Sangma versus Sangma


Strange are the ways of our political masters. Over the last decade or so, it has been Sangma Brothers versus Sangma Brothers! Look at the way Mukul Sangma and his younger brother Zenith or James Sangma and his younger brother Conrad Sangma have held sway over the course of politics in Meghalaya. When Mukul Sangma was the chief minister and his brother a cabinet minister, both James and Conrad Sangma were in the Opposition. They led from the front to heckle Mukul. Be it inside the Assembly or outside, James Sangma in particular went hammer and tongs against their bête noire. He hardly missed half an opportunity to go after Mukul Sangma. Inside the Assembly, not a day passed when James Sangma did not make noise for good reason or not. What was conspicuous was that James Sangma went personal and made frontal attacks, even hitting below the belt. Mukul being a feisty leader did not hesitate to join the verbal duel. Acrimony on account of political rivalry was the order of the day.

Today, the wheels of fortune have changed 360 degrees. Mukul and Zenith find themselves in the cold opposition, while the other Sangma Brothers are ensconced in the corridors of power. And see, how the roles have changed!

The diatribes from James Sangma have stopped. He has gone completely silent for the past two and half years. I presume he has taken his ministerial job so very seriously that today he has no time even to talk about the works his departments have been doing. Occasionally, he comes in the news for the wrong reasons, though. He was removed from the Home portfolio after his name figured in certain scams. Although, he was let off with just losing the Home portfolio, there are some unseen hands behind the recent complaint to NGT dragging James’ name yet again. Be that as it may, one thing is clear; the rivalry between the two Sangma families is far from over.

The boot is today on the other foot. The Mukul-Zenith combine is leaving no stone unturned to embarrass the Sangmas in office. Small wonder then, Mukul Sangma swooped down like a hungry vulture to devour the other Sangmas on the corruption charges against Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (he is completely silent on JHADC). He rushed to Shillong from his constituency and pressed for CBI enquiry into alleged scams unearthed by his other political foe, the BJP. He demanded imposition of Administrator’s rule (a provision like governor’s rule in the states) so that the other Sangmas would not be able to tinker with the records in the District Council. He is worried that the Sangma Brothers in power, whose names somehow find their way into the BJP “charge-sheet”,might destroy evidence. It may be another plot to create political discomfiture for the ruling brothers, but the pattern cannot be missed. The Sangma Brothers in opposition are hyper-active suddenly.  Zenith Sangma has been using media platforms for scoring brownie points based on truth, half-truth and even concoction!

The long and short of it is that both the Sangma Brothers are not going to end their pathogenic antagonism  and would continue to needle each other, while the state continues to bear the brunt of their political chicanery.

Yours etc.,

Kyrmen Lyngdoh,

Via email

Uncouth behaviour


I have to narrate this shocking and distressing incident that happened on Friday last. A friend of mine and I – two young women were walking towards Dhankheti for some work nearby and we were shocked to be suddenly verbally harassed by a group of men in khaki and black uniforms in a Police Gypsy vehicle. They said in Khasi, “Ale wan rung ha kali” (Come enter this vehicle). We were shocked and afraid and did the only thing we could at the time – ignore and walk away, pretending not to hear anything. After completing our work sometime later, and while returning we ran into the same vehicle again and one of the men stared at us with the kind of stare which only conveys bad intentions. The irony about this incident is that these uniformed men who no doubt are police personnel, who we the citizens go to for protection, have in this case become harassers. Unfortunately, in our fear and panic, we forgot to check the number of the vehicle otherwise we would have filed a concrete FIR against these people for harassment. It is sad that we had to face such an unfortunate incident from none other than the police themselves, and I hope that this is not a common occurrence otherwise the Meghalaya Police will need a thorough relook at the discipline, respect and gender sensitivity of its cadres.

Yours etc.,

Name withheld on request

Via email

Much ado about Wangala


Apropos the news on whether or not to hold the Wangala Festival this year in November, (ST Sep 17, 2020) by two factions of the organising committee, is rather disturbing. Mass gathering of religious groups and other cultural festivals have been stopped by the government since the beginning of this year due to the Covid19 pandemic. Religious worship which is more important than festivals is still under restriction for the safety of the faithful. The present situation is such that the authorities have not been able to contain the rise of this dreaded disease in the state and even the most protected VVIPs like some ministers have tested Covid positive. Therefore, I feel the situation is still not favourable to conduct such a great festival at this time and the same may be cancelled accordingly.

One faction of the organisation say they will be holding only the ritual part and a group of three dancers. This will defeat the whole purpose and idea of organising 100 Drums Wangala Festival whose purpose is to preserve the culture and dance of the A’chiks. The ritual part is just a symbolic representation of the dancers. The organisers who started this are all Christians and they do not believe in rituals of the traditional Songsareks but just want to showcase to the world how our ancestors performed the Wangala dance and to preserve our great tradition.

As one of the oldest members of the 100 Drums Wangala Committee I urge upon the Government and District Administration to prevent such mass gatherings in order to protect the people of Garo hills as thousands will flock together if 100 Drums Wangala Festival is organised. The Sky will not fall if the Festival is not organised for one year!  No right thinking citizen of Garo Hills will ever think of organising a dance festival when the rest of the world is suffering. Instead I would suggest that the 100 drums Organising Committee members donate the festival money to fight Covid 19 and stay safe.

Yours etc.

Rozario M Sangma


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