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Lapang still a force to reckon with


Apropos the lead story, “Lapang supporters give shape to leader’s NPP Plan” (ST Nov.19, 2018), Mr DD Lapang is making a louder noise this time around than he did at the time of his resignation from the Congress. He minced no words that he would join the NPP while addressing a public meeting at Nongpoh ( Pahamsohthri) on Saturday last. Repeating his favourite mantra (‘for the service of my people’) during the meeting he reiterated that he and his family would continue to serve the people, “whether the Congress likes it or not.” He also made it amply clear that he would not be alone but would work with a like-minded party (NPP) and would continue to serve the public (my people). Being a father figure of Ri Bhoi District the meeting was largely attended by people from across the District who approvingly and unanimously endorsed him to join NPP with a raising of hands, while he smilingly nodded in response to their wishes.

That Lapang would join NPP was clear from day one after he left the Congress and was lavishly blessed by his appointment as Chief Adviser to the MDA government. He reiterated this clear when he said, “The present government picked me up from the dustbin and appointed me as the ‘Chief Adviser to the Government’ to serve the people after considering my experience and contributions.” Many people had written off Mr Lapang, saying he is old; a spent force and that no longer a force to reckon with any longer in politics. But that does not seem to be the case. Lapang may not participate in electoral politics as an active candidate but who knows, if he contests as MLA candidate from Nongpoh today he may still win. The people still look up to him as a father figure and they respond overwhelmingly to his call. This cannot  be underestimated. Lapang is still a leader with mass following not only in Nongpoh Constituency but across Ri Bhoi and elsewhere too. Now that the MP and MDC elections are round the corner his voice will still count and his unmatched electoral oratory skills during canvassing cannot be underestimated either. Lapang is expected to have great influence in swinging votes during elections for the NPP and for MDA candidates.

Yours etc…

Philip Marwein,

Via email

Misconceptions about Puja celebration


Any auspicious day in Hinduism is expected to be observed with complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratification, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences. But what an irony, nay blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose such auspicious occasions to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with friends, and stagger back home. Such bizarre practices are fast catching up now than ever.  Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such obvious deviations.

                  What is unpleasant is that such unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain Hindu institutions as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6.00 – to 7.53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that time for meditation. But all hell broke loose. Apart from the noise of fireworks, Bollywood songs at high decibels burst forth from a certain Hindu institution with a seemingly frustrated mission. A senior citizen lamented, “Nothing could be more irreligious than that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties that disturb others.”

Another college student adds, “Having been disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to look at such institutions with suspicion these days.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result they fail to differentiate between right and wrong?  One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.

 Needless to say, our quest for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration but such negative notions against “wrong practices” are all that we read about these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus?  I believe this calls for serious soul-searching.

Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situations as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.  It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratification lest our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.

Yours etc.,

Salil Gewali,

Shillong -2


Salute to a hero


Apropos the news report captioned “Hero of  Battle of Longewala no more”  (ST November 18, 2018), There are no words to describe a loss as tragic as this . Brig. Kuldip Singh Chandpuri , MVC , the legend is no more but his valour will always be etched in the annals of the Indian Military history for all times to  come. He was decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra for the heroic  stand –off on  December 5, 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.  Chandpuri was a Major in 23rd Batallion of the Punjab regiment when the Pakistan Army attacked the Longewala post in Rajasthan.  Chandpuri lived up to the reputation of the Regiment when he   and his company of 120 soldiers defended the post, facing considerable odds against the strong assault force of the Pakistani 51st Infantry Brigade and backed by the advancing Pakistani Patton tanks of the  22nd Armoured Regiment . Chandpuri and his company held the Pakistanis at bay for a full night until the Indian Air Force arrived to provide air support at dawn and destroyed enemy tanks with precision attacks.  The feat of Brig. Chandpuri and his men later became celluloid history through the JP Dutta –directed Bollywood blockbuster movie, “Border. “  With his death  the nation has lost a great son of the soil. May his soul rest in peace the nation will always remember him.  JAI HIND.

Yours etc.,

M Haque,


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