Curbing Covid-19- role of the Traditional Dorbar

Original Article

Author Details : Deswyn G Marbaniang*, Stepbaphyrnai Lyngdoh

Volume : 7, Issue : 4, Year : 2020

Article Page : 120-124

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The Traditional Dorbar has existed in Meghalaya among the Khasis from time immemorial. It is a unique democratic body which is by the people, of the people and for the people. The Khasi people sit in consultation before taking any collective decision with regard to administration. The Dorbar sits in judgement over cases and concerns brought before it by the citizens and residents relying on the balanced scales of ka riti, that is, the unwritten code of conduct observed and which has been handed down for
generations. Every decision taken at the Dorbar is considered sacred as the Dorbar is God’s council. At the meeting every adult male member has the right to be heard during the deliberations. The opinion of every member is respected and deliberations can continue till a collective decision is taken.
With the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, the Government of Meghalaya has set up an Institutional Quarantine Centre at Umsawli Village and other places in East Khasi Hills District to quarantine its residents but was found to be insufficient. The Traditional Dorbar were requested to help out and the Traditional Dorbar of Lower Lumparing, Shillong situated in the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, India responded by setting up two Community Quarantine Centres for its residents.
Through this study, we can see that the Dorbar always function in consultation with its residents to get their consensus in a true democratic sense. The Dorbar could always garner the support of the residents.
The Dorbar could remove the fears, stigma and misconception about Covid-19 among its residents by organizing a special meeting where representatives from the Health department were present to address any queries about Covid-19. The Dorbar also published and distribute pamphlets about Covid-19 to sensitize the residents about Covid-19. The Dorbar seems to believe that knowledge is power and knowledge brings freedom.
It was observed that during the quarantine period in the two quarantine centres, the Persons Under Quarantine (PUQ’s) were never discriminated or treated as second class citizen. Infact, there were some PUQ’s who request to be allowed to complete their quarantine period in the centre itself. This is a shot in the arm of Dorbar Shnong of Lower Lumparing, Shillong for the management of Quarantine Centres.

Keywords: Covid 19, Dorbar, Locality, Quarantine.

How to cite : Marbaniang D G, Lyngdoh S, Curbing Covid-19- role of the Traditional Dorbar. J Community Health Manag 2020;7(4):120-124

Copyright © 2020 by author(s) and J Community Health Manag. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (

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