Friday, May 31, 2024

Dialogue, debate, dissent – the lifeblood of democracy


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The edit page of a newspaper is an essential platform in a democracy where views are expressed and exchanged in a peaceful and civilised manner. As a matter of fact, ballot and such platforms have given peace a chance. Democracy is an institution where the people should engage in peaceful dialogue and debate. They must express their dissent but without resorting to violence or verbal abuse.
Democracy is a constant attempt not to get into the trap of ‘might is right’ machismo raj. I have high regards for the edit page of The Shillong Times for its excellent editorials, articles and letters. Unfortunately, a few letter writers sometimes resort to verbal violence by using such words about the author of an editorial/ article/ letter like “their vicious mindsets,” “their agenda,” etc., interestingly even when they write against violence!
Without dialogue, discussion, debate and dissent, a democracy cannot survive. Also, without logical argument, we cannot progress and come closer to the truth. However, we need to be cautious about falling into the trap of logical fallacies. Ad hominem fallacy is one of the nasty traps.
This fallacy occurs when, instead of addressing someone’s argument or position, a person irrelevantly attacks the person or some aspect of the person who is making the argument. Ad hominem is Latin for “against the man.” An ad hominem is more than just an insult. Here, insulting comments are used as arguments to counter the logic. This is not only a trap of logical fallacy but also a trap of undemocratic violent behaviour which must be avoided.
Yours etc.,
Sujit De

BJP vs Congress – A comparative analysis

In the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the battleground of Indian politics is once again adorned with promises and pledges encapsulated within the manifestos of the two major political players: the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress (INC). As the electorate eagerly evaluates their choices, the manifestos serve as roadmaps outlining each party’s vision, priorities, and commitments. In this comparative analysis, we delve into the key features of the BJP’s “Modi Ki Guarantee” manifesto and the Congress’s “Nyay Patra” manifesto, assessing their respective strengths, impacts, and potential implications for the nation.
Development Pillars:
The BJP’s manifesto centers around four pillars of national development: women, youth, the underprivileged, and farmers. Contrastingly, the Congress’s manifesto emphasizes justice pillars, including Yuva Nyay, Naari Nyay, Kisaan Nyay, Shramik Nyay, and Hissedari Nyay. While both parties aim to address socio-economic disparities, the BJP’s focus on specific demographic groups offers a more streamlined approach.
Youth Empowerment:
Both parties recognize the importance of youth empowerment, with distinct strategies to tackle unemployment and enhance opportunities. While the BJP pledges to continue filling government vacancies, support startups, and expand employment in key sectors, the Congress proposes comprehensive programs like Yuva Nyay and Right to Apprenticeship Act, catering to the diverse needs of young Indians.
Senior Citizens
and Farmers:
Both manifestos promise initiatives for senior citizens and farmers, crucial vote banks in Indian politics. The BJP focuses on healthcare expansion and facilitating pilgrimage for seniors, alongside strengthening agricultural insurance and increasing MSP. In contrast, the Congress proposes measures such as higher pension contributions and legal guarantees for MSP, demonstrating a commitment to social welfare and agricultural reform.
Women Empowerment:
Empowering women emerges as a prominent theme in both manifestos, with varied approaches. While the BJP aims to economically empower rural women, improve healthcare, and promote political representation through the Women’s Reservation Bill, the Congress introduces innovative schemes like the Mahalakshmi scheme and job reservations, signalling a progressive stance on gender equality.
Healthcare and
Healthcare and education, fundamental pillars of development, receive attention in both manifestos. The BJP emphasizes strengthening existing healthcare infrastructure and expanding access to low-cost medicines, aligning with its track record of healthcare initiatives. On the other hand, the Congress proposes ambitious plans for universal healthcare and educational reforms, prioritizing accessibility and quality.
Economic Growth and National Security:
Economic growth and national security, pivotal for India’s progress and stability, feature prominently in both manifestos. While the BJP guarantees India’s economic prowess and outlines measures for infrastructure development and modernization of armed forces, the Congress sets ambitious targets for GDP growth and proposes comprehensive strategies for national security, including institutional reforms and border infrastructure enhancement.
Environmental Preservation:
In the wake of growing environmental concerns, both parties pledge to address environmental challenges. The BJP focuses on achieving clean air standards and improving river health through targeted interventions, while the Congress proposes strengthening existing environmental frameworks and establishing an independent authority to enforce environmental standards.
In conclusion, both the BJP’s “Modi Ki Guarantee” and the Congress’s “Nyay Patra” manifestoes present an ambitious agenda aimed at addressing diverse socio-economic challenges facing India. While the BJP’s manifesto showcases a pragmatic approach with a focus on specific development pillars, the Congress’s manifesto offers comprehensive programs and innovative schemes targeting key constituencies. Ultimately, the impact and effectiveness of these manifestos will depend on their implementation, highlighting the importance of informed electoral decision-making and robust governance frameworks. As India stands at the cusp of a transformative electoral process, the manifestos serve as guiding beacons, shaping the nation’s trajectory in the years to come.
Yours etc.,
A Sarki

Aadhaar not applicable in Meghalaya

In my last letter that appeared in these columns under the caption, ‘CAA exempted from Meghalaya? (ST March 22, 2024) I had unreservedly expressed that on the premise of the Central government circular vide Notification No.37/2017F No.370133/6/2017-TPL dated 11.5.2017, the indigenous citizens of Meghalaya are exempted from the purview of the controversial Aadhaar registration. Oddly, even after over 20 days of my letter being published no rejoinder of any kind has appeared in this newspaper. Neither the State Government nor conscious citizens have countered what appeared in the letter to the editor. Hence it implies that the aforementioned Notification is inarguably true in letter and spirit and conclusively Aadhar is not applicable in Meghalaya as such!
Paradoxically, till date all the established institutions like the commercial banks, educational centers, the public utility service hubs and much else are virtually compelling citizens to produce the Aadhaar card as a compulsion. Such unsolicited pestering on the commoners is a veritable act of non-compliance and insubordination to the central government Notification by willfully adopting a couldn’t care less attitude against the latter. It therefore, literally implies that for any non-observance of any statutory 0rder/Notification endorsed by the competent authorities, the defaulters may perhaps be subject to action in the court of law by way of public interest litigation(PIL). In a nutshell therefore, it may be assuredly asserted that Aadhaar conscription in the state is beside the point and there is no kidding about that! When all is said and done, if any institution henceforth insists on Aadhaar identity, that institution could refer to the Notification in question.
Yours etc.,
Jerome K Diengdoh,


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