Monday, July 15, 2024

An interview with Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary – ex Governor, Meghalaya

Naba Kumar Sharma (Staff Reporter)

Gargi Baruah (Sub-editor)

Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary is a distinguished figure who has left an indelible mark on India’s security landscape. Serving as the Governor of Meghalaya from 2008 to 2013 and having led both the National Security Guards (NSG) and the Border Security Force (BSF), he has spanned an illustrious career so far. Join us as we delve into his extraordinary journey, exploring his views on critical matters such as border tensions and the ever-evolving challenges our nation faces.

EH: You were a resident of a simple village Odlaguri in Gosaigaon, Assam. From there, you went to clear IPS and became the Director General of BSF as well as NSG, and eventually the Governor of Meghalaya. Could you tell us about this successful journey? 

RSM: Yes, I was a resident of a very underdeveloped village in Gosaigaon. My father was the late Chikendra Mooshahary and my mother was Nandeswari Mooshahary. I did my schooling in a primary school in Odlaguri and middle school in another school in another village nearby. Then I went to Shillong for higher studies and completed my bachelor’s degree in Shillong itself. Our financial condition was not very good. I had to work during the day, and eventually I started attending night college. After getting my degree, I attempted UPSC and I cleared it in the first attempt itself, after which I became an IPS officer. My first posting was in Kerala and over the years, my job took me to various parts of the country. At last, I was appointed as the Director General of the National Security Guard. And, in 2006 I retired as Director General of BSF. Next, I became Assam’s Chief Information Commissioner. After working for two and a half years in the year 2008, I was appointed as the Governor of Meghalaya and I continued my work till 2016.  

EH: The country’s border areas are very conflicting. Working as a BSF officer on the border, what challenges did you face? And tell us something about that journey.

RSM: There are six international borders in India. They include the borders between our country and Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, and Nepal. The border areas of Bangladesh and Pakistan are supervised by the BSF soldiers. This border area is extremely sensitive and active. Many illegal cow transactions and illegal infiltrations take place and this is a very sensitive subject. These are the challenges that we face to stop the illegal activities that have been going on for a long time.

EH: The security of the country relies hugely on BSF. Regarding this matter can you suggest some measures to improve or to include new measures so that BSF can work more effectively?

RSM: In the beginning, BSF had limited facilities. But now, comparatively the soldiers receive many facilities. Every soldier is provided with a phone and half a month of leave in a year. There was a time when we did not even get this kind of leave. Now search lights are also provided to them as well. In the present time, they are provided with these kinds of facilities so that we can be fully prepared and ready to fight.

EH: Assam and Meghalaya have had border conflicts in the past and many incidents have taken place. The CMs of both the states have also conducted meetings regarding these issues. Can you give us a permanent solution for this?

RSM: Not only just Assam and Meghalaya, other states have border conflicts as well. Previously, Meghalaya was a part of Assam. But when they got separated, border issues and land issues arose. So these kinds of problems arise from time to time. Due to this problem, people living near the border areas are also severely affected. It is quite easy to say that we will find a permanent solution but doing that in reality is quite difficult.

EH: In general, IPS or police officers do not have much knowledge about Sanskrit but you are an exception. Today this subject can hardly be seen in schools. Why is it important to learn Sanskrit, in your opinion? Do you feel it should become compulsory in educational institutions?

RSM: My father was a very learned man. By profession, he was a teacher. In addition, he used to study English, Hindi, and Sanskrit. He had immense knowledge and he studied them in detail, and when we were kids, we used to listen to Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Upanishads from my father. I learned many Sanskrit Shlokas from my father and slowly I became attracted to this subject and gathered as much knowledge as possible. Now Sanskrit isn’t taught much in schools. Now people are only after acquiring skills and they are not gaining any knowledge. This is why today, the use of this language has reduced. However, I want Sanskrit to be an optional subject in the syllabus of schools and colleges.

EH: What is Assam’s biggest problem in the current times? Could you give us any advice to solve it?

RSM: The work culture in Assam is reducing and this is definitely a very major problem. This is not something that you can blame the government for. Parents, teachers, and guardians have to teach the upcoming generation and begin from their homes. Work culture and social responsibility should be practiced every single day by us, if we want to truly develop Assam.

EH: Your advice for upcoming UPSC aspirants?

RSM: Aspirants of Assam are generally efficient but they lack proper guidance. The optional subject that they choose should be of their own choice. But it must be studied quite carefully.  

EH: There have been instances where BSF soldiers were accused of corruption and allowing illegal infiltration into Assam. What is your comment on that?

RSM: Well, one or two such incidents might occur but it is definitely not on a very large scale.

EH: There’s an accusation that in many states, the central government uses the governor to dominate the ruling state government. What would you say about this?  

RSM: I would say that for the state government, the governor is like a friend, philosopher, and a guide. One or two governors can be used against the state government by the central government but not everyone. If the governor post is removed, it is going to be difficult for the state government, as a governor has several important duties as well.  

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