Meghalaya and its Sunshower: Growing Talent and Dwindling Sponsorship
By: RR Sampang
If legislature is one of the pillars of democracy, the crux of development and well being of the states and the country, then the pillar in Meghalaya is something which might need a fresh paint job to hide the cracks that are often exposed during moments of history making and national pride as so is the case of KC-Lights, student choir of Kiddies Corner who is all set to represent the country in the Asia Pacific Choir Games And Grand Prix of Nations on October 22 and yet are running pillar to post to get the state governments attention for sponsorship.
Known for its love for music and talents in the field of music, Meghalaya and its people who are often exposed to a delicious treat of verbal promises and glossy future have many a time experienced the hollowness of the tall promises made by the various representatives of the state government and especially at a time when perhaps only a line of the half an hour speech or so is needed to be put to action.
Create opportunities, open up avenues and comprehensive mechanisms are few of the worn out keynotes of the government when it comes to addressing a gathering or exhibiting the level of its commitment and the reality is anything but stark.
"Taking sixteen children to Colombo is approximately coming to 10 lakhs and the major part of it are the air tickets," said the headmaster of Kiddies Corner School, Brian Wallang further adding, "Wherever we have gone, whichever area or department, we have not got a positive reply and I feel sad as we are not just representing Meghalaya but the entire country and I thought everyone would be willing to help with whatever they can".
He however, said that the MLA of the Area when approached assured to put the word across to Chief Minister to take care of it and they are still waiting for a response. Following disappointment from the least expected- the government, the KC-Lights, student choir took it among themselves to collect the funds.
"A soul group formed within the choir took part in the recently concluded battle of bands competition in Assam Rifles, came second and got seventy five thousand rupees and thirty five thousand rupees from other part of it," said Wahlang.
Informing that they collected one lakh and ten thousand rupees altogether from the competition, Wahlang said, "The children are working hard to collect funds. It should not just be charity and so we are working hard towards collecting it".
He further informed that a food festival was also organised in this regard with the help of the parents and they were able to raise fifty five thousand rupees out of it.
"We got a lot of support from parents and past pupils and we are looking at those who take care of our state to help us in whatever way they can because we really need it and we are going with a purpose to win medal for the state and the country," Wahlang added.
The plight of KC Lights in getting sponsorship is just the tip of the iceberg whereas there are many in various field who are a prey to this.
Mixed Martial Art (MMA) champion, Raymond Kurbah, who from training himself in the forest, asking for sponsorship, going all alone to participate in the national level MMA tournament held in Bangalore, to sleeping in the same arena where he fought during the day to travelling ticketless and hungry all the way back to Shillong after winning the championship, has endured it all for the love of the game. He is a step closer from achieving the ultimate dream of MMA fighters globally a shot to qualify for the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) but is unable to do so due to the paucity of funds- Rs three lakhs.
Shillong-based AROHA Choir in 2012 was unable to participate in the World Choir Games (WCG), in Cincinnati, USA, despite being immensely talented due to lack of sponsorship and paucity of funds.
"We got no help from the government which is why we could not participate in the Choir Games," said Pauline Warjri, a musician of eminence and founder of Aroha choir.
"The government has to be serious about this and music education is a must the government really wants to create opportunities for the youth. It has to begin in school," said Warjri.
Stating that music is as important as other things, Warjri said that there is immense talent in the North East and it is not tapped.
"With our small efforts we have helped many students to take music as a career and if it has to grow the government needs to take some serious steps," Warjri added.
It may be mentioned that according to the details in www.myneta.info, it was revealed that in Meghalaya, as many as 36 (60 percent) politicians who emerged victorious in the 2013 Assembly elections are crorepatis while the rest are lakhpatis. This marked an increase in the economic status of our politicians. In 2008 assembly elections, the number was only 15 (25 percent).
According to the declared assets, some of the few names which are highlighted in the list is that of chief minister Mukul Sangma (over 14 crore), sports minister Zenith Sangma (over 4 crore), Education Minister Deborah Marak (over 8 crore), Health minister Roshan Warjri (over 19 crore) besides others.
Interestingly, the data revealed that in a span of 5 years, it didn't take long for our politicians to jump the fence from being a lakhpati to a crorepati.
Now, the question is Oh! Where Oh! Where your commitment be?
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