Developed By: iNFOTYKE
St. Edmund’s leads the way yet again
St. Edmund’s School has for years been one of the premier institutions in the city and in the whole of northeast India. The school has proved it’s position by providing quality education. Recently, the school yet again proved that it is one of the best. The Model United Nations conferences are now being held in Shillong and students enthusiastically participate in these events to boost their confidence levels. The sad part is that most of these conferences are conducted with the purpose of making profit rather than providing exposure to the students. Most MUNs in Shillong charge a heavy registration fee and thus many students are unable to engage in this activity. Recently, St. Edmund’s School hosted a Model United Nations conference for students from the city to provide them with the MUN experience. The best part is that the school did not charge a single penny for participation and decided to cover all the expenses on its own. The conference was a whopping success which and this can be gauged from the fact that many students participated in the event and gained experience. I wish to congratulate the Principal and faculty of St. Edmund’s School for organizing this conference with a noble purpose. This is also a reminder to other MUN organizers that profit making should not be the aim while planning such events. After this act by St. Edmund’s School I’m looking forward to seeing more non- profit MUNs in Shillong.
Shillong a lawless city
Through this column I wish to point out how lawless Shillong is. It’s a city where you can do what you want where you want and whenever you want. For example, people park their cars anywhere; throw their garbage anywhere; set up shops anywhere; build anywhere (including on the banks of rivers and streams); let out the waste from their toilets anywhere… the list could go on and on.
To whom and to which authority does one complain is anyone’s guess. It’s not that people have not tried. Those who have were met with the reply, ‘Oh kaba eh phi; ym lah leh eiei’ (Oh it’s pointless; we can’t do anything). As ordinary citizens we are frustrated, so, short of us killing each other can we ask, “Where are the Rules and Laws and who is implementing them?”
Is it therefore right to say that we cannot depend on our MLAs and politicians whose worry and concern is their ‘”vote bank only?” For all practical purposes the State does not even have one comprehensive policy in place, be it Education, Mining, Economic, Housing or whatever. It’s a truly pathetic situation and this adds to our already depressing situation.
Virtues of religious diversity
Sonie Kharduit’s article, “A reality check on the caste paradox” (ST, July 7, 2018), has served food for thought. He said, “Caste and class are the two faces of the same coin. It only depends how we perceive and practice it, and in fact class division is more catastrophic because its ubiquity doesn’t attract attention.”
How can we say that class division is more catastrophic than caste division or even gender division? Must we forget that caste and gender hatred can turn even a parent into a cannibal? Many parents do not hesitate to kill their own daughters/ sons/ daughters-in-law/ sons-in-law in the name of caste/ religion (honour killings!). According to statistics from the United Nations, one in five cases of honour killings internationally every year comes from India. And every 15 minutes a crime is committed against a Dalit in our country. On the other hand, parents kill their own daughters either in the womb (foeticide) or in the cradle (infanticide) everyday in our country. It has brought down girls share in child sex ratio (0-6 years) to 914 girls for 1000 boys.
However, I fully agree with Sonie Kharduit’s observation that there is no such thing as a perfect religion as they are run by mortals open to personal discretions at various levels. A friend of mine once had jokingly told our Swiss friend who was about to get back home, “Look at the Sun of Kolkata. This is not the Sun of Zurich!” Our Swiss friend enjoyed the joke. But in religion, it is not a matter of joke! Unfortunately, this is the very issue which makes us debate and fight to establish that the God of our religion is better and taller than the God of your religion.
On religion, Sri Ramkrishna used to say, “Many opinions, many paths.” This means that every religion has the same goal even though their paths are different. Indeed, every religion ~ in one way or the other ~ has contributed to our progress. Sri Aurobindo had once said, “Each religion has helped mankind. Paganism increased in man the light of beauty, the largeness and height of his life, his aim at a many sided perfection; Christianity gave him some vision of divine love and charity; Buddhism has shown him a noble way to be wiser, gentler, purer, Judaism and Islam how to be religiously faithful in action and zealously devoted to God; Hinduism has opened to him the largest and profoundest spiritual possibilities. A great thing would be if all these God – visions could embrace and cast themselves into each other; but intellectual dogma and cult egoism stand in the way.”
We can see that time, space and even numbers are not finite. They are infinite. And the infinite means the One ~ no duality. There is indeed no place for “our god is better than your god,” sort of religious business. Unfortunately, when spiritual endeavours produce religions, they become blind and start fighting among themselves about whether an elephant is like a trunk or a snake or a rope or a fan, thereby causing oceans of bloodshed in the process over the years.
Excellent verdict by SC
The recent verdict of the Hon’ble Supreme Court allowing people belonging to non-Hindu faiths to enter and offer prayers in the Jagannath Puri temple is a big impetus towards establishing the rich secular fabric of India. Religious tolerance and ‘Unity in Diversity’ is the heart and soul of the Indian Constitution and such decisions by the SC is a further testimony of this fact. It will also be much better if the SC passes similar verdicts allowing places of worship of all other faiths to be accessible by all Indians, irrespective of caste, creed or religion and thereby pave the way for better interfaith understanding and tolerance. It should also be our fundamental duty to endeavour to learn and understand the culture and faith of others and inculcate a spirit of respect for all faiths and thereby fulfill the dream of our forefathers to establish a Unified, Prosperous and Vibrant India.
Sadiq Hussain Laskar,