Let’s honour our Hill State movement volunteers

Editor,

As we are on the threshold of celebrating the grand official function of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Meghalaya Statehood on the January, 2022, I wish to place on record my humble gratitude to all the tall personalities – men and women from the Khasi-Jaintia and Garo community who led from the front with head and heart, body and soul, through hard work and sacrifice giving their time, money and energy in the fight for statehood. I also express my sincere gratitude even to those non-tribals who were empathetic towards the cause of the tribals here in Meghalaya and perhaps contributed materially or in whatever way towards attainment of the goal. My greatest gratitude goes to those unsung heroes of 42,600 volunteers from among the Khasi, Jaintias and Garos during the height of the Hill State Movement. These men, women and youths were from the towns of Shillong and Tura, mostly from sub-urban and rural areas. Later on the Hill State Movement Volunteers were lesser in numbers though peaceful all through when it took the form of a full-fledged Hill State demonstration through hunger strikes, black flag demonstrations, raising of banners and distribution of pamphlets which said, “We want a full-fledged Hill State,” “Down with Autonomous State” from the public gallery in the old Assam Legislative Assembly. However, the movement for a full-fledged Hill State was by no means less forceful. My gratitude goes to the volunteers of the full-fledged Hill State Movement who spent more sleepless nights, endured more hunger and fasting and suffering body pain from the lathis of the Assam police and most of all who underwent imprisonments for longer days and even for six months both in Shillong and Guwahati jails.
My only suggestion and fervent appeal to the MDA government is to recognise the above prominently and award them suitably not only with certificates, mementos etc., but by giving them handsome cash awards of not less than one lakh rupees each for every Hill State volunteer whether alive or dead. If the state has money to spend on worthless festivals like the Megong Festival, Cherry Blossom Festivals, Umgot River Festival, Winter Tales Festivals and other wasteful and fruitless spending in order to enrich some private pockets, what is a few crores of rupees as one-time expenditure for the contributions of the Hill State Volunteers who got us this beloved state? My appeal to the rulers of Meghalaya is to stop corruption at all levels of the government forthwith and to ensure clean and efficient governance. To the 33.9 lakh voters of Meghalaya my humble appeal is – let us vote judiciously to get all-round better quality legislators, if not the best. Our state is still suffering from the infirmities of lack of leadership in governance.

Yours etc.,

Philip Marwein,

Senior journalist,

Via email

Hindustan not a Hindu state

Editor,

Kudos to journalist and fellow citizen Arun Sinha for his sensible write-up under the heading From Hindustani State to Hindu State in your esteemed newspaper (ST Jan 15, 2022). Observations made by him on the recent unabashed involvement of the Prime Minister in building of Hindu temples is unbecoming of that office. I am not anti- Hindu or pro any religion. Never in the past since independence has this office been seen to be associated with religious activities of any religion. Constitutional heads stay away from such events. The Prime Minister will do well to keep alive and uphold the idea of India as enshrined in our Constitution.

Yours etc.,

Fearless Warjri,

Via email

Flouting supreme court orders

Editor,

Time and again your newspaper and others as well have consistently highlighted the misuse of sirens on private and government vehicles. The irony is that everyone with a new vehicle wants to flaunt their importance so that people take notice but ultimately these not so- important people look like morons. The Supreme Court of India has clearly laid down rules regarding the use of red and blue beacons as well as sirens. The state home department and the transport authorities have literally failed to abide by this ruling. As per the MV Act 1988 only emergency vehicles are allowed to use sirens not even a local MLA or bureaucrat. The Supreme Court had earlier directed the Centre and states to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to ensure that the use of red beacons on official vehicles are restricted. However, these rules are never implemented. They are just toothless paper tigers.

Yours etc..

Dominic Stadlin Wankhar,

Via email

How time flies!

Editor,

The Salesians are celebrating their centenary this year. Thirty-eight years after the Salesians came to these hills we were in class 4 in St Anthony’s High School. The picture of the school with a lone Assam Traffic police in shorts with turban, with only one passer-by is a reminiscence of those silent yester years.
The most valued item was the shining metal heart shaped badge, the size of a revenue stamp in which is inscribed the words Virtuti Et Studio the Latin for Virtues and Studies. It cost four anna’s which is a quarter of a rupee then. Those days we needed to wear our uniforms only on Wednesdays. Wearing shoes was not compulsory and we felt safe as the roads were clean. Books were not a problem then as there was an English low priced textbooks society and also there was no annual invasion of private textbooks. If any text book was not available, Fr Kenny the English Professor of the College opposite our school would supply us with cyclo-styled green ink notes weekly.
The inspectors were very considerate in that they believed that not all are born arithmeticians let alone mathematicians. So for boys, typing was given in lieu of Arithmetic. For girls in girls’ only schools had Domestic Science. Girls were taught to cook, wash and iron and by the time boys passed their High School they were competent with the typewriter.
A little distance away was and still is a technical school that provided vocational education according to the vision of the Salesian founder Don Bosco after which the technical school was named. It has a Welding( Steel fabrications) section, Carpentry, Automobile repair, Shoe making and Book Binding. And Shillong was blessed with welders, carpenters, shoemakers and automobile mechanics of the best brand .
To sum up, we received the best education at a nominal fee. For this we owe a debt of gratitude to the Salesians and to Don Bosco for providing both academic and technical education and lifting the weak and underprivileged of this region. The monument in front of the school still stands as a testimony of their glorious past.

Yours etc.,

J Kharmih (1966 batch Matriculate)

Via email

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