Meghalaya at 49
Every year it’s a ritual to do a reality check on the State of Meghalaya as it enters its birthday. For school and college children one year means passing out from one class and going to the next. If a student fails and remains in the same class, that’s considered a huge drawback and bad investment for parents; more so if the failure was due to the student’s own quiescence and aversion for hard work. In the life of a state very often the yardsticks used to measure achievements are development oriented. That ‘development’ somehow does not include the development of the human mind that can transcend stereotypes about people, race and issues. A human mind that has stagnated at a certain point in its development cannot expect to achieve much. This brings us to the issue of retrograde steps like restricting the entry of fellow Indians to the state because of the fear of illegal migration. This is a fear that has been hovering for 48 years. Actually the real fear lies somewhere else; it is the fear of competition. But as in sport, competition is an incentive for companies, individuals and institutions to excel, thereby fostering innovation, diversity of supply and attractive prices for consumers and businesses alike. Competition stimulates growth and generates substantial benefits for the community. To eliminate competition is to shun innovation. The opposite of competition is stagnation and Meghalaya has stagnated in several areas where it could have made progress.
A state that has marked out its goals would know where it has reached and where the hurdles lie in achieving those clearly stated goals. While the Meghalaya Government may claim to have charted out goals for itself, those goals have not been shared with the people who are the main stakeholders in the progress of the state. On the contrary what citizens see and hear on a daily basis since 2018 is the story of legal violations aided and abetted by the state. The manner in which illegal mining and transportation of coal has been carrying on unabated in full view of law enforcers and regulators, is a tell-tale sign that the rule of law is compromised.
For Meghalaya this is the post truth era where the Government cannot be trusted. The MDA Government has been lying about coal mining and transportation and it appears that there’s nothing we can do about it. As citizens we wonder about the rule of law that has gone missing. Our distrust of the law increases with every lie that the state indulges in. Without trust there is no law; without law there’s no democracy only a semblance of it marked by once in five year elections. That’s about the only progress Meghalaya has made.