Rulers of some of South Asia's oldest kingdoms have chosen a former New World vice-president to confer their first global award.
"We have zeroed in on former US vice-president Al Gore for the first Rajya Sabha Grassroots Democracy Advisory Council (RSGDAC) award for promoting awareness worldwide on global warming," Meghalaya's lone RS member Robert Kharshiing told HT.
Gore will be awarded for his hard-hitting environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which won three Academy Awards. The award will be handed over at the second Dorbar Ri (People's Parliament) on October 6 near a sacred forest at Mawphlang village, which has been preserved untouched for over 700 years.
But why Gore? "Because he deserves it. Besides, we wanted someone of his statue to be associated with a tiny part of this world that could be a victim of global warming," Kharshiing said.
Meghalaya fears global warming could rob it of rain. The state, so named because of being perennially covered by clouds, boasts of the rainiest places in the world—Cherrapunjee and Mawsynram. But these spots are already feeling the global warming heat.
As for the RSGDAC, Kharshiing said it has nothing to do with the Upper House of the Parliament. "We decided to use Rajya Sabha to increase the tribal king and chieftain's organisation a pan-Indian appeal," he added.
Until the British rule, Meghalaya was divided among 25 Himas or kingdoms. These kingdoms today are a shadow of their past, but the kings and chieftains do exercise some clout. A few years ago, they got together to have more political say.
The rulers had their first Dorbar Ri three years ago, focusing more on developmental than political aspects. The second congregation scheduled for October will add environment and global warming to the agenda of the organisation comprising kings and chieftains belonging to the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes.
According to an RSGDAC spokesman, Gore is being informed about the award.