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.
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