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Khasi Lineage Bill: I support the Bill because … By Mayborn Lyngdoh R

By MAYBORN LYNGDOH R | August 12, 2018

Governor returns the Lineage Bill passed by KHADC for further examination as a result of the glitches and confusion that it carries which I feel is the best for everyone.

The original Bill – Why do I support the Bill?

“Stop the massacre of our unique Khasi culture”- By Cherry Kordor Kharshiing

 

By CHERRY KORDOR KHARSHIING | August 2, 2018

In the first place, I shouldn’t be wasting my time on an amendment to the Khasi Hills Autonomous District ( Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) Act 1997, which has not even seen the light of day yet. But since this legislation is sitting at the Governor’s table, I have a few questions to KHADC. But before I get there, I just want to draw our attention to a small but significant feature of what is a Customary law?

ALSO READ | Mr. Shylla won’t approve of this: I, a Khasi woman, oppose the KHADC Amendment of Lineage Act

Though I am not a legal expert and I am sure there are other interpretations to it, my understanding of a Customary law is that it is made up of uncodified (unwritten) and also codified ( written) laws. Codified Customary law is often criticised for not being accurate because it confuses the real principles of unwritten Customary law. Shifting back our attention to the Lineage Act, I have this to say. It is a half baked legal interpretation of my Matrilineal System. Here is why it is flawed.

#1 While it traces clearly that the Lineage of the Khasis is through the mother, it is completely silent on the role of the kni or the maternal uncle. Many of us who still practice the system have been taught by our parents and grandparents that we should hold the kni in a high place within the family. He has a moral authority over his sister’s house. No decision can be made without his consent. (Of course the kni needs to be an upright and responsible person).

READ | An open letter to KHADC leaders on Khasi Lineage Bill 2018

#2 While the Act offers the female a privilege by giving the daughter the ancestral property, however she is just a custodian of it. This means that whatever decision she makes over it, she needs to consult her brother. If any of her brothers fall into a misfortune, it is her moral responsibility to assist him by virtue of her being the custodian of the ancestral property.

#3 We also have the concept of Nongtymmen (ancestral wealth) and the Nongkhynraw ( self acquired wealth). In my Matrilineal System, the daughter is entitled to the Nongtymmen. As for the Nongkhynraw, it is upto the wisdom of the parents to decide to whom they give it to. My Matrilineal System does not prohibit them from giving it to their sons.

To quote Fabian Lyngdoh’s article ‘ On codification of Customary Laws’ which appeared on November 21, 2013. He said ” when a custom is codified, it becomes a law which is open to the interpretation of lawyers and the courts. In vulgar language, a codified custom becomes a goldmine for lawyers rather than Justice for people. The Lineage Act is flawed because it fails to cover male privileges and this is the reason that there is so much confusion and frustration and economic imbalance amongst the Khasi males today.

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To amend the Act by stripping away the Khasi status of a woman who enters into marriage with a non Khasi is not only regressive but morally wrong. This is no justice at all. This approach is very Taliban in nature. It is my humble request to the Governor to perceive and give a careful thought to the kinship aspect of my Matrilineal System.

It always make sense to me to give people the benefit of the doubt and assuming that the KHADC has only good intentions by wanting to amend the Act, yet I still have the following questions for you.

Q1) Why don’t you codify kinship as well? Codifying only Lineage without its other half which is kinship is not complete and it goes against what it means to be a Khasi. Please correct what is wrong. Repeal the act, amend the Act or make a new one. Do what you have to do but CODIFY KINSHIP and also include the role of the father in it and everything else will fall into place.

Q2) You said that soon this Bill will be applicable to the Khasi men as well and thus you will do away with the Tang Jait. Why do you want to do away with it? Please remember that we elect you to protect the Khasi culture and customs and not to destroy them or sell them. Doing away with the Tang Jait means taking away the accommodating nature of our culture. But more importantly it will weaken the Seng kur, the Dorbar Kur and the other traditional authorities whom your same Act have entrusted the responsibility of ka tang jait with. You will diminish the very essence of ki rangbah kur or the elders of the clan.

Q3) if this Bill receives the governor’s assent (which I think it won’t), Don’t you see that it will breed a culture of hate? I have a son and a daughter. I worked everyday to raise both of them to be good human beings. if in the distant future my son hates my daughter and manipulates her to lose her identity for his own gain, I will forever hold you responsible.

In conclusion, stop the massacre of our unique culture by codifying certain customs and overlooking others. Or else this act will be just a goldmine of lawyers. This action of yours is an embarrassment and the entire world is laughing at us.

Our ancestors were just people for they had provisions for gender equality in our customs. The Khasi males are feeling less privileged today because this act fails to include them.

(The writer is Assistant Professor of the Mass Media Department, St Anthony’s College, Shillong) 

DISCLAIMER- The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TNT- The Northeast Today. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of TNT- The Northeast Today


You can also contribute articles and opinions for our website by mailing them to us at web@thenortheasttoday.com and shweta@thenortheasttoday.com

We welcome your comments at web@thenortheasttoday.com

“I am a Khasi, no Bill can take away my identity”: An open letter on KHADC bill 2018

LETTERS

Shillong | July 26, 2018: 

Dear Leaders, Members and Office bearers of Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC),

I am a common Shillong woman in my mid twenties borne out of a Khasi mother and a non Khasi father wedlock. My family members never followed the religion of my father or grandfather rather I have been taught to proudly display the practice of a matrilineal society whenever and wherever I represent myself outside the state of Meghalaya in any platform that I go to.

An open letter to Chief Minister on ‘illegal appointments’ in govt departments

An open letter to Mr Conrad Sangma,
Hon’ ble Chief Minister,
Government of Meghalaya.

Dt: Shillong, July 24, 2018: 

Subject: Rampant Illegal appointments in various Departments and Corporations of the State Government of Meghalaya.

Sir,

With reference to subject mentioned above, I am noting with deep concern the frustration caused by Governments, both previously and maybe now too, as frequently, complaints come pouring in regarding rampant illegal appointments, posts not officially filled up, bonded students waiting for their turns which may never come and this, I say, is a criminal conspiracy to deprive deserving youth of their chances to work and serve the State.

OPINION | Greater Garoland: A present illogical mirage – Why we should know? — By Mayborn Lyngdoh

By MAYBORN LYNGDOH R | July 08, 2018

It was a dark day – on the 31st May, 2018, Shillong witnessed a wave of uncertainty in Sweepers Lane, Motphran. While the city was crippled with protests and demands over the arrests of the criminals that mobbed the three young boys in a bus and a roar of relocation of the sweepers from the lane echoed every nook and corner of the city; at the heart of the country, June 4, 2018 the Garo Hills State Movement Committee (GHSMC) and Garo students Union, Mothers’ Union, the two NGOs from Garo inhabited areas and traditional Nokmas (custodians of the land) along with over a hundred volunteers staged a dharna and took out a rally on Parliament street, New Delhi chanting “We want Garoland State” to press the central Government, demanding a separate state “Garoland” or “Greater Garoland”..

If analysed –

The Meghalaya Population Census Data 2011 reads that,Meghalaya has a total population of 29.67 Lakhs, of which male and female are 1,491,832 and 1,475,057 respectively.

Laying a spotlight focus on Garo Hills population, we have –

West Garo Hills on the other hand had a population of 643,291 of which male and female were 324,159 and 319,132 respectively.

East Garo Hills had population of 317,917 of which male and female were 161,223 and 156,694 respectively.

South Garo Hills had population of 142,334 of which male and female were 73,170 and 69,164 respectively.

Based on the above statistics East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Ri-Bhoi District, districts that does not fall under Garo Hills have a surplus of 1,863,347 or 18.63 lakhs number of people.

As per the job reservation policy framed under Clause 4 of Article 16 of the Constitution of India that was passed through a resolution by the State government way back in the year 1972 – 40% reservation goes to the Khynriam, Pnar, Bhoi and War tribes while 20% goes to the non-tribal community while a whopping 40% goes to the Garo tribes alone. Based on the above statistical census the Garo population are enjoying a huge privilege.  It is clearly overlapping!

At the surface level “Garoland” is going to benefit not only the indigenous Garo tribes but more to the indigenous Khasi tribes (Khynriam, Pnar, Bhoi and War). How?!

Schemes will no longer be shared. The tug of war of where the office of the MBOSE should be located or where the different departments and Government offices or maybe a particular Skill Development scheme should go to which District will no longer be a matter to be debated.

Further, the percentage of state quotas and reservation in Government offices and other such prevailing problems will finally find solace. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

If critically analysed –

The chairman of the GHSMC, Nikman Marak led the gathering with a pledge to continue with their struggle until their demand is fulfilled –

“Our people’s demand for a Garo state is more than a century old. It began during the period of the first Garo statesman (L) Sonaram Sangma in the 19th century. We have confidence in the Constitution of India and urge upon the legislators from the state and centre to listen to the voice of the Garo people,” said Nikman Marak.

The GHSMC along with the Garo National Council (GNC), a regional political party – said that their demand was on the linguistic lines of the States Reorganisations Act, 1956.”Constitution has given a fundamental right under Article 29 (1) that those having a distinct language, script or culture can preserve the same,” the committee stated in the memorandum, which was also submitted to President Ram Nath Kovind and home minister Rajnath Singh, among others.

States like Bihar, Orissa, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya were formed based on the same grounds. The Garo people have every right to demand a separate state, however what is illogical and gluttony is theAchik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) map of 2006. KSU South West Khasi Hills District president, Forward Nongrem said, “We objected as the map submitted by the ANVC shows many areas such as Borsora, Nongjri and Nonghyllam among others in South West Khasi Hills falling under the Garoland state.”

KSU president of Ri-Bhoi District, Ferdinand Kharkamni said, “We support and honour the demand for Greater Garoland but we would oppose if even one inch of land in Ri-Bhoi goes to Greater Garoland.”

He also highlighted that areas such as Khanapara, Jorabat, Byrnihat and 15th Mile that fall under the jurisdiction of Hima Mylliem features under the Greater Garoland map. He also urged the authorities of Raid Marwet, Hima Mylliem and KHADC to take the matter seriously. (TST)

I accede with the words of Forward Nongrem, “We have no opposition to their demand for Greater Garoland but we are making it very clear that there should not be any encroachment in the areas falling under the district …not even an inch”.

If the GHMSC and all the other NGO(s) from Garo Hills claim their territorial right based on the Article 29(1), then their claim to all the afore debated areas is absurd, unreasonable, irrelevant, irrational, implausible and preposterous. By default these areas under the Article 29 (1) should and must fall under Meghalaya, not only because of their legal and authentic nomenclature that screams out loud to bear and spew a Khasi name, but the dominant ancestors, predecessors and contemporaries inhabited are Khasis. The very question of imploring should not be entertained.

Constitutionally, your very claim to these areas stands violation of the article of which you wrest your case, Article 29 (1).

I can see the bigger picture my dear comrades. Your intention of claiming these lands is not driven by patriotic comradeship because these Khasi populated areas are naturally rich and resourceful that can boost Garoland, should it be a dream come true.

Greater Garoland is a bad idea if psychoanalyzed –

Greater Garoland is a bad idea of the hour especially when the territorial stretch is terror stricken and unsteady. This will greatly damage the Garo population.

With all due respect, Garo Hills is witnessing the battle of the two Sangma Families, each trying to outdo the other. We have a father successfully launching a daughter while a sacrificial sister vacates her seat to make way for the brother. Pure geniuses of a political affair that can be disastrous to the state of Meghalaya and the Garo people. .

It should also be taken into account that our Chief Minister has already mooted the work-permit for Bangladeshi Nationals, and God forbid should Garoland be a dream come true and the work-permit in tune, the Garos of Garo Hills will be left homeless and prejudiced in their own land by aliens of another state that will infiltrate from Bangladesh to become full-fledged Indian citizens by default, or by way of some opportunistic megalomaniacs, hungry for power.

Tripura is a classic example of how the tribal population are now left at the mercy of the non-triadic. Meghalaya recorded the highest decennial population growth rate at 27.82 percent from among all the seven North-eastern states (now eight), as per the Provisional report of census 2011 but according to statistics the Garo population is growing much slower than that of the rest of the state of Meghalaya. Brothers and sisters, you will be devoured by the migrating and dispersing population.

And last, with reference to the map, Garoland is not very far away from Bangladesh. Garo Hills is bounded in the south by Mymensing district and a part of Rangpur district of Bangladesh.

A short-sighted jingoistic adrenaline rush might impale our dear future Garo brothers and sisters a stigma of an eternal regret. Let us not commit the mistakes of our fathers and forefathers.

Dear brethren, are you ready to sacrifice your future generation for your present perception?!

DISCLAIMER- The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TNT- The Northeast Today. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of TNT- The Northeast Today

Featured image courtesy: design.play.interact.

READ MORE ARTICLES BY MAYBORN LYNGDOH HERE- Articles by Mayborn

__________________________________________________________________

The writer can be reached at calebdelshe@gmail.com

You can also contribute articles and opinions for our website by mailing them to us at web@thenortheasttoday.com and
shweta@thenortheasttoday.com

We welcome your comments at web@thenortheasttoday.com

OPINION: Why usage of term – ethnic cleansing is ‘foolish’ in context of May 31 incident

By Cherry kordor kharshiing

Shillong, June 25, 2018: 

Over the past three weeks many have voiced their thoughts and reflections on the clashes which erupted on 31st May 2018 at Sweeper’s Lane, Shillong. Some have even questioned where is the voice of the academia in all of this?

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