Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Mourning Mr Mohanan


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In the hurried pace of modern life we sometimes seek comfort by cleaving to someone who represents continuity. Like an anchor in the restless sea, this person gives us the stability that comes from a feeling of continuity and security. It has been decades since I last visited Shillong, where I spent my formative years. Given the rapid changes that have overtaken this beautiful city, I have long sought some anchor to connect the present with the past. For me, one such esteemed anchor was Mr M. K. Mohanan, who passed away recently at age 72. Described by one newspaper as, “noted city-based businessman and socio-cultural figure,” he was an active member of the Shillong community who labored to share the generous ecumenical vision of his mentor, Sree Narayana Guru (1856-1928). Larger than life, and president of SNGCC, Shillong,  Mohanan represented (for me), not only a continuum from the Shillong of the past, but also the quintessence of our national character, which, according to Swami Vivekananda, is yearning for the Divine. His spiritual radar ever alive, Mr Mohanan always responded to spiritually-oriented writings. A humble contemplative disciple of Sree Narayana Guru, he represented (for me) not only the best of Shillong, but also the best of India. Never did I imagine he would be snatched away from us so suddenly.

I first “met” Mr Mohanan via email, when he contacted me to write for a magazine he founded and financed. In an age when the written word is so profaned for the sake of lucre and body consciousness, when magazines and newspapers are untouchable in their inauspiciousness, Mr Mohanan founded a magazine with the wonderful numinous title of “Oneness.” Created for the benefit of non-Malayalee readers, this magazine serves to unify us regardless of our individual identities and stations in life. Indeed, Oneness represented the India I have always loved – the higher universal India that transcends all boundaries and reaches for eternity from the depths of time. Mr Mohanan envisioned Oneness as a magazine that “gives more importance to spiritual, mystical, human rights, tradition, culture, ethos… primarily.”

I remain grateful to Mr. Mohanan for honouring me by asking me to write for this magazine, and for his constant appreciation of my small efforts. He always reported to me the feedback he got from my readers. I am grateful for his dedication to the youth of India. In 2020 he wrote to me: “Yes, indeed, youths are the pillars of every civilization. They need to be nurtured. India is very rich when it comes to youths as their population surpasses any other in the world … In fact, Oneness, as a magazine should echo the voice of the youths, at large…” At a time when many in my generation despair at the recklessness of the youth, Mr. Mohanan said, “Youths are the future of every nation since it is in their hands a country can either prosper or otherwise.”

Once when I said that I found Nitya Chaitanya Yati’s commentary on Verse No. 44 (in his book, “Neither This Nor That But Aum”) to be inspiring, he arranged immediately to send me a copy of this book, through a friend in America. Always appreciative of universal truths, he said of this book, “In fact, all commentaries in this book are storehouse of universal truthfulness.”

Every life is like a meteor, with a metaphoric tail that represents the karmic trajectory of the person who lived this life. Every virtuous life illumines the universe. Every virtuous deed inspires others. In Mr. Mohanan’s case, his life culminated in ceaseless service to mankind, spreading the universality and goodwill of his mentor, Sree Narayana Guru. Never ever did I dream we would lose him so soon.

In the back of my mind I had always hoped that one day when I visited Shillong, I would meet Mr. Mohanan in person. Alas, it is too late now. His sudden passing away has taught me to treasure every communication with persons who matter to us – to never postpone showing appreciation for those we treasure. May his soul rest in peace.

Yours etc.,

Deepa Majumdar,

Via email


Rooted to their constituencies


The article Meghalaya’s rural challenge (ST Jan 29, 2021) by the editor, Patricia Mukhim is an eye-opener and depicts a clear picture about functioning outcomes of Meghalaya and the role played by our elected representatives. I have visited almost the entire state with special emphasis on border areas. I have observed that frequent visits and interactions of our elected representatives with their people and constituencies pay rich dividends and expedites developmental work especially construction of roads, bridges and gives a boost to the functioning of the Government machinery in that area. Moreover local level issues are addressed very promptly which makes the satisfaction level of local population very high. I am quoting the example of Pynursla and Amlarem where the Hon’ble MLAs originally belong to border areas. They frequently visit their constituencies and never miss the opportunity to attend local level functions i.e. games, cultural events and other programmes.

A lot of developmental work, especially construction of roads and bridges, opening of dispensaries, conduct of public outreach programmes by Border Security Force and State Government are taking place. Due to their personal attention to Dawki, Mawlynnong, Nongriat Amlarem, and conduct of various programmes at the border by BSF and effective coverage by media, there is a great boost in tourism and other economic activities. As a result, life of common people in border areas is improving. Due to the personal intervention of ministers L Rymbui and P Tynsong almost all the roads are being constructed or repaired and a lot of bridges have also been constructed. Pyrdiwah, Lyngkhat, Lyngkhong in East Khasi Hills District are now connected with roads. Roads from Pynursla to Nayabazar, Tissan basti via Nongjri, Pongtung to Lyngkhat to Umsyiem and Dawki to Muktapur which were earlier non-existent or in bad shape, have now been repaired. This has made the life of people much easier.

All this has been possible as these elected representatives are fully committed to their constituencies and easily available; accessible and approachable to their people. What the writer-editor has mentioned has merits and my request to other representatives is that they should be personally involved in the local developmental activities of their respective areas. My request to the editor-writer is to kindly highlight these issues so that developments of these 6000 villages should be the priority instead of only the 12 cities.

Yours etc.,

Saifur Rehman khan



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