Let us twerk without fear of being lynched
The write up by Angela Rangad titled Twerking & The lynch bros of Meghalaya (ST November 25, 2023) is an interesting read. The article lays a background of the sort of aggression one should stand against. She argues that a young lady has been shamed by opinions, point of views and moral policing by an “elected representative (and some youtubers).” Examining the events closely, one seconds that the young lady’s participation in “twerking” on stage is not act that one is to be ashamed of. It is twerking; it is an expression. There ought to be waves of revolutionary movements, literary, feminist, gender, or any movement in Meghalaya, that would stand against an aggression of this sort. These sorts of movements are important for several reasons.
Aggression of this sort, leaves an individual or a group of people uncomfortable, insulted, and undervalued. This happens at homes, in communities, workplaces, and as pointed out by Rangad, on a public platform. People who engaged themselves in victimising individuals and groups in this manner are those who see themselves as intellectually superior, decent, and moral human beings. It is not my intention to say that one’s opinion of self as intellectually superior, decent, and moral is wrong, but then, should this opinion of self, insult and undervalue the other?
In the case being discussed, calling for the young lady to be arrested under section 294 of IPC is uncalled for. This uninformed aggression made, strips the individual concerned of her dignity, especially because it is being made by a representative who has chosen to be the Voice Of The People. I am sure this has caused a rippling effect, where there would be other minor aggressions from other members of society, for her so called “obscene” behaviour, which to a person such as I, is nothing but a response to a composition that triggers emotions and there is no other outlet but to express it. This is therapeutic.
I am sure, as an elected member sitting in the Opposition, the MLA would have been informed that Shaffer Chimere Smith was on the list of performers for the Cherry Blossom festival. A simple Google Search on the performer would tell you that his productions are sexualised and sexiest. Studies have shown that sexual or sexualised content found in music of different genres correlate with sexual cognition and behaviour. Thus, this was bound to happen and sad enough, the participation and performance has been labelled as obscene. Perhaps we have shut our doors for too long, and have been left unexposed to revolutionary thinking that is found in the Arts. We have been taught to suppress our feelings and our sexuality. If aggression such as this is not addressed, then we are reinforcing the suppression.
Rangad has rightly pointed out, that the young lady does not represent the Khasi tribe. However, if in fact the young lady represented the Khasi tribe, then going by the same equation, the elected representative represents the “male chauvinistic bro brigade” at three levels, viz. his constituency, the elected male representatives of Meghalaya, and the Khasi men in general. Many would find this conclusion as outrageous, but should we not use the same yardstick for all? If this is the case then, I would not want such narrow mindedness to be my voice, let alone the leaders of Meghalaya. Thus, revolutionary thinking is required even among our representatives.
Thus, I resonate with the thoughts of Rangad, when she defines democracy as a “beautiful choir of different voices.” Voices that speak out not only in favour of or against something, but voices that express freely, the emotions, the thoughts that have been suppressed for too long. The culture of silence can be broken, if a safe space is created for creative and revolutionary thinking. Intellectual movements against any form of aggression can be viewed as form and an indication of progress. Thus, let us twerk away without the fear of being lynched.
Martin Luther Christian University (MLCU)
Marriot Courtyard Hotel’s divergence from its 5-Star Standards
I am writing to draw your attention to a matter of utmost concern regarding the newly opened Marriot Courtyard Hotel in Shillong. While the establishment proudly carries the prestigious 5-star label and is indeed the largest in the region, recent developments have raised serious questions about its adherence to the standards expected of such a reputable brand. Specifically, my concern revolves around the transformation of the poolside bar, “Tavern,” during weekends into what can only be described as a discotheque. It has come to my attention that a third party is consistently taking over the operations during these times, resulting in an atmosphere more akin to a nightclub than a family-friendly 5-star hotel.
The repercussions of this transformation are significant. Families, who would otherwise consider the Marriot Courtyard Hotel as an ideal destination, are finding it increasingly challenging to enjoy their leisure time in an environment that caters more to a youthful and potentially disruptive crowd. The lack of management control over the third party involved multiplies the situation, leading to a shift from an upscale family-friendly atmosphere to one that resembles a pickup joint. This departure from the essence of a 5-star hotel is disheartening for patrons who expect a certain level of refinement and exclusivity when choosing an establishment of such high brand value. The influx of a younger demographic engaging in inappropriate activities further compounds the issue, creating an environment that is not only uncomfortable but also contrary to the standards upheld by the Marriot brand.
I urge the management of the Marriot Courtyard Hotel to reevaluate its approach to weekend events. It is essential that the Hotel takes decisive steps to regain control over the atmosphere during these times, ensuring that the establishment remains a haven for families and discerning guests rather than succumbing to a trend that compromises its reputation. In conclusion, I believe it is crucial for the Marriot Courtyard Hotel to uphold the high standards associated with its name and brand. By doing so, it will not only preserve its image as a premier 5-star establishment but also continue to be a destination of choice for a diverse range of patrons.
Hubert M Kharmawphlang
What has become a matter of great concern for the business community in Shillong are the unjustifiably high charges for commercial space and exorbitant security deposits that are stifling local entrepreneurship.
In a particular instance, at Laitumkhrah, a 500 sq ft commercial space demanding a monthly rent of ₹35,000 and a security deposit ranging between 10 to 15 lakhs is not only financially burdensome but also raises questions about fair and standardized practices.
Given that Laitumkhrah falls within the municipal jurisdiction, it is imperative for the government to intervene and establish a transparent and fair pricing system for commercial spaces. A government-set price per square foot would not only curb overcharging but also ensure that businesses, especially small enterprises, can operate without facing astronomical financial hurdles.
The exorbitant security deposit requirements further exacerbate the challenges faced by local entrepreneurs. The government should consider implementing guidelines to cap these deposits at reasonable levels, making it more feasible for businesses to establish themselves in the area.
I urge the relevant authorities to review and regulate commercial space pricing in Laitumkhrah promptly. The establishment of government-mandated prices per square foot, aligned with fair and reasonable security deposit norms, is crucial for fostering a supportive environment for local businesses to thrive.
It is my hope that the government will take swift action to address these concerns and contribute to the sustained growth of the business community.
Name withheld on request,