Why the negativity on statehood celebration?
It is seen that there is a lot of negative publicity on the celebration of Meghalaya statehood; some even suggest boycotting it. This kind of mindset coming from no less than some public representatives suggests a narrow mindset and not that of a mature citizen. On the other hand, I feel that it is right and fitting to observe and celebrate our state’s golden jubilee for it is time to rejoice at the historic milestone of getting a full-fledged state not an Autonomous state under Assam as happened earlier. Yes, it was wrong to have accepted a full-fledged state without clearly defining and demarcating boundaries. It reflected the hurry at which our leaders were blinded and pushed by the temptations of occupying the seats of power in the new born state. However, now is the appropriate time to look back and reflect on our success, if any and our failures, which are many, and a time to take corrective steps by setting out clear cut goals to reach in successive years perhaps in the next 10-20 years. If the wait is too long it might impact future plans. Among other important things I would like to put forward a few steps to read to reach the desired goals.
1. Since our state is sadly lacking in leadership this can be met with building up human capital in many areas.
2. Since about 70 per cent of our economy comes from agriculture and allied sectors these have to be accorded topmost priority by suitable policies and programmes to take proper care of the people who are pillars of these sectors and who constitute 70 per cent of the electorate. If they are also an informed lot politically, better quality public representatives who are also legislators of the state will emerge.
3. The Education sector in our state has collapsed so this needs to be accorded topmost priority with far more financial investment in government and private agencies man by educational experts. This will take care of various deficiencies.
4. Land and land rights are the life and death of the indigenous tribes of Meghalaya who constitute the majority population of the state. These subjects are almost untouched by Meghalaya Government. In fact, there are no policies and programmes in our state since the first to the tenth House of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. More and more tribals here are rapidly becoming landless as land is owned by the rich class of tribals and has fallen under nefarious companies. Urgent legislation is needed to arrest this alarming danger. Moreover, cadastral survey is non-existent in the state. This will lead to revolutions in the future as happened in France and elsewhere. It is very unfortunate for Meghalaya because the political class has been mortally afraid of touching this vital subject of land. I remember that experiments were tried in some parts of the state but the politicians then incited the people to go against cadastral survey (polygon surveys) of land partly because politicians, bureaucrats and the affluent owned vast tracks of land.
Religion-a dominant force of violence
Considering that religion or beliefs, for anyone who professes either, is one of the fundamental elements in his conception of life and that freedom of religion or belief should be fully respected and guaranteed, India in the past few weeks witnessed a series of religious violence. Examples are the hate speech at a religious event in Haridwar, where calls were made for genocide and violence against Muslims; a life-size statue of Jesus Christ at the British-era Holy Redeemer Church in Ambala being vandalised. In Silchar, a group of youth manhandled a few non-Christians from celebrating Christmas. Back home, miscreants vandalised a Mother Kali idol in Them Mawbah. Religious violence must be condemned “unequivocally”.
Communal violence is not a recent phenomenon in India. It has its root in the British divide-and-rule policy since the late 18th century. The British government used communalism to counter and weaken the growing national movement and the welding of the Indian people into a nation. It was presented by the colonial rulers as the problem of the defence of the minorities. Hindu-Muslim disunity was cited as the reason for the continuation of British rule.
Religions have influenced our lives most profoundly. Religious violence across the world is being committed in God’s name. If Jesus, Abraham, Prophet Muhammad, Buddha, and Confucius were all alive and gathered in the same place, would they argue over who is right? Or would they respect and admire one another’s teachings? Religious conflict can often be blamed not on the founders of religion but on their fanatical followers.
Dr. Omarlin Kyndiah
Lecturers’ pending salary
While our government jubilantly prepares to commemorate the attainment of 50 years of our state, it is a depressing occasion for the morning lecturers of Kiang Nangbah Government College, Jowai. For a long while now they have been deprived of their long overdue payments. With the pandemic coming to the plate, making ends meet was tough on these lecturers. As per the information (from a reliable source) about their pending salary, the workload of these lecturers is heavy and though many letters have been sent to the concerned authorities about getting their dues with enhancement, no one is paying attention to the hue and cry of these dedicated lecturers. As a concerned citizen, I do not want the morning students to suffer when these lecturers decide to stage a protest. So, before things get out of hand, I urge the concerned authorities to look into the pending salary of these lecturers with seriousness as it is rightfully theirs to receive.
A concerned citizen,
Name withheld on request
Case of illogical conclusions
I read Dr Omarlin Kyndiah’s, article, “How did Shillong get its name?” and what prompted me to read the article was a follow up letter today which totally erased the Khynriam from the history of Shillong. I’m not trying to belittle Kyndiah’s article but the general consensus among academicians, historians and anthropologists alike is that there is no recorded migration of Austro-Asiatic people from China. Most of the races who migrated to the Indian subcontinent from China belong to the Tibeto- Burman race. The accepted scientific reasoning based on isolation, genotyping and sequencing of DNA samples is that the Austro-Asiatic race who are now settled in the plateau of Meghalaya migrated to these hills from mainland India. So the article by Dr Omarlin Kyndiah about the origin of the etymology,”Shillong” is built on shaky ground if the premise of the article starts with the theory that the Jaintias migrated to these hills from China. I have utmost respect for Dr Omarlin Kyndiah. When I was in Class 11, I was part of the badminton team that represented St Edmunds college. The four member team consisted of a Bhutanese,a Mizo,a Naga and I. Being the only local member of the team I was treated as one of his own by Dr Kyndiah who was the teacher in-charge of the team. I just feel that the letter written by Prof Passah from Jowai (ST 19, Jan,2022) borders on ethnocentrism. Let us not sow seeds of division especially if those seeds are sown on grounds of illogicality.