Unique Meghalaya and its diminishing prestige: What have we forgotten?
Toiling, working, walking, struggling, breaking, running, flying, approaching the light of success - we have been blinded by the luminosity of modern culture.
Evermore desiring for a standard living, I, you - we have let the Khasi culture fade into the background of nothingness.
The Khasi land - the land of the gods, the land of the faithful, the land of honour and prestige; are we shameful of being entitled as people belonging to this land? If not, why do we modify our surnames from 'Doh kruid' to 'D'cruz', or 'Khaiñ' to 'Chyne', Manar to Manners, Khongwir to Cunville? Why do our children learn to say, 'Mom,' before they could utter 'Mei'? Why do our young daughters conceal their 'Jaiñkyrshah' (traditional attire) behind a frock when it should be otherwise?
Some of the learned and educated, who should pave the way to promote the elegant Khasi tradition, are the ones who teach their children that eating with hands is disgusting.
Some of them have forgotten 'Ki Jingsneng Tymmen,' (The teachings of the Elderly). Not every child living in the urban and sub-urban areas would know that pointing with a knife, walking without bending in front of elders, or delving their hands inside their pockets while talking, are all considered bad manners.
Often, in search of new knowledge, new means of communication and dress code, new eating habits, we turn a blind eye to our own existing but gradually diminishing rarity.
Youngsters think that acting, talking or behaving like a Khasi is old fashioned and unacceptable in the contemporary world of 'want to be' and 'who/what is trending.'
However, the outskirts of Shillong are at the bottom of the barrel, according to most of our 'westernised youths.' Students from villages who make their stay in Shillong to study are not usually the top choices of 'Khynnah sor' (the town's youth) to hang out with. Youngsters in the urban areas dominate or categorise those coming from villages as 'nongkyndong' (villagers) because of their vernacular accent and lack of style.
It is because of such reasons too, that even villagers who used to embrace the Khasi culture, are starting to follow the baseless and common modern culture. Hence, the cycle repeats; one person trying to please another, for the sole reason of being accepted.
People have already formed an image of poverty and backwardness about being an original Khasi. Yet, some of us misunderstand the concept of being ORIGINAL.
Being original does not restrain us from using or adopting someone else's culture temporarily. We interact in foreign languages and correlate with people of other culture while retaining and introducing ours to the world. But it is not in our nature, to adopt their lifestyle permanently and forget or loathe our own.
This following are some of the rare and extraordinary features of the Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills we must boast of:
•Meghalaya is one of the fewer places in the world that follow a matrilineal system of inheritance, where the woman (Khatduh - youngest daughter) inhabits the lion's share.
•Mawlynnong is arguably the cleanest place in Asia.
•The Nohkalikai Falls near Sohra (Cherrapunjee), is the highest plunge waterfall in India, located at a height of 1115 feet.
•The sacred groves across the state are known to have rich biodiversity and rare species of flairs and fauna. People are forbidden from carrying with them, anything that belongs to the forest.
•The World Cup insect that remains underground and emerges only once in four years, typically one month before the Football World Cup.
•The world's longest sandstone cave is in Meghalaya, at 24, 583 metres in length.
I bear a Khasi name that I would never like to reinvent. This is my identity, derived from the land in which my heart resides - 'Ka Ri Khasi-Jaiñtia.'
(The views and opinion expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of TNT-The Northeast Today)