Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Do we need Prohibition of Liquor in Nagaland - P. Jonglio Khiamniungan, B.A. 3rd Year

There are many times we turn a blind eye – for example, when a family member uses unfair means to get a job or we condone corrupt practices which directly benefit us. Likewise, we continue to uphold the law on prohibition while ignoring the abundance of alcohol in functions, wedding parties, or even in some paan shops. The hypocrisy has led to many articles and debate topics on the issue since it was first enforced and has brought about many different viewpoints. 

This week, generation “Y” has a say


Do we need Prohibition of Liquor in Nagaland?

Prohibition of liquor is the legal Act of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. In Nagaland, I believe we need prohibition of liquor as it has become like a disease; bearing numerous ill effects. It does not only poison one’s life but affects the political, social, economic, spiritual, moral and educational standards of a society. Nagaland is one of the states in India where liquor or alcohol is legally banned. The government of Nagaland passed the liquor prohibition in 1989. The prohibition bill has in some ways helped in removing the glittering liquor shops from our towns and the drunken brawls that were noisily located in busy streets and the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) has also taken the initiative in upholding the prohibition Act. However, the prohibition has not fully succeeded in preventing our people from drinking alcohol and the debate is now whether it should be lifted  from the land or not .
Alcohol or liquor consumption has become a disease in the Naga society where the victims include both genders of all ages. I would like to highlight the disadvantages of alcohol and liquor consumption.

1.      Alcohol hinders the spiritual life of a person. Nagaland as we know is a Christian state but the inhabitants consume liquor in abundance, which strongly contradicts the Bible. Alcohol is one of the greatest enemies of man and destroys the family.
1st Corinthians 6:10 says, “No drunkards shall enter the kingdom of Heaven. No thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists shall inherit the kingdom of God”.

The Bible condemns liquor drinking: 
Leviticus 10:9 “Do not drink wine nor strong drink”.
Proverbs 20:21 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging”.
Proverbs 23:21 “The drunkards shall come to poverty’.

Thus, from the spiritual point of view it clearly indicates that one should avoid drinking alcohol to inherit the kingdom of god.

2.      Political: From the political point of view, it leads to all sorts of corruption, especially during election. Voters are being bought by a bottle of liquor by the candidates and allies.
3.   Economic: Alcohol consumption leads to low standards of living as the father or the bread earner in the family succumbs to this evil vice. Ultimately, it obstructs development in the society as it leads to less contribution from the members towards the society. 
4.   Health problems: It is a slow poison where the consumer suffers from multiple health problems such as – kidney failure, damaged cerebellum, liver and eventually kills the victim. It leads to severe asthmatic attacks, high blood pressure problems, heart attacks, cancer and other chronic ailments in the long run. Consumption of alcohol is not only harmful for one’s health but also the entire environment. There are millions suffering from alcohol abuse in the world and they are increasing in numbers day by day. One may get temporary pleasure out of it, but it gradually leads to mental and physical dependency on alcohol and addiction.
5.      Social Problems - It leads to many social problems like divorce, infidelity, rape, different forms of abuse, molestation, verbal and physical abuse etc.
Especially among students, it hampers academic achievement. Students are unable to concentrate on their studies and other related activities which affects their academic performance.

Unless the policy makers and law enforcers are serious and committed to the Bill, it will never succeed. However, in the present scenario, we find that many of them also actively consume alcohol. Despite being the lawmakers, they seem to have no intention of abiding by it themselves.

Sometimes in life we have to relentlessly pursue our objectives regardless of failure simply because doing them is right. All of this is possible only when the world comes together for a common cause. I believe the government organizations need to put in a greater concerted effort to eliminate this dirty habit from the root.
Steps should be taken up by the government organization or leaders of the state to bring discipline in the society and peace and order in our state. The society cannot progress in an undisciplined environment. There will be chaos and confusion in the society if things are not organized in a proper way. It is with the implementation of laws that the animal instinct in human beings is controlled. It is essential to impart knowledge of laws.

So far, due to the lack of implementation of laws in our society, we witness corruption in every nook and corner of our state.  Nagaland, as a Christian state needs to be controlled and disciplined. According to the act, dry state should be strictly prohibited. Despite our motto of Nagaland for Christ, every morning in newspaper we read so many IMFL cases. It is illegal in Nagaland, yet many exploit the alcoholic by smuggling in alcohol and selling them at exorbitant rates. While they may become rich, these alcohol dealers are abetting slow death among users, besides putting their families in untold misery. These black alcohol dealers are indeed some of the worst criminals in our society who are destroying people’s life as long as they get their money. The idea of revoking the total prohibition is unthinkable. It will instead provoke people to fall into graver situations.

In conclusion, I would like to cite that a growing and developing state like Nagaland needs to prohibit liquor in every possible way in order to improve our life in particular and our development in general. Let us commit ourselves to freeing our homes, streets, markets, offices, work place, villages and towns from the evils of liquor.

Winning Essay of the Degree Level Essay Competition held during Tetso Autumn Fest 2013


“The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of Tetso College. 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. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email: admin@tetsocollege.org

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Lessons From My Grandmother - Loina Shohe, Assistant Professor Sociology

The most inspiring people are not always the rich and famous, the celebrities or the well known preacher. Sometimes they are closer home and impact us more then we realize



Lessons From My Grandmother


Not too long back, on my profile page on Facebook, there was a spot to write our list of inspirational persons. I had put mine up as Leo Tolstoy, Queen Rania and Khuzhuli Shohe. In life we all have persons we look up to, persons who influence us through their work and lives they live, the ethics they believe, the qualities they possess, their fight for a cause. Some we meet, some we don’t, some lived even before us, some don’t even know we exist and yet we find inspiration, motivation and consolation through them. In my case the former two are well known personalities but you may be wondering who the latter one is and how she got to be mentioned along the likes of Tolstoys and Queens. Well, she is my maternal grandmother (that is her maiden surname by the way).

Grandma was not well educated as compared to today’s standard. Mom told me she attended only middle school. She did not possess an imposing personality, she was neither much of a talker, nor did she do anything scientifically or literally- exceptionally brilliant. I can’t even think of any artistic extraordinary skills or talent she had. And yet, till today she has been the one person whom I look up to, with all sincerity. For me, her life and the way she lived has been an inspiration, a consolation, a conviction that it can happen in this life too. She taught me and all who cared to know her through the quality of life she lived. And the beauty of it is that it she has never taken credit nor does she acknowledge how much impact she had in the lives of people who had known her.

At this stage I think it would be better if I can cite one by one some of the greatest lessons I ever observed from her life.

Ability to forgive- “To err is human, to forgive is divine”. Probably one of the most common quotes that is so frequently pronounced and so rarely followed, but if there ever was a person who can be so divine, then anyone who knows my grandma can attest to her divinity in forgiving. Grandma went through a very hard time once in life. She was married with three daughters when grandpa wanted a divorce. As per the Sumi custom with the divorce, the children were to remain with the father; she was not to remain in the village, or to meet her children. I heard people telling stories about how her neckpiece was broken into two and the beads scattering. The village people sang songs in the fields lamenting for her and her children. The divorce was done on grounds of some rumors that have never been proven till today. It wouldn’t have been strange if she had gone on with life bitter and vengeful, but she overcame it all through her ability to forgive. In fact, in later years when grandpa remarried she became more like a sister to his wife (my step grandmother). She was called back to the village once to pray for a certain person who was undergoing some difficulty with life. She did go, the one and only time she returned to her village after they tore her life apart and drove her away. If it were for most of us the first thought could probably have been ‘let them come to me’. But she was not most of us. She had moved on, she had forgiven them all.

Impartial courtesy towards all- People tend to have a way of dealing with people differently. One of the most interesting phenomenon, we can observe in this materialistic world is that most people tend to be sweet or kind towards people who they feel can help them in one way or the other. In other words, many of us practice partial kindness. That means we are not kind to all but only to certain people. My grandma was an exception. I never saw or heard her treat anyone differently. She had no special favor for a particular grandkid. She treated all of us equally. For her there was no richer or poorer, or fairer or darker, or wiser or foolish, or older or younger. No one who knew grandma would say that she treated them differently.

Respect for other’s differences and ability to accept them as they are- There was this uncle of mine who was really into one particular local leaf we add to chutneys. He liked it so much he used to say, ‘Anyone who doesn’t like this leaf is probably a fool’. Well, he meant it as a joke, but in reality I think I can safely say that many of us often have that attitude. We tend to think that people who are not doing what we are doing or like what we like are probably fools. We keep telling people to do things our way, advising them, and sometimes exclaiming and wondering behind their backs. Grandma never had this type of attitude; in her colony there was this drunkard and even though she was not a drinker she would be talking politely to him, just as she talks with any other decent person. She never questioned why he was drinking or advised him not to drink. She accepted him just as he was. That was the way she accepted all of us. She just loved us, accepted us - as we were.

Diligence for work and self sufficient- Grandma never had a government job (which is the definition of financial security in our Naga society). She never owed anyone anything nor depended on others for her needs. Most of what she needed was met by working with her own hands. She weaved, ran a shop for some years, and then she started cultivating fields. Even after all her daughters were well settled and could have easily supported her, she was always busy working. Her gardens were weed free and they say her fields were more like gardens, so carefully tended to. Maybe one reason for it is also because her fields were never too big; she only cultivated an area which she could manage by herself. She rested only on Sundays and special occasions.

Presentable appearance at all times-
 Grandma was a pretty woman, though she never used sunscreen or lipstick or put on anything too fanciful. She was always perfectly dressed - in her simple mekhalas and feminine blouses, with a light shawl draped over it, paired with sweaters and heavier shawls in winter. She was always clean and proper, whether she was home or came from the field or was just about to go to church.

Contentment with life- She minded her own affairs, lived independently as much as possible. And all through the years I knew her there was never even a single complaint about her life. She never gave the impression that she wished it otherwise or ever heard her pray for it to be different. I never saw her sad or depressed or angry or bitter with her life. She had gentleness, calmness, a happiness that came from within – one such that can never be achieved unless one is truly contented with one’s own life. For if one is not, surely one can break down sometimes, no matter how hard one puts a mask on.

Our grandma had all these qualities, and so much more. She passed away in the spring of 2009. Since then our lives have been lonelier without her, but we have kept on learning from the life she showed us to live. Her epitaph reads, “You were a true lady”, for indeed she truly was one.  I wonder how many of us can expect people who are dear and near - people who know us well enough - to say the same about ourselves some day, with conviction and with no apology.
 
“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. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email: admin@tetsocollege.org”

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

If I were a Teacher - Koinu S. Khiamniungan, Class 12 Commerce

They say that the best way to understand a person is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Rightly so, as this could probably be the closest way of learning, empathising and constructively critiquing what another person does. It is also an effective way to share great ideas. 
In this week’s column, we feature the writing of a class 12 commerce student who puts herself in the shoes of a teacher and tells us exactly what kind of teacher she would like to be. Through the mind of a 19 year-old, we are shown the immense reverence students have for their teachers and the huge expectations they have from us, touching enough to make every one of us teachers – whether we are a father, mother, brother, sister, boss or friend - want to live up to being the ideal teacher. 

Winning Essay of the Higher Secondary Level Essay Writing Competition organized by Tetso College during Autumn Fest 2013

If I were a Teacher 


Koinu S. Khiamniungan, Class 12 Commerce

Teachers play a very significant role in our lives. Their role has a great impact upon a student. They are the light of the world. Had there been no teachers; there would be no students. Teachers are our mentors, protectors and knowledge providers. We would be helpless like fish on sand, but if it were not for our teachers who pick us up and put us into the mighty ocean in order to wade bravely with our talents and abilities.

Well, everybody aspires to become someone great in future. Aspiration ranges from person to person. If I were a teacher I have big dreams to fulfil.

Teaching may not be only in the class, but in public places too. If I were a teacher, I would give my best. Indeed, I would help the students in achieving their goals and aspirations. A student’s future depends on how one prepares for it today and one way is by learning lessons from the past. As a teacher I would help the students make use of their present. I would draw out the potentiality of every individual and nurture them effectively.

Man is a social being and cannot live in isolation. But there are times when people feel rejected or isolated due to the absence of knowledge. Therefore, I would try my best to encourage and teach my students individually, because as a teacher it is our duty to learn the interest, capacity and ability of our students and impart knowledge accordingly.

If I were a teacher I would help even the underprivileged children and offer them guidance. I would give equal importance to every individual and avoid partiality. I would not make any differentiation between the rich or the poor. Every student should be given equal education. As a teacher I would respect their opinions, views, ideas and encourage honest discussions regarding their doubts and problems. I would break down the walls of distinction, feelings of inferiority, low-self esteem and promote team spirit and a feeling of oneness and unity. I would try my best to create a peaceful environment for acquiring knowledge boundlessly.

If I were a teacher I would also keep in mind the powerful saying, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge.” I would watch my actions and act accordingly to the above mentioned verse. Apart from bookish knowledge, I would encourage my students to fear God, our creator and impart moral and ethical values. I would also encourage the students to be sociable and God fearing. I would work sincerely and be a dedicated teacher.

I would put in my best effort to my students, and raise different kinds of future leaders all under the same roof. I would encourage healthy competition and make them more skilled. Besides this, I would cooperate with my colleagues and higher authority. I would do my best to uplift the Institution’s name and bring fame in many fields. I would teach my students to be practical about every topic I cover and urge them to put their learning into practice. As a teacher, I would also keep in touch with my students’ parents in order to know more about them and keep a check on their general well-being.  

If I were a teacher, I would also give importance to student’s emotions or sentiments. I would love to learn the cause of their sorrows and sadness. I would also encourage recreation activities. Picnic, I believe, is a form of social gathering that can help create closer bonds. So, I would take my students for a picnic from time to time inorder to make use of leisure hours, rather than wasting precious time doing nothing.

As a teacher, I would mobilise the students in bringing change in our society and fighting the evils that exist today. I would inspire them to be good leaders and work for the welfare of every individual. I would teach them to acknowledge one another. I would encourage them not to be discouraged in life as our life is made up of different encounters - some sweet, some bitter and others sour. All of these experiences together add meaning to our life. I would encourage them to speak for their rights and be bold enough to face the challenges of life. I would help not only my students, but as a teacher, educate even my siblings, relatives, neighbours and friends. I would encourage people to be morally rich as money comes and goes but morals come and grow.

As a teacher, I would try my best to bring about numerous changes in the society and lives of my students. I would always make myself available to help the students so that their dreams can be fulfilled one day. A teacher’s job is never easy nor can it be done alone and that is why I would give my absolute best to helping them achieve their dreams with the help of their own abilities and God’s grace.
 
“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. Tetso  College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email: admin@tetsocollege.org” 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Success Through Excellence - Imsanenla Ao, Asst. Professor Education

Nagaland has many people employed in the education and training sector. We may talk about problems in structures, buildings and we can try and make sure that only qualified people are hired. However, apart from qualifications, what sets people apart is the passion and zeal of someone who loves their job compared to someone who is merely earning a living. When Nagaland is clamoring for jobs, those of us who are employed need to realize we have a responsibility as a teacher, clerk, or officer. Education plays a key role here in guiding someone so that you can pursue a job and take up a fulfilling career and experience success.


Success Through Excellence

-          Imsanenla Ao, Asst. Professor Education

There are diverse perceptions of success and excellence; however, all converge within the dimension of education that runs through all of life. The attempt of this article is to dissect and look into it briefly. Everybody wants to be successful in their endeavour; many people make it to the finish line, but only a few choose to excel and move beyond the yardstick. These few are the most contented people, irrespective of their social status, position or nature of work, which in some cases may appear to be lower in rank or less coveted, because the world measures success and excellence on the basis of position held. Position is not always an accurate representation of a person’s success or excellence. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michael Angelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” It is apparent that success brings fame and position but does not guarantee real satisfaction. On the other hand, excellence is always accompanied by immense joy and satisfaction. Often, we as individuals focus too much on success and not excellence, but it should be the other way round. There is a saying “Don’t run behind success, run behind excellence, and success will run behind you”. Every parent’s desire is to see their children being successful and settled with a lucrative job. Everybody wants a lucrative job but the poignant question would be, is the nature of your job a product of your passion and hard work? I have seen many people who hate their jobs but keep them to make a living. I have no ill feelings against such people. My only concern is if you hate what you do, where is the room for excellence?

You may be a successful person but excellence in this respect is not forthcoming. Then what is success and what is excellence? Success is achieving what wants intended. It is measured by achievement, often it is measured by comparison with others. Excellence on the other hand, is all about doing the best and maximising your potentiality to the fullest and highest possible degree. It is going beyond success and beyond the yardstick. Education is often misunderstood as earning a degree or merely being literate. Though it is intrinsically connected to literacy, it is an ability to give meaning to words, discovering oneself, acquisition of the art to utilize knowledge in the right way etc. Many have acquired attractive degrees and handsome jobs, sadly many are yet to discover the true self and unique power one is endowed with.

Education is supposed to help us understand ourselves better. Education moulds and shapes, polishes and refines the crude. It adds elegance to what was previously rough, it gives technique to what was earlier chaotic, it crafts meaning in what was previously inane. To be educated is to be motivated so as to excel in ones pursuits. Our perspective for acquiring success and excellence should not be limited to earning degrees or jobs alone, but rather understanding one’s desire and knowing the unique potentiality should be the focus and pursuit. One should choose a career according to his/her passion and not under someone else’s pressure or interest. However, while doing so, it should ordinate with the innate ability, talents, gifts and potentiality to ensure excellence in his/her pursuits.

Education in the words of Mahatma Gandhi is defined as an all round development, body, mind and spirit. Ideally education embraces the three important components of life, physical, mental and spiritual. Therefore, to be truly educated is to adopt an holistic approach by keeping these components intact and balanced. Furthermore, those in positions of responsibility especially educational institutions should know where the boundary needs to be drawn and work on personality development, which in effect would positively impact both the quantity and quality aspects of an individual. Aristotle sums up all when he said “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

Students who develop physical vitality, emotional maturity, dynamic willpower, and a clear, practical intellect are prepared to lead a genuinely satisfying life of personal accomplishment and growth.

In conclusion, education in the real sense encompasses development in all aspects of life. Education is not just preparing for life, but education in itself is life. To fly with the wings of excellence let us be reminded of the words of Albert Einstein “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Poor Rupee versus Rich Dollar - - K. Keren Swu, Assistant Professor Economics

While we may feel that Nagaland is isolated and not affected by global economic upheavels, the fact that Nagaland receives most of its funds from the central government ties us together with the rest of the world much more than we may realize. The current value of the rupee 62.49 to a dollar (as of 1st Oct) can result in rise in prices of essential commodities like petrol and diesel and even food items. A closer look at the connection between the value of the rupee and the dollar is presented here in this week’s column. 

Poor Rupee versus Rich Dollar


Recently, India’s economy sharply collapsed against the mighty Dollar due to depreciation of Rupee hitting an all-time low and a high current deficit. Infact, India’s economic confidence dropped by massive points to 53% in the month of August comparing to the month of July 2013. What could be the reason behind India’s massive loss and struggle against “dollar”?

It may be known to one and all that the worth of crude oil has been a major bane for India, but all over the world oil is sold in dollars, which implies that when the demand for oil increases in India or increases in oil in the global market, there arises a need for more dollars to pay its suppliers and as a result the worth of the INR decreases significantly in comparison to the USD. Now as per the rudimentary laws of economic, if the decrease of dollar in India exceeds its supply then its worth will go up and the INR will fall down. Thus, this may or will alert the Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) to promptly withdraw their investments in the country and take it elsewhere. This withdrawal and rise of the “worth” value of USD creates an economic debacle for India making it the major reason behind the depreciation of the INR. The equity markets in India have been volatile for a certain period of time. This has put the FIIs in a dilemma as to whether they should be investing in India or not. In recent times, their investments have touched an unprecedented level and so if they pull out then the inflow will go down as well. As per a report in Business Today, the international investors in India have withdrawn to the tune of INR 44,162 crore during June 2013 and this is a record amount. This has also created a current account deficit (CAD) that is only increasing, thus contributing significantly to the depreciation of the INR.

One of the main reasons behind the Indian government’s inability to arrest the fall of the national currency is the critical current account deficit. In the 2012-13 fiscal, India’s CAD was measured at 4.8 per cent of the GDP. The government has been unable to come up with any new destinations for exporting its products and this has also hampered the growth in this sector. There are other crucial reasons here like the lack of one window for clearance purposes and procedural delays. Even areas where India has traditionally done well on this front have fared badly this time around.

Amidst this severe phase of thrashing received by INR, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is trying its best to seal the dripping economic roof of India and its people by deciding to open a special window for helping the state owned oil companies like I.O.C (India Oil Corp Ltd), Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum corp.  This will enable the beneficiary to buy dollar through this window, till further notice is provided. But not forgetting that the companies together need 8.5 million dollars every month to import oil expecting to meet its requirements.

On the other hand, some policy making analytically opines that to supplement the RBI and the falling Rupee it would be good if:

1. RBI can hold auctions for oil companies to buy bonds as the outstanding amount of their bonds are less. But sadly the government no longer issues bonds.
2. The government can evaluate the limits for foreign investments, but provided the parliament approves it.
3. Sovereign bonds may help raise dollar from overseas investors if the RBI is willing to take the risk during payment.
4. The RBI could also persuade Indian Banks and financial institutional area to raise their funds in dollar and lend them locally.
5. If the exporters convert their foreign earnings into rupee than it can temporarily aid in the declined rupee rate.

In spite of all that has been said above, it will be foolish to write off the INR completely and say it shall not rise from the mire. Experts are saying that the government needs to take some short and medium term steps that will help the economy get back on its feet yet again. It is only through continued efforts that the Indian government will be able to retrieve the situation. However, it will take a Herculean effort to help the INR get back to the 55 mark.

Save the poor rupee!!!

“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. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email: admin@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...