Sad state of affairs
Apropos to Dr Omarlin Kyndiah’s letter, ‘Faith and Vaccination’ (ST Jan 12, 2022), it really pains us the readers to learn of the views of people of any faith to refuse vaccination. The word ‘Quarantine,’ all need to know comes from the Bible (Old Testament), Chapter 13 of Leviticus. Qua is 4 and the whole meaning is 40 days and pertains to the person of whom the skin sort of rapture needs self- isolation for 40 days in a tent pitted outside. Only the priest is to reach him/her to determine their state of cure of the skin. The Old Testament is quite severe in dealing with a leper who has to go around announcing that he/she is a leper once declared so by the priest who examines him. Those whose case if unsure have to be quarantined for seven days.
And to bring home the point, let us take the case of malaria. People of the forest of Africa who are also God-fearing were afflicted by a disease they called Malaria. Mal is bad in Latin and Aria is air. They believed some bad element in the region had caused the air to turn bad and take it as a sort of God’s punishment. Those suffering from malaria had to find another place to stay and this we have the wilderness. Actually, the cause of malaria is from the bite of the female ( anopheles) mosquito. Two scientist-chemists Coventou and Pelletier discovered quinine in the 18th century. Quinine is extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree. Hence a medicine to cure malaria once believed to be the wrath of God – Quinine was discovered because God gives wisdom to his people and to date He helps doctors and scientists to discover vaccines to fight COVID-19.
And finally if the above arguments fail to convince the anti-vaxxers, then have a look at our missionaries who built schools but at the same time built dispensaries and hospitals. Are these needed if they had wanted us to refuse vaccines? What sort of mindset is this? Be that as it may, the least we need to have as Christians is a sense of responsibility towards our neighbours, for unless the whole world is vaccinated all are not safe.
Flawed reservation policy
Finally, the NEET results are out. It is painful to note that the 40:40: 20 reservation formula adopted in Meghalaya where 40% seats are allocated for those from the Khasi-Jaintia community despite them being a larger population and 40% for the Garo people has resulted in many from the Khasi-Jaintia community who scored better percentages, losing out to their Garo counterparts with lower scores. The reservation policy as agreed upon by our leaders in 1972, without any time frame, is no longer justified. In fact, this reservation policy is flawed from day one.
Let us go back to history. Fifty years ago when the reservation policy was agreed upon without considering the population of the three tribes it was based purely on compassionate grounds as the three tribes fought unitedly for statehood. The argument then was that the Khasis and Jaintias were better placed than their Garo brethren academically. But every reservation policy should have a time frame so that people don’t start taking things for granted and so that there is justice in the allocation of seats for professional courses and employment. Alas! Our leaders then forgot the importance of the time frame which should have been changed by now so that all benefit equally.
So let the NEET exam, 2021 be a game changer by which some new formula which is mutually agreed upon is evolved. After 50 years there has to be course correction on a decision that is inherently flawed. We write this with no prejudice towards anyone. We also urge our Garo friends to refrain from postponing any state examinations on flimsy grounds that they do not yet have adequate numbers to fill respective posts because those from the general category are greatly discriminated against by such claims.
Ex HOD Electronics,
St Edmund’s College
Respecting our own heroes
The 50th birth anniversary of Meghalaya is now upon us. Preparations for its celebrations are actively going on with the Government busy buffing up and putting a shine and sparkle on all the places, institutions and monuments that add to the beauty and splendour of our Capital, Shillong. This letter is not to criticize but to praise the Government for such efforts. They make us, the citizens of Shillong in particular and the State in general feel proud and satisfied.
One of the places where hectic activity towards what has been described above is in the State Central Library. The place is being renovated and polished up, at least the exterior of the place from what is observed from the outside. It is however disappointing to note that the Monument set up by the Government itself and inaugurated by no less a person than the former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi , a monument erected to commemorate our three freedom fighters i.e. U Tirot Sing Syiem, U Kiang Nangbah and Pa Togan Sangma has received scant, if no attention at all from the authorities concerned.
The monuments mentioned above today stand forlorn, neglected and surrounded by filth and dirt. Debris, rubble and discarded liquor bottles are strewn all over the place. It is located within the premises of the State Central Library itself but for reasons best known to the officer concerned, the Director, Arts and Culture, this monument which was set up to honour our fallen heroes, has apparently been abandoned, forgotten and considered redundant by the Government. Would it be too much to expect, on the 50th year of Meghalaya’s birth celebrations, for someone, somewhere in the seat of power to at least clean up the monument, give it a face lift and give it at least that look of respectability and decency it deserves?