Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Reality of Primary Schools - Inaholi Aye, BA 5th Semester, English Honours

Image credits- morungexpress.com


Charles Dickens in his famed novel Hard Times critiqued M’Choakumchild, a Victorian era school teacher who had all the degrees but choked his students with facts, giving no room for creativity and individuality to thrive. Centuries have gone by, yet we have a large number of schools in the state valuing the certificates of teachers over their skills. Here are the thoughts of a 5th Semester student on the issue.






The Reality of Primary Schools

Education is the process of facilitating learning. The main objective of education is to prepare the pupils to face the competitive world and be able to earn a living. In Nagaland, every household demands their children be ‘atleast’ a graduate, thus indicating how graduates in our society have immensely increased. The most common job these graduates look for is that of teaching.
The problem, however, is not at the college or secondary level but at the primary level and below. Children at this stage have greater learning capacity, but they need to be mentored as they cannot self-learn. Ironically, the best and worthy are picked as mentors for the higher levels of education. We see the lack of importance paid to the lower stages of education. Hardly any attention is given to enhance its quality. We cannot deny this prevailing fact. And I hold a valid reason to this, knowing how only a handful of schools pay good attention to the quality and qualifications of the mentors.
Proving myself as a well-wisher of our society, I choose to voice the reality, from my own observations and of a few others from the education industry and write about it. Being tremendously fascinated by some experiences, I ventured out conducting interviews with the teaching faculty of several schools to dig into the problems, and it proved to be very beneficial and enlightening. In most schools that I visited, only a single teacher was appointed to take charge of a class. In some cases there were two, the other being a matriculate helper. In most cases, such practices result in a single teacher educating the children on up to three subjects. The children end up confused, the reason being a single teacher teaching three different subjects a day. There is a lack of specialisation which is needed even at this level. Each subject has a specific teaching methodology.
During an interview I conducted, a teacher who teaches three subjects to the same class said that students are often confused about what she has come to teach. The next question I asked her was of the interest of the children; if a teacher is teaching three subjects and entering a particular class three times a day, are the students still able to show enthusiasm and interest? She thought for a while and gave me the most candid response. “Their interest, of course, is very less and sometimes they seem lost in their own world. At times they give me that ‘you again!’ expression when I enter their class for the second or third time.”
This conversation sheds light on how the learning environment for students has become dull, insipid, and monotonous. When students are already so bored and indifferent, it’s bound to affect their learning capabilities. This predicament brings us to the question, what should be the qualities and qualifications of a school teacher?
According to me, teachers should be precise, creative, and cautious in all that is taught. They should most importantly be lucid to the students. They should know the value of their job and the role their career plays in moulding the citizens of tomorrow. The pupils trust them to such an extent that they would deny accepting corrections the parents offer to make in their books. They should be familiar with the content and thorough with what they are supposed to teach. I came across an English teacher who taught in the primary section. She had graduated with just 45% marks, and could hardly speak in correct English. Thinking in a broader sense of how the society has brought us to this face of life; to choose quantity over quality, and in the same demeanour, choose certificates over grades.
I interviewed another teacher who taught English, even though she was a Sociology honours graduate. Lack of aptly qualified candidates during the time of interview led to her getting appointed for the particular post. She thus barred her pupils from gaining proper knowledge since she was not familiar with the methodology of teaching English. She was aware of her shortcoming but did not voice out her concerns. She needed the job. I asked her whether she was confident that her qualifications would help her secure a good job. Her look gave it all away.  She took a moment and said a no, her voice not firm. It’s a vicious system, and children have to bear the brunt of it.
We the Nagas, who dream big for the future of Nagaland, should question ourselves if the prevailing education system in the state is good enough. Is it running as it should? If we are to give a sincere response to this, there is much to rectify.
We are greatly aware of the financial condition of our educational institutions. Yet, despite financial instabilities, we still have the capacity to bring about a good amount of positive change to the ever-worsening conditions in our society. If there be just one teacher appointed, she/he must not only be well qualified but most importantly have good skills. She/he should possess graspable teaching qualities and be well-equipped to grab the attention of the mentees. Then we know the complications would be remedied to some extent, although not fully. Our educational boards need to give due significance to teaching skills too, and not just certificates alone. Teaching should not be treated like the default career for graduates.
A little risk and some courage, accompanied by a little sacrifice by the authority, society, and individuals for the sake of the emerging great minds can undoubtedly make vast changes that we are so much in need of.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr Salikyu Sangtam, Nungchem Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

The Absurdity of Masculinity - Anjan K Behera, Acting HoD, Department of English


The problem of masculinity is not with the behaviour itself, but over what society interprets and shapes the term into. A superficial understanding of the term enables the subjugation of men who must adhere to certain behavioural patterns to be deemed “manly”.
The Absurdity of Masculinity
It had been an agreeable wedding, and while I did want to sit and appreciate the beauty of the newlyweds, the hunger pangs from my stomach dictated my exit from the colourful tent. My mind was particularly mesmerised by the faint whiff of the succulent mutton cooked with an army of spices, which drifted lazily through the crisp winter air. As the distance between me and the decked up plates grew shorter, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that my mouth contorted itself into an involuntary smile. It was then when I could realise sniggers and remarks. I had committed the unforgivable mistake of ignoring the unsaid rule of “Ladies first!” which had surprisingly found its way to a remote village in Odisha, to taunt me during the reception I was attending. “He can’t wait for the ladies to serve first?” “He thinks he is a lady?” I ignored the jeers, served myself a plateful, and sat to eat like a king. It was a win for menfolk everywhere, or so I thought!
This isolated incident made me wonder, how much of freedom do men really have today? The world may be patriarchal; our language, our traditions, everything; yet, aren’t men also being subjugated to several expectations and demands? By expecting women to have a “correct” existence, society has also placed several limitations on men. Take for instance the television ad for ‘Wildstone Talc for Men’ where a man is about to apply an unnamed “ladies’ talcum powder”. The voice-over for the ad taunts the man for using a ladies’ talcum powder, saying he is exasperated with the sight of effeminate men everywhere, which apparently is a crisis of epic proportions, and a contributing factor is the usage of women’s beauty products. In conclusion, the voice-over says, “Use Wildstone Talc for Men, Be a Man!”
This sexist ad almost portrays feminine behaviour as a disease: that one could ‘catch it’ and be ruined. It establishes the kind of masculinity our society has traditionally expected from men. However, one must realise that masculinity and femininity are just behavioural patterns, with fluid attachments to one’s gender. Psychoanalysts Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud both concluded that the divide between masculinity and femininity is more of a social construct. Male children are taught to be masculine as they grow up. “Don’t cry like a girl!”, “Don’t throw like a girl”, and “Be a man”; reinforcements like these automatically create the pattern for masculinity in young adults, and then the cycle is repeated when these children have kids of their own.
Anything outside the set norm is considered ‘deviant’. Biological males who do not fit the standards set for them are often deemed ‘unmanly’, a term used to justify bullying. A study conducted by Audrey Ruth Omar of the University of Iowa found that men who tend to be masculine, are more accepting of violence, and often bully men who aren’t masculine. This was depicted in the ABC musical comedy-drama series Glee. Finn Hudson (played by the late Cory Monteith) being the quarterback of the football team, is at the top of the high school social hierarchy. He is considered masculine and even participates in bullying others. Later, he himself gets bullied after he joins the Glee club and performs in the choir. His football teammates feel Finn is turning effeminate, now that he sings and dances, and call him ‘gay’.
This fan favourite television show portrayed a fundamental fact, that orientation is unrelated to masculinity or femininity. The fallacy of a correlation is propagated by the society, which leads to shaming and bullying. Men have to be masculine to be accepted and respected by the society. The obsession with masculinity is a leading cause of homophobia. Several studies show that a contributing factor to alcoholism in men is to fulfill certain social expectations of ‘manliness’, with college men being the risk group for this kind of behaviour. In a research conducted by R L Peralta of the University of Akron, it was found that 68% of college going men reported that they equated the ability to consume large amounts of alcohol without vomiting or fainting as a characteristic of masculinity, and the inability to do this was considered as a sign of femininity, weakness, and even homosexuality.
It’s not just alcoholism. Across societies, men engage themselves in several risk behaviours to prove their masculinity. I have several male friends who think eating large quantities of meat while avoiding vegetables is manly. Manly behaviour also includes engaging and boasting about sexual promiscuity, which is deemed synonymous with masculinity. Men are venerated by peers for their sexual conquests and treated like the alpha male. This leaves them susceptible to HIV and STDs. Traditional masculine behaviour encourages violence; from images of Beowulf battling a dragon, and of the ‘knight in shining armour’. Tattoos and piercings are also seen as signs of masculinity.
In popular media, especially in advertisements, the ‘macho man’ stays away from domestic chores at all costs. He is never shown cooking or cleaning but emerges as the one who must be served and respected. Certain colours, professions, expressions and words are off limits for the manly man. Our society adores the masculine man, and men have over the centuries striven to be identified as masculine. I agree that women have suffered more owing to social norms and gender stereotyping; however, it is also necessary to acknowledge that men are definitely not free from this vicious trap they have unwittingly constructed for themselves.
Maybe the first step in doing away with these absurd identities is not obsessing over what she/he should be, but rather appreciating the uniqueness of each individual.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr Salikyu Sangtam, Nungchem Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

The Poverty Trap - Daoharu Basumatry, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics



Every year, the Central Government of India pumps crores of rupees into Nagaland for the purposes of development. Even the state government has collaborated with various social organizations in its effort to tackle poverty and ignite economic development in Nagaland. And in recent days, there have been demands made by the citizens asking the state government to do more in terms of economic development, production, and unemployment. This week’s article sheds light into the ailments inhibiting Nagaland’s economic development.


                                         The Poverty Trap


Poverty - the word simply refers to poor people, is not at all desirable for any economy. It may be understood both in absolute and relative terms. People may be poor in comparison to others which is basically a relative concept, and also people may be poor in the absolute terms, i.e. they may not even have all the basic needs to survive. In both cases, the conditions prevailing in an economy is not desirable for an economy, that is why Government of various countries are fighting it. In India, the fight against it has been through various economic and social programmes. Yet these problems of poverty are yet to be solved completely.

Examining the problem from the economic point of view, it (poverty) is really undesirable because it leads to poverty trap ie. the vicious circle of poverty. The vicious circle of poverty is a situation where poor people remain poor and they cannot accumulate savings. People with less or little savings have low purchasing power which leads to low consumption which in turn leads to low production, and low production leads to low employment (both labour and resource) and finally, low employment leads to poverty. So, poverty affects both consumption and production which retard economic growth and development.

Every country needs economic growth and development; however, poverty stands in the way of it so they try to solve it through various plans and programmes. The various Government plans and programmes designed to solve the problem of poverty in most parts of the world have been basically monetary in nature. They, however, have not yielded the desired results. The fight with poverty in Nagaland has seen the result as argued by the classical economists; they postulated the role of money to be neutral. Neutrality of money is a phenomenon where change in money supply in an economy affects only the nominal variables like price level, wage rate, interest rate, etc.; whereas on the other hand, real variables like output, employment, real wage rate have seen very little change. All the money that has been pumped into Nagaland has simply displayed how money has been simply displaying the neutrality of money. Nominal variables especially price level and unemployment has seen a huge rise. The need of the hour is that the rise in the nominal variables should be really controlled and there should be a gradual rise in the real variables, for the betterment of Nagaland.

The Indian economy is dependent on internal trade. This can be a great force in the fight against poverty and unemployment in Nagaland. But, sadly, internal trade has benefitted Nagaland in a very limited manner. To be beneficial, internal trade should be both ‘to’ and ‘from’. But the picture is very clear, internal trade for Nagaland has just been ‘from’. Commodities starting from A to Z are being brought to the state, which has led to huge outflow of money from the state. All the consumption requirements of the state have not been met through local production. Local production has been really confined to few goods. Had most of the requirements of the state been met through local production then it would have really contributed in the fight against poverty and unemployment. So, Nagaland has been losing both due to internal trade and lack of local production, accompanied by corruption, which is evident when we see the existing conditions of public properties, despite huge Union Government’s investments to develop the infrastructural facilities of the state.

Has internal trade favoured Nagaland? The answer to this question is not so favourable for the state. The need of the hour is that policy makers of Nagaland come up with better ideas and have a vision that its people also gain and not only lose when it comes to internal trade with other states of India. The Union Government of India has recently come up with the policy of ‘make in India’ (of course everything cannot be made in India since it involves cost efficiency and availability), which I strongly believe does not exclude the role Nagaland can play. In this regard, the Government of Nagaland can also come up with the idea of make in Nagaland or at least produced in Nagaland, and also try to ensure that it brings the desired result.

The scenario of Nagaland viewed from social perspective has also its role to play in the existing gloomy economic condition. It has been very much dominated by ism - tribalism, communalism, and so many more. Have all these “isms” served the cause in any way?  Though I am not the right person to comment especially on social issues, I can certainly say that these “isms” serve the economic cause in a very limited or even do not serve at all. There should be some common ground on which the problem of “ism” can be compromised with economic requirements.

Nagaland in so many ways has become a dependent state and the consumption requirements have to be covered up by internal trade. Yet, this very internal trade has just been a medium of resource drain from the state which has in so many ways contributed to poverty in Nagaland. It’s high time that a state, where Government funding has seen very little results, see that the plans and programmes to curb poverty and unemployment be really executed in the desired way to attain the desired results.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr Salikyu Sangtam, Nungchem Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

India Goes Cashless - Lily Chishi, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics

Source: The Economic Times, India

The economy of India underwent another massive change with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax on the midnight of 30th June 2017. The GST is ambitious and hopes to create jobs and raise national revenue. Over the past few months now, India has been attempting to go cashless. Technology is changing the way we live and work, leaving behind a trail of mixed responses. So, what does it really mean to go cashless?

India Goes Cashless


‘Going Cashless’ is now the big buzzword in India, and the ball is rolling as the world’s largest cash economy begins going digital. It has left citizens with mixed emotions because more than half of the country’s population either fears the new system or are unable to comprehend the idea of going cashless. Nevertheless, a cashless economy is really a bold move considering the fact that Indian people are quite reliant on hard cash. One is left to wonder how a cashless economy is beneficial to the country and its people. Is it going to benefit everyone?
In a cashless economy, transactions will be done by digital means like e-banking, debit and credit cards, point of sale (POS) machines, digital wallets, etc. In simpler words, no liquid money or paper currency will be used by the people. In a cashless economy, a third party will be in possession of our money. It will ensure a corruption free economy and attack the parallel economy. In India, welfare programs often suffer from the chronic problem of corruption and the non-implementation of schemes. A cashless economy would solve these issues since the movement of currency can be traced.
Any monetary help to the poor and the needy people can be made through bank transfer, even payments for rural employment generation schemes like MNREGP. This way there will be no instances of middlemen syphoning off the aids and exploiting the poor and illiterate people. A cashless economy would make it easier for tourists as well. The deplorable practice of buying votes by distributing cash to the electorates would also be reduced, and true democracy would be finally at work. It would enable the government to check the supply of money for terror activities.
No doubt the Central government is making a big push for the cashless transaction in the country to achieve its target of becoming the largest cashless economy. However, it seems like the country is not ready for such an immediate shake-up. Although the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana launched by the government succeeded in bringing millions to the banking system, the process is not complete and many of the accounts are non-functional. Hacking and cyber thefts are grave dangers that plague the digital world, and therefore a strong security system must be put in place.
One thing to be considered is the presence of rural and remote areas where the cashless economy initiative may take a few more decades to be fully implemented. Take for instance Nagaland. Our state has so many other crucial issues it needs to tackle first, like that of unemployment, bad road conditions, corruption, unresolved political issues, and most essentially, shortage of electricity, poor internet connectivity in many areas which can directly affect the execution of a cashless economy. Though this system may work wonders in developed cities, it won’t work in states like Nagaland, unless massive changes are made and various facilities are improved. The world is starting to exist in a digital realm, and states like Nagaland have a lot of catching up to do. I am positive that cashless economy, once implemented in Nagaland, would improve our state greatly.
Many of our business transactions had to be cashless after the demonitization. This proved to be especially tricky in an underdeveloped city like Dimapur where most shops still do not have the card swiping machine, nor do they have payment options like Paypal and Paytm. Do we have the equipment ready to support this system? Many of the buyers and sellers are concerned about the extra tax deducted when cashless transactions are made. These convenience charges may not seem very good for those living below the poverty line.
The availability and quality of a stable internet network will play an important role. People are facing difficulties in making electronic payments even in metro cities because of the poor network. Secondly, one of the biggest beneficiaries of this transaction, banks and related services providers, will have to constantly invest in technology in order to improve security and cash transaction. People will only shift when it is easier, certain and safe to make the cashless transaction. Thus, the government will have to find better ways to incentivize cashless transaction and discourage cash payment.
India may not fully become a cashless economy in the foreseeable future but it needs to reduce its unusually high dependence on cash to bring in much-needed transparency and efficiency in the system. India hopes to create a cleaner, more transparent economy via digitalization that will lead to an improved climate for foreign investment, boost economic growth, and ultimately prepare the country for the next chapter of its emerging markets stop.

There are also marked class issues which are built into India’s cashless transaction. India is a country that has one foot in the future and other in the Stone Age. This is a country that has one of the most vibrant and high-tech ecosystems in the world along with hundreds of millions of people living in villages who are comfortable with technology that’s hardly more sophisticated than a bullock cart and plough. Both the old and new India have a parallel existence. Only 17% of the Indian population currently has access to a smartphone. India culturally believes in cash and a paradigm shift in thinking will need time and resources. The way people pay for things is rooted culturally, and often hard to break. But once they are broken new ways emerge. A new pattern becomes solidified as societies update the way it functions.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Absurdity of Masculinity -Anjan K Behera, Acting HoD, Department of English

                                                     image credits: theodysseyonline.com



The problem of masculinity is not with the behaviour itself, but over what society interprets and shapes the term into. A superficial understanding of the term enables the subjugation of men who must adhere to certain behavioural patterns to be deemed “manly”.







                                                    The Absurdity of Masculinity

It had been an agreeable wedding, and while I did want to sit and appreciate the beauty of the newlyweds, the hunger pangs from my stomach dictated my exit from the colourful tent. My mind was particularly mesmerised by the faint whiff of the succulent mutton cooked with an army of spices, which drifted lazily through the crisp winter air. As the distance between me and the decked up plates grew shorter, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that my mouth contorted itself into an involuntary smile. It was then when I could realise sniggers and remarks. I had committed the unforgivable mistake of ignoring the unsaid rule of “Ladies first!” which had surprisingly found its way to a remote village in Odisha, to taunt me during the reception I was attending. “He can’t wait for the ladies to serve first?” “He thinks he is a lady?” I ignored the jeers, served myself a plateful, and sat to eat like a king. It was a win for menfolk everywhere, or so I thought!
This isolated incident made me wonder, how much of freedom do men really have today? The world may be patriarchal; our language, our traditions, everything; yet, aren’t men also being subjugated to several expectations and demands? By expecting women to have a “correct” existence, society has also placed several limitations on men. Take for instance the television ad for ‘Wildstone Talc for Men’ where a man is about to apply an unnamed “ladies’ talcum powder”. The voice-over for the ad taunts the man for using a ladies’ talcum powder, saying he is exasperated with the sight of effeminate men everywhere, which apparently is a crisis of epic proportions, and a contributing factor is the usage of women’s beauty products. In conclusion, the voice-over says, “Use Wildstone Talc for Men, Be a Man!”
This sexist ad almost portrays feminine behaviour as a disease: that one could ‘catch it’ and be ruined. It establishes the kind of masculinity our society has traditionally expected from men. However, one must realise that masculinity and femininity are just behavioural patterns, with fluid attachments to one’s gender. Psychoanalysts Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud both concluded that the divide between masculinity and femininity is more of a social construct. Male children are taught to be masculine as they grow up. “Don’t cry like a girl!”, “Don’t throw like a girl”, and “Be a man”; reinforcements like these automatically create the pattern for masculinity in young adults, and then the cycle is repeated when these children have kids of their own.
Anything outside the set norm is considered ‘deviant’. Biological males who do not fit the standards set for them are often deemed ‘unmanly’, a term used to justify bullying. A study conducted by Audrey Ruth Omar of the University of Iowa found that men who tend to be masculine, are more accepting of violence, and often bully men who aren’t masculine. This was depicted in the ABC musical comedy-drama series Glee. Finn Hudson (played by the late Cory Monteith) being the quarterback of the football team, is at the top of the high school social hierarchy. He is considered masculine and even participates in bullying others. Later, he himself gets bullied after he joins the Glee club and performs in the choir. His football teammates feel Finn is turning effeminate, now that he sings and dances, and call him ‘gay’.
This fan favourite television show portrayed a fundamental fact, that orientation is unrelated to masculinity or femininity. The fallacy of a correlation is propagated by the society, which leads to shaming and bullying. Men have to be masculine to be accepted and respected by the society. The obsession with masculinity is a leading cause of homophobia. Several studies show that a contributing factor to alcoholism in men is to fulfill certain social expectations of ‘manliness’, with college men being the risk group for this kind of behaviour. In a research conducted by R L Peralta of the University of Akron, it was found that 68% of college going men reported that they equated the ability to consume large amounts of alcohol without vomiting or fainting as a characteristic of masculinity, and the inability to do this was considered as a sign of femininity, weakness, and even homosexuality.
It’s not just alcoholism. Across societies, men engage themselves in several risk behaviours to prove their masculinity. I have several male friends who think eating large quantities of meat while avoiding vegetables is manly. Manly behaviour also includes engaging and boasting about sexual promiscuity, which is deemed synonymous with masculinity. Men are venerated by peers for their sexual conquests and treated like the alpha male. This leaves them susceptible to HIV and STDs. Traditional masculine behaviour encourages violence; from images of Beowulf battling a dragon, and of the ‘knight in shining armour’. Tattoos and piercings are also seen as signs of masculinity.
In popular media, especially in advertisements, the ‘macho man’ stays away from domestic chores at all costs. He is never shown cooking or cleaning but emerges as the one who must be served and respected. Certain colours, professions, expressions and words are off limits for the manly man. Our society adores the masculine man, and men have over the centuries striven to be identified as masculine. I agree that women have suffered more owing to social norms and gender stereotyping; however, it is also necessary to acknowledge that men are definitely not free from this vicious trap they have unwittingly constructed for themselves.
Maybe the first step in doing away with these absurd identities is not obsessing over what she/he should be, but rather appreciating the uniqueness of each individual.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr Salikyu Sangtam, Nungchem Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Naga Society: A Cry for Hope - Rukusheyi Rhakho, BA 3rd Semester (English Honours)

                                                             


What is the youth’s opinion about our Naga society today? Read on to take a deeper look into the mind of a youth, who strongly feels disenchanted with the way Naga society has progressed. Rukusheyi Rhakho voices out in downright frustration about the state of affairs in our State. It’s time we asked ourselves, are we giving enough hope, guidance and the right environment to our youth to believe in a positive future for Nagaland? Can we give hope to our future?

Naga Society: A Cry for Hope

Lately, I have been numbed out of my senses by the idle talks that my parents and elderly neighbours are engaging with. They seem enthusiastic to share and talk about the Naga Political Groups (NPGs); the stories of their exploits and the heroic sacrifices they made in the hands of the occupational forces.  Naturally, these narratives seem interesting and there is no doubt that some of them were real heroes. Yet, relating and comparing them to how much of a hero they were, and the counsel to never forget their sacrifices on almost daily basis seem to astound me. And so I usually stop paying any attention to what they say. However, on pondering, something strikes my head - a brainstorm.
Imagine them on the battlefield during the final moment of their lives. They surely must have thought or presumed that “I’m doing this for my country; I’m doing this so that the future generations don’t have to go through what I have gone through”.  And the notion “for a better future” must have emboldened them to sacrifice.  But sadly, somewhere along the way, the nation that they bled and died for has become so messed up. No doubt, our society has reached new heights and levels that things once unknown are within sights but sadly, not in a good way. Our society has gone down in terms of morality, integrity and values that the Nagas were once known for.
We have fallen to greed to such an extent that we have lost all our morality for the love of money and are ready to do whatever it is to get them. The new trend of trying to get easy money and become rich in no time has replaced our moral principles. Corruption has reached a new level that it is not only the government or the state that’s involved in it but the very nook and cranny in every level of the society. The love for worldly pleasures and comforts and declining morality (with topics I rather not mention) has taken root in our society. We were never this way so why now? The hypocritical extent of our society is that we are willing to sacrifice others even to the extent of killing our own brothers over petty differences but are willing to take and steal as long as it means profit to us. When we are the affected we cry foul saying “it isn’t fair, it isn’t right”  or that “ we should ban that or this”  but when the time comes we are in the forefront  indulging in it  (I have even seen people going  to the extent of  demanding tax on old age pension meant for the elderly). We need to know that we just can’t always get a ‘scapegoat’ for every fault done by us out there but need to own up responsibility and accept the fact that we have ourselves to be blamed for almost everything. Are we not responsible for degrading and destroying whatever little hopes we are nurturing?
We the Nagas have rather a subtle way of doing those things we claim we don’t do and so we fail to see the broader vision or the sight of what we are actually doing and as such we can always deny it on the pretext of one thing or the other. After all that has happened around us, do we ever think or realize that it all began when we decided to take that one wrong little ‘decision’? If only we could change what we did back then, not much can be said over the society that we have become.  Like me, I do believe, there must be lots of people who share the same value and resent what we have become. Yet, all hope is not lost as we can see people coming out and trying to change the society that we live in. Their endeavors to change what have been wronged are encouraging signs.  But the question remains can we accept the change? Can we accept that we too are at fault? If yes we are heading towards the rising sun if not we are heading towards the setting sun. As far as I’m concerned it would take a mammoth task to backtrack out of our mistakes.
Not that everyone has the foresight to see into our own mistakes and we seriously need one but our own ego and pride have stood as a stumbling block to everything. Have we become our own undoing? Are we the reason that our society is so messed up? Are we not the ones paying for the misadventure of some unmotivated idiot lost in his schemes? Can we hope in the new generation? Or will it be the same? To be honest, I have no hope on the present leaders in our society and on those who are in power now. Maybe the upcoming generation can instill the hope and endeavor and usher the will for a change.  On the ending note, if God could show them what would become of the cause of the nation our forefathers fought so reverently for, what would they say? What would they feel knowing that their dreams and ideals are degrading? Frankly, if I were in their place, I would have questioned everything.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr Salikyu Sangtam, Nungchem Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Who is the Right Leader for Nagaland? - Shitio Shitiri, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

   Image credits: huffingtonpost.in

Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore catapulted Singapore from a stagnant Third World backwater to the front ranks of the First World in just three decades of governance with his imagination, courage, political will, and benign execution of power. Similarly, in a State like Nagaland that’s desperately crying out for transformation, dynamic leadership is required for dynamic change.  


Who is the Right Leader for Nagaland?

One essential ingredient of a state is the existence of visionary leaders. Our state has a good number of aspiring political leaders, but sadly very few live up to the expectations. Whatever position we may find ourselves enmeshed, one thing is certain that the quality of leadership determines the destiny of a state. It is the deeds committed by us which degrade or elevate our standing in the society we live. If good deeds are done with actual labor, then nobody can stop us from attaining the much cherished goal in our life. But if we have sinister motives in our mind and heart, then the exact opposite will happen. To be honest, the prospect of our future depends upon how we choose our leaders. We first need to be responsible for ourselves before we can be responsible for others. American author, speaker, and pastor John C Maxwell has said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”.
Nagas at this point of time don’t need politicians, but leaders who think and live for the people. We need true leaders, one who can lead the state and its people out of ignorance, corruption, and all kinds of evil and wrong practices. Good leadership requires a combination of charisma and integrity, as well as the ability to assess a situation and make decisions based on what would be best for the masses. We need leaders with integrity. The people need a consistency of values.
Unfortunately, there is lack of transparency and honest politicians. The lack of transparency results in the lack of trust. The best leaders are the ones who accept blame when things are wrong and give credit when things go right. Leaders need to let go of ego and focus on the growth of the society. The lack of commitment, formation of new party or shifting of loyalties to another cannot change the personality of a leader. I wonder how politicians at one given point of time were best comrades and later turn out to be foes. Trust is immediately shattered impeding the flow of honest feedback and communication through the ranks and files. One needs to stop the bloody war of blaming or pointing fingers at each other. We need to focus on being a person of integrity, not a person who doesn’t make mistakes. I cannot believe the abundance of ego and pride among our selfish arrogant leaders taking Nagaland from bad to worse.
We have failed to recognize good leaders from bad ones. Our leaders have failed us because of poor and fickle visions and goals. They are happy within their comfort zones, satisfied with the status quo, and tend to be more concerned about survival than growth. Such hardened leaders succeed in passing the lie detector test and befool the people for a while, but the day of reckoning will certainly come. A leader who lacks character and integrity will not endure the test of time. It doesn’t matter how intelligent, persuasive, or savvy a person is, if they are prone to rationalizing unethical behavior, they will eventually fall prey to their own undoing. Nobody is perfect, but leaders who consistently fail are not leaders. If leaders don’t understand the concept of “service above self”, they will not win the trust, confidence, and loyalty of those they lead. We need leaders who are fluid and flexible in their approach.
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). We need fresh and young dynamic leaders for the bright future of our coming generation. Leaders are born out of you and me. The present holds the key to the future. If we want our future to be bright, we should be prepared to choose the right leader who can work honestly and incessantly in the right direction. It leads to the logical conclusion that if we want to gain something with one hand, we have to give up or sacrifice something in lieu with the other. Let not ‘creed, tribalism, money, selfish corrupted individuals’ vote bank’ replace ‘merit, competence, integrity, and honesty’. It’s a vicious cycle and the problem is somewhere inside and needs to be fixed. This is perhaps the most challenging reality for us to accept.
Politicians often promise the moon on a stick. When they fail to deliver, voters end up feeling disappointed and possibly even betrayed. Are the public leaders, the main actors in this play, satisfied with the way the government is working? Can we make a positive difference in the state? Where do we start? First we need to change our thought, attitude and behavior to ensure a better future and progressive society.
Public opinion, debate or discussion on a larger scale would be instrumental in minimizing the special advantages of the various interest groups that have often negatively influenced most processes relating to good governance.  We need to engage in some self reflection on why there is lack of political, economic and social growth. Indeed, we can be the change if we can change our mindset- ‘so be the change’ to contribute to the long term growth of good governance.
Election 2018 is approaching, and here we can be as clean as a whistle. Major changes start at the grassroots level. Perhaps you can’t save the world, but you can at least save your backyard for now.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr Salikyu Sangtam, Nungchem Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

The Power of Purpose - Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Vice Principal


Image credits- thesacredscience.com


“Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon,” said the janitor when asked what he was doing. The janitor knew his role had a purpose towards the success of something bigger.





The Power of Purpose
When Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, gave his commencement speech for Harvard’s Class of 2017, his message to the graduates was to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose. He said with technology and automation coming in rapidly, the meaning of purpose is changing with many people feeling disconnected and depressed, where the need is not just to create new jobs but to create a renewed sense of purpose to be truly happy.  
I don’t see why anyone would disagree with this, because having a sense of purpose is the truth of why we do what we do or even don’t do everyday. I think to take a look back at our lives, or a jump forward, is one way of measuring if we are able to fully live that sense of purpose.
Zuckerberg mentioned a story which corroborates the true meaning of accountability and having a sense of purpose.
“When John F Kennedy visited the NASA space center, he saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded: “Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”” The janitor knew he was part of a larger system, and that his role was integral to the success of something bigger - the man on the moon. He knew his purpose.
In the context of Nagaland, I think for some it makes complete sense, but for some others it might not at all. And it is that section of population who cannot relate, either because they really do feel like they are doing nothing at all – because of a number of reasons - they’re unemployed, they’re drop-outs or they can’t relate because they live on a hand to mouth existence, are frustrated with the whole system, feel a lack of equal opportunities, or are unsure if they’re in the right profession or aren’t exactly passionate about what they are doing.
To an observer, this already says a lot about the state of affairs in our State. If we were to trace back the reasons for having reached our current state, I think the magnitude of the problems would be overwhelming. It begins from the policies we already have in place to the way they are executed, where most times even the rule of law does not serve any purpose, and the checks and balances we desperately need to ensure efficiency. Then there are the tribal idiosyncrasies practiced in Nagaland, the power of brawn, might and money which we have just not been able to move away from.
How do we deal with this? Apart from some individuals breaking through the iron barriers, I believe it is so important to have leaders, managers, supervisors, visionaries who can bring everyone together to inspire, encourage, empower, and give hope to others that there is a sense of renewed purpose in why we do what we do everyday. It’s not that we don’t have any, it’s just that we need more, in every single industry; where we are all working together, supporting each other and not going against each other. Just starting from the grassroot is not enough, it is through the right advice, the right guidance and the right knowledge and information that actually reaches the grassroot that empowers everyone to start hoping and aspiring for something better.
And, not to undermine anyone here, but I don’t think it’s possible for everyone to perform that role either. Our social dynamics is complex in Nagaland. I believe that it is those who have the insight, intellect, ability and are also in a position of influence, are the ones who can create a greater sense of purpose for others too. But this also does not mean that the rest of us can’t and must sit and wait for our sense of purpose to be served on a platter either. But that these could be the first steps towards building a support system to be enablers for each other.
It is never easy that’s for sure. Adversities and challenges prevail everywhere. What Sheryl Sandberg wrote is very poignant - “The sad truth is that adversity is not evenly distributed among us; marginalized and disenfranchised groups have more to battle and more to grieve.” I think what she says is pretty accurate. But what’s equally important to remember is that what’s in our control is how we decide to respond to it - our attitude, our perseverance.
We can learn and we can grow. When we are growing we have a greater sense of self- worth. This is where I believe, education comes in, and not only of the formal kind. It is the kind of education that we learn from life’s experiences. The kind that can reason, critique and allow one to make sound judgements and the best choices. Mark Zuckerberg may have dropped out from Harvard, but the fact is that formal education systems across the world vary so that by the time we have reached a certain stage, some can thrive even on their own. It doesn’t mean that every student can drop out and be a Mark Zuckerberg. What’s essential are support systems too.
In Nagaland right now, the existence of different industries – commerce, education, and government functionaries, organisations, NGO’s and more are shaping the future direction of our State. We need all of these to be support systems for each other - working together and acknowledging each other’s ideas when credit is due or swapping them for someone else’s. Learning and growing together towards a common goal is so important to building that support system, so that we all feel a renewed sense of purpose; just like the janitor who helped put a man on the moon.   

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognized Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

The Reality of Primary Schools - Inaholi Aye, BA 5th Semester, English Honours

Image credits- morungexpress.com Charles Dickens in his famed novel Hard Times critiqued M’Choakumchild, a Victorian era school te...