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Where JFK arrests Hitler and Frankenstein wins elections
Published on 27 Feb. 2010 10:58 PM IST
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History had turned on its head. Chronology had curdled. John F Kennedy had caught and arrested Adolf Hitler. And the Meghalaya Police was ecstatic. Huh? All this and more can happen if you are in this part of India’s north-east. A few years ago, John Kennedy, a top police officer, nabbed senior NCP leader Adolf Lu Hitler R Marak in the Garo Hills for hobnobbing with a banned militant outfit. Elsewhere, in Mendipathar, Frankenstein Momin romped home during the 2008 Assembly elections. Obviously, no one feared him and he hadn’t heard of Mary Shelley. In fact, for most of those who came in droves to vote for him, he couldn’t have been more dangerous than Casper. Apparently targeting the young voters, the BJP had put up Romeo Phira Rani from the prestigious Laitumkhrah constituency in Meghalaya during the same elections, but the candidate, though adequately suave, just couldn’t make it through the hearts of the numerous Juliets that walk the streets. Romeo, of course, was heart broken. A little beyond in Tura, Billykid A Sangma didn’t ride too well, losing his seat to the less flamboyantly named Purno A’gitok Sangma. Then there is dear old Hopingstone Lyngdoh, who has never stopped hoping for a separate Khasi and Jaintia state. The legislator from Nongstoin, who is the Hills State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) president, says he will never give up on his dream. One’s name has to count for something, after all. So what if the Promised Land is in nobody’s agenda but Hopingstone’s. According to TNN many have speculated if former minister and Congress legislator Friday Lyngdoh was born on a Friday. Whatever the case may be, the name seems to have brought luck to the Good Friday. The veteran politician, who retained his seat from the Mawkhar constituency two years back, has now been given the rank of chief minister in the Meghalaya house, along with the real CM D D Lapang. Another interesting politician is Comingone Ymbon from the Congress, who’s now the MLA for the Raliang constituency in the Jaintia Hills. He came in good the last time around and is doing his best not to be gone. This even as Remington Pygrope, the new legislator from Sohryngkham constituency, said to be the biggest village in Asia, is not much the typing sort. He is a parliamentary secretary involved in important decision making in the state. Meanwhile, Dr Advisor Pariong, who represents his namesake constituency Pariong, has been busy advising not just his patients but many others in his borough ever since he won the last elections. The young legislator from HSPDP is a qualified physician - and now, it seems, a veteran advisor. “While the origin of such baffling names are as mysterious as the names themselves, and better left to the imagination, it may just be an obvious reflection of an overwhelming fascination among the simple tribal population with anything that is even remotely Western,” says a social scientist in Shillong. “But some names are, well, quite amazing.” Citing Wonderful, Magnificent, Handsome and Braveheart as examples, he adds, “A majority of ethnic communities in north-east states are Christians, and along with the spread of religion, western literature - even in oral forms - has penetrated deep into the culture. People don’t find it peculiar. Not even names like Thy Gracefulness, Valley Rose and Moonlight.”

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