I was shocked to find a letter published in your ‘Letters to the Editor’ section in your newspaper on 12.10.21 captioned, “Is MUDA listening?”written under my name in the capacity of secretary Barun Apartments Residents Society. It also appears that the said letter was sent to you by email.
Please be informed that I have written no such letter to the Shillong Times and the same has been mischievously written under my name with some ulterior motive. I am surprised that your newspaper published the same without any verification whatsoever. It is possible that people seek publication of untruths merely out of spite and malice. It is the duty of the newspaper to ensure that such falsities are not provided any platform and due diligence conducted in the matter.
Editor replies: This newspaper exercises due diligence with every letter that comes to us either by email or by post. When a letter comes with the name and phone number of a person and if the contents are in public interest we usually publish them in good faith. We applied the same yardstick with this letter too that came to us via email and have now provided you a platform to publicly clarify that you were not the writer and someone has impersonated you.
Indictment of the church
The article of Albert Thyrniang (ST Sept 29,2021) on PGI, SDG rating is a wake-up call for the church. He quoted the stinking remarks made by the official of NITI Aayog which goes something like this, “Nagaland and Meghalaya are two Christian states but they have performed the least. ‘Nagaland for Christ’ is a popular slogan in the state of Nagaland which has almost 100 % Christian population among the tribal groups and on whom political power rests. Meghalaya is not far behind with almost 75 % Christian population. Why have these two states performed the least?” The official continued, in Assam and other states there is stealing but in Nagaland and Meghalaya massive looting is going on. The official further said about Meghalaya, ‘Yours is a state of scams and corruption.’
As a Christian I hang my head in shame that an outsider has indicted the church. The majority of our leaders in politics, administration or business are members of the church. Perhaps most of us have learned to think that corruption and bribery are excusable since it has become normalized and part of our culture. The fight against dishonesty has to be a whole-hearted effort by the church. Christians are called to be the salt of the earth and the prime purpose of the salt is to prevent corruption. The Bible regards bribery as a sin against God, a perversion of justice and an abuse of power to satisfy greed. People of God must be honest. I am reminded of a storm raised by Ratan Tata that he abandoned plans to launch an airline as he refused to bow down to pressures of paying bribe to authorities to secure the neccesary approvals. He said he was told by a fellow industrialist, “You people are stupid. You know that the minister wants Rs15 crores. Why don’t you just pay up?’ Tata’s reply was, “I just want to go to bed at night knowing that I haven’t got the airline by paying a bribe.” The recent news has made a full circle of six decades when Air India was offered to Tata on a platter. “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.’(Proverb 11:3)
Yet another political party launched
Perhaps by floating a new state political party by the name ‘The Voice of the Peoples’ Party’ (VoPP) on October 5 this month with brand new dynamic faces led by firebrand Ardent Basaiawmoit, it provides an alternative for the Meghalaya voters, especially the younger generation to exercise wider options to choose from the already eight existing political parties in the state, most of which are not worthy of mention here. It is a fact that many of the twenty lakh plus voters of Meghalaya today, may be fed up of voting for the same old parties and the same frail rugged candidates, and who knows it may be attracted to the new brand of politics of the VoPP. Of course, anything can happen but voters, including mass leaders and the masses, generally are inclined to vote for known parties and well-known candidates and who can dole out gift packages.
According to media reports the brand of politics that the VPP is going to offer is upright and clean politics without monetary influence or the use of other camouflaged and dirty tactics to get votes during elections. This is really a new brand of politics that is worthy and ideal for our state. In fact, well- meaning people of the state want this brand of politics. We are not sure whether this brand will have takers or whether it will sell in Meghalaya’s political market which has been dominated by the politics of money power, muscle power and religion. That is why today the quality of majority of our public representatives does not measure up to the expectations of the right -thinking citizens of Meghalaya
The drawbacks of the VoPP and its leaders, with the exception of Ardent Basaiawmoit are that they are too new for the whole of Meghalaya. The Party itself and its leaders and its candidates need sufficient time to make themselves widely known to the voters of the different constituencies. They have to prove that they can contribute and serve the people through their constituencies. The main new office bearers of the party are educationally highly qualified. This is very essential for them in every walk of life including in politics; but politics is a different ball game altogether. Apart from knowing the difficulties of every nook and corner of the constituency and knowing majority of the people there yet till date, in Meghalaya, candidates who have money power to throw around to please the majority of voters before the election and during the election are usually the victors.
As of now, we do not know what will be the fate of this newly floated political party in the coming general elections in 2023. With all its good intentions we hope it will succeed but it has to leave no stone unturned to sell its policies and ideologies if it at all has an ideology.
Sr. Journalist, Meghalaya