Meghalaya at the Crossroads

Editor,

I would like to express my sincere concern about the recent turn of events that had severely affected our day to day activities. Yes, we are deeply saddened by the Mukroh incident. In fact, bloodshed and precious innocent human lives taken away can never be justified. Justice should definitely be meted and the culprit should be severely punished.
However, many untoward incidents are happening in and around the city in the name of Mukroh which are unjustifiable. Burning of police vehicles, assault on non-tribals/police, demand to down shutters, to name a few, creates fear, panic, anxiety and a sense of uneasy calm in the so called ‘peaceful State’. Huge traffic jams, long lines of queue in petrol stations and panic buying are the resultant effects on common people who are simply tossed back and forth by the strong force of the wind. Even if one does not agree to the diktats of the powerful, out of fear, it becomes a compulsion.
The protests, rallies and demonstrations are necessary in a democratic country to express one’s grievances towards the Government. But when it takes an ugly turn, when the bone of contention is being diverted and violence takes centre stage, the river has to change its course. As an educated and civilized society, effective measures must be put in place, keeping in mind that victory or success cannot be achieved with violence. The wellbeing of the people should always be a priority, but do they have a say?
This reminds me of what Herbert Spencer, a sociologist said when he compares society to the organs of a human body wherein, all parts are inter-related and inter-dependent. Each part is handicapped without the functioning of the whole. Similarly, in a society, especially today, in a globalised world and technological age, no one can live in isolation. And Emile Durkheim (a well known sociologist) also supported this view when he talks about Division of Labour- though divided in profession but united in serving.
Added to the above, civilisation has now entered the scientific stage where technology plays a vital role. The world is at our fingertips and in a split second, one receives information and it gets circulated at lightning speed. Hence it becomes necessary to be aware of the consequences. In this regard, I would further like to put 2 key points for introspection:
1. Many of our loved ones are outside our state for education (considering the status of education here) job and employment opportunities
2. Health issues (where many who are capable) prefer treatment outside the state
On the other hand, it is at these trying times when Government can prove whether it is capable of handling the present situation in an appropriate manner for the welfare of its people. Otherwise, it is up to the citizens to discern who is to be in power to govern them.
Meghalaya was gradually crawling back to becoming a tourist destination with tourists coming in good numbers visiting the God-given natural scenic beauty of the region with great climatic conditions. And the most important factor in this is that it generates employment for the local populace.
Let us have a vision like our forefathers, not only for the present but for the future generation. Let us work to achieve the pride of belonging here. The people are known for their hospitality, and are friendly and helpful. We need to regain the tag of being a ‘peaceful State’.

Yours etc.,

Dr F Diengdoh

Shillong-14

No more protests near Civil Hospital

Editor,

I completely agree with Dr. Omarlin Kyndiah’s letter regarding protesting at Civil Hospital. In the past also this writer had through your esteemed column, conveyed the inconvenience and chaos brought to the Civil Hospital through these agitations.
Nowhere in the globe would you see agitations being carried out near a hospital, which, even in normal circumstances is a “NO HORN ZONE”. But in Meghalaya and particularly in Shillong, protests, hunger strikes, etc are seen being staged right in front of a hospital. God forbid, if any emergency in the form of accidents occur in the streets of Shillong. How does one reach Civil Hospital? How do the patients/attendants feel safe and secure inside the hospital if at the hospital gate, a war zone like situation prevails?
My sincere request and appeal (on humanitarian ground) to various NGOs and pressure groups is to refrain with immediate effect from making the gate of the Civil Hospital an agitation point.
And if my appeal falls on deaf ears, I would suggest that the government pass an order prohibiting the NGOs to hold any form of agitation/protest near Civil Hospital. There are many open spaces in and around Shillong which are fit for holding such protests and gatherings of a huge crowd.

Yours etc.,

Helen Dkhar,

Via email

Meghalaya’s dearth of ethical politicians

Editor,

After 50 years as a state, nothing has changed for Meghalaya. The latest Mukroh tragedy has revealed that we lack political leaders who consider the needs of the people and competent politicians who can find solutions. If our politicians were committed to safeguarding the citizens in border regions, the current incidents might have been prevented.
The main reason our state lacks good governance is because people elect politicians on the basis of their wealth rather than their abilities. The main question people will ask if a highly educated young person wants to run for office is, “Do you have the money to run for office?” If not, they won’t ever urge a deserving candidate to run for office.
Why don’t we have the traits of a leader? In other states, for instance, political leaders often acquired their traits from educational institutions because they had the opportunity to engage in political activities as students. However, in our state, we are not permitted to conduct campaigns or hold elections inside educational institutions because there are no students’ unions there. Students unions in educational institutions will act as a trigger for political action at the grassroots level and increase youth political awareness and understanding.
In our state, there is no opportunity for those with the right qualifications to hold the position of policymaker because voters favour wealthy businessmen. As a result, those individuals become our policymakers. However, these individuals lack even a basic understanding of the role of policymaking because they are only interested in increasing their own wealth and don’t have the time to address the issues facing our state. If we possess political qualities, we won’t need to take to the streets to protest against the administration. NGOs must take up the role of the opposition in our state since the existing opposition is primarily concerned with issues that will help them advance their political agenda.
The best way to increase political awareness in our state is to improve the educational system, prepare the next generation to be statesmen, and support candidates who are deserving of our votes rather than businessmen who are just interested in generating money rather than make policies that benefit the state.

Yours etc.,

Kenneth Nongsiej,

Via email

No end to racist attacks in Meghalaya

Editor,

The continuing racial attack on innocent people in Shillong is the result of deep abhorrence that exists in the minds of the perpetrators of such crimes. For generations, this philosophy of hate is definitely being preached to the young mind in a section of the society otherwise such happenings could not have continued for decades together. If one studies the past incidents and present events, it is easy to predict that this kind of racial atrocities in Meghalaya would continue in future as well. There is no magic wand that can make life better and liveable for the potential targets of such violence in the immediate or distant future. Any change in Government, reshuffle in the administrative hierarchy or ritualistic condemnation by handful of people in the print and electronic media is definitely not going to change the mindset of the hate-mongers who will remain as an integral part of the society under the new dispensation as well. As such, the obvious potential targets of racial crimes in Meghalaya need to reconcile with the hard unpalatable reality and decide their future with pragmatism as the words ‘liberty, equality, fraternity and justice’ would remain a mirage to them in the future as is today.

Yours etc.,

D. Bhattacharjee

Shillong-1

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