Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Baptism by Agnipath!


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The sudden notification on recruitment of youth between ages of 17 to 23 years through what we now know as the Agnipath scheme is creating chaos leading to law and order problems across the country. The concept of Tour of Duty has been ill-conceived by the powers in Delhi without understanding the psychological implications of young people who would find themselves in the lurch after 4 years of “glorious” service to the nation. With a package of about Rs 12 lakh in hand to seek for better pastures and out of which only 25 percent of Agniveers would be selected to join the mainstream armed forces there appears to be no logic in this scheme. Sadly the head of defence forces has absolutely no say in this except to concede that it’s a good scheme. For example, how would an Agniveer who is inducted into the Air Force undertake technical training in aircraft maintenance when by the time he completes the entire training and internship program he would have very little time left to be inducted into a squadron? The same also goes for those vying for the Navy which is all the more advanced with hi-tech machines and engineering. The summary is that the entire exercise is just another political gimmick to attract votes for the 2024 General Elections just as the PM promised fifteen lakh in every citizen’s account in 2014 which none have received till date.

Yours etc..

Dominic Stadlin Wankhar,

Via email

Religion for co-existence and peace


Apropos of the insightful letter by a scholar – Dr Deepa Majumdar under the caption “Education above religion” (ST, June 14, 2022) I would also like to add a few words. Very importantly, each religion convincingly claims to teach good values and practices. So, none of them has the right to hurt the followers of other faiths. Of course, a religion should inspire its believers to appreciate God’s limitless creation and sing His glory. Look at the flowers that bloom every morning, the trees that bring forth the fruits for every human being and all wonders in the sky. Are they not the creation of one Almighty? When we sing hymns to the “same one” GOD there logically arises no scope for violence or hatred.
Yes, the knowledge of God is far above what we study in schools and colleges. Book knowledge may make us qualified for certain career-oriented posts or help us achieve certain positions and power but the knowledge of God should be capable of opening our inner eyes to see and feel His divine power that pervades every object, nay, every being and every phenomenon! The primary class of God’s education starts with the practice of “detachment” from worldly objects and worldly affairs despite remaining amid them. Compassion, forgiveness, absence of anger and service to humanity without “expectation and discrimination” are four wheels of a religion. These few universal practices alone help us cleanse our minds and inner being.
However, if a religion encourages hatred for others – more precisely, towards the followers of other faiths, then it is totally disastrous. Then we must have “wrongly interpreted” or misunderstood the words of GOD. Does the intense surge of hatred not lead to violence and violence finally lead to human degeneration? What do we see regularly now in the name of religion? God must be laughing at us! He must also be shedding tears to find us being dogmatically involved in the most self-destructive violence and hatred. Nothing is more self-defeating than to carry the notion that “my faith alone leads to God, and your faith leads to perdition!” This is perhaps the root cause of bad blood among existing faiths. How can we make peace with GOD when we fail to make peace with His created human beings and his incredible environmental ecology — which are all interconnected?

Yours etc.,

Salil Gewali,


Tura gets most advanced auditorium in State


The Shillong Times, as usual, prominently carried the news of the inauguration of the newly renovated and upgraded Tura Auditorium at Ringre, the centre point of Tura town of West Garo Hills, by Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma, on June 13,this month. I am very glad to know through this medium that this is the most advanced auditorium in Meghalaya with a beautiful gallery therein. According to officials sources this auditorium is self-contained having the most modern seats and seating arrangements, a huge modern stage fitted with advanced lighting systems, modern amphitheatre sound systems provided with control rooms separately and having dressing rooms for male and female performers. The auditorium is also provided with air condition systems, beautifully coloured entry and exit points and emergency exits besides, VIP wash rooms, modern toilets for men and women. The auditorium is also properly fenced, having strong and carefully fabricated gates and the entry approach paths are paved with specially made tiles. Besides there are other parapharnelia which go to qualify for a modern auditorium. The only sad part is that the District Library which is part of the premises is left orphaned, untouched, unrepaired and unrenovated . However, this auditorium is the proud possession of the Arts and Culture Department which will be used for government and public functions, meetings, musical, drama and theatrical events etc., which require proper written applications to the appropriate authority in advance and written permissions should be obtained with strict rules and regulations to be observed by the users of the facility.
Serious problems to the owners of the auditorium may usually arise, when the users (especially the rowdy elements) leave the facility after defacing or destroying its costly utilities as has happened too many times to the “U Soso Tham Auditorium” at the State Central Library premises, Shillong. I sincerely hope that the future users of the priceless asset built there will understand the value and preserve the auditorium and keep it spick and span and ensure that whatever utilities are placed there remain in their original condition.

Yours etc.

Philip Marwein,

Senior journalist.

Via email


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