In just two and a half months in 2017, Meghalaya has been in the national news for all the wrong reasons. Twenty-five reported cases of rape and sexual assault in the state is something that we should all be ashamed of. And yet, our very own ‘honourable’ public representatives shamelessly compete to prove who is guiltier and who is not.
“For three days, hawkers in different parts of Shillong stood with a placard where their name, items of sale and the years spent on their particular spot of business. They stood there waiting for the Government to send officials to conduct the survey and take their names for record. However, the administration sent SOT (Special Operation Team) squads instead, armed with automatic weapons and accompanied by the Police and Municipality to see to it that no hawker could do business on the footpaths”
The day was September 27, Tourism Day was to be observed at Mapao Zingsho village. The villagers were enthusiastic as the Chief Minister along with the Deputy Chief minister were to arrive at the village for the first time for the state level festival. Organizers had told that a crowd of at least 5000 could be expected.
If the distinction of being ‘Cleanest Village in Europe’ (also heartchecked by Our Supreme Leader) was not enough, Mawlynnong can now claim to be the host of the first proof of ant-gravity according to the scientists at Discover India facebook page.
Just saw the PR film for much talked about Monolith Festival 2016 held at Mawphlang. I have a few troubling thoughts
Talking about individuals, local visitors going to rural destinations travel in their beautiful and posh cars, loud music and cases of booze stuffed on the back of their vehicles, beautifully dressed up like supermodels and celebrities with huge and colorful sunglasses/shades, finishes a packet of chips and a sip from the bottle by throwing outside the car’s window and after sometime stops the car somewhere and pee on the road side. Intoxicated youths are breaking bottles all over the destination.
A few days ago, I learned that I was mentioned negatively, prominently, and by name, in an article lamenting the state of affairs in the tourism sector in Meghalaya. If you read the article, and if you could figure out what the author was trying to get at (I had some difficulty), you’d know that I was doing a survey of living root architecture. What you probably wouldn’t know is that the project is not about tourism. What I am trying to do is to create the beginnings of a body of knowledge about the practice of living root architecture as a whole, documenting individual examples in a very basic way.
Having been in the Tourism Sector in North East India since 1997, I feel I do have a little to say regarding the topic and the direction it is going. This piece of writing may offend some, may wake up some, or may even turn some against me; some may even think I write out of jealousy: let it all be – I point out things because they are in the context of the topic. When I write or speak I do not try to say I know best, I believe in debate, strong views and discussion, therefore I often say what I feel, in the belief that it will not only make my own mind think in the broader perspective but also hope that others will think. It is not a put down to others who are doing things differently, it is a question, as I believe others can question me.
It’s important to understand the anti-people ideology than lies beneath some apparently people-friendly initiatives, such as the 12 language tourist helpline.