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Old habits die hard


In my Letter to the Editor, ‘The times they are changing’ ( ST 19th Sept 2015) , I had made an erroneous prediction. I had predicted that the Rangbah Shnong ( SKNSKBH) in their 21st sitting would next decide to gherao the Governor for his failure to accede to their demands on the VAB. The refusal of the Governor to sign the VAB has definitely annoyed this divine body (dorbar blei) of traditional heads. Refusal is taken as an act of ‘Contempt of Dorbar’ or bein dorbar as the locals call it. In true Rangbah Shnong style they decided to show their displeasure by calling for the Governor’s exile from Meghalaya (shah beh shnong u Lat). Old habits die hard! They have called upon the President of India to immediately remove Mr V Shanmuganathan from Shillong Raj Bhavan. One dreads to think what if the President also refuses to heed. Can we expect Parliament to be moved next for impeachment of the President? A most logical step if the President of the Union of India refuses to listen to our traditional heads!

There is now a call for doing away with the 6th Schedule and for including Meghalaya under Art 371 of the Constitution. This again will most probably be construed as anti traditional as the traditional heads of Meghalaya have already decided that only the Autonomous District Councils are empowered to deal with tradition. No matter that the ADCs have for the last 60 years done nothing of the sort. No matter that the ADCs are proving day by day to be irrelevant white elephants. Our Rangbah Shnong have already decided that the 6th Schedule is over and above the Constitution of India and woe betide anyone who says otherwise. The genius advising both the SKNSKBH and the KHADC is a specimen deserving recognition! Will he/she kindly step out into the limelight?


Yours etc.,

KM Jyrwa

Via email



Choosing our parents!


A news item on vindication by Supreme Court of Dr. Mukul Sangma’s tribal status and another article “Where do I belong” (ST Sept 19, 2015) reiterates once again the adage that “…. one cannot choose his or her parents!”. It is the subsequent social, cultural and traditional environment in which one is brought up and groomed, particularly in case of a mixed marriage, which basically influences the child in later life. This is when one is in a position to make a conscious choice to move ahead in life, irrespective what surname is conferred on oneself. There are hundreds born out of wedlock between an indigenous woman and non indigenous man and vice versa who have served the society and the state at par or with better commitment and sincerity, as with their peers belonging to indigenous parentage. Yet at times they face social strictures and discrimination for their advent to this world through a mixed marriage. Moreover, there are many from non-indigenous parentage that have been residents of the State for generations who have contributed significantly and assimilated totally with the aspirations and concerns of the local indigenous community, without hopes of any returns or dividends, like using names of their spouses for economic and commercial gains. So to paint all in the same brush shall be a travesty of natural social justice.

Thus to take on an individual socially or even politically on his or her parentage is sacrilegious to say the least. My submission is beyond technicalities but on mere humanitarian angle. Dr. Mukul’s late mother although belonging to the non-indigenous community had totally identified with the indigenous community to which her husband belonged both in deeds and thoughts, including in the upbringing of her children. Similarly, Pauline M’s father as per the writer’s version was not a parasite on her mother merely because she belonged to the indigenous community. There is also something called ‘love’ which has no barriers and which brings two people together in matrimony till death parts them. There are feelings and emotions bound by love and children from such union do not deserve pettiness, personal vilification and character assassination for not “choosing ones parentage” according to wishes of others. The cynics have to wait till medical science makes such a breakthrough!


Yours etc

Naba Bhattacharjee


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