Thursday, April 25, 2024
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Cash award for a multi- dialect Hynniewtrep song

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Editor,
Amidst the controversy surrounding the state anthem and the presence of certain forces for many years now, from outside and from within who find it easier and to their advantage to divide and weaken rather than build and unite our miniscule populated Hynniewtrep people who are surrounded by communities with bigger populations, the MAITSHAPHRANG have decided to hold a multi-dialect song contest that must include the different dialects of the Hynniewtrep community which should be meaningful and inspire unity among the people. The objective of this contest is to showcase the different dialects of our people and the relevance of the Sohra dialect now known as the Khasi language, enriched from all the other dialects and other languages as well. This language unifies us and helps us communicate with one another without which it would be very difficult for the Khynriam, Pnar, Bhoi, War, Maram, Lyngngam to communicate and understand one another. The winning song shall be selected by a panel of judges.
The selected winner will be awarded a cash price of Rs. 50,000 by the MAITSHAPHRANG which will be enhanced by supporting sponsors. There will be no participation fee and the last date for submission of entries will be on or before March 31, 2024.
To further strengthen the bond among the Hynniewtrep community, the MAITSHAPHRANG would like to offer a suggestion that the different districts in the present Khasi and Jaintia hills should be named after their respective District headquarters as for example, Shillong district, Jowai district, Nongpoh district, Mairang district and maybe future Amlarem/Dawki district.
As Kong Patricia Mukhim has stressed on the importance of debate and debating intellectually in our society, I’m confident that the present debate will lead to a positive conclusion and together as a united Hynniewtrep people we’ll address more immediate and important issues like preventing further degradation of our environment and restoring the state’s lost glory; the need to economically empower all the children of a family to address growing unemployment in the state and to strengthen the State’s economy and to address the increasing number of abandoned women with children in our state which is the root cause of some very sensitive social problems facing us today.
Dr Melari Nongrum, Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health, while delivering her keynote address on the one day seminar on ‘Socio-Economic Status of Single Mothers’ in June 22, 2023 organised by the Meghalaya State Commission for Women pointed out that “the number of single mothers is on the higher side among the Jaintia community which is around 16.33 per cent, while the Khasi and Garo communities stand at 12.01 and 13.96 per cent respectively”(ST June 24, 2023).
So even while we are all proud of our peoples’ history, as inheritors of this rich legacy it is upon our shoulders now to preserve what is still relevant today, introspect and enrich further the land and its people for the benefit of our future generations failing which history has also shown us how many great civilisations in the past have vanished forever.
Yours etc.,
Michael N. Syiem
Convenor, Maitshaphrang,
Via email

Mark Zuckerberg’s digital mess exposed in US Senate

Editor,
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…” – these words of Charles Dickens ring true now more than ever before. While digital technology has taken this civilization to new heights, it has virtually spelled disaster for countless people across the world. Various digital platforms that were initially designed to “connect” people have become hotbeds of the “exploitation” of innocence. The recent outcry in the US Senate against social media giants, including Evan Spiegel, Zi Chew, Yaccarino brought forth a shocking truth – the tales of aggrieved parents whose children have become victims of sinister forces lurking in the shadows of mushrooming digital platforms.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has done a great job by exposing the grim reality faced by families and alerting each concerned citizen to be more vigilant. It revealed the dark underbelly of the digital world, where the vulnerable easily fall prey to various kinds of sexual exploitation, drugs and deceit.
Surrounded by hard-headed senators, Mark Zuckerberg found himself being humiliated as parents roared about the harm and pain inflicted on their children. The senators targeted their verbal arrows at the heads of META, TikTok, X, Discord, and Snapchat. They fervently expressed how innumerable young children are being trapped by the devious allure of “advertisements” running with impunity on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, X, round the clock.
Following the heavy rant and criticism against Mark Zuckerberg, he apologized to all the parents by saying: “No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered.” But will this apology bring back their children. Will this regret make peace with the society where youths have died of suicide or are heavily indoctrinated by the evil forces active on those platforms?
Senator Lindsey Olin Graham from South Carolina accused the CEOs of having, “blood on your hands,” emphasizing the dangerous consequences of social media. TikTok’s Shou Zi Chew also nodded in affirmation by saying, “as a father of three young children myself, I know that the issues that we’re discussing today are horrific and the nightmare of every parent.”
A distressed mother of Houston, Robyn Cory, says, “If Instagram didn’t exist, this wouldn’t have happened to my daughter.” Her daughter, Kristen, aged 15, was trafficked into sexual exploitation. It was reported by The Guardian that five months after Kristen was found on the street and returned home, she again disappeared. She has not been found since then. Kristen had told her mother: “They’re coming to kill you all if I don’t go – I have to go back.” Hope the concerned leaders take note of these developments with all seriousness. What lies in store for the new generation that gulps anything that comes on their Cell phones!
Just by clicking a couple of such sexually explicit reels or videos on Facebook or Instagram or TikTok, they will be flooded with similar pop-up notifications or obscene clippings/images that are freely uploaded by gangs of agencies, even countless individuals, to earn a number of “likes” and shares. Then they will gradually be chased by a swarm of outrageous forces that employ various methods to hit directly at their adrenaline, numbing the nerves of their wit and wisdom. As concerned parents, do we still prefer to keep mum?
Of course, it is indeed greed for money that has blinded social media CEOs. They cannot distinguish between what is good and bad for society. The Guardian recently reported that over 100,000 children using Facebook and Instagram face “daily” sexual harassment and cyber-bullying, including exposure to endless sexually explicit content.
Are we sacrificing our children’s innocence at the altar of voyeurism with “likes and shares?” The dark confinements or addictions created by these devious agencies, platforms and tools leave an indelible imprint on younger people’s minds, completely corrupting their thought process and behaviour. Believe it, countless terror groups have also been using these platforms as springboards to brutally attack the entire civilization.
Is it not time to wake up? Is it not time to break the silence? Albert Einstein had rightly cautioned: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
Yours etc.,
Salil Gewali,
Shillong

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