By: OR Shallam, Panaliar Jowai
Meghalaya being a unique matrilineal society has not only flaunted its fame and popularity simply for its inimitable landscape and its panoramic topographical composition, but most importantly of its complex and distinct ethnic cultures and traditions. The land has three beautiful and distinctive state festival showcasing the uniqueness and richness of its divine tradition and heritage while each exhibiting its religious and cultural significance. Every resident of the state feels proud to be the sons and daughters of this land embedding unison and oneness with peace and harmony amidst diverse customs and practices. However, others in power are playing governance favoritism at their own will for their political and business interest.
The Chief Minister and his government are all set to achieve ‘another feather in the hat’ out of all the false claimed and fake promises fooling the residents with nothing but false hope. The Chief Minister while making his presence felt in all the three State Festivals viz: Behdieṅkhlam Festival of the Jaiñtia, the Shad Suk Mynsien of the Khasi and the Wangala Dance of the Garo, however failed to equate the cultural importance of all the festivals besides others main festivals being celebrated by other communities in the State. In the modern days of western influences, preservation and conservation of the indigenous practices and traditions is of utmost urgency besides popularizing and displaying its singularity to the rest of the world. Government aided and financial grants for such festival should be prioritizing irrespective of ethnic differences.
The Chief Minister in his latest visit to the Wangala Dance Festival celebrated few weeks back handed over a special assistance of fifty lakhs as a means of popularizing and preserving the festival of which personally I extend my warmest regards to all our dearest brothers and sisters in Garo Hills. But the question is, what about the other two state festival? Aren’t both festivals also equally entitled for the special assistance Mr. Chief Minister? Is favoritism being played here?
The two other state festivals of the Jaintia and the Khasi Hills that are being synchronized with the grand celebration of the Nation’s 75th years of independence along with Meghalaya 50th statehood however remain unaided by our state government. Thanks to our Honorable Chief Ministers for all the lip service that he has rendered towards us.
As a veteran and a concerned citizen of the State, I fail to understand as to why our Chief Minister chose to open his eyes in Garo Hills while closing his eyes towards Jaintia and Khasi Hills. Being a secular state, why is such unjust and bias act be played by our Chief Minister and his government even in promoting our very own cultures and traditions which in other word is our sole ‘identity’?
I personally felt shame and humiliating to witness the drama being presented by the Chief Minister. Where are all the legislators from Khasi and Jaintia Hills, what are you all doing? I appeal to all the members of the house from Jaintia and Khasi Hills to at least for once in the history of politics stand together and fight for the same cause, if the legislators of the Garo Hills all stand in unison for the progress and development of the region; I wonder what have our Khasi and Jaintia legislators been doing all these while. Stop playing the ‘Yes card’ you have all been doing till date while you are chosen and giving a chance to represent the public to the government.
Apart from the above cultural agenda, this government is regularly practicing and indulging in its partisanship nature while appointing or assigning officers based on the ‘puppet centric mode’. While some District Heads or Departmental Heads remained untouched in the same spot for a long number of years, whereas others ‘not so obeying’ officers get a premature kick at regular interval of their service even in spite of being the fittest in their line of work. Latest development as witness in East Jaintia Hills district with the recent premature transferred of its Deputy Commissioner who barely got to serve for a mere 1 year and 2 months due to whatever reasons best known to the Chief Minister and his Government. This very practice has deteriorated the progress and development for the general public but in turn, flourishes the business and interest of the people in power. It is a high time for those ‘Puppet Officers’ who have been playing a marionette role to realize their very own self respect and dignity of independently working and serving the state for the interest of the people and not for their political masters.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this organisation.