The recent statement by Mr. Mohan Bhagwat (RSS chief) — that all Indians are Hindus — not only makes no sense, but goes against the heart and essence of higher Hinduism. According to the Indian Constitution, India is a secular pluralistic democratic state with a parliamentary system of government. To subsume all Indians under the Hindu identity militates against this generous definition of India. Moreover, it goes against higher Hindu ecumenism, which teaches the plurality and validity of multiple religions, all leading to the same truth. Like Mr. Putin’s statement, that the Russians and Ukrainians were one people, Mr. Bhagwat’s statement reeks of the egotism, delusion, and subjectivity inherent in both revanchism and identity politics. This ominous oneness is the opposite of the oneness forged by love, empathy, and compassion.
But I would say the same of Dr. Bhogtoram Mawroh’s article, “Khasis are not Hindus, Hindus are Khasis” (ST, Sep 27, 2022) — that it too runs the risk of revanchist ideologies.
All this proves how lost we are when we deny inwardness, unselfish forms of individuality, and objectivity. The individual should never be sacrificed in the abyss of identity politics.
Everyone in the world is first and foremost a human being — neither a Hindu, nor a Khasi. The universality that threads us together, despite our differences, is our capacity for empathy — that is, the inner divinity that threads all beings together. At this highest level, we feel oneness with the cosmos. But this is the oneness of empathy — not the dubious oneness that results from forcibly removing meaningful forms of otherness.
Split of the Reservation Policy and Roster System
With reference to the article “The Slip between the Reservation Policy and Roster System” by Adelbert Nongrum (ST September 22, 2022), I being the first time voter and qualified job seeker, have observed that the job reservation policy and seat reservation in the various institutions implemented in the state of Meghalaya vide Resolution no. PER 222/71/138 dated January 12, 1972 is irregular and controversial as the same was not then placed and discussed in the State Assembly but was probably hurriedly implemented without the decision and resolution of the house of 60 MLA’s nor is it a cabinet resolution. It is perhaps a mere notification or an executive order. Hence, the Reservation Policy grossly violates the basic democratic process and the methodical procedure which should actually be followed as it is a major policy matter which determines the future of students and job seekers belonging to the backward classes like ST, SC, OBC including the General Category. Even after 50 years of state hood this reservation policy has not even once been discussed and deliberated in the Assembly and it is going on till date. Actually it is high time to revisit and review it.
Secondly, the Reservation Policy especially the ST category was badly disturbed by splitting and dividing the reserved quota. Actually, the reserved quota of either ST, SC, OBC or General Category cannot under any circumstances be split or divided as each respective reserved class is unique and indivisible. The question is why is the ST quota split only between the Garo Hills & Khasi Jaintia Hills? What about other districts and other people of Meghalaya who are more economically backward and belong to the weaker section of society among the ST category. If the government splits and fragments any of these reserved categories be it OBC, ST, SC or GC into two or three parts or more means it not only violates the basic concept and character of the reservation but also damages the structure of the Constitution of India.
Therefore, the split in the Reservation Policy and the Roster System effective from the year 1972 is a threat to the future of the Khasi & Jaintia or Hynniewtrep students who are still undergoing their studies in different institutions and those job seekers who have completed their studies and are qualified to apply against the respective vacancies.
In my opinion instead of splitting or dividing the reservation earmarked for the ST category on the plea that they are poverty stricken or more economically backward, financial support like free education, special scholarship or financial help maybe extended to them in order to elevate and encourage in their struggle to achieve their goal without disturbing or violating the percentage available to the above reserved quota. Otherwise, the split may destroy the basic structure of the Constitution. This principle is followed and practiced by the central government for recruitment of All Indian Service (AIS). It may be pointed out that no special concession for a higher percentage is considered for the STs of Meghalaya in view of their backwardness vis-a -vis the ST of plain areas who are no doubt more advanced than us in all respects.
In its 50th year Meghalaya is still indulging in the split system of the reserved quota.
At a time when the voice of the Hynniewtrep people asked for a review of the Reservation Policy and to undo the split policy, our counterpart approached the high court which resulted in the Court telling the Government to come up with the Roster System which is like a spit in the face of those who cried for a review and revisiting of the present defective Reservation Policy implemented in the state of Meghalaya by the above notification.
It is high time now to take this issue to the people’s court for a remedy by the State Legislators who are the law makers in the Assembly. If we remain silent and are complacent on this issue there will be no hope for the future of the students and job seekers among the Hynniewtrep people otherwise we will perish.
Pedestrians at risk: Will Govt respond?
Through your esteemed daily I would like to bring to the attention of all concerned especially the authorities regarding the plight of pedestrians which includes school children who have to walk through the stretch between Don Bosco Point to Shillong College, known as Boyce Road. As one who commutes through this stretch especially during peak school hours, I have noticed the dangers for pedestrians’ safety.
It may be noted that this stretch of the road is not only narrow but also has no footpaths on either side of the road. This forces us pedestrians to use the road to walk on. Further, it may be pointed out here that during the peak timings – that is before and after school hours, this road on one side is used as a parking spot for vehicles and in most cases there is also double parking of vehicles which not only restricts movement of vehicles passing through but puts the pedestrians especially the young school and college students who use this route in grave danger, for they have to navigate between the parked and moving vehicles.
To add to our woes as pedestrians are the two wheelers which are a menace. These two wheelers not only bypass the vehicles caught in the traffic jam from the driver’s side but also at times bypass from the wrong side thereby further restricting movement on this narrow road. To add to our misery as pedestrians these two wheelers that are in a mad rush, honk at pedestrians to make way for them thereby forcing many of us who consider our lives dear, to make way for them and then stand still, trapped between the vehicles and two wheelers.
I would like to point out here that the absence of a much- required footpath and the parking permission on the side of this narrow road is inviting danger. Someday I fear that some young school or college student will meet with a serious accident. I therefore urge the authorities concerned to kindly address this issue which afflicts many because we too as equal citizens have a right to use the road to walk on, in the absence of a footpath.