Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Toilet brushes for cleaning plates at Meghalaya Games

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Editor,
I am writing with a sense of profound shock regarding the deeply concerning hygiene practices at the Meghalaya Games 2024 in Tura. It has come to light that toilet brushes were used for cleaning plates. This fact exposed the gross disregard for basic hygienic standards at such a mega event, which has been inaugurated by none other than the President of India.
A toilet brush, new or old, is symbolic of uncleanliness, and its use in a kitchen setting is a downright violation of basic hygiene principles. Can the persons responsible for this decision eat the “puri-sabji” stored in a toilet commode or served from a potty pan, no matter how clean or new they are? Will it not make them vomit? The brain-nerves run faster than a sprinter!
This incident is not just about an inappropriate choice of cleaning equipment; it’s about the blatant disregard for health norms and the well-being of the athletes and attendees. Why were such brainless individuals chosen for the job? This exposes the complete lack of foresight and planning. Those responsible for this grave oversight must be pulled up forthwith. It is unacceptable for such a lapse to occur, especially at a prestigious event like the Meghalaya Games. The state cannot afford to bring up athletic talents when we gamble with the games.
Yours etc.,
Salil Gewali,
Shillong

Improve work culture

Editor,
So much hullabaloo was made by the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues that they are trying to improve the workload and efficiency in all departments of the state government, but a closer look will give the lie to all the tall claims. The reason I write this is because many would agree that there is inefficiency and lack of professionalism in most cases. An example is the slow-paced efforts to hand over pension payments of government employees who even after months are yet to get their service books regularised. Another point is, the appointment of crucial staff which even after proper submission of all documents as per their results are yet to be given appointment orders. The lackadaisical attitude of the MPSC and the DSCs are a classic example of what inefficiency is all about. Corporates have a very specific and uniform policy of defining work efficiency and performance index for which they give an appraisal based on various parameters. This is not the case in most departments of the Meghalaya government. I recollect an incident of a friend who had applied for medical advance from the Health Department, only to be told that his personal file got “lost.” This causes a lot of heartburn amongst the employees as well as of the persons affected. If the state employees only look for a promotion or increment then the state government should initiate corporate-like measures for better efficiency, functionality, performance and professionalism.
Yours etc..
Dominic S. Wankhar,
Via email

Religion and politics immiscible

Editor,
Meat and milk both have high nutritional value. They build our body. But the combination of the two can be dangerous. Drinking milk after eating meat or combining the two can trigger several issues like gas, discomfort, stomach ache, nausea, acidity, heartburn, ulcers to name but a few. Simply put, the combination of the two can cause several ailments in the body.
Similarly, politics and religion both have high societal value. But the combination of the two is as toxic as that of the mixture of meat and milk. The immediate outcome of such a combination is hate speeches which can be compared with vomiting acid after consuming meat and milk together.
The Supreme Court of India rightly observed that hate speeches would end the moment politicians stop using religion in politics. Justice Joseph hit the nail on the head when he observed that the country was caught in a “vicious circle of hate” and the solution lay in expunging religion from politics.
Earlier in feudalism, a king or a feudal lord used to favour his own religion over other religions. History witnessed that such a practice spelt disaster on every occasion. Just like people learned from their mistakes the need to separate milk from meat, here also they felt the need for a complete separation of religion from politics. This gave birth to secularism. All modern progressive nations have embraced secularism after learning how painful it would be to deviate from its path.
The mixture of politics and religion causes two major problems. When a particular religion is favoured in a country over other religions, it divides the citizens. This mixture does not allow the policy makers to follow the progressive ideals of equality and fraternity. Rather it attracts negative things such as discrimination, marginalisation, conflict and unrest. Some of our neighbouring countries have experienced the danger of not walking in the path of secularism.
This mixture creates the second problem when a political leader tries to usurp the role of a representative of God. This sounds the death knell for democracy. How can a voter hold a ruler accountable for his actions if he is seen as being chosen by divine power? Therefore, it completely destroys accountability as well as the lock-gate to check corruption and abuse of power.
It has been reported that the Prime Minister has recently issued an audio message saying he had begun an 11 – day “special observance” as prescribed in the scriptures, to “awaken divine consciousness” within himself in the lead-up to the January 22 consecration. He also claimed that God had chosen him as “an instrument to represent all Indians during the consecration” of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. In a democracy a ruler has to remain accountable to the voters. But it would be difficult to hold a person accountable if he proclaims that he is chosen by God.
The emergence of India as a secular, democratic country was certainly a gain of evolution. It appears that the gains are likely to be eclipsed for a time because efforts are being made to create an impression that a religious ceremony is but a State event to exploit religion as a political instrument.
Even Sankaracharyas raised objections regarding the inauguration of Ram temple in Ayodhya before its completion to coincide with the preparation of the ensuing 2024 Lok Sabha election. Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati, the shankaracharya of Jyotish Peeth in Uttarakhand has said the four sankaracharyas will not attend the January 22 inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya as “it is a bad idea to inaugurate an incomplete temple.”
Secularism separates the milk of religion from political meat. It is like a doctor who advises us to consume meat and milk separately. Undoubtedly, there will be several ailments in the body politic without secularism.
Yours etc.,
Sujit De,
Kolkata

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