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Meghalaya: Tale of a mystery boat abandoned millions of years ago at Sohra Rim

By Ibankyntiew Mawrie

SHILLONG: Myths and legends passed on from generations form an integral part in the Khasi society, beliefs are what keep it going, however, the truth remains a mystery with no evidence to support such claims.

Astonishing as it may sound, but be rest assured, these tales and legends certainly leaves one wanting for more.

One such legend that is doing the round is the tale of an aged old boat abandoned at Law Lieng (sacred grove) in Sohra Rim. It is believed that this boat was left abandoned in this place millions of years ago when the Sohra was underwater.

Though, what is left of the boat is but only a boat-like shaped sculpted in the earth which the villagers believe to be Noah’s Ark.
As strange as it sounds, but the villagers’ beliefs repels any scientific or geographic explanation other than what had been passed on from their ancestors.

According to the Sordar of Sohra Rim Living Wahlang, he said according to legends, there were actually two boats in the beginning, one inside the sacred grove (the signs of which are still visible) while the other (now disappeared and remained but a tale of a lost boat), was drifted away, the wreckages of which, was found outside the sacred forest, which is not very far from the first boat.

“The boat inside the forest which was abandoned millions of years ago is now but a muddy pit in the shape of a huge boat, but what’s interesting about this particular pit is that, nothing grows inside this pit and even water does not accumulate inside the pit, no matter how heavy the rain is,” Wahlang said.

The pit is surrounded on its sides by age-old trees; with its roots acting like boundaries while branches with colourful leaves cover the pit like one tinted roof.

“The mystery of the lost boat outside the forest remains hidden as our ancestors believe that natural calamities coupled with geographical changes had caused the boat to be buried inside the earth,” he stated.

Furthermore, Wahlang stated that the sacred forest located at Sohra Rim got its name from this boat and till date; this forest has been called ‘Law Lieng’ or ‘Boat forest’. He said that previously, rites and rituals used to be conducted inside this forest but with time, people shifted their place of worship from this forest to a nearby valley, now fenced and cemented, an altar where faithful of the Seng Khasi from this village gathers every once a year to offer their obeisance.

The Sordar said their ancestors believed that this boat could be Noah’s Ark. However, there are other explanations which say that the boat belonged to early settlers of the then hilly areas. “It was said that most of the places like Sohra and the villages beyond it including the areas located in West Khasi Hills including Mawsynram, lies underwater (Bay of Bengal) millions of years ago, which explains the fertility of the land and the discovery of aquatic fossils,” veteran journalist and elder of Seng Khasi Sumar Sing Sawain said.
While a detail study and research to ascertain the existence of the boat is yet to be conducted, Wahlang said that it seems this place has attracted many scholars and students of universities and colleges including tourists.

A little about Sohra Rim—This village derives its name from the early settler, whose name was Sohra, an elderly woman who settled in this place for many years but later moved to Sohra. This village housed as many as 100 households, majority of whom are still linked to their ancestral faith, Ka Niam Khasi.

(The writer can be reached at mawrie.iban@gmail.com and iban@thenortheasttoday.com)

NPP Block Committee president resigns to join BJP

Tura, January 10, 2018: In a major blow to the National People’s Party (NPP), the president of the NPP Block Committee from Bajengdoba constituency has resigned yesterday from the party citing personal reasons.

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Edu Scam: Ampareen Lyngdoh to fight the case head on

By Lamphrang Nongspung | Shillong, Dec 05, 2018:

Two days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against Meghalaya minister Ampareen Lyngdoh and Additional Chief Secretary PS Thangkhiew vis-a-vis Education Scam case, Congress legislator Ampareen Lyngdoh on Friday raised suspicion over the timing of filing of the FIR.

PWD (Building) Minister, Ampareen Lyngdoh questioned the timing of the filing of the FIR by the CBI against her even as she expressed fear that some forces may stop her from contesting the upcoming assembly polls.

“I am praying that no forces will try to deny me the right to file for my nomination. Because like every other citizens in the country, I too have a right to represent my people. I too have the right to contest,” Ampareen said while talking to media persons today while reacting to the FIR filed by the CBI against her.

She said that it is really confusing since this happened just as the model code of conduct was to be announced.

“It foxes me well. I don’t want to say more. But I know that like any other Indian citizens in a democratic set up, I too will file my nomination and will try my best to fight for the elections to be able to serve the people as an MLA. In the last three elections that I have contested, I have given my best. I love my people, I am honored that I have been able to serve them,” the North Shillong Congress legislator said.

“I am back up by my party, I belong to a national party, a party whose leaders have all had to face these kinds of allegations, I am not a loner in the Congress party to be branded and accused of being corrupt. The law of the land will prevail, I will take this as an opportunity to prove to all that I am innocent,” Ampareen said.

Ampareen said that the judicial system in the country is a system which will protect the rights of all citizens on equal footing. “I will fight the case.  I don’t know what kind of a case it will turn out to be,” she said.

ALSO READ: CBI books Ampareen Lyngdoh, P. S Thangkhiew among others for manipulation in recruitment of teachers

“I launched my campaign 19 months ago and today I am in the phase III of my campaign. I am ready to face any number of court visits. I am winding up my campaign. I will have a lot of time to attend to all the court sessions and attend to all the inquiries that are required without distracting me from my main campaign trail. I want to pray that my detractors will get use to the fact that I am here to stay and I am going to be brave,” she said.

When asked if this will affect her in the upcoming election, she said that the people have faith in her and they will prove once she filed her nominations and once the result are declared.

“I am not saying I am winning. I am just saying that I am fighting my elections,” Ampareen said said.

When asked if the BJP leaders had approached her to join the party, she said that she is a Congress man throughout.

“I am not going to say whether the people have called or not called me. I don’t like that kind of pity politics. I just want to say that a winning horse has many offers. But I have chosen the Congress,” she said.

Ampareen maintained that even if she sits in the opposition, she will operate as an active member of the political system.

“Whether I am in the Government or in the opposition, it is irrelevant to me,” the North Shillong Congress legislator said.

When asked that whether she is upset of being singled out when there are several MLAs who too had recommended names, she said that she is not a court or a judge.

“Let the court take care of all these matters. I was in the helms of affairs and I was the Education Minister. I will not response to the legal query from the media. If there is a legal query, I will reply to that query on the right forum and in the court,” Ampareen said.

She said that this has been a painful agenda in her life and for nine years.

“I would have had 10 babies in nine years. But this one child refuses to be born. This is an opportunity for me to also say something. Everybody is saying something about me. But I have never been asked to say something about myself,” she added

It may be mentioned that the CBI registered an FIR against Lyngdoh who was the then Education Minister (now labour minister), and others including unknown persons, in connection with their alleged interference in the appointment of school teachers in the state.

Along with Lyngdoh, the case was also registered against Meghalaya additional chief secretary, Parmarsan S. Thangkhiew, who is looking after home (civil defence and home guards) department, besides the directorate of elementary and mass education and unknown persons.

Lyngdoh was the education minister, and Thangkhiew was the principal secretary (education) when the teachers’ recruitment was conducted during 2008-2009.

The CBI registered the FIR on Wednesday under sections 120B, 167, 466, 408 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy, public servant framing incorrect documents with intent to cause injury, forgery of record of court or of public register, criminal breach of trust of clerk or servant, and acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.

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This election, the battle will be on basis of ‘ideologies’: MPCC Chief Celestine Lyngdoh

By Our Correspondent, Shillong News | Shillong, Dec 05, 2018:

This time around, election in Meghalaya wouldn’t be a battle between parties but a ‘battle of ideologies’, says newly elected president of the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), Celestine Lyngdoh.
“This election is not about parties fighting elections but the battle will be on the basis of ideologies and ours (Congress’) is an ideology of inclusiveness,” Lyngdoh said while speaking at a function to facilitate the change of guards which was held in the Congress Bhavan in Shillong on Friday.
Stating that the ideology of inclusiveness is under threat, Lyngdoh said that only the Congress party can guard this fabric of inclusiveness in the (Indian) society. “With a section of people in the country saying that those who stay in the country are Hindus, is infact a dangerous trend for  democratic India,” he said.
Lyngdoh also said that though the party has new faces but the values that the Congress party represents will never change. “The party stands for values to respect the various cultures and different groups that exist in the country. The Congress stands for values that we will prosper together which will never change,” Lyngdoh reiterated.
Earlier, speaking at the function to welcome the newly appointed chief of the Congress in Meghalaya, Shillong Lok Sabha, MP Vincent H Pala said that the need of the hour is to stand united to fight the polls so that it can come back to power.
In recent weeks, the Congress has seen a series of setbacks in the wake of seven of its legislators quitting the party to join the NPP, BJP and the PDF.
“We should not be disappointed by few of our colleagues leaving the party. In fact now we have better and brighter candidates,” Pala said.
The two time Lok Sabha MP also said that the present scenario in the state is that the opposition was a divided house with various parties vying to be as an alternative to the Congress. “This is an opportunity for the Congress because now we have quality candidates though there are some who left us,” the Lok Sabha MP said.
Pala, however, had a word of caution for his party colleagues not to speak out of turn during the election campaign since this may spoil the chances of the party.
“We should list out the issues and please do not speak without fully knowing the subject,” he cautioned the Congress members present.
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CM Mukul Sangma raises alarm on BJP’s ‘attempt’ to promote RSS agenda

By Our Correspondent, Shillong News | Shillong, Dec 05, 2018:

Cautioning the people of the State on the alleged attempt of the BJP to promote the RSS agenda, Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma has also accused the National People’s Party (NPP) and the BJP for promoting a “divisive communal agenda.”

While speaking at the felicitation programme of the new State president, Celestine Lyngdoh here, Sangma said that the agenda of the BJP is being dictated from Nagpur (the RSS headquarter).

The Chief Minister while cautioning the Congress party workers to be wary of the BJP’s slogan for a ‘Congress Free India’, said that they should look at the bigger issue which is not to allow the country to disintegrate.

Stating that the BJP doesn’t have the numbers in the Rajya Sabha, Sangma said that the BJP is therefore, trying all means to get the required support in the State Assembly to fulfill its objective.

Sangma further asserted that if the NPP and the BJP gets the numbers in the Assembly in 2018, it would be able to send its nominee from the State into the Rajya Sabha and would be a step closer of getting the required number in the Upper House of the Parliament.

ATTACKS ON CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES IN MP

On the recent attacks of the Christian missionaries in Madhya Pradesh, Dr Sangma said that he had to write a letter to the Union home minister Rajnath Singh after requests from the people of the state who have children staying in other parts of the country.

“I had to write a strong letter to the union home minister that this is what is happening. It is a dangerous trend and there will be repercussion if your boys and girls there become victims of such elements. There will be spill over effect that can result to chaotic law and order situation,” he said.

EXODUS OF CONGRESS MLAs

On the issue of the exodus of Congress MLAs to the NPP and the BJP, Sangma reiterated that the party was glad: “to get rid of them.” He said that several within the Congress felt that their exit should have been hastened and promised that several would be joining the party in the coming days to replace them.

PROSPECTS OF CONGRESS

On prospects of the Congress in the coming elections, Sangma claimed that the party would be able to get at least 38 seats. The half way mark is 31. The CM said that he was confident of getting the requisite numbers after thorough analysis and feedback from the grassroot workers .

“From Monday,we will be in the political battlefield,” Sangma said.

Meanwhile, elections date for the polls are likely to announced next week by the Election Commission.

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