the east. The book “From the ruins of Empire” by Pankaj Mishra is a perfect example of that. He mentions in his book how Japan defeated Russia in 1904, and how that was one of the first victory that marks the defeat of the west. While Leo Tolstoy, a Russian author, stated that it was more of a defeat of the west over the east, Japan representing the west with it’s modernised military and Industrialisation, whereas, Russia at that time was still not modernised enough.
Mishra however mentions that, what was important and what shaped history today was the perception that for years the western world had “bullied” the east, and this victory sparked a rebellion against the west. The same perception Gandhi, Nehru and even Ataturk had on this defeat of Russia. So, in conclusion, the articles written by western scholars do have lasting impact on North – South relations. The example I have given above might have been more about history but at the end of it, it’s perception that matters too, and it’s perception that has always shaped history.
Yours etc.,
Evaris Pala Slong
Webster University USA, Leiden Campus.
BA International Relations.

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