Proceedings of the Winter Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled at 9 a. m on Friday the 12th December 1975, in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Speaker in the Chair.
Present - Eight Ministers, three Ministers of State and 41 members.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up Unstarred Question
(Replies to which were placed on the Table)
Buildings for Police Outpost at Rongra
Shri Brojendro Sangma Asked:
|1.||Will the Chief Minister be pleased to State-|
|(a) Whether there is any proposal for construction of buildings for the Police Outpost at Rongra during the current financial year?|
(b) If so, the amount provided for the purpose?
(c) If not, when the construction of buildings for the said Police Outpost can be expected?
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) replied :
1. (a) - No.
(b)- Does Not arise.
(c)- As soon as land for the purpose is acquired.
Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, has step been taken for acquiring a plot of land?
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, a plot of land has been already acquired for the construction of buildings and plans and estimates were under process by the PWD. The cost of the plot of land is being assessed by the District Council.
Shri W. Syiemiong :- When was action initiated?
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, I could not say exactly. I cannot inform the Hon. member as to the exact date when action was initiated. But the very fact is that steps for acquisition of a plot of land had been already taken by PWD.
Shri W. Syiemiong :- Does the Minister mean to say that he cannot even tell us when the steps were taken?
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Since a few months, because as you know Sir, acquisition usually takes some time to be finalized.
Mr. Speaker :- Before taking up item No. 2, may I inform the House that I have received a notice signed by Mr. Humphrey Hadem, Member of this House that he intend, to raise a motion of breach of privilege against the officers of the Government. Let me read out whole text.
|Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Shillong.|
I hereby give notice of my intention to raise a question of breach of privilege against Shri V. Ramakrishnan, Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, Political Department and Shri S.K. Jha, Superintendent of Police, Khasi Hills, for having flagrantly infringed the mandatory requirement of Rule 177 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, in connection with the intimation of the arrest and detention of Prof. M. N. Majaw, MLA.
The facts and circumstances of the breach are as follows:
1. In exercise of powers conferred by law, the Governor was pleased to order the detention of Prof. M. N. Majaw, M.L.A. In his capacity as the Executive Authority of the Executive Order passed by the Governor, Shri V. Ramakrishnan informed among others, the Superintendent of Police, Khasi Hills, Shri S.K. Jha, giving him 2 (two) copies of the Order- one for service and for retention in the latter's office. Shri Jha was no more than a Police Officer who was required to effect the physical arrest and detention of Prof. M.N. Majaw, M.L.A. but he abrogated to himself the rank of the said Executive Authority and in that usurped capacity he addressed a letter of intimation to the Secretary, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. Even if he were the Executive Authority, he should have addressed the said letter of intimation to the Speaker, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. By impersonating himself as the Executive Authority he has committed a breach of Privilege of the House.
2. By virtue of the fact that he, as the Executive Authority, did not intimate the arrest of Prof. M. N. Majaw, MLA to the Speaker, Shri V. Ramakrishnan committed a breach of privilege of the House, which has been rendered all the more flagrant by the fact that he regarded the transmitting of the Governor's Order to the Secretary, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly as equivalent to the mandatory intimation as required by Rule 177. The original copies of Shri S.K. Jha's letter to the Secretary and Shri V. Ramakrishna's Memo. No. POL. 405/75/8-A, dated 18th September, 1975 are here with enclosed.
|Sd/- H. Hadem|
|Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.|
|Dated Shillong, the 12th December, 1975.|
Will Mr. Hadem bring forward his submission before the House?
Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I remind the House that the Chair has always informed all the hon. Members of this House that it is always a supreme body in the State. As such, the Speaker is the guardian of the House an hence the question of its supremacy. Rule 307 lays down the procedure of custody of papers, documents, etc., of the Assembly, and this is what has been further provided under rules 177 and 178 of the Assembly Rules. There are many such provisions to show that the Speaker and the House automatically mean the same. Under Rule 187 Sir, even a communications between the House and the Governor is done through the Speaker or a written message to the Speaker. So we cannot take away the Speaker from the House nor the House without the Speaker. In this case there must be only one House and the Speaker. Without the Speaker the House cannot be a full House and the Speaker could not be separated from the House itself. Here Sir, it is very clear because by ignoring the Speaker means ignoring the House itself. Under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the House we have got full guarantee to observe the supremacy of this House. Under Article 208 Clause 1 and 2, it was clearly stated that for the necessity of having our Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business provision was made and under the cover of this very rule it has been provided further that it has been adopted for the House. As such Sir, it is nothing but the creation of the House itself. Sir, regarding this intimation, let me refresh the House by reading Rule 177 "When a member is arrested on a criminal charge for a criminal offence or is sentenced to imprisonment by a court or is detained under an executive order, the committing judge, magistrate or executive authority, as the case may be shall immediately intimate such fact to the Speaker indicating the reasons for the arrest, detention or conviction, as the case may be, as also the place of detention or imprisonment of the member in the appropriate form set out in the Third Schedule. The form is very very clear. Therefore, it is very clear that the executive authority is a high-ranking officer and nobody would have any doubt that he very well knows the spirit of the rule, and should have sent the intimation according to the provision of this Rule and he should have intimated the same to the Speaker. But Sir, may I refresh the House with a Memorandum given therein. Memo No. POL /405/75/ 8A, dated 18th September, 1975. There, we have seen that copies of the same have been forwarded to these six officers and in order of preference and importance, the Secretary of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly has become the sixth in the list. It seems only for courtesy's sake this has been done. Now again Sir, as already indicated, Mr. Jha, Superintendent of Police cannot take to himself the place of an executive authority as has been clearly stated there that he is no more than a Police officer why is only to execute the order of detention. At the same time, Sir, he is only to effect what has been ordered to him as the duty of the Police officer. May I remind the House that previously also the intimation that was given to all the members regarding the arrest of some hon. Member, the executing authority had properly followed the form as already provided under Rule 177. I do not think that because the order had been intimated to the Speaker that the executing authority had assumed to himself the personnel affect of order of detention. Moreover Sir, I think that even during that time the order of the executing authority had to be given effect to by the Police Department. Therefore, Sir, this is a very serious matter which requires the immediate intervention of the House Why? Because this Particular Rule is part and parcel of the rules framed by this House and under no circumstance, anybody can change or modify or amend the rule which only this House has got the legislative powers to do so. But if we turn to this letter of communication right at the head a very strong directive or we may say a very strong order has been given wherein at the top "Secret" "Immediate" which is not at all provided in the Schedule itself and as such, it has become part of the amendment of the rule or the rule as it stands has been amended or modified which has got no authority at all to do so. Even the form which, according to the Schedule, should be to the Speaker Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. But here the word 'Speaker' had been substituted by the word 'Secretary'. In the case also, only this House has got the authority to amend the rule. So I consider this is a new addition and I have underlined these words. In pursuance of Government letter No such and such dated such and such the executive detention order from Shillong Police Station and so on and so forth. There is no such thing in the Schedule that it should be like that. So this is in contravention of the Schedule as provided under the rules. There it was written that this may kindly be brought to the notice of the Hon'ble Speaker which amounts to not only bringing the intimation but also the order to secret immediate nature of the order which according to Rule 294 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business these papers ought to have been laid on the Table of the House rather than brought this particular intimation to the notice of Hon'ble Speaker.
According to Rule 179 it seems that the Assembly Secretariat was very much afraid and cautions over this order of "Secret and Immediate" words written at the top of the letter of intimation and treated it as confidential. I feel that unless this House is informed it amounts to the House being made subordinate to some other authorities. So Sir, in view of Rule 179 which says as soon as may be, the Speaker shall, after he has received a communication referred to in Rule 177 or Rule 178 read it in the House if in Session, or if the House is not in Session, direct that it may be circulated for the information of the members". This is being done according to the rules and the members have received the copy. May I take it Sir, that my opinion is that by implication this breach has been committed in the actual view of the House. So may I request you Sir, as is done in such case some time ago, I mean that the House should take it up by itself and that this House do discuss this motion now.
Mr. Speaker :- Whether I will allow the motion or not, there are two points which the House would like to know. The information should have been made more relevant to the Maintenance of Internal Security Act rather than to Rule 177 of the Rules of Procedure and secondly, in what manner the action of the officers is reflected on the whole House and that it must be relevant to the Maintenance of Internal Security Act which you have not pointed out form the very beginning.
Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Sir, I do not like to go into the merits and demerits of the case. But if I am not allowed to discus anything on this matter and if that is not the case which is under enquiry and if it is subjudiced, I think it is not proper for me to say anything on this matter, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Hadem, I said that the Maintenance of Internal Security Act has already provided also the procedure by which he Government may decide to detain any person and that procedure is to inform the House.
Shri Humphrey Hadem :- No Sir, in that section also there is nothing mentioned about the Governor in that particular Act. But I do not want to say anything about that or about the merits and demerits of the case. But Sir, with is connected with this House we are to discuss on that.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Hadem, what was written is this: in your line of argument you have clearly stated that two officers named by you have violated the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the House and as such they have committed a breach of privilege. So that was the only contention. But before I give my ruling I would like the hon. Members to give their views and if there is nobody, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs may give his view.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister for Parliamentary Affairs) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we do appreciate and agree with the hon. Member in so far as the supremacy and dignity of this House and the authority of the hon. Speaker who represents this House are concerned. But the point here is whether the intimation to the Speaker in accordance with the direction under Rule 177 is to be done or whether it was done, how it was done, in what form it was done either verbally or by a letter or by a telegram or by what process. These are matters of technicalities. The substance is the intimation and the knowledge of the Speaker, the spirit and motive behind the rule or the necessity is that when an hon. Member of this House has been arrested, the House has to be informed which means the Speaker is to be informed. Forms are being given and not the comma or full stop that has the importance, but the fact of the intimation which is really relevant. Sir, it is, I think to the knowledge of the Members that it is the convention, the practice the courtesy and manner that when correspondence is made by an officer to the Minister and by an officer to the Speakers it is a well established convention and practice, or courtesy that the officer may not write direct to the Speaker or to the Minister. Here I think it its rather on the opposite. The Police Officer has gone to great length to observe courtesy and manner that he does not write direct to the Speaker but he has written to the Secretary to the Speaker for the information of the Hon. Speaker. So I do not think it is violation of the spirit and convention and the requirements that the House of the Speaker should be informed and it has not been violated. The Officer has written to the Secretary to the Assembly for the information of the Speaker. So I think the Hon. Speaker would be more pleased with this courtesy of the officer and the House should be more dignified by this procedure. I do not know about the motive behind the motion of the hon. Member and I do not really know what the Member wants here, whether he wants to raise the dignity of the House or he wants to lower the dignity of the House. But I may be tempted to say that this motion has really affected the dignity of the House the work, the position or the dignity or supremacy of the House. Therefore, I would like to submit that the officer has done according to the rules and procedure by which the subordinate officer has to behave courteously to uphold the dignity of the House and not the opposite. He has done it in the most courteous manner for intimating the dignitaries of this House or the Government. So far as the other question of technicalities is concerned, the mover has again and again stressed the word to execute the order according to the rules and principals established. Sir, here the Superintendent is the head of the District Police and he is the officer who executes and effects the order of arrest. How are we to define that he is not the officer concerned. I do not know whether we are very much good in this language. But in common-sense, the Executive Officer is the Officer who executes the orders. Our purpose is that the officer concerned is very much concerned to execute the orders. Only thing that we will have to see is that the officer concerned is conscious enough to carry out the order and I beg leave of the House that there may be some technical irregularities and it does not really come within the purview of privilege because it does not affect the dignity of the House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to stress here that this is not called for.
Mr. Speaker :- What the hon. Member Mr. Humphrey Hadem tried to place before the House is actually not the question of privilege. It is a question of procedures and there must be two motives to address the Speaker directly to say that the Speaker was not confirmed when he has already been informed by the Secretary. But that is not the spirit of the Rules. If you read the rules carefully you will find that a Member is arrested on criminal charges or for criminal offences, or a sentence or imprisonment or detention will be passed on such offences as under the rules under the Third Schedule. And the appropriate form for such orders is there in the Third Schedule and the officer concerned should inform the Speaker directly and how to inform the Speaker directly is also another question. There have been number of cases all over the country that the Member was arrested, not in the House, but in the distant places, the Speaker was always informed. But here is the question of arrest under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act, 1975 and in this connection whether the Executive Authority can authorize a District or Additional District Magistrate or Commissioner or Police officer to execute the orders wherever they have been arrested. The Commissioner or District Magistrate or here may be equivalent to the I.G. of Police and if I am not wrong, the D.I.G. of Police was also informed by the Executive Authority and Superintendent of Police was merely executing the work as ordered by the Government itself. That is why this rule prescribes only for those Members who were arrested under criminal charges or sentence for imprisonment by the Court and also the detention under the executive orders. But it is true that our rules do not clearly specify about the Maintenance of Internal Security Act, but even then it has been amended from time to time. And if we judge only the language of the orders, then it is meaningless. We must always judge the contents and the spirit of the letter and not the language. As I can see it that both the officers had two motives to address the Speaker directly. But that is not the procedure. First they should inform the Secretary so that it will be informed to me by him and that is the link. In any other cases I have already told my Secretary to inform the officers of the Government not to address the Speaker directly. How will the officer of the Government write directly to the Speaker for the accommodation for their certain officers in the Assembly Member's Hostel. I think this should not be allowed. But here in this case, in near future, the officers should not feel shy to speak or write to the Secretary for such purposes. Thus, I will not allow discussion on it any more. I therefore, rule the Motion out of order.
So let us pass on to the next item of business. Now the Minister, Finance, to beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1975.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Sales Tax (Amendment) Bill, 1975.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now the question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Sales Tax (Amendment) Bill, 1975.
The motion is carried.
Before I ask the Minister to introduce the Bill, let me read the message from the Governor :
5th December, 1975.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I, Lallan Prasad Singh, Governor of Meghalaya, hereby recommend to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Meghalaya Sales Tax (Amendment) Bill, 1975.
|L. P. SINGH|
Now will the Minister-in-charge introduce the Bill?
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Bill.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that the Meghalaya Sales Tax (Amendment) Bill, 1975, be introduced.
The Motion is carried. The Bill is introduced.
(The Secretary read out the title of the Bill).
Now I ask the Minister-in-charge to beg leave to introduce another Bill, the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill. 1975.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill 1975.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now the question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1975.
The motion is carried.
Before I ask the Minister to introduce the Bill let me read the message from the Governor :
|5th December, 1975|
"In exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I, Lallan Prasad Singh, Governor of Meghalaya, hereby recommended to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1975.
L. P. SINGH
Now will the Minister-in-charge introduce the Bill?
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Bill.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1975, be introduced.
The Motion is carried. The Bill is introduced.
(The Secretary read out the title of Bill).
We pass on to item No. 4.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Co-operation) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Rural Indebtedness Relief Bill, 1975.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Rural Indebtedness Relief Bill, 1975.
The motion is carried. Minister to introduce the Bill.
Shri P. R. Kyndiah (Minister, Co-operation) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Meghalaya Rural Indebtedness Relief Bill, 1975.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that the Meghalaya Rural Indebtedness Relief Bill, 1975 be introduced. The Motion is carried and the Bill is introduced.
(The Secretary read out the title of the Bill).
Before I pass on to item No. 5 may I ask from the Government whether Prof. M. N. Majaw is still under detention?
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister):-Yes, Sir.
Ruling by the Speaker
Mr. Speaker :- So far, our Rule does not permit any Member to authorize any other member but because it relates to some other resolution which stand in the name of the other Member, I would like to give a ruling in advance. There has been a lot of misunderstandings among certain quarters that when the Governor summons the House, he summons the individual Member, that is a wrong interpretation. The Governor summons the sitting of the House and the Secretary of the Assembly intimates the summoning of the Session to the individual Members and the Secretary is doing his duty to issue notices to all the Members. The Assembly Secretariat does not know when the person is under detention or when he will be released because when he is realised he has the full right to participate in the House but not so when he is under detention. Let me inform the House that in so far as the right of the Member who is under detention under MISA is concerned, there is a High Court and Supreme Court ruling. If you look at the Practice and Procedure of Parliament by Kaul and Shakdher, page 211 paragraphs 3, 4 and 5, you will find the following. Let me read out.
"In a case before the madras High Court, a Member of the Madras Legislative Assembly, who was in detention under the Maintenance of Public Order Act when he received the summons for a session of the Madras Legislative Assembly, prayed to the court for the issue of a write by way of mandamus or other appropriate writ to declare and enforce his right to attend the sittings of the Madras Legislative Assembly either freely or with such restrictions as might be reasonably imposed. The court held that a member could not claim any privilege from arrest and detention under the preventive detention legislation, observed :
Once a member of a Legislative Assembly is arrested and lawfully detained, though without actual trial under any Preventive Detention Act, there can be no doubt that under law as it stands, he cannot be permitted to attend the sittings of the House. A declaration by us that he is entitled to do so, even under armed escort, is entirely out of the question (b).
In this context, the Supreme Court observed :
Rights of a member of Parliament to attend the Session of Parliament, to participate in the debate and to record his vote are not constitutional rights in the strict sense of the term and quite clearly, they are not fundamental rights at all.................So far as a valid order of detention is concerned, a member of Parliament can claim no special status higher than that of an ordinary citizen (c)."
So, when a person cannot attend the sitting, he cannot record his vote and naturally it follows that unless and until he is released he cannot authorize any other Member to move his resolution which stands in his name. So, now so far as item No.5 is concerned since we have a clear information from the Government that Prof M.N. Majaw is still under detention, we will pass on to item No.6. Now Mr. Hadem to move his Motion.
Shri H. Hadem :-Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the list of Business for this Session, 2 clear days are allotted for Private Member Business. And then we find that subject to time permitting, two more days are allotted. So the maximum will be about 3 days for 23 motions and resolutions. Now the motions standing in the name of Prof. Majaw has been done away with, may we know whether you will fix the time limit so that we can complete all the motions and resolutions within the specified time limit.
Mr. Speaker :- At least for today, I will not fix any time limit but from the next day I will try to fix the time limit according to the importance of the subject in my opinion.
Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this Assembly do now discuss about the advisability of changing the name of this State from 'Meghalaya' to another appropriate name.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved, but it is very vague-from a romantic name to the unknown. (Laughter).
Shri Humphrey Hadem :- I have anticipated that from the very beginning, Sir, that somebody will raise this point that the motion is without suggestion any name. But Sir, my point here is only to raise a discussion about the advisability of changing the present name and as such, the only concentration on the point of discussion at present is about the advisability. As such Sir, I would not take much time of the House is discussing this particular Motion. I just point out, Sir, that our State at present has been given a name which I can say that it is not a name having the dialect of either the 3 Districts comprising the State at present.
Mr. Speaker :- But are you not willing to allow some other Districts if they are willing to join us?
Shri H. Hadem :- I would not mind that, Sir, but if I may say, that is not the point here. I just say, Sir, whether it is advisable or feasible or not. Sir, the Mizoram previously known as Lushai Hills has now been called Mizoram. And, also Sir, Naga Hills became Nagaland and Madras as it was known some time ago has now, become Tamil Nadu. Also, Sir, the Assamese have their State called Assam and so on and so forth Sir. Sir, right from the beginning, our ambition is for the Hill State and of course every now and then in this House Sir, it has been referred to our State in that form and it happens like that, Sir, in the day to day life and we may say that it has been a practice also that when a child is born, we use to call him this or that name and in Khasi Hills we call the child "Lung" or Rong an such other loving names. But really the baptized name is different from what we used to call, from the above names. It is high time Sir, that according to the belief and practice still in vogue that when a child is not having a name properly the child becomes sickly and unhealthy and as such that name has to be changed to make the child more healthy and of course, Sir, the name actually goes with the activity and attitude of the child and his performance and we may also say in his later life that his life will be according to his name. So, the name counts very much, Sir, I have a feeling that this has a psychological effect on it. Now, Sir, I have no objection if this State is termed as Hill State but it may be of course during that time that because the Hill Districts have not been combined together to constitute this State of ours, so another name has been found. Therefore, I only raise this question as to the advisability of changing this present of name Meghalaya to any other appropriate name. And, as such, Sir, I think that there is something which counts in the name-but I do not actually know whether I am correct or not. It was said that Meghalaya means the abode of clouds and as such, Sir, we are the residents of this State and some of us Members of this House are we to be classed like that Sir ? This is a very significant name. As such, I think it is high time that we should have changed this name to another appropriate name. Nowhere in the country, Sir, the that a State is like our State where the inheritance right of inheritance belongs to women in Khasi Hills, Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills the clans have the women's clan and I think this is the right time when this State Sir, being a woman's State that we should name it before the end of December that it is a Women's State, that is by way of suggestion Sir, (Laughter)... To be more specific I am very much concerned if that name really means the abode of the clouds and you know Sir, when the sun shines the clouds disappear and nothing else remain and this makes me bring this motion and if this House feels the importance of that name, at least let us have it changed.
Mr. Speaker :- But I does not mean that.
Shri H. Hadem :- To give details to the meaning of the word may come later on. But right from the beginning of the Assembly, we have been discussions about the cloudiness of some places of this town in our discussion may I request you Sir, that I have referred to one of the necessities of having over bridges at the Bara Bazar Point and Police Bazar.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Hadem, do you infer that clouds mean the scientific advancement of our State?
Shri H. Hadem :- I understand it, Sir, of course they call us "Shangpung Jugi Lyoh". But, it actually does not mean like that. But I think Sir, you will not disagree with me, if I say that there are times when a child's name has to be changed.
Mr. Speaker :- That is, when he is found sickly.
Shri H. Hadem :-Yes, Sir. Let us prove it Sir. We have the experience of about 5 years now since the Autonomous State and I think about 6 years now that we have this name and what I mean by "sickly" is that because it becomes the abode of the clouds sometimes we have rain, more rain, some monsoons and sometimes in summer season and so it can easily be said that......
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Hadem, will I suggest to you that in case you find any appropriate name in future you can bring this to the House. But so long, you have not been able to find any suitable name and therefore, I think that this House may discuss some more important matters.
Shri H. Hadem :- Sometimes we feel like that in 1972 that over bridges in the towns are not necessary but I am glad to know that over-bridges are coming up in some parts of the town. But what I am bringing here is just to discuss the advisability of changing the present name to some other name and I do not know he particular meaning of that name but this is a different State and I think its name should be more appropriate. And, with these few words, I move the motion.
*Shri R. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to speak a few words in support of the motion. Sir, this motion in fact has been moved in order to discuss the changing of the name of our State because Sir, as you remember that since the very beginning of our struggle for a separate State, the name that was suggested was "the North Eastern Hill State" or "The Hill State"
Mr. Speaker :- No, it was in the 3rd Conference at Haflong that the name was suggested and that was "The North Eastern Frontier State".
Shri R. Lyngdoh :- Sir, that is why the opinion of the Public regarding the name of the State was actually changed over-night during the Autonomous State.
Mr. Speaker :- No, on a point of information, the name of the State came into being before the passing of the Act.
Shri R. Lyngdoh :- Sir, it is also a fact that the name of the State was suggested before the passing of the Act. It was was accepted by the leader at that time without getting proper public opinion. So, Sir, till now the opinion of the people in the State has not yet conceded the name of the State of Meghalaya though here we have been using it because it has already been enacted. The ordinary people in the State have not yet conceded the name of the State. So Sir, it is time to discuss about the feasibility of changing the name of the State of Meghalaya to one name which I would like to propose- "The North Eastern Hill State", and with these few words Sir, I support the motion.
Shri S.D.D Nicholas Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir this motion is to discuss the desirability of changing the name of the State to some more appropriate name. I think this motion needs a certain amount of discussion and I would like to participate in answering some of the points raised. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as one of those who were responsible with many of my colleagues on both sides of the House for the creation of the State, I was also the recipient, perhaps of the first occasion, in which this name was suggested to us by the people in Delhi. When the name of the State was being discussed before the Autonomous State was created, the name of the State was to be put in the Act and we had suggested earlier the name agreed to by Conference at Haflong. However, it was considered that there would be some confusion with the North Eastern Frontier Agency and the North Eastern State because it would not be the only State in this North Eastern Frontier Region. In other words Meghalaya, as it is constituted today, does not include all other Hill areas of the North Eastern Region of India. It was for this reasons that we have to concede to the suggestion of the national leaders that perhaps some more appropriate name should be given for only certain parts of the hill areas of the North Eastern India which would be constituted in our Hill State. It is for that reason tat we have started to think about new name and for sometime we exercised our mind as to what name our State should be called. It was quite sometime before we received the consensus that we could not find a name suitable from the dialects of languages of this area.
Mr. Speaker :- I remember that you had suggested the name "Meghachal".
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Yes, Sir, different names had been suggested according to the dialects and languages of the tribal people inhabiting this area but we could not find a suitable name. We had pointed out some names from different Districts and it was at that particular time that the Government of India representatives suggested that way don't you call your State by the name 'Meghalaya'. I said to them from where did you get that name and they said that it is there in the map. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it took quite sometime for me and many of us to get used to this name and it was not done over-night. It was presented and circulated to the public. I must say that this was the only name available to us at that time and we accepted this name that has been suggested by the people in Delhi. Now Sir, it is a fact that we have got used to this name and many of our people who understand Khasi, Garo or Jaintia language have also perhaps became used to that word by which we have named our State and gradually over the past few years or so many of our people have come to appreciate this name. In addition, it has become some sort of a poetic name in this part of the country and it has been appreciated in many parts of India. It is a name, we are told, based on Sanskrit words but at the same time, we do not pronounce it the way the so called Sanskrit experts have told us how the name should be pronounced. It is for the the first time that I heard from the Government of India representative about the name Meghalaya pronouncing every letter. We are told that some Sanskrit experts pronounce it in one or two or three different ways. We circulated it among our friends and the people in various parts of the State, i.e. the hill districts of Assam. So we came to pronounce it as Meghalaya.
Shri B.B. Shallam (Minister of State, Border Areas, etc) :- But most of the people pronounce it as Meghaloy.
Mr. Speaker :- The pronunciation may be different but the spelling and meaning must be the same.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols- Roy (Minister, Industries) :-Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, because it is a composite State not based on one tribe alone and Speaking one language. But it is a State based on different language groups. There are not only the tribal people but there are other people from other parts of India who have settled down and have become full citizens of Meghalaya. So we should not only consider the name from the language of one tribe of one tribe or another. Therefore, a composite name which has some significance in the whole country was appropriate. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, the mover of the motion has referred to changing of names of different other States. It may be so. For this State also if we find some appropriate name in the future we may certainly consider it. But at this particular time, I do not see any need for changing the name of the State. This name has been accepted by and large in may parts of the State and I suggest that we do not consider changing the name now. Some irrelevant arguments were used by the mover of the motion that a child's name is changed from one to another. Yes if a child is sick, he says, sometimes some people change the name to make it healthy. I hope the mover of the motion does not suggest that this State is sick. As a matter a of fact, from all indications that we have gathered, the State is quite healthy and is getting on fairly well-perhaps not as well as most of us would like. But certainly we are moving towards progress and it would not be at all relevant to use that arguments in this particular case. I would remind the mover of the motion Mr. Speaker, Sir, that to change the name Madras to Tamil Nadu had certain strong linguistic connotations.
Shri S. D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, is it Tamil Nadu or Tamil Nad?
Mr. Speaker :- The pronunciation differs from one person to another.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- I am not sure as I am not an expert on this. But it had certain strong linguistic connotations for the people speaking Tamil.
Mr. Speaker :- I think it is not necessary to go into the details about other States.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Yes, Sir, I am just making a reference since the mover of the motion suggested changing the name of this State. I do not agree that we should change the name because other States have changed their names. If we feel that the name is not appropriate, then certainly we may change it. But at the moment, we do not have any particular reason to change the name of the State. Because of all the reasons which I gave earlier, we could not get the acceptance of the earlier name that we had decided at Haflong. We had to get another name. This has been suggested and accepted for over 5 years. Therefore, I would suggest to the second member, Shri Rowell Lyngdoh, who had spoken on this motion, that while admittedly some of our people are not very familiar with this name in certain areas, I would also point out that many people in the rural areas have accepted it and have pronounced and used it and I feel that it is quite a nice name. It is quite a god name.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- They have even composed a number of sings also.
Shri S. D. D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- So Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that it is not advisable to change the name. I do not rule out that in some future time when we may find a consensus on a more appropriate name, we may do so. But certainly I think Meghalaya is a good name and that we should continue to use it until something better comes up in future. There is one argument which, in discussing the motion, the mover has said that according to his understanding, Meghalaya means the abode of the clouds. That is what we are told, that in the original Sanskrit words 'Megh' means cloud and 'Laya' means abode, i.e., Meghalaya means 'abode of the clouds'. But it is not that we are to be classed as clouds. It is where clouds hover over the land. This is the fact that we all know. This is one of the areas which is known around the world for heavy monsoon rains and places like Cherrapunjee and Mawsynram are well-known places where there is heavy rain and where clouds do come throughout the monsoon season. So there is nothing to be ashamed about this geographical fact. As a matter of fact, because of that, we have freshness and greenness which we should be very grateful to God for the rain that we get. We do not have deserts or sands like other parts of the country or other parts of the world. We do have a State where we always get rain abundantly and this is one of the geographical facts of the State.
(A Voice -Let us call it Ri Slap)
Mr. Speaker :- But would the Garos understand it?
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries etc.) :- So, I submit that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in closing I would say that it is not advisable to change the name now. However, I do not rule out that the House may consider it if a better name is suggested by somebody in the future.
Mr. Speaker :- It appears that there is a lot of confusion about the origin of the name. It even appears that the mover himself does not know nor any other hon. Members. As a matter of fact, the name 'Meghalaya' is 5 or 6 years older than me. It was as early as 1926 that one of the greatest geographers that India has ever produced came to work in these hills on his thesis known as the Shillong Plateau by Dr. S.P. Chatterji, who retired as the Head of the Department of Geography of the Calcutta University, and now appointed as Professor Emeritus by the University Grants Commission. These were the words that he said while he worked here in these hills from 1926 to 1928. His field word covered the whole area of then present Meghalaya and it was during that period that he changed the title of his thesis from "The Geographical Analysis of the Shillong Plateau" to "The New Geographical Analysis in Meghalaya" and it was that particular thesis that he submitted to the Paris University that enabled him to get the Doctorate and it was he who prepared the Demographic Map of the World at the Paris Conference. You will find the name 'Meghalaya' which implies this particular area covered by the present Meghalaya but, of course, including the Mikir Hills up to the High Barail Parbat. In 1965 he wrote an important chapter in the Gazetteer of India, Volume I again on the The Geographical Analysis of Meghalaya. According to him this particular area is crowned by the clouds and, I think, in the last Presiding Officers' Conference that we had here the former Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Dr. G. S. Dhillon, had correctly stated : "Crested in the clouds, Meghalaya, a dream-child of the hill people is a brave romantic dream". I am giving these facts so that the Hon. Members can proceed with their discussions.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I, at the first instance, consider that it is not necessary at all to discuss the motion since the mover himself has not as yet indicated or suggested any alternative name in the motion for changing the name of 'Meghalaya'. But, Sir, after hearing arguments and expressions from the hon. members of the House I am tempted to participate in this motion.
[At this Stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker occupied the Chair]
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the name, whichever way you pronounce it "Meghalaya" or "Meghaloy" or "Meghalay"- the facts are there in the spelling or the meaning of the words. I do not mind the pronunciation because practically it depends on the behaviour or the real activity of the people as to what we name that the people may think, because even the people have got the names which have been given by their parents, they neglected it but call by some other name which suits the behaviour and activities of that particular being. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this name is, in fact, strange in so far as the people of this land are concerned. It is not at all, Sir, in our original tongue neither in Garo nor in Khasi who are residing here in this region. Moreover, it is a strange language to us and so is the pronunciation of the word. Sir, the Delhi people or the people of the rest of India may pronounce it as "Meghalay" whereas in the north-eastern regions among the communities-other than the Garos and the Khasis- it is pronounced it as "Meghaloy" even by the Assamese. We here have been taught and we have been trying to pronounce it as "Meghalaya". So, Sir, according to me the people in the State have no other way and even the mover now could not suggest any new names, but they have not yet wholly accepted the name because of the different pronunciations and also its meaning and according to certain interpretations if you say "Meghaloy" which means "abode of the clouds" because of the words : Megh and Aloy (Laughter). Then in some books Megha and Laya it has been written that 'Megha' means frog and 'Laya' means a place. So in this confusion it is rather tempting to call it 'Meghaloy' or 'Meghalaya' just to avoid the meaning. So if it is not so seriously 'sick' as we are thinking that we have to change the name if we compare with our practice if a child is not healthy at all, sometimes the family or the parents change the name, as the name has a significance in the being of the person, we need not change it. However, I would state here for your information that I had been a victim because of this name. Once in Nagaland I had been surrounded by the Indian armed Forces on my way to Kohima because of the name. The moment we told them that we were from Meghalaya, they, I mean the personnel of the Rajput Regiment, charged us at the point of bayonet asking are you from Malaysia ? When we said that we came from Shillong, they asked "you were coming from Meghalayasia without any valid traveling documents and that also via Ceylon?" (loud laughter). So this is the position. Even our own fellow countrymen do not know as to which State we belong. I remember on another occasion at Haflong I was taken to the Police Station by one D.S.P. for interrogation thinking me that I am from Malaysia or from some other places of South-East Asia. These incidents I have reported to our Speaker and also to the Chief Minister. As a member of the Estimates Committee we have experienced the same difficulties in south India though they were to our advantage. In some places they thought we were from Malaysia and we received very good treatment. Thinking that we were foreigners they treated us with special privileges (loud laughter).
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is not only my own experience. I believe many of us might have experienced such similar behavior. That way this name has created confusion or misguided people. So, Sir, there is a necessity of changing the name. I agree with the mover of the motion that the name should be changed sooner or later because it is not at all desirable to retain a name which we ourselves and our fellow Indians do not understand. Since after Independence we have been trying to do away with the foreign names. As for example, we have done away with the names like Bombay, Madras, Mysore States, etc. We have also done away with the name of United Province. We have done away with the names given by the foreigners but we have taken the names of the Indian languages themselves. It has been selected by the people of those States. In fact the names have been given by the people in their own language. But immediately it is difficult for us to suggest any name for our State Because if we give any Khasi name, it would be difficult for the Garos to pronounce, so also it would be difficult for the Khasis to accept Garo name. Any way we the Khasis and Garos are the major tribes in this State and mostly we are concerned with the name. Similarly, there are other minority communities of the State who are very much so concerned with the name. I do not agree with the contention of the writer / Professor Chaterjee, that some 33 or 40 years ago this place was known as Meghalaya. Blessed be that fellow who has discovered invented this word for his own benefit. (laughter)
He might have received a doctorate degree on this subject but we cannot accept this contention of being named this region as Meghalaya. We were not discovered only 30 or 40 years ago, we have been here from time immemorial as Khasis, Garos, etc. We cannot accept the idea of being named ourselves by some other people. However, Sir, I do not insists on changing the name just now. Certainly it will take some time. At the same time, I do not agree with the mover of the motion in that he has suggested, according to the so called customs and tradition of this place, that we should give some name like Female State or Women State. (loud laughter)
These are foreign languages and he does not want any foreign language. Even if we call it in Indian language it will be probably Mohilalay for Women State (loud laughter).
So I believe it would not be difficult to find out a suitable name for this State which will really glorify the people of this State. But for the time being we should not be misguided lest we may give some unwanted name again which would only amount to jumping from the frying pan into the fire. With these few words I support the motion.
*Shri D.D. Lapang :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while associating myself with the motion moved by the hon. Member which is sitting close to my seat and close to my heart, I would like to say that I have noted one word of his speech and that is the word 'advisability' which is till very much lingering in my mind. Whether it is advisable or not, that means, he has got no courage to suggest any name in place of Meghalaya. The name, according to me, which signifies this part of the country has not at all hampered the traditions, usages and customs of the people giving here. It has also been admitted by the mover of the motions that already for last six years we are having this name. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, so far there was no agitation, demonstration or any publication in any local news-paper or news papers of any other States, opposing this name of the State. This name has stood the test of time; we have passed six years but I am surprised to see the hon. member, being the representative of the people for last 10 years, coming forward with such motion for which he himself is not very serious. That is why he used the word 'advisability'. It is surprising that and hon. Member from this side would move a motion for changing the name which is not very relevant. This State of Meghalaya has gone far ahead in many fields and this name 'Meghalaya has gone far ahead and this name 'Meghalaya has gone far ahead and even the foreign delegates had carried the name of Meghalaya outside India. This name is very much in their mind. Moreover changing the name would not be so easy. It has its own demerits and lack of popularity among the people. In this corner of the country we have got Arunachal which is very much on the border of the frontier. But they have got their name without agitation. What I mean to say is that we should not waste our time in discussing the change of names, rather w should discuss about various projects and schemes through which our State would be prosperous.
Shri Plansing Marak :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to speak on the subject of changing the name of Meghalaya. In my opinion, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, nothing has happened to the State of Meghalaya. So far as the name of Meghalaya is concerned, if it is changed then it will have a very bad significance for the Garos. In our Garo customs if a child is named, the name will never be changed. But if a Garo changes his name it signifies either he has been attacked by a tiger or a bear. Suppose if today I am attacked by a tiger or a bear then I will no longer be known as Plansing Marak and tomorrow I will have to take a new name, because if I do not do so, then there is every likelihood that I may be attacked by the same tiger or bear again. That is our belief. Therefore, only when something has happens then the Garos change their name. So in my opinion if we change the name of Meghalaya, then the Garo Hills they will think that something has happened in Meghalaya or the State of Meghalaya, if we suddenly change the name to something else. This will have a bad impression in the minds of the Garos. The mover of this motion when he brought out this motion, I thought he would have some concrete suggestion to make, but he has failed to do so. I am afraid that if the initials of the three districts which comprise the State of Meghalaya are taken, then it will be Ka, Ja, and Gha and we shall have to call it 'Kajagha' State. This is very bad, as in our Garo language the words "kajagha" means impertinent; so our State will mean "Impertinent State". Now our State has been named "Meghalaya" which is a very sweet name and beautiful at the same time.
When a child is named sometimes the parents find it difficult to pronounce its name. So they go to a friend and ask him by what name the child is to be called. This person is an expert in naming names and so he would say call him like this or like that. For example in our Garo custom we have got nicknames. Everyone of us or for that matter every Garo has got a nickname. I know the nickname of the Chief Minister but I will not tell it now. (Voices : We are interested)
I myself have got a nickname. To cite an example. Our Minister, Shri Grohonsing Marak has got a son who is called "NAGRANG". This is our language means active and intelligent. From his childhood his parents have observed that he is active and intelligent and that is why he is called Nagrang. So, usually a child is called by his activities which the parents keenly watch since he is a called, and accordingly the appropriate name is given. Therefore, the name Meghalaya is also given which is an appropriate name to the three districts which form the State of Meghalaya. The name is so given because the three districts of the State are invariably found to be covered by clouds. Now my hon. Friend, the mover of the motion, does not seem to like clouds. Clouds as we know signify the coming of rain and rain brings us crops and vegetation. But in cloudless States like Rajasthan and other States of north-western India which have only deserts and no rain nothing grows in that area. I think he likes that part of the country and that is why he does not like the name of Meghalaya. If that is so, I think he would like to make our State a cloudless State, but we are fortunate because our State is always covered with clouds which bring us rain and enable us to grow crops and get our food. We get abundant rain and abundant food to maintain ourselves. Therefore, the name "Meghalaya" is a very appropriate name and we should always call it so.
With regard to pronunciation it does no matter whether we call it "Meghalaya" or "Meghaloy" because different persons pronounce it differently. One example is that in our Garo Hills there is a place named "Dalu". We Garos could easily pronounce it as "Dalu" but a person from India or from Madras will pronounce it as "Dalu". So pronunciation differs from one person to another. So also with the pronounciation of "Meghalaya". But whatever it may be, as I said before the pronunciation will differ from one person to another. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to continue to call the State of ours by its sweet name; "Meghalaya", and I do not fined any reason for changing the name to any other name.
Shri Akromozzaman :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, a very interesting discussion has started about the name, which I call the sweet name of our State. So far as this is concerned, something came to my kind. I recall one incident when our Finance Minister visited Garo Hills at Phulbari. He put a question to a boy which is a student about the name of our State. The boy in his reply said "Meghaloy". Our Chief Minister then asked? What is the name. And again the boy said "Meghaloy" but he corrected him and said "Not Meghaloy" but Meghalaya. In Bengali literature the students happened to be Bengalis and it is difficult for them to pronounce it. The word Meghalaya consists of two words "Megha" and "Alloy" which is a sense means "Meghaloy". So, in Bengalee literature we pronounce it as Meghaloy ? This also has got affinity with Sanskrit and that is why it is difficult for the Bengali people to pronounce it as Meghalaya". So pronunciation as my friend has referred to "Dalu" as pronounced by persons from Madras, is difficult. I will refer to another story: Recently we had been on tour on duty as members of the Public Accounts Committee. We came to a place in Khasi Hills District which is named Mawrasara. So, everybody finds it difficult in pronouncing the name. When we enquired from the local people we understand that the name is not entirely derived from the Khasi language but it appears to be a Bengali language. "Mawra" in Bengali means "dead" and "Sara" means "Channel". This has come into use so much that it has become part of local Language. I come here as a representatives of the people from Phulbari. In this connection, I would like to refer to one very interring this and that is about Bengali literature. Well there has been a controversy whether Arabic, Persian and other languages could be introduced in the Bengali literature or not. Our great literary man Bankim handra in one of his articles, wrote about the expansion of foreign languages. I think this a very very welcome and quite appropriate. There should not be any indifference as to what language it might be- whether it is an English languages, Persian, Arabic or any other language of the world. We should liberalise the rules to expand and accommodate different languages in our today's literature. We should not confine ourselves only to any particular language only. Then we can flourish and similarly our literature will flourish. Some foreign languages like English and Arabic must be introduced in our schools and colleges and it has been done in the Garo Hills and Khasi Hills where English languages is still in existence. So far as our experience is concerned, we have traveled through the various villages, not a speak of cites and towns in Meghalaya. In many buses and even stalls while traveling by Meghalaya bus service or in the Hostel in Meghalaya different types of languages are being used everywhere. Even in the Constitution there are versions where we used to read "Bharat Barsha". This word has got a very significant meaning but when the Constitution came into being, it has been read as Bharat only. I am also very much interested to see in one paper published in the Khasi Hills in English. Its title was "Meghdoot". The word "Megh" is corporate there and it represents certain features. Before he started publishing this paper probably, he might have thought a better word to name and incorporate it in that paper. It appears that he was very much convinced at least for the people of Meghalaya that "Megh" or could is corporated in the minds of the people of Meghalaya and "doot" is the messenger for bringing in expansion accumulation and re-thinking in the minds o the people of Meghalaya. So Sir, there must be something which is to be incorporated in a more linguistic way. This will go not only for the benefit of the people but will also give us a sentiment of liberalism for the expansion and development of local languages or words. I feel the very name of Meghalaya will influence a spirit of liberalism to accept an assumption in the linguistic development a good influence for the motion. Moreover Sir, if we travel by air to Delhi and some other places we see patch of clouds are always in the hills and dales of this region. It is very much different or I am not sure, it is not so much in Northern or Southern India. Even English language I believe, might have been introduced or brought by English people. So, also even my name "Akramozzaman" might have come from the Arabic language. It is not a Bengali language. Some of my friend had said that Meghalaya is a foreign language or foreign language or foreign word but I may inform them that it is not at all a foreign language - it is an abode of the clouds. Some of my friend's name also is an English word. This is all for the expansion of ideas and thoughts which will have better influences in the expansion of languages. I feel, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, that the name of our State as 'Meghalaya' will have a direct influence on the whole nation for the expansion and accumulation of our literature. With these few words Sir, I resume my seat.
Shri F. K. Mawlot :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it appears that the discussion relates to the same subject and that is the change of the name of our State. Name has been given to the State bearing the name of its citizens, it is not simply given because of the geographical conditions prevailing in the State. In my opinion, if I have to name anything, even if I have to name a stool, it will be a stool, because it is really a stool, if I name a cow- a four footed animal it is after judging the conditions behavior and figure, then I shall come to the conclusion that it should be called a cow. Now if we see anything new, then we name that in accordance with what we have fudged, the activities, figure, habits and everything. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as the mover himself has correctly stated that the name affects the activities of a person, I for one agree with him that the name has its effect on the minds of all young and old. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my point is, if we name our State "Abode of the Clouds", it implies that there is nothing in it expect the clouds or that the people living in that area are not stable but cloudy. Their minds are not stable. Today they may say they will do this or that tomorrow but when that tomorrow comes, they say no. No matter, if we name our State by any of the languages but it should carry the meaning which is appropriate. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, though many have explained about the pronunciation, I for one, do not agree with different pronunciations offered because even I as a Member, I am not quite sure which is the correct pronunciation of the name of our State. Whether "Meghaloi", 'Meghalaya' or 'Meghalia' which one is the correct pronunciation I am not sure. If we re-name our State we should think of a very familiar word so that we would not commit any mistake afterwards. We should not mispronounce the name of our State. If my name is "Mawlot" here, I should hear that in any other parts of the world also that my name is "Mawlot". I do not like to know that anywhere they call me "Mulot" or "Malot" or "Milot" but they should call my name as "Mawlot" because my real name is "Mawlot". So. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as rightly pointed out by the hon. Member (who is not here now) when he said that Garos change their names only when they are attacked by any animal, yes this name "Meghalaya" should be changed, which creates confusion in the minds of the general people. Mr. Plan Singh Marak has said that if Garos change their name at all, it is because they were attacked by a tiger or a bear at one time. Well if that be so, in my opinion this name creates confusion in the minds of Khasis Jaintia if not in the minds of Garos. So far as the Khasi and Jaintia people are concerned I believe they have not accepted this name given to our State. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do agree with the mover of the motion that for the betterment or for the moral encouragement of our people, our State have a name which reflects the people. So I urge upon the Government to think of every appropriate new name, no matter whether it is Hindi, Latin, Sanskrit or Arabic or any language, but that every name should have a meaningful implication in it.
Shri Winstone Syiemiong :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have one submission to make. I have been listening to the debate and I have found that from the beginning all the hon. Members have turned this motion into an academic discussion. As a matter of fact, we do not have to discuss on the literary significance or for that matter the natural significance of this motion. But whether you may pronounce it correctly or not is a different matter. When we fought for the Hill State, we wanted to have a separate identity and not just for the sake of having our own Government to rule ourselves, but we want to make it our identity and naturally we must have a name that must reflect that very identity of our People. As it is now, Meghalaya is very nice name, but Sir, I am sorry I do not understand the significance of it and I believe that the lay-man in the street does not understand what it means. We must give the name of the communities who have fought for a Hill State and that is why we want to retain our identity, but now our name is not there bearing our identity. Even big States like Bangladesh which was known previously as East Pakistan and now being liberated, is called Bangladesh and known for its own Bengali people, which we Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People in this State have not got our name implied in the State. I think on this point only the Government should think over it seriously and if possible to constitute a Committee to go into this problem and find out the most appropriate name to our State carrying our identity. Right here we cannot off-hand suggest any fit name for our State. But if that Committee is constituted, it can suggest a right name or give the exact name befitting to be called for our State.
Shri D. N. Joshi :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, much controversy seems to have been arisen out of the name which has become so much familiar in the minds of the people not only of our State but in the minds of the people of the whole country, may of the whole world. Sir, very recently foreign delegates and personalities from different parts of the world had the occasion to visit our State of Meghalaya and they also carried home with them the sweet memory of our State about the aesthetic appeal that it has generated in their minds. As regards pronunciations Sir, I am very much familiar with the word and the inhabitants of our State, I believe, since their childhood have been very familiar with the word Himalayan taught in their schools. The word Himalaya is not a very unfamiliar word and while Himalaya can be pronounced correctly, I do not understand why this controversy to pronounce the word Meghalaya arises here. Our people can pronounce it 'Meghalaya' or 'Meghalay'. We are indeed very proud and privileged to have the heaviest rainfall in the world and the names Cherrapunjee or Mawsynram have become very very familiar throughout the world on account of their heaviest rainfall. So, the people who have given a thought in christening our State or in naming it were very considerate enough when they had taken this aspect of rainfall in view. It was after careful thought that they have named our State 'Meghalaya' as some of our previous speakers have also sated that it is very appropriate to called it Meghalaya which implies that could is always there because if we fly over the sky from here to other parts of the country we find that patches of clouds hover on it from one part to another. Patches of clouds can be seen throughout the State of Meghalaya and the fact that the State is always green especially in December and January makes us very proud of own State while such things are very unfamiliar to other parts of the country. This shows the prosperity of the people of our State because while in India we find food shortage is very acute, but the only silver lining in the cloud can be found coming from Meghalaya which gives us much hope even in times of drought. Most probably our great leaders might have thought it better to give the name 'Meghalaya' to our State which might send rainfall to other parts of the country also during drought season. This is the State where we never have any drought or scarcity of water. We have got sufficient land and we have got sufficient rain and in times to come this land will be turned into a granary for the country. Therefore, this the only land which is very very significant in it and some proper steps should be taken to make the rain water of Meghalaya irrigate other barren areas of our country. To some, it has a poetic appeal and to some it has got an aesthetic appeal. As one of my friends has rightly pointed out that Khasi and Garo people have their own languages and literature and they have to be developed and the door for expanding the language has to be always open-whether it comes from English literature, whether it comes from Assamese literature, or whether it comes from the Sanskrit literature. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not find any desirability or advisability of changing the name Meghalaya for the pretend or for even the time to come.
Shri Maham Singh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on this subject I would support what has already been said by our Minister of Industries and Transport. When he said that we should not close this subject, we should not rule out the question of changing the name for all time to come. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I hope that as soon as we get a better and more appropriate name, there should be no hesitation in changing the name. Because Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at present I cannot find a better name but it may be that some of our friends may discover a name and at that time we should not hesitate in changing the name. Meghalaya, as has been said by some of our friends, is rather confusing. Certainly, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it may be very romantic, as has been said by some of our friends, but it is confusing. It implies a State in the air! Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at least we cannot just live in imagination floating in the clouds and remain romantic forever. What is more important are the clear streams, green hills that we have in the State-and more important than all, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, are the people who reside in the State.
Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, when we look at the names of all other States- our neighbouring States, we find Assam State that means the abode of the Assamese, Nagaland-that is the land of Nagas, Mizoram-an abode for Mizos and we find that West Bengal is the State of the Bengalese and then if we go much further, we find Maharashtra, Gujarat. Tamil-Nadu, etc. At least every State has been named more after the name of the community living in the State and there were even sacrifices made in getting their States named after their own community. But what do we find here, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we find that this is the State which is the abode of the Garo and Khasi people. Well it may be the State abode for Garo-Khasi or Khasi-Garo State or something like that.
Shri E. Bareh, (Minister Agriculture etc) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, what about the Jaintia?
Shri Maham Singh :-Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that is why I told before that I have atleast to find a name here which will be more appropriate than just an abode of the clouds. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the people residing in the State should build up their own State and I quite agree with what has been said by the Minister, Industries just now that we should leave this question open, and if we get a better and appropriate name, we should not hesitate to do so.
*Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am glad that we have brought this particular question for discussion through this motion. This question of naming the State has been discussed thoroughly, through conferences, in different places amongst the people from the three districts of the State. Therefore, I was wondering whether it would be advisable for us to day to take up this question. Well, the Government of India had decided on principle to concede our demand for the creation of a State. We were asked to find out a suitable name and this was not impossible, if you would just refresh your memory you would know that some editors and journalists asked me the question as to what will be the name of the State,- a new State. I replied-"Let the child be born first, I will decide about the name after that". The Leader of the Opposition suggested that it should be named after the tribes. But, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, originally we wanted all the hill areas of Assam to be brought under one administration under our new State. So, I was thinking that we will try to coin a word- I thought "GAJMIKA" which would be for all the tribals-Garos, Jaintias, Mikirs, Mizos, Khasis and other caste and I started thinking well that it would be correct. Well we wanted separation from Assam and I was convinced because of the narrow attitude -"Assam for Assamese" that they wanted to bring about by the introduction of their language. I was thinking. "Should I be so narrow-minded in that way?' And it is because, of the issue that we have been separated. "In Assam, Assamese language will be the official language", was the slogan.
There is a tendency today in the whole country to think that Bihar is for Biharis, Bengal for Bengalis, Assam for Assamese and so on. That was not the policy of efficiency. When we wanted to carve the hill areas from Assam, and go for the hill State, we have also to think for others. We want to give them some opportunity for their legitimate share. Apart from all these considerations, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we were very much involved not only as leaders; we have discussed about the name, we have been given enough opportunity and enough time to find out suitable name. But I must admit that we could not. So, when we failed to find a suitable name and the Bill has to be prepared for the creation of the autonomous State of Meghalaya, We could no wait, as we wanted the State to come early. It has pointed out that all this plateau has been termed as Meghalaya and we, the leaders, discussed this questions in the Tura Conference. We did not commit but we said will take it to the people. In the Tura Conference, we discussed about the name for a number of days may be for 3 days-but we did not come to any decision. We said we will take it to the people, to the rural areas. We have discussed about it in the public meetings and other forums. And ultimately we have accepted it. Therefore, I do not know whether without consulting the people, it will be advisable to think about changing the name. Unfortunately, my friends said that we were not associated at that particular time to find out a suitable name and it is not correct at all to say that the people have not accepted the name. I have not come cross any complaint about the name even if I go to the remotest places of the State. It may be good to find out an appropriate name of course as stated by some of the participants the name of the State has to be changed. I do not rule out that possibility of changing the name in future as state by my colleague. But I want to give a background to this House. It will not be correct to say that this name has been given to the State without the blessings of the people. It is very much with the blessings of the people. When I go to Garo Hills, Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, I find young girls and boys singing beautiful songs about Meghalaya. This shows that it has gone deep into the hearts of the people. They shout for Meghalaya and they sing for Meghalaya. Therefore I do not know whether by implication, it will be desirable to appoint a Committee for finding out a suitable name. As for myself, I do not think it will be a advisable at this stage to think about it. May be people as individuals may try to find out a suitable name but I do not find any inconvenience or any disadvantage in the retention of this name. Some arguments have been put forward that it should be the abode of the Garos, Khasis and Jaintias. I do not know whether because of the name Meghalaya which means the abode of the clouds we are going to be vanished and whether by finding out a name representing the Garos, the Khasis, the Jaintias we shall be able to progress and I have taken the name of Williamson which is not a Garo name - the pucca Garo name is much better than my name, I has got better connotation. It is not the name that will bring prosperity to the Nation but it is the hard work of the people and one who doubts that because it is the home of the clouds it is not the come of the Khasis and the Garos and Jaintias and that it will not progress, is a very young conception. Sir, the Mover himself was not very serious because he has had occasion to change his name, so he thought that while he could change his name from original to some other name, it is desirable to change the name of the State also.
Shri H. Hadem :- That is an addition to my name. I do not know. There is no valid on the part of the mover himself to think about the need to change the name. But the, I think it is his habit to change the name.
Shri H. Hadem :- I never changed my name. I was baptized. I challenge that if you want a proof I am ready to face the court for an affidavit.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- If that information is not correct, I stand corrected. But that was what I was informed. (Shri H. Hadem- But you have been mis-informed). If it is not correct, I said, I stand corrected. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in view of the fact that this name has been given to the newly born State with the blessings of the people, it will not at all be advisable for this august House to think in terms of changing the name without again taking the blessings of the people. With these few words, I have tried to give the background and I hope every Member of this august House will realise that it will not be correct to think about changing the name without taking the people into confidence.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Since the time is up, the House stands adjourned till 9 a.m. on Saturday, the 13th December, 1975.
|Dated Shillong||R. T. RYMBAI|
|The 12th December, 1975||Secretary, Meghalaya Legislative|