Tag: Meghalaya

June 19, 2020 /

Autonomous District Councils are frequently blamed for failures of governance in Meghalaya. Their inefficiency, however, is a feature of the system rather than an anomaly. In seeking to preserve traditional institutions by transforming them, the Sixth Schedule only further entrenched the colonial paradox it inherited. The ADCs it invented—simultaneously accountable to everybody and responsible for nobody— were practically designed for endemic corruption and abuse. Sometimes, as in the case that opened this essay, the legal system works. The RTI infrastructure helps citizens uncover specific illegalities and then the judiciary provides a remedy. More often it does not, because structural inequity cannot be meaningfully addressed in this piecemeal fashion. The eternal liminality of the ADCs also indicates just how indebted our institutional imagination remains to condescending colonial assumptions about tribal peoples and the need to “gently assimilate” them into modernity. The Constituent Assembly’s recognition of indigenous sovereignty was a landmark moment in world history, but it was only half the task. It falls to us now to build institutions that can live up to that sweeping democratic vision.

June 10, 2020 /

#CoalMining #Meghalaya
“It is easy to see why coal interests in Meghalaya are so threatened by people like Agnes Kharshiing. They murdered P.N. Marbaniang, a policeman, simply for doing his job— how much more terrifying must it be to be confronted with someone with such a blazing sense of duty and such persistence? RTI activism is, by definition, a plodding enterprise. One soon learns the truth of the saying that the devil lies with the details, especially when the chasm between the law and the reality is so gaping it appears to be an abyss. The ladder across it is constructed laboriously, one patient enquiry after the next. The citizens’ report was built out of a dozen RTI petitions, filed by different people in different times and places and for different reasons. It was stitched together to offer the Supreme Court a complete account of the dilemma before it. In some ways, the court abdicated its responsibility when it ordered the state government to begin enforcing laws it has ignored for fifty years. This simplistic resolution prolonged the open season on mining that has prevailed since the original “ban,” and it has pushed the coal economy even further into the shadows.”

March 25, 2020 /

the domestic workers of Meghalaya also wanted to strongly join hands in the lock down that has been announced by the government but at the same time we are also burdened with a trauma of survival, we really need the support of the government to ensure that we have a free ration and basic income package so that we will be able to feed our children especially at this time of crisis.

March 9, 2020 /

The deaths of Lurshai Hynniewta, Rupsang Dewan, and Ussaduddin, as well as various attacks and stabbings shows a complete lack of remorse and lack of understanding over the value of life. We should not be afraid to speak the truth, debate and defend our arguments by finding common ground. We need to stand together to end the hatred, it only brings loss and death. Enough is enough. 

February 28, 2020 /

Lad Rymbai, Meghalaya: A 27 year old labourer from Wapungskur village in Khliehriat, East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya says he is desperately seeking government compensation for injuries he suffered in an accident while working in an illegal coal mine in Lad Rymbai last May. He has not received any medical attention since then.

January 30, 2020 /

Mr. Mantre Passah and Rev. Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh, who have been part of progressive people’s movements and part of collectives including Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) and Workers Power of Meghalaya (WPM), have filed a PIL in the Supreme Court of India on the 13th of January 2020, challenging the constitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA). Their challenge bases on the arbitrariness of CAA and its attack on the freedom of religion, reality of transborder tribal lives and privacy of individuals.

December 17, 2019 /

By relegating the cries of the North-East region to fringes, a strong and powerful ‘liberal’ discourse on ‘secularism’ has emerged in India’s ‘heartland’. One can clearly observe the immorality of this discourse; news reports, opinion pieces announce the new Citizen Act as “islamophobic” and “anti-secular” while using images from the protesting ‘North-East’. One will also find news reports where images are used from the current Assam protest and the news item never mentions the protest in Assam and its reason but talks of passing an “Anti Secular Bill”. Deaths of protesters in Assam is cited in making their ‘liberal’ ‘secularist’ arguments in news rooms and opinion pieces.

December 10, 2019 /

There was a parking lot in Shillong
that took a year and crores to build.
Why, I asked, was it not used to ease congestion?
It awaited the Minister for Roads to inaugurate,
who awaited the fall of his government.
And the waiting goes on,
for here they change parties and governments
like Hindi film stars changing dresses in a song.

September 10, 2019 /

Naduh ba ki Nongdie jingdie ha madan bad rud lynti jong ka Nongbah Shillong ki la iawanlang bad iamir jingmut lang kawei hapoh ka Seng Meghalaya &Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers and Street Vendors Association na ka bynta ban iakhun ia ka hok kamai jakpoh, ki la mih shibun ki jingkren bein, ki jingisih bad hateng hateng ki jingbyrngem-byrthen pyrshah ia ki nongdie madan na ki briew bapher bapher.

Colonial politics of labelling communities have had disastrous consequences which continue to impact the lives of the colonized. Identities were created and circulated through this act which in turn had categorised, included and excluded the communities living in the colonial fringe. Karbis were labelled ‘heathen’, ‘worshippers of malignant demons’, ‘unwarlike’, ‘timid’, ‘coward’ ‘bloodthirsty’ and such other colonial vocabularies which continue to haunt them. Colonial authorities persisted with the misnomer, ‘Mikir’, over the ancient indigenous nomenclature Karbi and the label remained in force for centuries. Colonial categorisation of Karbis into Hills and Plains simply because of geographical locations continues to divide and distance the tribe psychologically, socially, culturally and politically. The colonizers however saw in the Karbis their ‘industriousness’ as it served the colonial enterprise.

April 15, 2019 /

In the past, interactions between the land and the sea in the southern part had initiated continental and marine deposition, creating mineral resources. Among them, coal and limestone occur in an east-west direction in Meghalaya’s south, and the coal has a high sulphur content. This is because, unlike most of the coal in India, which is deposited in the large basins of the Permo-Carboniferous age (299 to 359 million years ago), Meghalayan coal was formed in lagoons much later (50 to 33 million years ago). As a result, the coal seams are lensoidal: thick in the middle but pinching out laterally, and with a scattered distribution. And because of these reasons, it is not possible to use the same mining plan that engineers use to mine coal in other parts of the country. In other words, and professionally speaking, Meghalayan coal is not a mineable asset.

February 8, 2019 /

Migration is a universal phenomenon and no part of the world can be completely immune from it. Meghalaya, one of the states in Northeast India, is not an exception and has been experiencing migration of the outsiders particularly the non-tribals over a fairly long period of time. However, it was in the 1970s that the process of its problematization started with the tribal educated elite undertaking the leadership role under the influence of several factors that worked collectively. Though the process eventually led to the occurrence of a series of violent ethnic conflict in the state, yet it was largely responsible for the prevention of the emergence of existential crisis situation for the indigenous tribals.

January 23, 2019 /

Much talked about, two volumes of “Curse of Unregulated Coal Mining in Meghalaya” were put together by a motley group of activists, researchers dismayed by the murderous attack on Kong Agnes Kharshiing & Amita Sangma by coal mine owners, traders and transporters of East Jaintia Hills. Agnes & Amita had been tracing the source of illegal coal mining in violation of National Green Tribunal orders imposing an interim ban on environmentally destructive, unscientific rat hole coal mining in Meghalaya. The first report was submitted to Mr. Colin Gonsalves, who had been appointed Amicus Curea by the Supreme Court in the various appeals challenging the interim ban on unscientific and unregulated ‘rat hole’ mining in Meghalaya imposed by the National Green Tribunal. This first report, subtitled as “How Unregulated & Illegal Coal Mining in Meghalaya is Destroying Environment and Dispossessing Tribal People of their Land and Livelihood” examines the claims about livelihood and tribal autonomy made by Coal Mine owners and Government of Meghalaya. The second report looks at how unregulated & illegal Coal Mining in Meghalaya continued even after the orders of National Green Tribunal & Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. 

January 7, 2019 /

A Stand Up set by Abhineet Mishra from Golf Links, Shillong. There is no comedy here, no jokes. If you are looking for humour, read up on the rescue mission to save the 15 miners (or 17) trapped in an illegal coalmine in Ksan, East Jaintia Hills Meghalaya. 15 lives (or 17 trapped) for 23 days  We could do better!

December 28, 2018 /

I would have missed its existence had I not seen her crawling along, pulling a wooden box on wheels loaded with lumps of coal. She was harnessed to the cart by means of a patch of linen strapped across her forehead. She was fair in complexion, wearing a short skirt, and her knees were heavily padded. I slowed down my car and turned to look. She was not alone! They were coming out of a hole in the side of the hill to my right. I noticed a thin outcrop of a coal seam running parallel to the road.
I was an Inspector of Mines, with the Department of Mines, Dhanbad, returning from Cherrapunji on my way to Shillong after an inspection of a limestone mine. It was in the year 1956.

November 27, 2018 /

Land in Meghalaya, India, was traditionally agricultural/forest land, owned by the community. With increasing privatization and rising commercial value of land for non-agricultural use, many owners have sold the land for mining operations. So-called rat-hole coal mining has resulted in environmental degradation as well as in the loss of lives of miners, most of whom are from outside the state. The National Green Tribunal has banned coal mining until safer, more environmentally sound policies and practices are in place. Critics in Meghalaya claim that the ban encroaches on the tribal way of life and point to constitutional provisions exempting Meghalaya from the purview of national mining laws. However, the courts are clear: Meghalaya’s exemptions do not allow them to violate the constitutional right to life of all Indian citizens. The traditional institutions are not strong enough to mitigate the rising inequality among citizens following from mining and other commercial operations.

November 6, 2018 /

Now that Justice Pranoy Kumar Musahary has been appointed the first chairperson of Lokayukta in Meghalaya, it is time to start knowing about the law and start using it to challenge the regime of corruption in Meghalaya. So here is your short guide to Meghalaya Lokayukta Act 2014 made by Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR).

September 25, 2018 /

RAIOT as a webzine loosely connected with a political organisation from Meghalaya, Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) sometimes has to pay its obeisance to its mother body. TUR has been a part of anti Aadhaar/UID movement right from its inception and thus RAIOT has published all kinds of essays, reports and even investigations on Aadhaar in English & Khasi. Today (26/09/18) when the second longest running case in the Supreme Court will be decided, it is a good time to let you sample RAIOT’s Aadhaar obsession.

September 17, 2018 /

Every year on 18th September, Khasi & Jaintia Hills gets a public holiday for Unitarian Day, a day when Hajom Kissor Singh Lyngdoh Nongbri led the first real Unitarian church service in his home in Jowai in 1887. Apart from the small and influential population of Khasi-Jaintia Unitarians for whom the day has historical and personal meaning others just enjoy the holiday without knowing the historical significance of the Day. For a small faith group worldwide as well as locally, Unitarians suffer from ignorance of society at large. Are Unitarians Christians? What do Unitarians believe in? What does Unitarian mean? So here it goes – a short guide to Unitarianism for you to read this 18th September.

April 24, 2018 /

Ka sorkar pdeng pynmih da ka hukum ne ka ordinance ban pyniap ia kito kiba leh beijot bad batbor ia ki khynnah hapoh ka 12 snem ka rta. Bad U President ka Ri ruh u la ai ka jingmynjur halor kane ka hokum. Shisien iohsngew ia kane ka khubor bad ryngkat bad ka jingbitar ia kine ki jait kam bad ia ki briew kiba leh ia kine ki kam runar, ka long kaei kaei kaba ngi kloi ban pdiang bad mynjur. Ia ki riew runar ba kum kine, ka jingiap ruh ka dang jem palat.

April 18, 2018 /

In the light of many citizens of Meghalaya being denied their pensions because of illegal insistence of Aadhaar by the Provident fund office, today the members of the Meghalaya Peoples Committee against Aadhar (MPCA) met the Assistant Commissioner Provident Fund at Shillong and submitted before him a petition urging the Employees Provident Fund Authority to withdraw or rescind notifications that make Aadhaar Mandatory.

March 26, 2018 /

On October 17, 2017, Meghalaya government issued a curious press release. It said that, that, “good numbers of AADHAAR CARDs are lying undelivered at Shillong GPO due to incomplete address of the addressee, given in the cover containing Aadhaar Card. The statement of Sr. Supiritendent of Post Offices, Meghalaya also made another shocking admission that, “most of the Aadhaar Card received at Shillong GPO do not have the complete address and simply mentioned the name of the person and address given as Shillong, hence it is difficult for the postman to deliver the same to the public.

March 18, 2018 /

The feminization of the Indian man via the Khasi garment (traditionally worn by women) is used as a tool to ridicule and shame the ‘outsider.’ Yet, it is also a matter of the local tribal folks manipulating and exploiting the tourism industry, and the commodification of cultures and cultural materials, because hey, we can sell whatever the Indian tourist is willing to buy, and trust us, he would buy anything which exudes the aura of exotic tribalism. Often, this comes with a complete lack of knowledge or the complete lack of a desire to acquire knowledge of the various people and places he visits in Meghalaya. But wait, isn’t this just a probably unprecedented but almost natural repercussion of the grand endeavour called Meghalaya tourism?

March 8, 2018 /

So how did Mr. Jemino Mawthoh lose his constituency? That is a worthwhile question that needs research and analysis for future planning. But maybe I am being optimistic that such a thing will come about. Mawthoh laments the fact that the UDP lost “four prestigious (Shillong) constituencies” to the Congress. So firstly, in the game of accruing numbers, Rambrai, Songsak, Amlarem is as “prestigious” as any Shillong constituency. Getting that into our heads will go a long way to ensuring victory. Numbers is what counts and numbers is what the UDP didn’t seem to be serious with. How many Garo candidates did they lend their full support and hard work behind? In all seriousness, it didn’t seem to have much of a tantalising appeal there even if they did. That is not the fault of the voters, it is the fault of the planners. The NPP (a fledgling party) had no problems calling people on board from across the state. Our cute little state parties don’t seem interested in the left hand side of the state. HSPDP, a party that is strongest in the West Khasi Hills can’t even cross over and get Garos on board. It is just a hop and a skip away!

March 5, 2018 /

What is the story behind the hung verdict of #Meghalaya #Elections 2018?
How there may have been more volatility than overall results suggest?
How the presence of a large number of turncoats contributed to the blurring of the lines between parties?
How did NOTA do?
While we wait for a resolution of the conundrum, data can reveal information on the outcome of this election, as well as on longer-term trends in Meghalaya electoral politics.

February 20, 2018 /

With some section of people and political parties demanding NIA investigation into the killing of Mr. Jonathone Sangma, a NCP candidate from Williamnagar in Meghalaya, it is important to look back at the way NIA has been politically controlled by the Central government. In this story published in The Wire in 2015, Sarim Naved questions the NIA’s role in Malegaon blast investigations where Hindutva terrorists like Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur are the accused. So before we join the chorus of NIA investigation, we should look at the track record of its independence.

February 17, 2018 /

We speak Mnar in Jirang, a language so different, mutually unintelligible from Khasi. My training in linguistics tells me this is a different variety of the Khasian languages. There are several of them. While we share so many of the ways in which we talk about the world, about our experiences of it, languages are also different. To call a language a language and to mark variances as dialects, is a political process and very often do not do justice to the variants. If we look at Norwegian and Swedish, they share many more similarities than Standard Khasi and Mnar, and yet they are languages, because they are spoken in different countries. So for historical reasons and political reasons, Standard Khasi has become “the Language”, and all the others, dialects.

February 11, 2018 /

With every political party trying to woo the people by boarding the let’s-do-tourism bandwagon, I wish they understood what it all actually means. No one has asked if we the locals are even ready for the ride. Let me emphasize on the fact that we Khasis as a majority are some of the worst travelers ourselves. Ask anyone staying near or working at a popular sightseeing location: everyone knows that the Khasis are the beer bottle bearing hooligans who would want to thrash any space that should have stayed serene otherwise.

January 28, 2018 /

So the stone-slinging begins. It is the usual show. UDP will throw shingle at INC who will throw gravel at BJP who will in turn attack UDP. It is unimaginative, reactionary and all about head-line grabbing. Here’s a little info for the political party honchos: Nobody cares. It is cynical to say so but what can you expect?

January 22, 2018 /

“Where are you going Bahdeng?” I asked a friend of mine who seemed excited and in a hurry. He said, “I got a new job, I’m in the business of collecting money”. Not sure and intrigued by the true nature of his new profession, I congratulated him and tried to get more details about it. He enthusiastically told me that I should join in, “It’s very profitable” he said, “Yesterday I told them my mother was sick, the other day I said my daughter was sick; you see, I’m in the business of collecting charity money from candidates contesting the upcoming elections and so far I’ve received Rs.10,000”.

January 14, 2018 /

Yes, we will be hospitable; yes, we welcome you; yes, we will host you; yes, we will feed you well; yes, we will offer you what we have, and yes, we will host you on our terms. Yes, to control of numbers to ecologically and otherwise sensitive areas.  Yes, to local guides, small business, shops and eating establishments.

December 26, 2017 /

First off, though you might be infested with con-men at any social strata depending on what it is they are after, it is generally a problem associated with the middle and upper classes. This is because these strata are easily impressed by fancy-sounding English words and preening talk especially related to big dreams and big bucks.

December 21, 2017 /

Around a month and half ago, I was sitting in a restaurant in Cherrapunjee having lunch with my friend Raymond when a group of seven or eight tourists walked in. They asked at the counter, on their way in, if the place served vegetarian food, and on hearing it did, they took a table about 10 feet away from where we were sitting. Then someone at that table probably spotted me eating a leg of chicken. Immediately, all hell broke loose.

December 12, 2017 /

Ha kaba kut, na ka bynta ka lawei bad ka jingbha jingbit-jingbiang bad jingshngain ki nongshong shnong jong ka Jylla, ngi donkam kyrkieh ia ka jingiamir jingmut lang khnang ban lah ban sei madan da ka kynhun ba thymmai kaba ieng ha ka sain pyrkhat kaba thymmai (Ideology), ka sain pyrkhat kaba niewkor ia ka jinglong mar ryngkat (Equality) ia ka Hok (Justice) ia ka Jinglaitluid (Freedom) bad ia ka roi ka par kaba pynmyntoi ia baroh bad kaba neh pateng la pateng. Ha shuwa ba ngin ryngkoh sha ka kper tyrso jong ka meinah thymmai to ngin puson bad shim da kawei pat ka lad ban pynkha ia ka seng ne kynhun bad ka ban mih napoh ka Jylla hi, ka seng ka ban ieng bad iakhun na ka bynta hok ban im bad ka ban iada ia ka khyndew ka shyiap bad ia ka hok longbriew man briew. Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) ka khyllie pyrda ia ki jingshisha bad jingarsap

December 10, 2017 /

Ka Fifth Pay Commission wat la ka pynkmen ia kiba bun ki nongtrei sorkar kiba mynta, pynban haba pule bniah ia ka la shem ruh ia ki jingduna bad khamtam eh ka jingbymdon ki lad kiba biang ban iada ia ka hok jong ki nongtrei bad nangne shakhmat ka lawei jong ki nongtrei, khamtam kito kiba trei bad ki ban sa trei ha ki kyrdan ba kham hapoh kum ha ki grade 3 bad grade 4, kam long kaba shngain.
Katba ka fifth pay commission ka kyntiew ia ka tulop ki nongtrei sorkar kiba neh(Regular), hynrei kumno pat shaphang kiwei ki nongtrei kiba trei kum ki nongbylla sngi, ki nongtrei iing, ki nongtrei kynta bad wat kito kiba trei kam ha ki ophis sorkar ruh kum ki adhoc ne kiba shu trei shipor (Contract basis)? Ka Sorkar kam la shym kren ei ei ne shim pyrkhat na ka bynta jong ki bad lada ka long kumne ka jingkyntiew tulop ia ki nongtrei sorkar ba neh kan nang pyniar shuh shuh ia ka lhuh kaba ladon lypa ha ka ioh ka kot bad ka imlang sahlang bad kan nang pynskhem ia ka jinglah shilliang.  

December 10, 2017 /

Without corresponding protective mechanisms for the workers of the unorganised sector, the Meghalaya Fifth Pay Commission is a recipe for further widening socio economic inequalities in Meghalaya. Unnoticed by many, Meghalaya Government’s ‘gift’ to 68,280 regular Govt Servants also includes plans for further contractualisation and informalisation of work in the state Government sector.