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A Khasi Mother’s perspective

Editor,

A lot has been said and heard on the Khasi Social Customs of Lineage (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018. It is heartening to see a handful of Khasi men still respecting a woman’s freedom of choice and voicing their concerns through this newspaper. Kudos to the courage of these ‘Khat-ar-bor’. I am also grateful to my female compatriot for presenting some insights into the flaws of the bill.  As a young working mother of three children, I cannot even accept the fact that this proposed Bill aims to rob my children of their Khasi identity. As mothers we have carried them for nine months in our wombs, breastfed them, had sleepless nights watching over them, worry about their slightest sneeze, cared for them and our world is a happy place when we come home to their little arms and smiles. All we pray for is their good health and happiness. Any parent ultimately will want to see their children happy and settled and for them to be with someone who respect, loves, cares for them and makes them happy. Instead of lecturing them or advising them over the identity of their life partner, we would rather spend our energy in giving them an education where they can be financially independent, empathetic human beings and ‘kiba tip briew tip Blei.’

I am a proud Khasi woman belonging to the ‘WarNongbri’ clan. Whenever I meet people from outside the state and outside the country I would proudly explain about our matrilineal system, our clan and kinship ties and how we have certain privileges when compared to our female counterparts in the rest of the country. I would explain to them that there is less stigmatisation of women. Women who bear children out of wedlock are not stigmatised and that we have the freedom to choose our partners (I hope and pray that this will not change for our children).

What appals me is how a group comprising of 29 or so MDCs can decide on behalf of the Jaidynriew; decide on my clan’s behalf; decide on my behalf which ultimately means they decide for the future of my children! Is social and clan concurrence not required? We are not fools to be blinded, silenced and deceived in the name of protecting the Jaidbynriew. I will not allow this Bill to coax me to disown my own children and grandchildren if ever they marry any person of their choice. I will always have my mynsiem kmie with me till the last breath I take.  Let us not rob our children’s freedom of choice when we ourselves have enjoyed it thanks to the wisdom of our forefathers.

Yours etc.,

 R Jennifer War

Via email

Praising the elected.

Editor,

Amid the din and dust of battle raised by the KHADC Lineage Bill, two news reports with major developmental potentials for Shillong in particular and the state in general, somehow appeared to have slipped the notice of many. The first relates to the meeting of the Laban MLA, Mr Sanbor Shullai with the Defence Minister at New Delhi. According to reports Mr Shullai had pressed for the early retransfer of the Garrison Grounds to the State Govt for the benefit of the public at large. Before the creation of Meghalaya the public had free access to these grounds for sports and recreational purposes. Then the Army stepped in, reserved the grounds for itself and shut off public access probably for security reasons. As far as one could ascertain the only items of strategic value were the weeds and the grass but that’s the Army for you! The vision of the civil authorities on the other hand is to develop the grounds for public advantage, especially with an eye on the forthcoming National games 2022. The attempt by Mr Shullai to regain civil control over the grass therefore demands public recognition, support and appreciation. We wish him well.

            The other issue relates to an attempt by another MLA, Mr PT Sawkmie  of Mawlai, to sort out the traffic mess all of us find ourselves in. Shillong with its narrow roads, uncontrolled vehicular population, uncivil drivers (especially those provided with Govt escorts), impudent hawkers, a lifeless discredited municipality and undermanned traffic personnel has become a nightmare for everyone. Helpless and stationary vehicles rather than moving ones occupy our roads and it has become the order of the day.  Everyone grumbles, curses and moans about it; raise their hands to God for help, but till date very few have taken the pains to do anything about it.

One is therefore pleasantly surprised to find Mr PT Sawkmie on the job and actively engaged in coming up with solutions on how to ease the publics’ woes. He has called up the Traffic branch and together with the police made on the spot surveys of the traffic bottle necks within Mawlai. He had personally inspected the under construction Mawlai bypass to ensure its early completion. His most recent foray is a joint inspection with the police and the PWD authorities on the viability of a flyover/ flyovers  along the GS Road within his constituency. It seems emphasis was on a flyover over the choke point at Thangkhiew Petrol Pump, Mawlai. No one can deny the crying need for alternate means to ease Shillong traffic congestions. This initiative of Bah Sawkmie too is an instance where public servants need our support and goodwill. Public representatives when they actively champion public good should be appreciated. And why not, for that exactly is the reason we elected them in the first place.

Yours etc.,

Toki  Blah

President ICARE

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