SHILLONG, July 17: Valour that no big a force could weaken, patriotism that no amount of gold could buy and statesmanship that held the welfare of the people as the topmost priority is what the legacy of U Tirot Singh was about. Although acknowledged and commemorated every year in his death anniversary for his contributions and valour, the question now is how much of his traits can actually be seen among the leaders of modern Meghalaya.
His legacy lives on in the form of narratives and inspiration that defines courage and love for his homeland in the truest form. A visionary who envisaged the possible slavery the British Raj could have brought upon his people changed the course of history by exhibiting exemplary valour against the British oppression and carved tales of patriotism of the Khasis in the Anglo-Khasi War. U Tirot Singh deserves the high accolades and the status of a legend that he is accorded today.
A hundred and eighty two years of commemoration and passing on the legend to younger generations, have we found the same old values he stood for in our leaders? Or are they too immersed in infighting to secure a berth for even the chair for themselves.
“Tirot Sing was a freedom fighter who never gave up or forfeited our lands for money. He was a patriot, a legend, a man of truth,” said Iaipyrshang Skhembha adding that modern day leaders have a lot to learn and emulate.
The state of affairs of Meghalaya politics portrays a very grim picture with numerous toppled governments, infighting, corruption related matters and poor development.
If development and commitment of the leaders is to be gauged in all these years of statehood, a visit to the rural areas of the state reflects it all.
“Modern day politics has turned leaders who lack of truth and courage,” Wilson PS Khonglah said.
To top it all, we have a dynastic system or hierarchy system of national parties functioning in the state where in most of the cases, the regional aspirations are lost and the leaders are mostly seen pre-occupied with their internal rifts and making a bee line to Delhi trying to impress the higher ups. Where is your individual stand as a leader? Do we actually need to please people for a place to lead, he added.
“Being a leader should be above politics, above self praise and gain,” Khonglah added.
The state of the regional parties too is not so sound. Constant infighting has become a trend. Forget the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly or the MLA’s the current state of affairs of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) says it all.
“Nowadays, we have blind leading a blind crowd. A wake up call needs to be resounded else we will be another Tripura in the near future,” said Avener Baneh Khyriemmujat adding that the society suffers a lot, not because of violence but because of the silence of good people.
On the civil front, a lot of NGO’s are taking the government head on in many issues and the current burning issue is influx.
While a lot of promising leaders have emerged from amongst the NGOs and joined mainstream politics they fall silent with time.
“We need a leader who will put the people above all, whose voice will resound in the parliament and not somebody who gets easily bogged down by party politics and caught in the battle of self growth,” said Mangkupar Mawrie a student from the state studying in Bangalore.