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Religion, Traditon and custom
175 yrs ago Thomas Jones and Christian missionaries came to the Khasi hills and taught the Khasis to read and write, educated them and then pursued their agenda of conversion. Since then, majority of the Khasis have abandoned their indigenous faith ” Niam Khasi” and adopted Christianity. That the Christian missionaries came to these hills not only to teach but also to preach is an inescapable fact of history. For the past few weeks writers have expressed their view on the affects of Christianity on the traditions, customs and beliefs of the Khasis. Mr P.K Dwivedi sees the activities of the Welsh Christian missionaries as one which “has robbed the Khasis of their culture, tradition and beliefs”. Mr R.Wallang counters Mr Dwivedi by saying, “Christianity prides itself as a faith that upholds and nurtures local culture”. There is no denying that the Christian missionaries have contributed tremendously towards the upliftment of the Khasis. But what if they had just taught the Khasis to read and write, educated them, encouraged them to discard off superstitious beliefs ? What if they had not spread falsehood about the Niam Khasi – a religion whose basic belief is in one God “U Blei”, a religion that teaches the Khasis the values of righteousness, respect for your own kit and kin and respect for all human beings and GOD. What if they had not exploited the Khasis backwardness then? No. They could not have done just these because they had a mission and the mission is to convert the Khasis to Christianity. So they came, did what they had to do and succeeded.
I agree with Cassandra Syiemlieh when she says, “nobody can take away a person’s spiritual right to Religious Freedom”. But I disagree with her when she says that many countries have welcomed Christianity but have not forgotten their custom and traditions. There can be no denying that when a person embraces a new Religion it is inevitable that a part or whole of the traditions, customs, and beliefs that persons profess, will be lost as they may be in conflict with the new religion that he/she has adopted.
How many Khasi families who have embraced Christianity still practice the Khasi naming ceremony of a new born “Ka Jer khun”? Or the Khasi traditional marriage ceremonies? Or perform the funeral rites as practiced by the Khasis? To say that Christianity has in no way affected the Khasi way of life, traditions, customs and beliefs would only be self denial. How the future generation of Khasis will stand up and face the world, when all of their traditions, customs and beliefs are lost and find that they have embraced only what is foreign, only time will tell. Let me end by saying that religion can divide a race. It has happened in Ireland , is happening in the Middle East and in other parts of the World. Let this not happen to the Khasis. We pray to ” U Blei, Nongthaw Nongbuh” that religious intolerance such as the recent incident which happened at Mylliem, where a section of the people there had desecrated the religious ground and destroyed the foundation of the funeral pyre of the Seng Khasi, should not be repeated. Units of the Seng Khasi have condemned these acts. But there has been none from others.
P.D.Nongrum Shillong -2
Gratitude for peaceful conduct of Durga Puja
I express heartfelt gratitude to the Government Departments of Meghalaya, the District Administration, East Khasi Hills the Police Department, the Central Puja Committee and over and above the people of Shillong for a very peaceful, well disciplined celebration of Durga Puja in the city. The devotees could move freely and safely till late in the night visiting puja pandals. Hearty co-operation of the public in religious performances is the best sign of co-existence, which deserves applause. I do offer special thanks to the Secretary and Managing Committee, Ramakrishna Mission Shillong, for the gracious arrangements they made to facilitate the old and disabled devotees to reach the temple and enjoy Puja. The volunteers did their best to help the physically disabled. It is the best service to the humanity, ‘To serve man is to serve God’ as Swami Vivekananda said, which is the essence of religion
Shillong – 4
“FALSE ALLEGATION AGAINST NEHU LAW DEPT”
Apropos the two brazen and derogatory letters written by Peter AiborlangDohkrut (ST Oct 9, 2016) and Lynda Suantak (ST Oct 13, 2016) regarding the NEHU National Moot Court Competition, respecting the freedom of speech, we understand that every single one of us has the constitutional right to address any grievances. However, such baseless and defamatory attacks on the University in general and the Department of Law in particular, cannot be tolerated. The two students have out rightly insulted not only the students and the teachers of the Department, but also all the stakeholders of the competition, ranging from the Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court and eminent advocates and judicial officials of the state judiciary, who were judges for the various sessions throughout the competition.
Before addressing the issues raised by the two students, we’d like to state that the team in question called up various members of the Organising Committee two days prior to the competition, enquiring as to how the court proceedings would be conducted, when the detailed rules of the competition had been posted on various prominent law websites as well as the official NEHU website three months prior to the event. The team in question was also not present at the draw of lots prior to the preliminary rounds, so much so that one of our students had to register for the competition on their behalf. Such enquiries at the last moment only goes to show how “well-prepared’ and “sincere” they were for the competition as they have so persuasively stated.