Shillong embraces heterogeneity

Editor,

Can you relate to this? When a child performs or behaves well, one parent says to the other:“It is My Child;” when a child does not perform or behave well, we note the throwaway comment:“It is Your Child.”

At the moment, when Shillong is beautifully ablaze with Cherry Blossoms, we read in the papers the proclamation ‘Our Shillong’. As a native of this beautiful part of the country, I affirm that Shillong belongs to its people, the Tribals, and also to all those who love it for the singular distinctiveness, and distinction, of its ‘Ethnic Tribal Values and Culture’. There is intrinsically no discrimination in the hearts and minds of the humanity resident in Shillong: past, present, and future… except within a section of single-pointed radically communalised minds, stained by a rationale that is focused on narrow-minded personal interests.

In a metaphorical sense, Shillong is the child of several parents: in the century gone by, well prior to winning independence, India welcomed and witnessed, as an example, people from England and Wales: they gave us their script for use in our local languages, they designed our clothing, especially our winter wear, using woolen fabrics and the ‘Scottish checks’ and ‘tartans’, so uniquely distinctive in style from the rest of the country. They have given us our food habits, sense of colour combinations, designs, etiquette, and never to be overlooked, our exceptional tastes in music and choral singing, and our overall lifestyle to a great extent.

Furthermore, the identity and living dynamics of Shillong, and by extension, Meghalaya, has been catalysed massively by the presence of non-tribal golden-hearted Indians, who have symbiotically been adopted, and have adopted, the essence of Shillong in their bloodstream. The economic heartbeat of Meghalaya is impelled by the business and entrepreneurial acumen of these people. Beyond this, the intensive and extensive efforts directed by this community of spirits, is doing unrelenting social relief works for the marginalised sections of this beloved Abode of the Clouds. Should they be disregarded?

In a very real sense, Shillong belongs primordially, and primarily, to those who have come from other parts of the world, and who, with deeply dedicated commitment, have selflessly done their utmost,in manifold ways, to develop our people and our beloved land. Their immersion in, and contribution to, our culture can never be adequately estimated, and should never be underestimated.

I affirm unapologetically, and without reservation, that Shillong does not belong to those who try to stifle her citizenry by imposing laws and practices that are against all our visions, virtues, and values. It is an unrelenting hallucination to assume that the seemingly friendly and compassionate mien and manner of the North East is the prevailing reality, when the brutal truth is that this sanctuary of providential peace, beauty, and essential goodness is actually dis-integrating! Our lives and livelihoods are being held to ransom by a savage assault on the peace and security within our hearts and in our systems.

I appeal to the soul and spirit of this great land, for God to grant us the soul-smart leadership that is needed to move us from harm to harmony. Only then can we affirm that Shillong belongs to all who respect and honour our religious and cultural beliefs, revering the diversity and divinity of our sacred heritage.

A totalitarian system of forcing us all to cower before a despotic ‘One’ is nothing less than an uncompromising sledgehammer blow to our serenity, and an invasion into the very essence of our humanness. It is a violation of what it means to be human, and humane! In this stance, there can be no compromise! We must stand together to salvage ourselves against the evil that predominates, for it is our cherished birthright to nourish and nurture the spirit of peace, harmony, and goodwill towards all. This is the core credo of ‘inclusivity’, and our sacramental birthright. Individually, and collectively.

Yours etc.,

Bertha G. Dkhar (Padma Shri),

Via email

 

The ILP of the Regulation

Editor,

The State has all the authority (under the law) to invoke the Regulation V of 1873 (Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873) without seeking central consent as the State of Manipur has done recently. The State is empowered to invoke the above without Central Government’s approval.

We request the Governments, the State legislature, and, State ministers and their minions to kindly enlighten us on the need for or purpose of adaptation of laws in the context of the Government of India Act, 1935, the Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950 and, the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971 and how these Acts and Order affect the provisions of the Regulation we are talking about.

 Yours etc.,

  Morning Star Sumer,

  Shillong – 2

Much ado about MNREGS

Editor,

In the last few weeks Umlyngka village in Upper Shillong has been in the news because of the grave anomalies in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MNREGS), by the Mylliem C&RD Block. Earlier, Umlyngka shot to fame not because it is the darling of the government but because of sheer hard work and dedication of private individuals of the village in dairy farming immediately after the exodus of the famous Nepali dairy farmers. This time, however, this village came under the scanner for certain alleged wrongdoings.

According to RTI Activist, Agnes Kharshiing and Doria Shabong, the Mylliem Block had sanctioned 93 schemes for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 and had accordingly issued 93 Work Orders during the same period. This in itself is favouritism to Umlyngka by the Block. The bulk of the work constituted construction of drains, road and footpath construction, construction of pig sty (piggery sheds), construction of poultry sheds, construction of cattle sheds etc., which together amounted to crores of rupees. According to Shabong much of the work was either haphazardly executed, incomplete or remained undone yet the money sanctioned was released by the Block. It was alleged that the officials of the Block who are responsible for the plans and estimates, supervision, measurement and issuance of completion certificates of different works are Assistant Engineers, Junior Engineers, Technical Assistants and certified by the Gramsevak of the Umlyngka G.S circle of the Block.

It is learnt that the Village Employment Council selected by the village Durbar is the overall authority in selection and implementation of MNREGS in the village. It is also learnt that the Rangbah Shnong of Umlyngka is also the Chairman of the VEC of Umlyngka and the Chairman of Mylliem Block. The BDO of Mylliem Block, who is the supervising authority was informed about the murky affairs in the implementation of the schemes in Umlyngka but he did not take appropriate and timely action for whatever reasons. Hence the messy affair!

Yours etc..,

Philip Marwein,

Via email

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