Developed By: iNFOTYKE
DD Lapang’s resignation
The resignation of veteran politician and grand Congressman, DD Lapang from the Congress Party is shocking and hard to believe. Mr Lapang is the grandfather figure of the Congress having served it for 46 odd years. For him to suddenly resign from the Party means he is gravely hurt by the attitude of fellow Congressmen and the AICC. There have to be compelling reasons for his departure from the Party that he has groomed, guided and led for so decades. According to news reports, Mr Lapang is piqued by the AICC’s decision to phase out senior Congressmen and women to make way for young Turks. He said he felt lonely and frustrated since he still desires to serve the country, the state and the people as he used to. He might have thought that his age (84 odd years) and his indifferent health might have been the reasons for his being neglect by the Party. Of course, the feeling of neglect and loneliness afflicts every person of advanced age. Mr Lapang, like any elderly person needs care, love, respect and friendship, not only from his family members but also from his Party rank and file which he found missing. Again, perhaps the Congress considers Lapang a spent force who is no longer useful for the Party. Hence he is relegated to the backburner. It is also a fact that the elderly and the sick are neglected in the society in general because they are generally considered a liability. That might have been the reason for the Congress to neglect Mr Lapang. However, Lapang’s resignation from the party at the tail end of his political career, is according to me, unwise and does not augur well, especially when he has been blessed abundantly while in the Congress. He should have approached the Party leadership in the State and at the AICC to express his feelings. Only if they refuse to listen to him should he have taken the drastic step to resign. But whatever be the case Mr Lapang’s resignation will definitely affect the morale of the Congress Party especially when it is already badly hit by the series of reverses it has faced in the recent past ; more so when the general elections are approaching.
Article based on bigotry
Apropos the opinion piece published in your daily, captioned ‘Filthy Them Mawlong needs urgent sanitisation’ (Sep 18, 2018), it is unfortunate that the individual chooses to base his argument on half-truths and complete lies and fantasies which he has of Sikhs in Shillong. While it is the individual’s right to speak his/her mind, what must be borne in mind is that the arguments advanced must be based on facts. To begin with, the author’s claim that the Sikhs of Them Mawlong cannot visit the main Gurudwara is absolutely untrue. In fact, it is a tradition that every Guru Nanak Jayanti, Guru Singh Sabha welcomes a Nagar Kirtan from the Sikhs of Them Mawlong. This seems to be an attempt to create a sentiment that there is grave discrimination meted out to the resident Sikhs of Iewduh. Moreover, the fact that Them Mawlong, Shillong and Meghalaya are a part of the Republic of India has been ignored by the author. Every community has the absolute and fundamental right to practice their religion; hence where to locate religious institutions in India cannot be dictated by cultural rules but only by the law of the Republic of India. And by law, it is the right of the Sikhs to build their religious institution where they reside, or wherever they choose to build it. This polarisation based on religion and communities has to stop immediately. India has for millennia been a country of inclusion, pluralism and secularism. Let there be no doubt about it. It was absolutely unnecessary to bring in Guru Nanak in this petty issue. Moreover, provocative questions like, ‘Is this what Sikhism teaches?’ do not qualify as good arguments. Usually, when an individual is unable to make suitable arguments, such generalisations are made to defame a community or individual. I suggest the author read more about Sikhism. Sikhism preaches “Maanas Ki Jaat Sabeh Ekai Pehchaanvo,” which translates to, “Recognize the entire human race to be of one caste/race.” Casting aspersions on what Sikhism preaches, without research about its teachings, does not behove an individual who wishes to write an opinion piece.
I agree that unfortunately Them Mawlong has become a den for anti-social activities, but there must be a modicum of decency which must be followed while arguing. One must bear in mind that dragging religion and communities into such volatile subjects may ignite unwanted sentiments. Hence, it is an appeal by me, a Sikh, not to let inane opinion pieces destroy the spirit of Shillong.
Sanbeer S. Ranhotra
Thanks for Writing
At the outset, I would like to thank Rev. Lyndan Syiem and Ms Pauline Warjri for their respective articles on the LGBTQ conundrum. I fully endorse the point put forth by Kong Pauline that God made certain boundaries not for restriction but for our own protection and we break them at our own peril. Also, Rev Lyndan’s piece which points to the fact that the Bible never said that Jesus loves everyone unconditionally is a bold one and I really appreciate that he has chosen to take a stand notwithstanding the fact that there will be possible ramifications and reprisals from different quarters. I sincerely hope that more of our Christian religious leaders, irrespective of denominations, would come forward and write on this contentious issue without, however, distorting the Bible to suit personal gains or to please any particular group or individuals. It is really appalling to see that people often try to disfigure and distort the Bible to suit their own agenda or choices. But it’s not surprising given the fact that the Bible had clearly spoken about all these things. I’m not writing to judge or justify anyone, neither am I a saint who conforms, but I do believe that our God is immutable; he is the same yesterday, today and forever and so is his written word, the Bible. People change, cultures change and laws will be amended to accommodate the changes, but we cannot change the soul and meaning of the Word of God to suit our personal interests and personal inclinations.
On the LGBTQIA+ issue
This is in response to Patricia Mukhim’s article, “Striking down # 377 and Societal Response” (ST, September 14, 2018). The Supreme Court of India must be congratulated for decriminalising homosexuality between consenting adults by declaring section 377 of the IPC as “manifestly arbitrary”. The Supreme Court very rightly observed, “Majoritarianism views and popular morality could not dictate constitutional rights.” The historic verdict says, “ I am what I am. So take me as I am. No one can escape from their individuality.” Indeed, a man with a bald head or a woman with grey hair must hold their head high without any kind of shame, doubt and inferiority complex. Let them celebrate what they are. It will be injustice if society puts pressure on them to wear a wig or to apply hair dye to join the mainstream.
Similarly, we need to admit that homosexuality is neither a choice nor an abnormality. It is a reality that has been existing across cultures and even throughout the animal kingdom. We do not clearly know the exact cause of someone becoming straight, gay or something in between. But the theory of gene or heredity does not stand as most identical twins of gay people are straight. In the world of VIBGYOR (Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red) rainbow diversity, we are to treat LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/ Transsexual, Queer/ Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/ Allies) as normal. There is no room for majoritarianism.
We know that twin babies are normal. But as they are not common, therefore the birth of twins has been viewed with fear and suspicion in many parts of the world. The Akha tribes inhabiting China and Southeast Asia think of twins as a bad omen – wherein evil spirits could interfere in matters. The Akha kill them immediately after birth although the practice is discouraged by governments. Bob and Mike Bryan and Mark and Steve Waugh are fortunate enough that they were not born to those people. However, our attitude towards LGBTQIA+ is somewhat similar to that of Akha tribes inasmuch as our inability to accept a less common phenomenon like homosexuality as normal. As a matter of fact, majoritarianism is itself a disease. Neither the birth of a twin nor homosexuality nor any language can never ever be viewed as an illness. Rather to see it in such a way clearly manifests a majoritarian illness.
Some people argue homosexuality, lesbian and gay sex are western concepts and they have no place in Indian traditional life in our society. But this is utterly divorced from reality. Homosexual activities have been depicted in temple imagery, sacred narratives and religious scriptures. Lesbian sex has been highlighted in the walls of Modhera Sun temple and gay sex acts have been sculpted for public display at the Lakshmana temple in Khajuraho. Homosexuality is a reality that has been existing all over the world for ages.
It is often argued that same sex marriage is against nature as it cannot produce offspring. But this is a bad logic. Sometimes, a very old straight single person marries her or his contemporary opposite gender to overcome loneliness and not at all to become a parent. Thus, we see that even straight marriages may not be always for producing children.
Be that as it may, it is better not to disturb two consenting adults so long as they do not infringe other’s rights.