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In a recorded interview on a YouTube channel, Director of the movie ‘Lorni the Flâneur’, Wanphrang K Diengdoh correctly said that there are no secrets in Shillong. This place is too close-knit for comfort at times. Thus, the identity of the driver of the high-priced Jeep Wrangler Rubicon that dashed into a shop at Malki Point about a month ago is not a secret. It is also not a secret why the OS, oops, the OSD to the CM, spurt expletives when asked by a reporter to provide details about the accident. It was, to say the least, a ‘cheap’ show of transient power. More recently, in one’s opinion, it would have also boded well for the government’s image had the minister who tested positive in Manipur, been transported in an ambulance like all Covid19 patients, thereby reducing the risk of further infection. But the truth sometimes unravels itself in ‘accidental’ ways.
In our case as common citizens,we are subjected to harassment and red-tapism in the hands of law agencies whenever such accidents happen to us. But whining is futile because we live in an unequal society. And the parliamentary system of democracy adopted by India has only widened this gap, as it licenses politicians and their minions to behave like demi-gods instead of subservient servants of the people.
It will thus augur well for our ‘accidental’ Chief Minister [‘accidental’ as in ‘handpicked’ like Dr. Manmohan Singh] to rein in his allegiant proponents,and deter them from unashamedly stretching their muscles. Such wackadoodles need a wrap on their knuckles!
More distressingly, things are not looking any brighter on the governance front either. Meghalaya boasts of pioneering some innovative programmes, which were later replicated by the Central Government, like the SRWP and CRRP launched by the BB Lyngdoh Ministry in 1990-91, and the MHIS by Dr. Mukul Sangma’s government in 2012. But the present government doesn’t seem to have enough caliber to wield such magic, and the flâneurs of the town are bringing to dinner tables only overt secrets of unabated illegal transportation of coal, mushrooming of coke factories, shameless destruction of forests, and rampant quarrying.And as a result, the flâneurs say, we should look forward to more Sora Complexes, Bazaar Indias, and Sora Arcades to blossom in this ‘prosperous’ Meghalaya land.
All said and done, no matter who occupies the hot seat, the Orwellian adage, ‘All are equal, but some are more equal than others’ will always, always be germane.
Politics of Covid containment
The state of Meghalaya has witnessed an increased in Covid 19 positive cases in the past few weeks. In spite of the surge in the positive cases, the state government is not going for total lockdown and had implemented micro containment strategies, in order to avoid hardship to the general public, particularly the daily wage earners. However, the citizens of the State are intrigued by the lack of uniformity in declaring containment zones. For instances, in one case that invites a lot of criticism, a publishing house located in Shillong has been declared a containment area after three non-journalists tested positive for Covid 19 but in another case, more than 150 employees of a Cement factory in Jaintia Hills District were tested positive, but the Government is still considering whether to declare the factory a containment zone
The Health Ministry has also brought out two updated containment plan documents: one for large outbreaks (15 or more cases), and one for others. Is this not an implicit bias?
District councils in trouble
The goings-on in the Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills District Councils as revealed by the BJP state leadership are astounding. The only way to get at the truth is to get the CBI to enquire into these scams. The NPP President Dr Kharlukhi has called the State BJP President, Earnest Mawrie a tinpot dictator for making public these scams. This is slanderous to say the least. How can the leader of one party heap insult on the leader of another party when both are part of the coalition government that goes by the name of Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) at the state level. Your report says that the Minister for District Council Affairs, H. Dohling has said he only took over the Department some four months ago and has only heard of the corruption allegations from the media. The minister has said he would seek his own enquiries to get to the root of the matter. All the three district councils have been functioning without any accountability.
All these years, successive Governors have not paid attention to the functioning of the councils even though they have discretionary powers to do so. It is also very unfortunate that the staff of GHADC have not been paid their salaries for close to two years. The CAG reports have repeatedly indicted the wrongdoings of respective councils but to no avail. It is high time that the councils are disciplined and learn to utilize public money responsibly.
Online lessons a necessity today
The article by HH Mohrmen on “Online Classes and the Future education’ (ST Sept 6, 2020) is really discouraging for teachers. I admit that in our state many teachers are not tech-savvy and that WhatsApp is commonly used for conducting online classes. The main reason is because it is the easiest App to operate -for teachers as well as for students. For instance, in our school, we did try to use other applications which we thought would be more effective for teachinglearning purposes, but the teachers as well as students found it complicated to handle as we are not quite ready with this method of teaching and learning.
At least, the teachers in Question hour an essential ingredient of vibrant democracy Modi govt showing scant regard for basic norms of democracy By Harihar Swarup Opening of ‘places of worship’? But, this is not the time! By Benjamin Lyngdoh whatever capacity are trying their best to impart education to students in the midst of this pandemic. If not because of this pandemic ‘on-line classes’ would have never been part of the vocabulary of many teachers who perhaps are not familiar with this method of teaching. No one was prepared for this change. What a great idea suggested by the writer that instead of conducting syllabus based online classes, it is better to give them lessons relating to this pandemic. We teachers are trying to reduce the negative pressure of this pandemic on students, but you are telling us to put more pressure on them to think of this pandemic in their tender minds? For his kind information we do give children to write assignments about it in the form of a letter or an essay but it is better to teach them other subjects also.
I’m trying daily to find ways and means on how to improve my online teaching and I hope many are also trying to come up with better ideas. Instead of trying to evaluate how effective WhatsApp is as a medium of instruction, I think we should be encouraged to improve ourselves. I think WhatsApp is a baby step towards a big change.
Little Star Secondary School