How much do we know Meghalaya

Posted in January 2012

Thomas Lim
Meghalaya just turned 40, and just two more Assembly terms, the state will be observing Golden Jubilee. For the past 40 years the hangover of attaining of Statehood celebration is yet to get over. Is it possible for the system of governance in here showing the world as “Meghalaya Shining” on the 50th Birthday is indeed a Million Dollars question?
State Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma, on the occasion had announced number of government’s schemes, knowing by next Meghalaya Day the Code of Conduct for Election will be imposed. Since the General Assembly Election is due on February 2013.
It would have been most appropriate for Dr Sangma, a “young and dynamic visionary” to have also launched his party’s election campaign of taking the state towards the Golden jubilee with a blue print. He still has the time for his Republic Day and Independent Day address.
He rightly stated in his Meghalaya Day address calling all political parties in the state to abstain from “petty and divisive politics” which is preventing the state to progress. Hence, the blue print for all parties to work together towards the Golden Jubilee of the State could be one of the binding or gelling effects.
For the last 40 years, the state of Meghalaya is yet to stand as one; let us accept the wide divide between Garo, Pnar, Khasi and Bhoi, not to mention about others tribes. This is also one of the factors failing to get recognition as the supported language by the Sahitya Akademi. It is sadder to note that our younger generation is drifting away from their respective Mother tongues.
Talking of culture, the rhythm of various drum beats from the state is indeed very awakening; however, better traditional attire wore by the young dancers on any occasion are drifting away emotionally. Yes we need to preserve the traditional culture; it must touch the hearts as it used to be.
The community also must be willing to be more extroverts, let the rest of the world know about us and we know about them. One of the best medium to bridge the misunderstanding of different communities is through language and customs and of course the mythologies and folk lore.
Two years back a panel discussion, organized by the Khasi Students’ Union, NEHU unit on the theme “Ka Jingpynneh Bad Pynroi Ia Ka Ktien Khasi” – to preserve and develop the Khasi language, is an eye opener. The contemporary have been swept away by the American accents, Hip Hop idioms, and the worst are the SMS language, and then comes the “Kha-lish” (the combination of Khasi and English together). It is really sad to note that the younger generation is drifting away from their Mother tongue.  
Let’s discuss about the preservation first, how we preserve our very own language. If we simply follow the German, who tried to preserve the “purity” of their dialects, which not only narrowed down the colloquial language, but also narrowed down the community as a whole. Therefore, broad-mindedness is a must, as we try to preserve our very own language.
Then comes how to develop the language; where thesaurus is a must. As we talk of developing Khasi Language, it would be failing the duty if the rich Sohra dialects are not mentioned, and who can deny the contribution of Thomas Jones (1804-1848), which was further enriched by the Father of Khasi Literature, Dr John Roberts.
Then U So So Tham added Jaintia – Pnar language and dialogue, then enriched by his son, Primrose Gatphoh, Mondon Bareh and his illustrious sons, Hamlet and Victor Bareh too, then comes Rev Fr. H Elias, all collected from nook and corner of Jaintia Hills and Sohra, later all such Lingual franc becomes the accepted language of Hynniewtrep.
On the other hand in the field of education, it is surprising to note that Linguistics department of all the educational institutions here in the state are finding it difficult to fill up the post.
It is more surprising to note those departments of Art and Culture, which have been carved out from the Tribal’s Research Department, which also includes publication, have no fund for enriching Pnar publication, stating that the language is not listed in their parameter to finance. The state needs more writers like Leslie Hardinge Pde and of course the financial sponsors to encourage more vernacular publications and translation from other languages; then and only the state official language can be enriched.
Let us know more about our beautiful Meghalaya.

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