The  Reservation Dilemma



The papers these days, both English and  vernacular are all occupied with the Reservation Policy and the Roster system that comes with it. Let me from the beginning admit that I am quite vague about it all and quite surprised about the hue and cry that has emanated from the Court verdict on the matter. It’s quite Meghalayan to react to an issue; panic over it and then when the dust finally settles down to discover  that the whole thing was not worth the time and energy wasted on it. Again, true to form  there is no broad based understanding and agreement over an issue which simply results in numerous leaders ( saviors of the people) emerging, each one crying hoarse from his own self made silo with no one seeing eye to  eye with anyone else yet everyone crying to the heavens for unity among the Jaitbynriew. Typical Meghalaya scene to wait for something to happen; then react while there is no thought or proactive thinking and visioning about what the future holds. One hates to say it but the whole scenario reminds one of a mob milling around with no one to lead but where everyone is a self- styled leader.

From what one could gather from the papers the present hullabaloo is all about the ability of the reservation policy and its potential ( for want of a better word) to provide Govt jobs to individual members of our society. For 50 long years we all sat silently, apparently quite satisfied with whatever fate the future holds and now suddenly all the major tribes of the state , ie the Khasis, Jaintias and the Garos are in an uproar as to the future ability of the this Reservation policy ( with roster or without) to provide jobs for their  children. Govt jobs are precious for they provide security with handsome salaries for not doing any work. That is their biggest charm plus the fact that they can be manipulated in accordance with ones political connections and in our state the Govt is not only the biggest job provider but also one that produces the least service to its citizens. So no surprise that people react violently to any move that threatens this cosy arrangement.

Comfortable with the above perspective one tends to forget that things are changing and that if we don’t change with the times we are doomed. In the first place everyone knows that Govt jobs have become saturated; funds for Govt jobs are becoming scarce ( so most make do with contract appointments, an arrangement which according to me is the most harmful and violates Human Rights and Human Dignity) ; future Govt job prospects are bleak and doubtful and since  Meghalaya has no revenue generation of its own and depends heavily on central funding and if these funds dry up then we will really be Up Shit Creek ( Why do you suppose every political party in Meghalaya wants to chum up with the ruling Party at the Centre?). That the future work culture in all offices, both Govt and private, because of the rapid advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI), will undergo severe cuts in requirements for human work force. Only skilled manpower will be in demand of which Meghalaya is in perpetual poverty of. In view of the above why are we all so concerned and desperate for Govt jobs as they will progressively deteriorate and become meaningless. We will be doing our future generation the worst disservice if we spend time and energy providing opportunities which will  be of no value to them. No point in wasting our time over Govt jobs. Instead lets think on how should we prepare our children for job prospects for tomorrow. How about coming together ( all political parties, NGOs Dorbars ,the works); forget about scoring political points against each other  and instead together think about how do we improve the Economy of the state. Meghalaya’s future will depend on how strong an economy we have. Not on how many employees Govt can employ.  An improved economy , in various sectors , will provide more job opportunities than reservations for Govt jobs. Time to quit being Don Quixotes. Time to quit tilting at windmills. Time to sit down together to work out what is best for the future of the state and its people.

Yours etc.,

Toki Blah,

Via email

Why extremist groups surface in the aftermath of crisis or social unrest


 I am writing to shed light on the sociological factors that can contribute to the emergence of extremist groups in the aftermath of crisis or social unrest. While it is fortunate that no such extremist groups have been reported in our society, understanding these factors is crucial for preemptively addressing and mitigating the rise of extremism should it ever occur. During times of crisis, such as a pandemic or instances of injustice, certain segments of the population may feel marginalized, disillusioned, and angry. This social disruption creates conditions where extremist ideologies can take hold. Sociological research has identified several key factors that contribute to this phenomenon.

 Firstly, crises disrupt the social fabric and create a sense of disarray. People yearn for stability and answers during uncertain times. Extremist groups often exploit this vulnerability by providing simplistic explanations and scapegoating specific individuals, groups, or ideologies as the cause of complex problems. They offer a sense of purpose and direction, which can be appealing to those who feel lost or marginalized.

Secondly, extremist groups fulfill the need for identity and belonging. In times of upheaval, individuals seek a sense of community and solidarity. Extremist ideologies provide a group identity that resonates with individuals who feel alienated or disenchanted with mainstream society. This sense of belonging can be a powerful draw for those seeking validation and support for their grievances.

 Thirdly, the proliferation of online platforms and social media has facilitated the formation of echo chambers. These digital spaces allow individuals with extremist views to reinforce each other’s beliefs and amplify their grievances. Online radicalization plays a significant role in the recruitment and organization of extremist groups, enabling them to spread their ideologies more effectively.

 Furthermore, the appeal of extremist ideologies lies in their ability to exploit societal fault lines. By tapping into existing grievances, such as economic inequality, ethnic tensions, or political disillusionment, these groups provide simplistic solutions to complex problems. They offer a convenient narrative that blames a specific group or ideology for the hardships faced by society, which can be highly persuasive to those searching for answers.

 Lastly, effective leadership and organization are critical in mobilizing individuals around extremist causes. Charismatic leaders adeptly manipulate the frustrations and grievances of people, offering them a sense of purpose and direction during times of turmoil. These leaders possess the ability to galvanize and radicalize individuals, further fueling the growth of extremist groups.

Although it is vital to acknowledge that no extremist groups have been reported in our society, it is important to recognize these sociological factors. Understanding and addressing these sociological factors can help us develop comprehensive strategies to prevent the emergence and growth of extremist groups should such a threat arise. By promoting social cohesion, fostering inclusive communities, and addressing underlying grievances through constructive dialogue and policies, we can create an environment that reduces the appeal of extremist ideologies. Education, media literacy, and promoting critical thinking skills are essential tools in countering the spread of radicalization online. Addressing the sociological factors behind the emergence of extremist groups requires a multi-faceted approach involving government institutions, community organizations, educational institutions, and civil society.  By working together and strengthening our conflict resolution skills, we can build a society that is resilient, inclusive, and resistant to the lure of extremism.

Yours etc.,

Solomon Pathaw,

Via email