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REJOINDER

Editor,

I am glad that my article, “Religion and Culture” (ST July 6, 2018) has generated a lot of critical reflections on the topic. At least my objective of creating awareness among our Khasi people regarding the dangerous developments in our country has been achieved. From many other verbal responses I have received, many of our people have been forewarned about Hindutva agenda. However, regarding the article of Sonie Kharduit “A reality check on the Caste paradox” (ST July 7, 2018), I feel obliged to correct the misleading concepts that the author has put forth lest the public be misguided.

First of all, it is to be kept in mind that the caste system has never been a religiously sanctioned social system in Christianity like it is in Hinduism. Jesus Christ has always upheld the equality and dignity of human persons. If Christians in parts of India practice caste system (as the author has rightly indicated), it is not because the Gospel teaches them to do so but because Hindu caste mentality has left a deep imprint in them (after all they were Hindus earlier). For that matter, caste system is so deep rooted in the Indian sub-conscious that it looks impossible to get out of it. A distinction must be clearly made between the caste system practiced by Hindus and Christians of south India. The former practice it as a religious creed prescribed in their scriptures while the latter practice it out of social convenience or personal advantages and never as a religious creed. Why generalize Christians therefore with regard to the practice of caste system? There is no caste system among Christians in Europe or elsewhere. Another fallacy in the write-up is to blame Christianity for change in food habits or in dress code. First of all Christianity unlike Hinduism or Islam is not a religion that forbids the consumption of any type of food. So it is absolutely unreasonable to connect change in food habits with Christianity. The author should realize that what influences food habits and dress code is Hollywood or Bollywood cultures advocated by the media. So here again it is completely misleading to say that religion (Christianity) is responsible for change in culture (food habits and dress code).

The author has been extremely pragmatic in explaining religious affiliations by speaking in terms of material benefits etc. This is a very superficial understanding of religious affiliation. By stating that “polytheism or monotheism is the last thing in people’s mind” the author has displayed a total ignorance about the tremendous significance these theological bases have on people’s lives and outlook. He or she should realize that this religious basis (monotheism or polytheism) is a very fundamental theological cornerstone which influences the religious belief and practices of an individual and even his weltanschauung. Thus to be so slipshod about this issue is to betray one’s ignorance about basic realities of our existence.

Yours etc.,

Barnes Mawrie sdb

Via email

Irresponsible recruitment process

Editor,

As a responsible youth of the state, I am amazed at the way the Meghalaya Public Service Commission (MPSC) is trying to conduct the Meghalaya Civil Service (MCS) exam. The notification was out in the month of July last year, but no proper date had been fixed since then. On July 6, last the MPSC through a press release announced that the examination will be held on August 4, 2018. But to give the candidate just one month’s time about an important examination is unfair for all the serious and aspiring candidates. I will also substantiate my point here. Firstly, this exam requires a lot of effort as it is expected that the aspirants need to know everything from the Sciences to the Humanities papers and Mathematics, reasoning power etc. It’s like being a Jack of all trades and master of none.

Secondly, current affairs play a major role in this exam (judging from recent papers of the UPSC ) so following the UPSC convention and style of setting the papers (as MPSC also has adopted the UPSC syllabus)  one year of currents events have to be seriously dealt with. Hence, one has to have enough time to study the current affairs happening across the globe. Thirdly, the MPSC kept on changing the dates for conducting this particular exam (from 31st January 2018 to February etc). This creates confusion in the minds of the aspirants. Lastly, more candidates from the state can make it to the final list of the UPSC Civil Service Examination , only if the State Civil Service Examination is conducted regularly (not as the present trend, where the last exam was conducted in the year 2010). If our State has to progress and be at par with the rest of the country, then the bureaucracy can be the foremost driving force. Good, competent, responsible, innovative, effective, trustworthy bureaucrats can take our state to greater heights. 

Yours etc.,

Name withheld on request

Taj Mahal at centre of ugly politics  

Editor,

The recent direction of the Supreme Court to the Archeological Survey of India and the UP Govt. to either demolish the Taj Mahal or restore its lost grandeur, shows the extreme lackadaisical manner in which the iconic ‘Monument of Love’  has been maintained by our administration. We have a penchant for creating controversy as to which community a particular Historical monument belongs to, but when it comes to their preservation or protection, they are treated as nobody’s business! It is agonising to know that even the not so glamourous ‘Eiffel Tower’ in Paris is able to generate eighty million viewers per year, way ahead of Taj Mahal which generates only 2-4 million tourists per year. If we continue to remain indifferent towards preserving our heritage of enduring significance, then we should not be ashamed when outsiders call India the ‘Land of Elephants and Snake Charmers’!

Yours etc.,
Sadiq Hussain Laskar,

Guwahati.

 

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