The short English rendition of the Meghalaya State Anthem has evoked strong reaction from various quarters.
It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Conrad Sangma released the Meghalaya State Anthem at Tura yesterday to mark 52 years of statehood.
The anthem was sung in Khasi, Garo and English.
However, many people have questioned the inclusion of English in the State anthem and termed it as disrespect to the indigenous psyche.
“What is the justification to sing the State anthem in English? This has made the anthem lose its taste and local touch,” a college teacher said.
Even the Jaintia Students’ Union (JSU) has also questioned the non-inclusion of Pnar language in the anthem.
However, Commissioner and Secretary for Arts and Culture, Frederick Roy Kharkongor said the anthem is a well-thought-out attempt to carefully capture and respect the shared identity of the land and its people.
“The anthem gives equitable lyrical representation of the Khasi and Garo people with fair creative structural space to each group entity,” Kharkongor said.
The anthem was composed by (L) Neil Herbert Nongkynrih, the founder, conductor, and mentor of Shillong Chamber Choir.
With indigenous instrumentation laid down by Shillong-based folk-fusion band Summersalt and Nokpante of Garo Hills, the anthem captures the aspirations of the people, crisscrossing the past, the present, and the future.
The English lyrics were drafted by Neil Nongkynrih, after which a group of writers, especially Arts and Culture Minister Paul Lyngdoh, gave fine touches.
The Khasi and Garo lyrics were drafted by Kit Shangpliang of Summersalt and Iris Watre Thomas, respectively, after which input from the team, especially the Arts and Culture Minister, was incorporated.
“The anthem as a whole is based on the indigenous rhythms, using the Ksing Shynrang of the Khasi people together with the Dama of the Garo people and choice of local words and fusion of melodies climaxing,” Kharkongor said.