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Sourpuss syndrome

Editor,

Apropos the News item, “Can’t get IIM with 3 songs, Lanong ridicules Mukul (ST Oct 18, 2016), BM Lanong is known for his insipid wisecracks but this time he seems to have been infected by the sourpuss syndrome. To give credit where due is the mark of a gentleman but Lanong has never been able to rise above petty politics. Those privy to the conversation between the then HRD Minister, Arjun Singh, the late Maharaja Kirit Bikram Kishore Manikya and Mukul Sangma at the Tripura Castle (not the hotel) to celebrate the wedding anniversary of Arjun Singh and wife Saroj Devi, in 2005 will vouch for the veracity of Mukul’s statement. It was during that informal evening that the young Education Minister, Mukul Sangma prevailed upon the HRD Minister to finalise the setting up of the IIM at Shillong. The fact that he sang a few songs to win the hearts of the elderly couple is just Mukul’s way of networking, which he publicly confesses to have learnt from his late mother.

 A person with a sourpuss syndrome has a grouchy disposition peppered with jealousy about other peoples’ achievements. To suggest that GG Swell, PA Sangma and PR Kyndiah pushed for the IIM here is a hyperbole and is aimed at denying Mukul Sangma the credit due to him. None of the three stalwarts mentioned by Lanong might have had an idea of what an IIM actually is, although they might have asked for other central institutions to be located here. Politics is bad enough but to drag the IIM-Shillong into petty politics is certainly in bad taste as much as it exposes the revolting mindset of the person who initiates this dirty debate.

Yours etc.,

NL Lyngdoh,

Via email    

MUDA Affairs

Editor,

While agreeing to the concern raised by one Jonathan Lyngdoh, “Benami Transactions in MUDA”, (ST, 14 Oct, 2016) about selling tribal names and the need to foster tribal interests in case of MUDA Shopping Complex in Police Bazar, one cannot just dismiss this matter without looking at the other side of the coin. Why are the tribal traders letting off or even selling their shops to mostly non-tribal traders? Well as the trade flows, one can see that the tribal can’t resist the temptation of “luring lakhs” to part with their shops to others. Such is the craze that they even indulge in benami transactions, right under the nose of MUDA. Is it not ridiculous that MUDA which is unable to keep its own floors clean will prevent skyscrapers in this highly seismic town and other civic issues that we confront in our daily lives? This lucre lure is equally supported by an acute and inherent level of lethargy in the bodily structure of our tribal traders, for whom therefore to run the show is best through hired manpower. They naturally, therefore, prefer non-tribal managers and staff because some tribal traders from Iewduh and other markets in town told me that any sane tribal businessmen will prefer non-tribal managers/staff because they know well what is in offing from their tribal counterparts. According to them, a tribal manager/staff will never open the shop in time, will go back home early, will bunk shop during shop hours while putting lame excuses from time to time and even stink of alcohol while on duty. These traders while experiencing years of such demeanor have now sub-let their shops to non-tribals and are enjoying returns. This is basically the trend everywhere, said this trader which is also contributing to the denigration of tribal hold businesses/shops in the town and elsewhere. Such is the scenario that a Shillongite, who is currently working in a company in the national capital, is now looking to get a shop in MUDA complex as he said that it is easy to get one there. This is akin to getting a shop in the heart of a metropolitan city. So one may blame MUDA for all the benami acts but who is going to check on those issues that are forcing tribal traders to let off/sublet or even sell their trades to others. The solution to this issue actually lies there. But that does not make MUDA the holy cow here.

Yours etc.

PK Dwivedi

Shillong – 1

On Bob Dylan!

Editor,

It is gratifying to see the positive response of Shillong music lovers on the award of Nobel Prize to Bob Dylan (ST Oct14,2016), but I would like to remind these friends that the greatness of Dylan goes even deeper if one knows that he is a “profoundly spiritual poet-shaped by the Christian Bible” according to many scholars. Just to give two examples: The song ‘Blowin’ in the wind” was hailed as the 60’s protest song. The song points to the ‘ruach’, the Bible’s Hebrew name for the spirit of God, which means wind, breath, spirit. Genesis describes how “the earth was formless and empty… darkness was over the surface…and the ruach of God was hovering over the waters”. Jesus said the spirit of God is like the wind which blows where it wills”.

More explicitly Biblical is his song, “All along the watchtower” which is a take of prophecy from chapter 21 of the Book of Isaiah. Robert Zimmerman or Bob Dylan is a Jew who was converted to Christianity. He called his John Wesley Harding album, “The first Biblical rock album.” He once said, “I’ve always said there is a superior power…..and that there is a world to come.” At the same time he has disdain for organised religion and dogma.

My point is that to celebrate Bob Dylan merely as a popular singer or poet without going into the values that are the fundamentals of his artistry is incomplete, especially in a city like Shillong with many ‘Christian Uuniversities. Many Indian universities produce M.Phil theses on Amitabh Bachhan. What a waste if we cannot even have seminars on the Biblical worldview of Bob Dylan. That is a big part of Christian culture.

Yours etc.,

Rasputin Bismarck

Kolkata.

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