Religious minorities’ right in Meghalaya



            In the midst of the present controversy about whether Niam Khasi-Niam Tre (or Niam Khasi and Niam Tre as variously referred to in the PIL plaint) is a religion or not, let me stick my neck out by saying that the Constitution has not defined the term Religion. Therefore the term should first be defined to obviate any misunderstanding about the intention and action of the powers that be. That said, I would like to remind the Khasis (including Synteng/Pnars) that the Niam Khasi is known as the Niam-Kur (Clan-Religion) which means that every Kur (clan) has its own mores for governance of the Kur: as is generally known and acknowledged by the members of the Khasi-Pnar/Khasi-Synteng community themselves.

            In the context of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, Christians do not fall within the definition of religious minorities in Meghalaya. Since the Khasi religion is a Niam-Kur (Clan-Religion), every Kur (Clan) which has not embraced other religions is a minority group.

            From the above statement it is clear that those who subscribe to and accept the tenets of what may be called Niam Khasi or Niam Tre or Niam Kur – Khasi Nylla – have every right to claim minority status in Meghalaya.

            On hind sight we note that the hard feelings between the so-called Khasi-Nylla and Khasi-Kylla which have been roused by the PIL filed by Smti. Khasimon Phanbuh and Shri. Powell P. Lyngdoh is much ado about nothing. The problem arose because of the incompetence or ignorance or shallow-mindedness of our legislators – MDCs, MLAs and MPs. Way back in 1992 these worthies should have raised Cain over the issue of religious minorities.

            It took almost two decades for the provisions of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, to percolate down to the level of the Community and Rural Development Department of the Government of Meghalaya to rouse their conscience to send their letter No.CDD.108/99/49, Dated Shillong, the 19th May, 2009, to all the Project Directors of districts in Meghalaya on the Subject of Certificate in respect of Minority households. Stranger still is the fact that it took more than two decades for Rural Housing Division of the Ministry of Rural Development of Govt. of India to originate their letter No L-11019/1/2013-RH (RBC) addressed to the Secretary, Dept of Rural Development, Govt. of Meghalaya, Shillong under cover of their letter No. Nil dated 10.07.2014. Since they have not done their homework we are now left with this baby in the dirty bath-tub. Should we now throw the baby out along with the dirty bath-water?

Yours etc.,

Morning Star Sumer,

Shillong – 2

The protruding tree

Through this letter I wish to highlight the importance of keeping the tree intact , even if it is has become an inconvenience to the public. Its importance to understand that Environmental degradation is the
deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil;  the extinction of plant and wildlife and the destruction of ecosystems .Please understand that  the Protruding Tree is also  part of that ecosystem and if we disturb that we are the ones
who will  be at the receiving end.

Yours etc.,
D Syiem,
via email

Of pseudo liberals


While the child Narendranath experimented with hookahs used by different communities to experience how one “loses” his caste or religion, the matured Swami Vivekananda advocated for universal brotherhood and equality of all. Though Vivekananda was a proud Hindu as well as Indian, that did not deter him from pointing out the vices that had plagued the religion and the nation. Also neither did he try to impose his religious beliefs upon other communities nor project Hinduism and India as superior to others; rather his true love for his own religion and country got translated into love and respect for all religions and humanity as a whole.

It is indeed a disgusting sight when the rabid orthodox pseudo-nationalist merchants of hatred, who have emerged as the self-declared “guardians” of Hindus  and “holy cows” and can’t hold a candle to the liberalism of the great sage, dare to project the humanitarian harmony-personified Swami Vivekananda as one of their “icons”!

 Yours etc.,

Kajal Chatterjee


Changing Attitudes


With time, the attitude of people towards life has changed. These days people do the same things, but in a different manner. But can these new methods beat the classic ones? For eg- These days people like to play football or cricket or any other sport on gaming consoles and phones instead of going to the ground. I’m not saying that it is a negative thing but I think that people should go to the ground and
experience the real fun at least once in a while. This will also help people physically. Parents should also encourage children to play outdoor games when small. Once done regularly, a child will never take
the back turn. These days people do not live in the moment. In reality these days, people see too far into the future instead of getting lost in the moment. When this attitude changes, people will enjoy their lives more than ever.
These days, I see that children play too many violence based games. It is clearly written on the packet of such games-‘VIOLENCE (18+). But the shopkeepers don’t seem to care as well. Even parents blindly
purchase such games for their children. Such games tend to change the mentality of children. They lead to ‘violent mental development’ of the child. Later if the child does something wrong, who takes the blame? Where has that responsibility gone? People need to take ‘Collective responsibility’ to make their own and lives and that of others better.

Yours etc.,

Pratham Sharma,

Via email

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