MPSC needs urgent reforms
I refer to an item which appeared in your newspaper dated January 18, 2022 under the caption, “Govt set to hike upper age limit by five years,” which reported about the government’s decision to increase the age eligibility limit from 32 to 37 years for several categories of posts. As a common citizen, I thank Mr Adelbert Nongrum for first bringing the subject before the Legislative Assembly and which was later on pursued by leaders of other political parties.
Although this is good news for thousands of our unemployed youth, I think more needs to be done to bring about fair and transparent recruitment. MPSC needs urgent reforms in the way it works. In this regard two suggestions are given below :-
1. The recruitment process of the MPSC has always been a long drawn out affair. For instance, MPSC conducted exams in December 2020 for posts advertised in April 2016 and results for a few categories of posts are yet to be declared. Further, exams for 328 posts advertised on December 14, 2020 are yet to be held. I know that this time the MPSC has the pandemic as a scapegoat to blame for this delay. However, central government recruitment agencies like the Staff Selection Commission, State Bank of India Recruitment Board and Institute of Bank Personnel Selection found ways to continue with their respective recruitment processes during those months when Covid cases were sliding in numbers and at a minimum. In any case, MPSC has no valid excuse to offer when even during normal times 3-4 years have to elapse from the date of its advertisement of posts till appointment of personnel. Contrast this with the SSC which rarely takes more than a year in its entire recruitment process while SBI Recruitment Board and IBPS take 5- 6 months and 7-8 months respectively. The above mentioned three central government agencies always mention the exam calendars and stick to such calendars while MPSC never mentions any such calendars in its advertisements
2. MPSC is the only government recruitment agency that still continues with oral interviews for Group B (non-gazetted) and Group C and D categories of posts. All other states have abandoned this practice following central government directives in this regard. Mention may be made of a news item which appeared in this newspaper dated May 19, 2018 headlined ” Centre slams nine states over slow progress in abolishing job interviews”. The report inter alia mentions that the centre censured nine states including Meghalaya for not abolishing interviews for the above categories of posts in line with what the central government had done since January 1, 2016 to ensure fairness, transparency and a level playing field to job aspirants. The above news item also mentioned that the issue was discussed with the Principal Secretaries/Secretaries of General Administrations of all states at a meeting held on April 16, 2016 in New Delhi. A letter available on the website of the Government of India’s Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions ( No. 39020/09 – 2015 Estt.(B) dated 28th January 2016) circulated to all states and UTs to abolish job interviews to the above categories of posts has surely been disregarded by our government for obvious reasons.
Under the above circumstances, will our leaders see to it that MPSC is reformed? Will Organizations which claim to stand for the interests of the youth like the HYC, KSU, etc., finally take up this issue with all seriousness?
Name of Shillong Peak
Apropos of Dr Omarlin Kyndiah’s article, “How did Shillong get Its Name?” (ST Jan 14, 2022), it is felt some more information needs to be given to somehow complete the story started by him. It is pertinent that the first question that should have been asked is: How did Shillong Peak get its name? as they say, first thing first! Following Dr. Kyndiah’s story, the Shillong Peak obviously got its name from the Jaintia leader Shyllong who led about a quarter of the Jaintia people many hundred years ago from across the Kupli river (i.e. from a place later called North Cachar Hills), to Saphohlynrum. (Those who believe in the mythology of U Shulong may not agree). So Yeodo (Iewduh) was renamed Shillong by the Britishers after the name of the Peak which stands majestically in the south overlooking the city of Shillong.
Saphohlynrum was situated at the foot of the said Peak now occupied by the Assam Rifles & the Eastern Air Command; of course, Saphohlynrum extended up to Mylliem valley in the south-west and to the present Smit village in the east. The Bodo Achiks (later called Garos) came to Saphohlynrum to live together again with Austrics as they did in Kamrup thousands of years ago. They were separated most probably in the fourth century C.E. when a wicked king of Kamrupa threatened to clear them off Kamrup. While the Bodo Achiks fled to the west, the Austrics fled to the East up to the river Kalong and spread to Kapili and Jamuna valleys where they established their Nari-Rajya or Women kingdom; locally the kingdom was called JAINTA and the people were christened Jaintias.
When the two tribes were together again at Saphohlynrum after many hundred years, there were large-scale intermarriages between the Jaintia men and the Achik women. The Jaintia women were not happy with such intermarriages. Hence together with their families they migrated to other places and founded new villages like Laitlyngkot, Sohra, and other places mentioned by Dr. Kyndiah. Many of them moved to Jaintia Hills to join their cousins in many dalloiships like Nangjngi, Changpung, and Raliang.
Seeing the attitudes of the Jaintia women, the Achiks proceeded towards the east while giving names to places wherever they halted like Myllem (Mylliem), Rongkrim (Nongkrem), Pohumora (Pomura) and Song (Sung). They ascended the mountains to Madur-Maskut (within the Jaintia kingdom) and thought of founding a kingdom over there. But the soldiers of the Jaintia kingdom drove them away killing their two warrior kings or migratory leaders while their followers ran away in a helter-skelter dash. The Achiks decided to trace back their route to Dura (later Tura) Hills. And, as they reached the plains of Kamrup they halted at a place called Sangati (in between the present Boko & Rajapara) to hold their assembly where they took a historic decision to adopt the matrilineal system of the Jaintias.
Historical researchers may like to refer to this writer’s two research Papers – one on “The Place of Saphohlynrum ….” published in the Proceedings of the North East India History Association Conference, 38th Session 2017, pp.404-14; and another on “Nari-Rajya or Women Kingdom….” published recently in the Souvenir of the Moosalyngkat Dorbar Chnong, Jowai.
Prof. P.M. Passah