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Special Report    Vol. 3 Issue No. 8         Aug. 7-21,  2004

Modernity vs Tradition
As time has changed due to influence of globalisation, large number of boys and girls are not interested in the indigenous culture. Vivek Ghosal

SHEDDING all inhibitions, the younger generation in the capital city of Meghalaya, is embracing modernity. Now the young, and not so young, boys and girls in Shillong have accepted all modern trends of city life. Be it dress, use of abusive languages, maintaining figure, regular visits to beauty parlors for imaginative hairstyles, in every respect both the boys and girls of the town have been emulating the rest of the globe. Large number of boys and girls are simply not interested in the indigenous tradition and culture. They prefer the rhythms of the Western dance than, the traditional Khasi dance, what they term “as too slow and devoid of excitement”. But at the same time they prefer to stay anonymous because they are scared of the self appointed guardians, who act like moral police, to protect and purify the Khasi culture.

 “They themselves indulge in all such activities, but when someone else does it, it angers them”, says a girl studying in class twelve in Shillong. “I know their qualifications and in any way they cannot be     the moral police for us,” she stressed.“I have the right to take decision on how to live on my own”, she asserted.

Government of Meghalaya has revealed during the recently concluded Budget Session that consumption of liquor has increased a lot in the State. But do any one needs government statistics to know this fact? The institutions teaching Western dances and the beauty parlors say their business has grown these days so is the dress makers. The use of cell phones among the young persons including teenagers has been on the rise. “In our times we could not think of our children having a cell phone or returning home after midnight boozing” said one middle aged government officer. “But now time has changed due to the influence of cable T.V., magazines and acceptability of our society” she explained. “When I studied in South India I found that no one there has heard of a tribe called Khasi but everyone behaved nicely”, she said. “Now when I go outside of State I feel we have developed a negative feeling among people about our tribe and the people feel we are against all the citizens of the other states” the officer confides.”

“As regard the change of life style here it is true that we are aping the Western culture but we are responsible for this because our children have forgotten their glorious traditions and culture existing in these hills for centuries. They have been given endless freedom and money collected through corrupt means whenever asked for”, she opined.

“Lack of good young leaders, who can set example and inspire, is responsible for degeneration of children,” opined one senior professor. “They see young people collecting and spending money at will and leading a carefree and immoral lifestyle, it is but natural for them to follow them,’’ she regretted. “Even some of our educated and well established persons are accepting the dictates of these young people out of fear or favour and this misleading our people as well as those from other states, who bother to care a little for us.”

Diverse views on Uranium mining in Meghalaya

Diverse opinions marked a debate on the proposed Uranium mining in Meghalaya. While both the Khasi Students Union (KSU) and Meghalaya People’s Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) have reiterated their stand to continue with their opposition for the proposed Uranium mining in Meghalaya, UCIL Chairman and Managing Director Ramendra Gupta, tried to convince the gathering that there was no need of worry about radiation as apprehended by the locals with scientific inputs.

The open interactive session, which was organised by KSU and MPHRC passed a resolution      stating that as long as the issue of health hazard and land ownership were not addressed, UCIL would    not be allowed to start the project. However, the officials who      attended on behalf of Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Atomic Minerals Department (AMD) did not agree to the resolution.

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