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Of faith, spirituality and religion

Editor,

With regard to Dr. Omarlin Kyndiah’s letter, ‘Defining religion’ (ST January, 15, 2015), I would like to express my deep concern and respect for the author’s feeling in connection with my article, ‘The Traditional religion of the Khasis’, (ST January 7, 2015). I would also like to point out that I had not written that, ‘niam Khasi is not a religion.’ It is a common human nature with no exception, including myself, that if we are strongly guarded by prejudice, our eyes might be blurred and our minds blunted to understand and absorb the opinion of others. So I request Dr. Omarlin Kyndiah to reread the article. What I actually wrote is that the religion of the Khasis which is centred on the kur, is a religion pure and holy. I also wrote that the Seng Khasi was founded in 1899 not as a religion, but only to preserve the Khasi socio-cultural structure in the midst of emerging modern influences, and that the Seng Khasi may become a rightful institution for the moral and spiritual guidance of the Khasis who have not adopted any new religion, but it cannot claim to be the spiritual and cultural custodian of the Khasi tribe as a whole. The belief that God, U Blei Nongbuh Nongthaw is the Supreme Creator is not a unique characteristic of the Khasis only, but it is the belief of the followers of every religion in the world. The belief that a religion is God-given is also a universal characteristic of the human race; even the ISIS terrorists believe that they cut people’s throats by God’s command. The injunctions, ‘kamai ia ka hok’, ‘tipbriew tipblei’, and ‘tipkur tipkha’, which signify right living and practice based on right livelihood, are also common moral and spiritual exhortations of all religions. The personal spiritual life of a Khasi consists in his ka tipbriew-tipblei (moral conscience) and ‘ban kamai ia ka hok’ (to earn material and spiritual wellbeing through righteous means). There is no spiritual intercession at this level of man’s personal relationship with God, and ka Hok is the only connecting link. The Khasis do not take this personal level of man-God relationship which is common to the whole human race as the Khasi religion. Moral conscience based on belief in God is a common characteristic of all human beings, and not only of the Khasis. It is this characteristic that differentiated a human being from all other creatures. It is the religion of the heart implanted by God, deep into the being of every man and woman, Khasi or non-Khasi alike. The true, pure and holy religion according to the Khasis is not in a general moral philosophy, but it is alive in the life of each and every kur. The principle of ‘ka tipkur-ka tipkha’ does not only mean, to know and recognise one’s kin; its deeper meaning is, to be a worthy member of the kur, especially in its religious aspect, as well as to be a responsible member of the society. Man can have a direct personal relationship with God in his daily living through his ka tipbriew tip-blei, but as a member of the kur and the society, he is also tied up to ‘ka sot’ of the institutional religion of the kur. If we as Khasis, have neglected or discarded the religion of the kur, then whether we are members of the Seng Khasi, or Christians, Unitarians, or Hindus, or Muslims, we are no more ki Khasi-Nylla, but we have all become ki Khasi-Kylla, as expressed by Morning Star Sumer (‘Religious minorities’ right in Meghalaya’, ST January 12, 2015). But whatever it may be, we all belong to the Khasi tribe and we should have equal rights. I strongly advocate that the members of the Seng Khasi deserve protection from likely deprivation on ground of religious or cultural practices. If they had been discriminated against in the past just because they cannot identify themselves as Christians, Muslims, or a particular Caste of Hinduism or any other religion, then that should be redressed.

Yours etc.,

Fabian Lyngdoh,

Via email

Urgent road repair works needed

Editor,

This letter is directed towards the PWD Roads department. and perhaps the MES. Recently after the rains, the PWD has carried out commendable repair works on all major roads in the city. However some important roads have been overlooked, perhaps. (1) The main roads in Nongrim hills- R.R.Colony have been repaired. There is one road in RR colony which has been left unrepaired and is in a very deplorable condition. It is a by-pass of sorts, just about a 100 metres which is the exit for traffic from Umpling and RR Colony joining Nongrim Hills main road. It was originally a lane in RR colony, but has become the main road since the one way rule was made in Rynjah market area. The PWD concerned may please get this repair work done quickly. (2)The Nazareth hospital to MES Hqs road , specially the stretch in Goraline has again gone from bad to worse, due to non-repairs. There is a tussle over ownership of this vital link between State Govt. and MES . Meanwhile the aam aadmi has to bear the brunt. Please, whoever is responsible – MES or PWD, sort out your problems and get the repair work done.

Yours etc.,

R Wahlang,

Via email

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