It seems my mind is wired up with Batskhem Myrboh, Asst. Professor of Synod College. For the very observations and thoughts expressed in his write-up: Education is drowning: Who will rescue the sector? (ST Jan 26, 2023) are what I’ve been sounding to people and friends over the years.
His accurate and downright painful truth on the ‘malaise’ of the system of education should violently shake all those in authority to act now! Yes, ‘The criminal neglect and apathy’ now must give way to the bulldozers of ‘a strong educational machinery,’ to reinvent this sector.
I’m sure there must be rules/laws for affiliation that regulate private unaided schools. BUT the government shamelessly mocks teachers, plays ‘politics and nepotism’, bends the rules and undervalues the teaching profession! And thus the agonising cry of, ‘Who will rescue the sector?’ will fade into oblivion and obscurity.
The Examination reforms and B.Ed colleges indeed have to be overhauled. However, I will say that they must be relevant and not outdated! I have very strong opinions and thoughts on these two areas, but that’s too exhaustive for this column.
Remember politicians and Bureaucrats: YOU ARE WHAT YOU ARE TODAY BECAUSE OF YOUR TEACHERS! So, with your hands on your hearts, I implore the new ruling government to be excited and enthusiastic in lifting the quality and standard of education at the school level.
Shillong – 19
Sad demise of the Lukha
I read with great pain and dismay the article ‘The Lukha River Is Dead: An Obituary by W Passah (ST January 31, 2023) and wonder why this issue is not even mentioned by any politician past and present. Not a single politician is ready to lift a finger to save the dead Lukha river and other rivers in different parts of the State of Meghalaya. The Umiew River in Smit is used to wash vehicles right in the middle. There are no regulations and I sometimes wonder why we the people do not demand that the State Pollution Control Board is not demolished and its employees sent packing. They are all working against the environment and it is high time that people start agitating in front of this useless office and point out the rules to them and tell them to go and drink the water from Wah Lukha. The callousness of the Conrad Sangma Government which looked the other way when Star Cement was permitted to expand its mining area by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests is unpardonable. If the Lukha River was in Garo Hills would this Chief Minister still pretend to be blind to this murder of the River Lukha? Agatha Sangma, the Tura MP and sister of the CM has a degree in Environmental Management from the UK but does not seem to use this for the benefit of the state. What’s the use of a foreign degree when it is not used to heal the environment and the rivers? Thousands of citizens depend on the Lukha for their livelihoods. As Passah rightly mentioned the Lukha turns blue because of the effluents from the cement companies. I am a resident of Lumshnong but am powerless to do anything. Why can’t the Meghalaya High Court save us from this onslaught of cement companies which also depend largely on the coal illegally mined to fire up their factories in cement production. All the illegalities are connected. Who will save us from callous companies and greedy politicians?
Back to Mandal politics
Whatsoever is happening in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh clearly indicates that the country is again reverting to Mandal politics which needs to be curbed at the earliest as the country is already facing many problems. In such a scenario both sides will be responsible for fomenting communal tensions and such types of elements should not be encouraged as it will harm the social fabric of the country. A group supporting Maurya, called the Akhil Bharatiya OBC Mahasabha, on Sunday in Vrindavan burned photocopies of the pages allegedly carrying “objectionable comments on women and Dalits” in Ramcharitmanas. Days before these incidents, the Ayodhya priest had slammed Bihar Minister Chandra Shekhar for the latter’s comment that the epic is “divisive and spreads hatred in society.” This is a tried and tested trick every political party deploys: it allows one of its leaders to say things which may not be generally defensible, and then it distances itself from his or her remarks, calling them the ‘personal views’ of the person concerned. And there are no consequences for the leader for having made objectionable remarks.
There is an idiom for such behaviour: Running with the hare and hunting with the hounds.
Therefore, it is quite evident that the SP and the RJD (whose member Chandra Shekhar is) are trying to revive Mandal politics, one of whose main planks is a critical stance towards the caste system which, they claim, is embedded in the Hindu belief system. The Mandal Commission Report, whose implementation triggered the rise of OBC politics, also included several references which were not very charitable to Hinduism. Both SP and RJD—and even the RJD’s ally in Bihar, JD(U)—are the beneficiaries of Mandal.
The spectacular rise of the BJP in the last decade under the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo eclipsed caste-oriented OBC politics, but only the most quixotic of Hindutva zealots would say that caste has ceased to be a reality in India. In fact, even the BJP acknowledges this fact; this is the reason that many of the elevations made by the saffron party in the last few decades have been influenced by the social engineering dogma. Mandal parties seem to be going back to basics—or, to be precise, the basic: caste. Hence the persistent demand for caste census. They know that caste is an emotive issue; and it is easier to convince people by making emotional appeals than by making reasonable arguments. The BJP has been doing the same thing, though it relies on different kinds of emotions. We must get ready for more sentimentalism in politics.
Yash Pal Ralhan,
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