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REV. NICHOLS ROY AND THE SIXTH SCHEDULE: Now, as the hill areas were sandwiched between the exclusive political move of the Federation of the Khasi States and the British separate plan, Rev. Nichols Roy fought against both with great intensity and carried forward with his integrated autonomous council plan. The Sixth Schedule plan was to thwart both plans as irrelevant and to impose a new solidified proposal. Therefore, the political statesmanship of Rev. Nichols Roy should have been acknowledged from the perspective of his contribution to the political solidarity of the Khasi Jai˝tia community and might well be understood from the following observations:-

Firstly, solidification of the Khasi Jai˝tia or U Hyn˝iewtrep Community: Rev. Nichols Royĺs vision of the Hyn˝iewtrep's common origin became evident also in the introduction of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India. Given the basic concept of the unity of the people, the introduction of the Sixth Schedule was based on the principle of fraternity and equality. It was hence designed to bring both States and non-states together at par under the same constitutional framework.

Secondly, Modification of the Traditional Democratic System: The traditional political system among the Khasis was one of the best democratic systems of administration. Its integrating channels from the level of a clan durbar, village, raid and up to the state durbar witnessed the participating involvement of the people. However, in the observation of Rev. Nichols Roy, the traditional system was lacking because of three factors. One, the hereditary royal succession to the throne does not represent a full democratic involvement as the post of chief is reserved to a single-family clan. So also with those who form the council of ministers, known as Bakhraw. However, Rev. Nichols Roy did not want to abolish this system. He sought to preserve them as they are but should be brought together to a unified legislative body. He was aware that the democratic system in the independent India would terminate all princely states and that Indian chiefs who had signed the Instrument of Accession would have in due course be staved off and transferred the power to the people. But for the intervention of the sixth Schedule, all the Khasi chiefs too would have faced the same fate like those in the rest of the country. While seeking to preserve the traditional political system, Rev. Nichols Roy introduced a conciliar autonomous council that paved the way fore the general public to contest the election and would become rulers of the people. In this respect, there is no longer a policy of reservation through a royal dynastic lineage or founding clans in the case of the Bakhraws hereditary but it is now open to the people either to contest the election or to make decision.

Two, the traditional political system has completely set aside womenĺs participation: No doubt it is the particular mother of a ruling clan that determines the legitimate ascension of a man to the royal throne but women are out of any full participation in the traditional legislative, judicial, executive or administrative affairs. Rev. Nichols Roy did not intend to abolish the traditional system completely but sought to democratize it y opening up ways for political freedom, equality and eligibility of women too in addition to the general public at the behest of peopleĺs election or decision.

Three, an introduction of a comprehensive political structure: Rev. Nichols Roy realized that the community required a solidified common legislative body in order to withstand the assimilating process from the continuous influx and intrusion of people from the majority communities. The new proposal had the objective of unity and it did contribute to the creation of a distinctive Khasi Jai˝tia political identity and solidarity.

His overall contribution to this unified effort, however, was through the introduction of the conciliar autonomous body and it had a threefold objective, viz. to integrate the Khasi Jai˝tia or the Hyn˝iewtrep people and areas together into one; to preserve the traditional political institutions and procedures; and to create a supra legislative, judicial and administrative set up common to the solidified people. However, history is proof that any imposed solidified procedure on the once fragmented independent political identities produced more heat than light.

ôYours is a land for gods to live in. its air, its natural scenery, its pure atmosphere, its sweet waters would attract even the gods, if your hearts were pure.ö

This site was last updated 07/02/09


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