Shillong a City under siege
At first it was the commercial vehicles calling for a chakka bandh in protest against rising fuel prices. For a complete 48 hours the citizens of Shillong were held hostage, unable to go about their day to day business. Crucial exams had to be abandoned; daily wage earners to forgo their daily earnings; patients to hospitals denied the medical attention their ailments demand; important social events postponed. We, the citizens of Shillong bore this with stolid patience and fortitude. We remained silent on a mess that was none of our making. The transport system of Shillong City collapsed but we scarcely heard a squeak or a word of comfort from the Transport authorities. Now that this particular problem has been solved we wiped our tears; brushed ourselves and sallied forth once again in the belief that it was all part of a bad dream. That it will never happen again.
On the February 25, 2021 the people of Shillong woke up to a collection of Whatsapp photos of a horrible accident that happened late 24th night at NH Shillong-Jowai Road, at Demthring involving a couple of speeding overloaded coal trucks. The traffic jam that ensued lasted till late Thursday morning, once again severely affecting commuters all along Nongthymmai, Laitumkhrah and adjoining areas. At 3rd Mile Umshyrpi, another overloaded coal truck overturned during the night and blocked traffic on this crucial road for hours on end. The rippling effect of the jammed roads spread throughout the city and once again the residents of Shillong had to bear the brunt of all these mishaps for no fault of their own. We are paying in blood sweat and tears; in precious time and money; with our health and wellbeing for allowing the coal mafia to run their overloaded coal trucks through our narrow streets.
The Government seems determined to turn a blind eye to the illegal transport of coal within the state of Meghalaya. Why it’s being allowed is too shameful a subject to be discussed here and if the Government has lost all sense of shame there is pretty little else to be said about it, is there? If Government is wilfully negligent of our well-being and welfare we the citizens cannot afford to allow that. Aside from the road blocks caused by overloaded coal trucks passing through the city, the same trucks are also being allowed to pass through our narrow city streets throughout the night. Innocent citizens; their families; vulnerable aged citizens and blameless babies lose sleep because of the continuous roar, din and honking from these trucks at night; our lungs breathing carbon monoxide fumes while we sleep. Can this be tolerated any longer just that some uncaring, callous and indifferent coal baron might earn a few bucks or for some crooked Minister to pocket more bribes? I believe that it’s time we the citizens of Shillong rise up and put a stop to the passing of these coal trucks through our city. Let Government continue its ridiculous denial over illegal mining but let them travel by some other way not through the city. Why is the repair of the bridge at Dwarksuid taking so long? Who is responsible for the delay? Why is the PWD or Transport Minister silent on the subject? Enough is enough. We have had our fill. Government has a responsibility. It just can’t sleep over such issues. Please put a stop to this nonsense and let us citizens live in peace and dignity.
On behalf of the church
The two articles which appeared in the ST of Feb 9, 2021 by Albert Thyrniang and another dated Feb 24, 2021 by Ms Janet Hujon allegedly seemed to indict the church and have provoked the undersigned to join in the debate on the role of the church in Meghalaya. The moot question is what is the church? In layman’s language the church is a called-out community of men and women who voluntarily decided to follow Jesus as Lord and Saviour and live according to His teachings as indicated in the Bible. There is a story about Mahatma Gandhi who read the Bible and one of his favourite meditations were on the Sermon on the mount by Jesus. One day he was asked by an English pastor why he didn’t become a Christian? Gandhi replied, “How can you expect me to become a Christian when you Christians do not live as Jesus taught in the Bible?” A true Christian is a forgiven, born again person. He/she becomes an agent or a channel of God’s mission through the church by bringing peace, reconciliation, hope and healing.. If the members of the church fail to do so, why blame the church? Blame the so-called members of the church.
It is not unusual for people to blame the school when its students are involved in drunkenness and unwholesome revelry. The church as a corporate body needs no advocate to defend itself. It is self evident as its policy and guidelines to its members are holy and transparent for the universal good of all people. In a fallen world you sometime cannot differentiate between a genuine product from an imitation, true news and fake news, a true Christian and a nominal Christian or Christian in name only. It is a debatable question to call Meghalaya a Christian state just because most of its citizens are Christians; in fact most are nominal Christians only, judging by what we see – corruption, exploitation, injustice etc practiced by these so-called members. It is sad when people take membership of the church without conviction but only as a badge to wear for their own ulterior motives. It is equally sad when leaders of the church involve themselves in politicking or allow themselves to be used by unscrupulous leaders of political parties.
The church as a conscience keeper of society is called to be in the world. It is unfortunate if the world instead is in the church. Ever since the first century the church has been persecuted and blamed for turning the world upside down, In fact it is turning the world right side up. It is no surprise if the church becomes the punching bag even today and one day every member has to give account of himself/herself. The church has to be the visible symbol, a witness, a foretaste and a signpost of the kingdom of God. In a parable about the kingdom of heaven Jesus mentioned about a field where wheat and tares grow together. Similarly in the church today we have wheat and tares growing together until the harvest where the tares will be gathered together and burnt in the great fire.
Each voice must be heard
Apropos the letter by Jeremiah S, on the MCS issue, I would appeal to all MCS candidates not to let anyone smother their voices on the current MCS issue.
And Jeremiah S, please don’t pick on people’s wish for privacy, when you’re clearly hiding behind a pseudonym. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Your tone was condescending and has a lot of self righteous attitude.
Let us call writer of, “Solution to the ongoing MCS case” as writer X. Writer X was simply offering his perspective. Don’t fret about him being able to influence the Court. He stated facts of which the Honorable High Court itself mentioned that the petitioners did present facts that need to be answered but which the Court refused to do based on technicalities.
When you call out MPSC on it’s lackadaisical and non-transparent modus operandi, it’s supposed to be God’s truth! When others do too, they are just being emotional and their opinion is irrelevant and needs to be dismissed. How arrogant is that! Reservation is about adequate representation; it’s not anybody’s right to claim something which wasn’t mentioned in the “State reservation policy” and certainly not MPSC’s right to give away freely. Reservation within reservation is illegal! Period!