Honoring Our Hill State Movement Volunteers

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Editor,

As we are about to celebrate the grand official function of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the State of Meghalaya in January 2022, I wish to express my humble gratitude to all the great personalities – men and women of the Khasi-Jaintia and The Garo community who led from the front with head and heart, body and soul, through hard work and sacrifice, giving their time, money and energy in the fight for the state status. I also express my sincere gratitude even to the non-tribals who have been empathetic towards the cause of the tribals here in Meghalaya and who may have contributed materially or in any way towards the achievement of the goal. My greatest gratitude goes to these unsung heroes of 42,600 volunteers among the Khasi, Jaintias and Garos at the height of the Hill State Movement. These men, women and young people were from the towns of Shillong and Tura, mostly from suburban and rural areas. Later, the volunteers of the Hill State Movement were less numerous, although peaceful, when they took the form of a full-fledged Hill State demonstration through hunger strikes, black flag demonstrations, Raising banners and distributing pamphlets that read, “We want a fully-fledged Hill State”, “Down with Autonomous State” from the public gallery of the former Legislative Assembly of Assam. However, the movement for a full-fledged Hill State was by no means less forceful. My gratitude goes to the volunteers of the full-fledged Hill State Movement who have had more sleepless nights, endured more hunger, fasting and bodily pain because of Assam police lathis and above all who have suffered more imprisonments days and even six months in the prisons of Shillong and Guwahati.
My only suggestion and fervent appeal to the MDA government is to recognize the above prominently and reward them appropriately not only with certificates, memorabilia etc. but by giving them handsome cash rewards of at least less one lakh rupees each for every Hill State volunteer whether alive or dead. If the state has money to spend on worthless festivals like Megong Festival, Cherry Blossom Festivals, Umgot River Festival, Winter Tale Festivals and other unnecessary expenses and fruitless in order to enrich some private pockets, what is a few crores of rupees as a- time-spending for the contributions of the Hill State Volunteers who have procured us this beloved state? My call to the leaders of Meghalaya is to immediately stop corruption at all levels of government and ensure clean and effective governance. To the 33.9 lakh voters in Meghalaya, my humble appeal is – let us vote wisely for better, if not the best, legislators. Our state still suffers from the infirmities of lack of leadership in governance.

yours, etc.,

Philippe Marwein,

senior journalist,

By email

Hindustan is not a Hindu state.

Editor,

Kudos to journalist and fellow citizen Arun Sinha for his thoughtful article under the title From Hindustani State to Hindu State in your esteemed newspaper (ST Jan 15, 2022). The comments he made about the prime minister’s recent brazen involvement in the building of Hindu temples are unbecoming of this office. I am not anti-Hindu or pro to any religion. Never in the past, since independence, has this office been associated with religious activities of any religion. Constitutional leaders stay away from such events. The Prime Minister will do well to keep alive and defend the idea of ​​India as enshrined in our Constitution.

yours, etc.,

Fearless Warjri,

By email

Ignore Supreme Court orders

Editor,

Time and time again, your newspaper and others have consistently pointed out the misuse of sirens on private and government vehicles. The irony is that everyone with a new vehicle wants to flaunt their importance so people will notice, but ultimately those not-so-important people look like jerks. The Supreme Court of India has clearly laid down rules regarding the use of red and blue beacons as well as sirens. The state interior ministry and transportation authorities literally failed to comply with this ruling. Under the MV Act 1988 only emergency vehicles are allowed to use sirens, not even a local MP or bureaucrat. The Supreme Court previously ordered the Center and states to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to ensure the use of red beacons on official vehicles is restricted. However, these rules are never enforced. They’re just toothless paper tigers.

Yours etc.

Dominic Stadlin Wankhar,

By email

How time passes !

Editor,

The Salesians are celebrating their centenary this year. Thirty-eight years after the arrival of the Salesians on these hills, we were in class 4 at St Anthony’s high school. The image of the school with a single traffic policeman from Assam in shorts with a turban, with a single passerby is reminiscent of those silent years of yore.
The most prized item was the shiny metal badge in the shape of a heart, the size of a revenue stamp, inscribed with the words Virtuti Et Studio, Latin for Virtues and Studies. It cost four anna, or a quarter of a rupee at the time. At that time, we only had to wear our uniforms on Wednesdays. Wearing shoes was not required and we felt safe as the roads were clean. Books were not a problem at the time because there was a society of low-cost English textbooks and there was no annual invasion of private textbooks either. If a textbook was not available, Father Kenny, the middle school English teacher across the street from our school, provided us with cyclo-style green ink notes each week.
The inspectors were very considerate in that they believed that not all were born arithmetic let alone mathematicians. Thus, for boys, typing was given instead of arithmetic. For girls in all-girls schools, there was domestic science. The girls learned to cook, wash and iron and by the time the boys passed high school, they were proficient with the typewriter.
A little further on there was and still is a technical school which provided vocational education according to the vision of the Salesian founder Don Bosco, hence the name of the technical school. It has a welding (steel fabrications), carpentry, car repair, shoemaking and bookbinding section. And Shillong was blessed with top brand welders, carpenters, shoemakers and auto mechanics.
In short, we received the best education at a symbolic price. For this we owe a debt of gratitude to the Salesians and to Don Bosco for providing both academic and technical education and uplifting the weak and disadvantaged in this region. The monument in front of the school still stands as a testimony to their glorious past.

yours, etc.,

J Karmih (1966 Matriculate lot)

By email

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