Category: Commentary

March 9, 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 7, 2018 /

“Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, speaking at a conference on Northeast made a few statements which did not go down well with many. At the conference “ North East Region of India—Bridging Gaps and Securing Borders” held in New Delhi’s DRDO Bhavan, the Army Chief commented that the region is bound to see migration which is being accentuated by India’s northern and western neighbours to destabilize the region and carry on a proxy war. And this is reflected in the growth of a party like All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) which grew much faster compared to parties like BJP and which allegedly enjoys the support of ‘illegal’ immigrants.”

March 6, 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.

March 6, 2018 /

When no party gets a majority in an election there is unbridled enthusiasm among some legislators, individually or in small groups to help a party form the government. They cannot be faulted for this, elections are held to form a government, This leads to party hopping, the easiest way to create a majority when the electorates did not help is to put a majority in party in place.

February 26, 2018 /

Ka sain pyrthei ha kine ki sngi bad taiew ha Meghalaya ka shongshit bha namar baka Jingjied Nongthawain (Legislator) sha ka Iing Dorbar Thawain (Legislative Assembly) ka lah jan bha. Ka ia kawang ktieh para kyrtong ka dei ka khubor kaba ngi iohsngew ne pule man ka sngi ha man ki rynsan election. Haba iaid haki lynti synkien, ha iew ha hat bad haki jaka paitbah ka khana sain pyrthei ka da khluit hi tar. Ym tang ha kine ki rynsan hynrei wat ha ki social media (internet) lyngba ka whatsapp, facebook, twitter bad kiwei kiwei ruh ka thnam bha. Dei ha kaba kum kine ki por ba ki seng sain pyrthei ki ioh ka lad ban pynpaw sha ka pyrthei ia ki jingangnud jong ki naka bynta u paitbah bad ka Ri hi baroh kawei. Ki rynsan iatai kiba dap daki juban lak jong ki kyrtong bad ki seng sain pyrthei kiba sngewbang bad shngiam bha bad ba lada theh um haka kriah I kumba kam hoit shuh. Hynrei sngewsih ba kine ki juban lak baroh kin jah noh tang da dep election.

February 24, 2018 /

Can anyone tell me what differentiates one political party from the rest in this election season? Except for the Right wing BJP (a big no no) everyone else sort of looks and sounds the same. The reason is because they all believe in the same economic order. They have no wish to change it. This is why if we want true economic justice and harmony to come about Meghalaya must turn towards SOCIALISM.

February 23, 2018 /

On a cold day, some 27 years ago, Juma Sheikh, chowkidar of the twin hamlets of Kunan and Poshpora, Kupwara district in Kashmir, approached tehsildar Sikandar Malik with a letter written in Urdu signed and supported by thumb prints of the villagers. In elaborate and formal language the letter detailed the horrific ordeal of sexual violence and torture that they had suffered on the intervening night of February 23 and 24 at the hands of 4 Rajputana Rifles that had come in for a cordon and search. The victims reportedly ranged from a 60 year old woman to a 14 year old girl and a pregnant woman nearing full term. The men were not spared. Herded outside in the snow to makeshift interrogation centres they were subjected to various forms of torture like having chilli powder rubbed on the genitals or subjected to electric shocks in their private parts.

February 22, 2018 /

I witnessed diverse changes in the atmosphere of the hills. While travelling through shared taxis people seemed tight-lipped about the choice of candidates but at the same time, they were looking for interesting political gimmicks. Richest national parties flooded the state with huge banners, posters and photos of their candidates in the cities of Kohima and Dimapur.

February 21, 2018 /

If Asma’s vision for Pakistan had ever become a reality, it would be a much better place. But it is hard to talk about dreams. It is the reality of a country which shapes who we make of ourselves. Throughout her life, Asma stood with the oppressed and the marginalized, whether they be women, religious minorities, brick kiln workers or peasants. Asma, like her father, was on the wrong side of Pakistan’s historical consensus.

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 /

‘Development’ is a word that occurs at every gathering around this time that even the microphones know of its spelling. Development of infrastructure and beautification projects are hyped about in towns and district headquarters and roads are promised of being paved in villages and rural areas. However, the pavement for the oppressed and marginalised is still naked and bereft of any substantial gravel.

February 13, 2018 /

Such videos which claim to address the issue of ‘women’s safety’ post the 16th December 2012 rape are fantastic in their myopia, and deeply offensive, and need to be challenged. In this video, the juxtaposition of the narratives of primarily upper class and upper caste women with random shots of working class men in public spaces, is unacceptable, and adds to reinforcing the construct of working-class men as the only and markedly, perpetrators of sexual violence. It is horrible how in this video, the narrative of privileged women’s experiences that include never daring “to take public transport at night” or talking about “backward mentality” and “patriarchy” are repeatedly counter-posed with random visuals of working-class men going about their daily lives, whether in the sabzi mandi or waiting for passengers in their e-rickshaws or travelling in the back of a truck together.

February 12, 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.

February 10, 2018 /

Cheerleading “economics” year after year, we have ended up creating an unequal country which has few parallels. About a third of the fruits of economic growth experienced since 1980 has gone to the richest 1% of the country. Hardly any other country has seen such yawning gap between the rich and the rest. The degree of inequality has been growing. In the beginning of this century the top 10% of the population cornered 40% of the income. By 2014 their share rose to 50%.

February 6, 2018 /

The BJP, like all parties of the far right, claims to serve the peoples’ interest. Its success lies in getting its slogans right. In reality it serves only the rich. In the last two years, the wealth of India’s richest 1% population increased from 58% in 2016 to 73% of the total wealth generated in the country in 2017, according to a new survey by an international rights group.

January 29, 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 16, 2018 /

Attacks on Dalits are often viewed only from the perspective of violation of their basic rights and dignity. A lot of attention this time has been paid to the political context of Dalit mobilization, and the recent state of their relation with the dominant Maratha caste in the area. Analyses from such perspectives often miss the actual elephant in the room, namely the caste Hindu society to whom their attackers belong, and from whose normative world they derive their justifications. Confronting this elephant is crucial at present.

January 15, 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.

January 12, 2018 /

If one was being parochial one would have only said that Kalikho Pul’s Suicide Note is one the most important literary sources to understand politics and governance in the North East of India (relevant parochial sections highlighted in green in the english translation). But this Suicide note is also a key public document which lifted the tattered veil of judicial incorruptibility (highlighted in pink in the english translation). Today when 4 senior most judges have broken ranks to point at the rot in the judicial system under the present CJI Mr. Dipak Misra, it is important to revisit the suicide note, for here was the fuse which finally ignited the firework today.

January 5, 2018 /

Mamata Banerjee should not have poked her nose with half-baked knowledge and make polarising statements like she did yesterday and that is what is highly condemnable. For anyone who is in the know of political developments in Assam, such wild statements are at the least laughable. Updating the NRC is an attempt at bringing a closure to the vexed foreigners’ issue in Assam, an issue over which thousands have lost their lives in Assam. Even though there are many daunting challenges after the final NRC is published and there are many loose ends to tie.

December 27, 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 22, 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 19, 2017 /

This is an election where BJP was made to fight. This is not just about using political firepower but unlike other elections, channels like Times Now, Republic TV and ZEE had to become an extension of BJP without not even a shred of neutrality in their coverage. Local Gujarati media also became increasingly partisan as elections progressed. The Parliament session was delayed, all the resources were diverted towards Gujarat. EC even delayed Gujarat elections and their excuse for the delay was very flimsy. The delay helped BJP to partly tide over the GST anger by reducing tax slabs for certain items.

December 15, 2017 /

The news of a famous wedding has been hogging all the limelight in the media throughout this week. The excitement over Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli’s wedding to actress Anushka Sharma has been putting even the drama surrounding Harry Windsor’s Royal Wedding to shame. However, Virushka (their moniker, which wins my vote for the worst couple name. As a friend pointed out to me, why anyone would go with Virushka and not Korma is beyond me) is not the significant development in wedding related news to occur this week. The real story, which flew largely under the radar, was about Sankar and Kausalya, a Tamilian inter-caste couple that fell victim to a brutal murder.

December 13, 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 12, 2017 /

The media is currently rife with the debate about the exorbitant billing made by a five-star hospital in Delhi to the father of a young girl who succumbed to her brief illness. But is it the right debate? Are those throwing stones at the hospital not the kind who go to private hospitals themselves? Is it okay if private care is affordable and not exorbitant? At an individual level, I do not and would not like to ever submit myself to private health care. It is because I believe that medical care must never be treated as a commodity and must be available to every human equally.

December 6, 2017 /

There is always that unease that some of us feel on the 6th of December, for it is a reminder of the destruction of Babi Masjid in 1992. I was born in the early 1980s and this was the first major public event that made me realise that law and order, the constitution, the courts none of it mattered. The Hindus had asserted their willfulness against all appeals. There may have been a few thousand people in Ayodhya that day but I remember the excited chattering that I personally witnessed in the aftermath even down South. A lot of people were saying that they contributed in some way to this great adventure. Many supported it by saying that Ayodhya is the Mecca for Hindus. Every religion has one prime place of worship so Hindus should be given this place if they feel so strongly about it. As a nation, the unpleasant truth is that the destruction of the mosque was privately hailed, even celebrated by millions. The ethos of contemporary politics in India (or the lack of it) can be largely attributed to the destruction of this mosque.