Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Enduring Beyond: Hope for 2017 - Dr. P.S. Lorin, Principal




Nagas are fortunate people with a strong foundation open to possibilities in the future. We have English medium schools. In other places in South India, especially in the rural areas there are only regional medium schools where English language education is taught only from the 5th standard (class). As a result of this there is a lot of catching up to do by these students when they reach class 9 and 10, for the textbook terms and words are not familiar to them. This causes many to drop out and discourages them to study further. Despite this, we still find a number of them excelling. In comparison, Naga students are getting greater opportunities. Our education foundation proves advantages over many Hindi and Tamilian speaking students. The question is 'Can we excel'?

Enduring Beyond: Hope for 2017
-          

When we talk about hope, we also need look at our shortcomings, realize them and work towards strengthening them. One disadvantage our Naga students have is that our Naga students normally do not talk in class or speak up with answers as fast as North/South Indian students even if they are 90% sure of the answer. Till today I do not understand where this timid tradition came from. Speaking from my own experience, I remember how timid I was when I was with Americans in the classroom. My presence was not noticed. I finally realized that even I needed to become bold like others. I had nothing to lose. And it was only when I became bold that I became a better student. It is sad but true that even these days I still notice this apprehensive behavior among students in my College as well. We need to tackle such attitude issues. We must know when to put ourselves forward and take the initiative. All this may seem like minor issues but take serious note, it is only from the minute and smallest things that differences are made and transformed into positive and negative consequences on the larger canvas. So I have a question for all of you today 'can we overcome this timid tradition'?

Another disadvantage with us is playing truancy and being regularly absent in the class with so called good reasons. On the other hand, one does not admit ones weakness. Promotions are demanded even if examinations are missed. More worried about losing years than the quality of academic standard and how well one has learnt, even parents or guardians seem to concur with them. I think this experience is found more common in the Colleges.

Many HSSLC and equivalent successful candidates who studied in HSSLC do not carry expected backgrounds. They are sub-standard and are equivalent to 5/6th standard of some medium standard schools in the cities or towns. Are those schools capable of producing only mediocre students?

Another practice I would like to see more of amongst our Naga people is ‘Dignity of Labour’. Foreign students are ready to work from the simplest of jobs like waitressing, janitoring and sweeping to baby-sitting while pursuing their studies. The other problem that arises is when we get our degrees; no one is willing to start work from the lowest rung. We want white collar jobs with big names. We don't seem to be willing to work our way up. Can we change this attitude? Today I am not here to give directives about what it is you have to do because in the end only you can figure out exactly what is best for you along with the education and maturity you gain. The choice is yours. But we should reflect on this and thereby act upon how education can change our society.

We have a lot of educated unemployed in a small state like Nagaland. The educated unemployed problem is going to frustrate many graduates. Many might get discouraged because they have the education yet cannot get jobs. They may feel that education does not guarantee them for a secure future. As we face a higher competition level, it seems that normal standards of excellence just cannot cut it anymore. There are jobs available but the questions are – are you eligible for them? Has your study prepared you to meet the challenges? Simply getting a degree is not enough since competition is high. For that you are going to have to compete with others (both within the state, outside state and even outside the country). Your marks or your grades must be at the same level with others or above them. A degree is not a guarantee for a sound future. You must be true to yourself, know your family background and financial position. Our Naga obsession, preconceived notions and prejudices of good life like the obsessive need to become instantly rich and possession of unattainable ideals of imaginary positions must be discarded forth-with.

Here is a very simple story but meaningful. We have a classmate laughing at a school boy who is wearing Bata shoes. And why? Because he was not wearing one of those known brands like Nike, Adidas or Reebok. No doubt this is absurd. This outlook may destroy the very essence of pursuing education. Simply coming to the city or towns, and wasting time without attending classes must be stopped. Instead, a clear plan with ambition and hard-work must be cultivated. Determination is the key to success. You may be thinking, that's easy to say but it has been nothing but strong determination and of course not forgetting the grace of God that has made many Nagas successful today. Despite all the setbacks and discouragements that become a part of the package to success, I strongly believe determination can guarantee success. I think that one is bound to face difficulties along the way but to give up hope or be discouraged would be taking the wrong way out.


We must make a commitment to endure beyond the challenges, setbacks and difficulties life throws our way. What is beyond for the Nagas? Naga history has taught us more than enough to endure beyond and become a successful educated person. There is no substitute for hard work, dedication, and commitment. Given the opportunities, Nagas can excel and are capable of competing with others. I truly believe that because of our turbulent environment, and because of the violent and bitter experiences, Nagas can manage better in the practical field compared to others. We must take up what we have been gifted with, what is available to us and transform it into a positive and successful future. For this you must be willing to face the realities of life. You must be able to face the truth, admit mistakes and shortcomings, take bold steps, and move confidently forward until you achieve your goal. It is in this way that our future is thus secured.



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.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas in Nagaland - Kahor Raleng, HoD, English Department


The month of December took off with a combination of activities and incidents in Nagaland this year - the Hornbill festival, night bazaars coupled with the effects of demonitization, the PDS scam and ACAUT, and more. Now with just a few days left for Christmas, here’s a reminder of what December is all about for Christians around the world. This week’s writer takes us back to her sweet reminisce of Christmas day and also reflects more on the spirit of Christmas in Nagaland.

Christmas in Nagaland

It has taken me a tremendously long time to come up with this article. One specific reason for that is maybe because I don’t have any good things to write for Christmas. Now I associate Christmas with the onset of the Hornbill Festival, traffic jams, dust, endless night bazaars, noise, the rush of bodies jostling around in the markets, drunkards, rash drunk driving, parties, accidents, a reminder of growing older with another year gone by and to further add to the list this year, the demonetization drama. The magic of Christmas seems to have disappeared. It feels like Christmas is just another festival in our calendar and not the most important day for a Christian.
It was a different scenario when I was a little girl. Christmas was the time of merriment and fun; but in that entire hullabaloo, the importance of Jesus’ birth was never forgotten or overshadowed. Prayer and worship were the most essential part of any gathering. I remember my siblings and I staying up on every 24th and 31st Dec and as soon as the clock struck 12 we will wake up Dad and Mom so that Dad can say the prayer for the family. That moment was the most important part of the whole festive season. After that, we all snuggled up in our beds and slept with hope in our hearts for a wonderful year ahead. The assurance of God’s presence in our life was always renewed with prayer. We attended church services, visited family and friends and invited them for dinner. And in any of our gatherings, some amount of singing hymns and worship was ever present.
The word Christmas means Christ’s Mass, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Old Testament prophets like Isaiah revealed many centuries before that Christ would be born with a unique purpose…a purpose unparalleled in human history. Christ was born unto us so that we will be saved from the consequence of sin. In the Gospel of Luke 2:11, it says “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The true purpose of Christ’s birth is to save us from sin, to give us eternal life. He brought with Him not only everlasting life but also peace, love and hope. Christ is God’s precious gift to humankind, the ultimate sacrifice. God gave us His only Son as a gift. This fact calls us to be grateful and show our gratefulness in return. This Christmas season presents before us an opportunity to give and share a smile, a little kindness, love, hope, joy, and peace to make a difference, in our lives and in the lives of others.  
How many of us realise the true essence of Christmas? Today, Christmas as a whole has been commercialised and romanticised. Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, the carols have all been commercialised. It has become more of a competition where you show off your wealth, showcase your creativity and it appears like we compete how to best show how materialistic the whole Christmas season is about. Some individuals or organisations seem to be in a rush to cash in on the season and make some profit out of it.  Young people today associate Christmas with parties and outings and are reluctant to spend time in the church for worship. The true spirit of Christmas is lost and the essence of Christmas is fading gradually. Either people are too rich that they take pleasure in showing off their wealth or they are too poor to afford one square meal and Christmas is just a shadow. There seems to be desolation everywhere along with the cold winter.
This Christmas also seems to be overshadowed by the demonetization brought upon by the Modi Government, the rampant corruption exposed by the ACAUT, the constant wars in Syria, Iran and the disturbances in Kashmir. Surrounded by all these happenings it is hard to visualise a Merry Christmas with all its merriments and good tidings. The environment was similar in the first century C.E. when Christ was born. But His birth brought transformation in the lives of those who accepted Him and His gospel. There were also who rejected His love. But even today the same transformation can be experienced by all those who accept Him. It is a matter of our choice, and the choices we make today make us.
Christmas is a time to rejoice and be glad. It’s a time to share, a time to give back hope to the lost and lonely, a time to bring back God in our lives. What are your plans this Christmas? Are you planning to do something different?  What can we do this Christmas to make it meaningful? Let us contemplate on these questions. And if you are surprised to realise that you are in a far better place than so many people around you, be grateful. But remember gratefulness does not only end in being grateful but in the act of being grateful. Reach out to the downtrodden this Christmas; help the needy and the lost. Go out of your way in helping others by sacrificing your time, money and your pleasures and you will see how satisfying that will be. Let us ask ourselves this question “Is there something I can do to give back hope to this horizon?” like the band Gothard sang in their song Merry Christmas.
Let us recapture the magic of Christmas and in all our Good Samaritan works let us not forget God, which we tend to do quite so often. God should be the focus and the purpose of all that we do. Wishing you all a blessed Christmas!

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.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Demonetization’s Impact on Students - Losin Lorin, B.Com 6th Semester (Accounting & Finance Honours)



In radical move on 8th November 2016 Prime Minster Narendra Modi announced the withdrawal of high value banknotes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 from public use and ever since, demonetization has created a stir all over India. Varied opinions have been voiced on this issue, shocking amounts of money have been recovered, and even as the nation tries to move on with normal life it is apparent that different regions and sections of society have found it challenging to cope with this change. On 22nd November, Suresh, a B.Sc. student at Panchnehi Memorial College in Uttar Pradesh committed suicide after he was unable to withdraw enough cash to pay his examination fees. He had stood in bank queues for days trying in vain to get the money. How has demonetization affected students in Nagaland? This week’s article analyzes just that.

Demonetization’s Impact on Students 

Demonetization has, in some ways, affected everyone in India and has changed consumers’ spending habits. I decided to ask some of my friends to find out their views on demonetization of old currency notes. Many are happy with the steps the government has taken to expose black money. And many believe the government has finally taken a step to stop corruption in India. Some opined that it may not expose all the black money in circulation, but at least a little will be exposed giving initial steps to create a corruption free country. It was interesting to hear differing views on interacting with students of Nagaland from different backgrounds and mindsets.

So it appears that the biggest problem students are faced with is the process of exchanging old notes at the bank. Exchanging the old bank notes can be very frustrating given the amount of time wasted waiting in queues and sometimes even banks run out of the new notes . The government policy to limit the amount of money one can withdraw also causes  much inconvenience for the students and their family, since most are unable to meet the needs of the family with  the limited amount of money. Even to pay the fees, students now have to visit the banks at least two to three times, sometimes even more, within as many days just to pay their tuition installments.

Some of my friends also think that the demonetization of money will not create any difference in Nagaland. According to some, since people, i.e. local tribal people, don’t pay income tax in Nagaland, it will not affect the people drastically and that corruption cannot be stopped. The only difficulty is that the standards of living will change because in Nagaland credit cards are not commonly used. And even if one decides to use debit or credit cards there aren’t enough facilities to accommodate the use of cashless business transactions. Thus, it only perpetuates the difficulties of not having enough cash supplemented with the problems related with the exchanging of old bank notes.

A junior from my college told me, “I went to the bank on 2nd of December in the morning at 10 am and had to wait for 4 hours in the queue to get the money!”
Another friend of mine said “I had to wait for 2 hours in line to get the money. While standing in queue some people were even trying to cut the queue to get inside quicker and that created a commotion and it took longer!”

Some also mentioned that it may be cruel for the public now as it is very difficult to find change for the large denomination, such as 2000 rupees note, and even to exchange the old note is also a big public inconvenience, but at the end of the day, they maintained, it is for a better future. Many are happy because black money will be exposed and in that way corruption will be stopped to an extent.

Everyone has different ideas regarding the demonetization of money; therefore, according to me, I believe that this first step taken by the government is the beginning of a new era, a beginning that will bring concrete changes. And hopefully, such steps will instill values of honesty and trust in our society. Money is not a bad thing, but the greediness is. The greed for money brings about evil in the world. People are bought with huge sums of money for political or social reasons.

Honesty is now a rarity, especially in Nagaland. Seldom do we trust one another. Today, our society is lacking in trust  since most of us fail to keep our words and are unable to be truthful and honest because of social obligations, for reputations, and so on. Thus, I hope demonetization of money will create a positive change in India.

Yes, people don’t pay income tax in Nagaland. But things should not be taken for granted. We should know what is right and have good values. Finally, the government has taken a step to stop the most pervasive problem, ie, corruption, and I hope this step will create a positive impact in India and in Nagaland, specifically. The problems of exchanging notes from the banks continue to be a big concern; thus, I think if the government has made proper plans prior to the implementation of its new policy, the government needs to be aware of the situation and make sound decisions to meet the demands of the public. For me, this might help the government in earning the support of its citizens. Some people even say that this step was taken by the government to promote clean elections, as politics, in India, is connected with money.

Positives and negatives will always exist in policy matters of the government. The step we need to take is to quickly adapt to the situation such as using credit cards, upgrading facilities that support the use of cards and other digital means, for instance, paytm. These steps are not only easy to use but they’re also convenient. For now, it may be too early to predict the outcome of the decision made by the government, but let’s hope that over time, there will be a positive change.


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.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Stop the Blame Game! - Vizolie Khatsu, BA 2nd Semester (English Honours)






The essence of democracy is founded on the freedom of expression of the citizens. This is symbolized by the citizens’ right to vote. The democratic process and its legitimacy depends on impartial expression of the citizens’ views through their votes and for the candidates to respect their judgment of the voters. This requires elections to be free and fair, where electoral processes are respected. The first step to democracy is not clean but free and fair elections.

                            Stop the Blame Game!



When observing the prevailing scenario of the political situation in our state, my mind conjures the image of an overfed pig. The public is fed by the candidates with money to further advance their interest of accomplishing their quest of dominating the seat of power. Pigs enjoy the food that is provided to them, and they grow fatter with each passing day. They oink peacefully and remain completely oblivious of the impending doom, its eventual murder. In the same way, the public too is blind to the future, being too caught up in momentary pleasures and false promises. We are behaving like pigs when it comes to the democratic running of our state. In this way, our society faces a metaphorical death.

During the elections, like the pigs who get aroused by the smell of food, the whiff of cash makes people forget all morals. The notes are gathered in a hurry, like savages fighting for food, and later people throng to the church and pray ceremoniously to wash off the guilt. In searching for the cause of the inefficient governments, we are swift in lifting our hands and swinging it left and right, trying to pin the blame on someone. The fault lies in us. We are filled with the vice of self-righteousness and pride, and cannot look beyond the realm of our own self-interest.

The money that the politicians sway in front of our faces to lure us is much like the traps set by hunters for wild animals. This unscrupulous method works as people willingly approach the money in spite of being morally aware that it is a bribe. The society thus falls into the hole dug by the hunter, and we get trapped by the politician who has been “elected”. The metaphorical deep and dark hole, full of pain, is the situation we live in today.It seems like a never-ending process and is deeply embedded into the very thread of our society. In this “darkness”, corruption and malpractices prevail.

Now there are metaphorical holes, and then there are real ones, like the thousands of potholes in our roads. Any driver from our state could race in the Formula One sporting event! The potholes in our state’s roads heighten the senses and skills of the driver as he swerves and veers, trying to avoid the potholes. This is the only benefit I see from this utterly sad predicament. Nagaland has been a state for 53 years now, and yet the roads remind one of the lunar surfaces. How many years more before we get proper roads? This should be taken as an eye-opener to the deteriorating condition of our state.

Roads create the first impressions of a place. I wonder what’s the first impression that people have of us as they enter Nagaland. I bet the tourists feel like a new species as their internal organs get rearranged while traversing our roads, which almost look ravaged by some war. Most roads are temporarily fixed in December before the coming of tourists to our state. If they stay for a few months after the Hornbill Festival, the true colours shall be visible. These patchworks are like putting lipstick on a pig. Who are we trying to fool? A chain of corruption exists, and its end product is pitiable roads like ours.

In our elections, there are honest candidates. Sadly,they seldom win. The ones who have a reputation for being shrewd and corrupt are the ones who mostly win. They are well-to-do and thus provide “gifts” to the voters. The moral and good candidates refrain from such practices, and so it is an inevitable continuous cycle that keeps on repeating itself. It is no longer considered as something illegal but as the norm. Bribing voters has become so common that it is an open secret, which no one is abashed to admit of taking part in it.

And so in our collective waste, we roll around like swine, comfortable in the evil which has been now normalised. And in doing so, the society suffers as a whole.

The money that the corrupt candidates give the public is a slow poison that will kill eventually. Government employees not receiving their salaries, huge sums of money disappearing from airports, horrible roads, and lack of women in the government are perhaps side-effects of this poison. The problem may be credited to the corrupt political candidates as they are the ones who are bribing their way towards power. But this is not totally justifiable, as, without the voters, the candidates would remain without power. In reality, the power actually belongs to the public.

The problem of the electoral malpractices has more to do with the individual voter. We are the ones making the choices. If we want to see a change, we need to get rid of our short-sightedness and put on our new metaphorical glasses to be able to get a clearer view of the path ahead of us. We simply cannot be swayed by momentary persuasions, and be involved in practices which would be a spit on the faces of our past leaders of our nation who fought so hard for our future and the glory of the Naga hills. Only by doing so, one can hope to achieve a society devoid of tyranny and justice. Nagaland is a beautiful state, with good people. We can, and I really believe that we will create a better tomorrow.


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.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Nagaland: 53 Years & Miles More to Go -Shitio Shitiri, HOD Political Science, Tetso College





Nagaland celebrates 53 years of Statehood Day on 1st December. We are reminded of the words of the Nobel Prize winning playwright, George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” These words ring true especially with regard to our society where any sort of political, cultural, and socio-economic progress are inhibited by the doors of closed-minds that resist change and development. As we celebrate 53 years of Statehood Day, and with a month left to  welcome the New Year, let’s commit as citizens, to build a better and united society.


Nagaland: 53 Years & Miles More to Go


December 1, 2016 will mark Nagaland completing its 53rd Year of statehood. This is not a long time in the life of a state, but it has been long enough to accommodate dramatic changes in all areas. Nagaland received the status of a full-fledged state after a unique struggle, via the 13th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1962, although it was formally inaugurated on December 1, 1963. Perhaps over the years, there have been many things to be proud of, and as many things that have let us down.

We owe much gratitude to the selfless leaders who have contributed to the growth of Nagaland in spite of overwhelming obstacles.  But have we attained all our goals? Definitely not, and corruption has plagued our land. The menace has grown because those at the helm of affairs have discovered that the arm of the law is never long enough to rope them in. If there is one gaping hole in our roster of achievements, it’s the ‘lack of constructive endeavor, and corruption at all levels’. There is no substitute for substantive development, and adherence to good governance creates an environment where corruption struggles to flourish. 

Today, we witness mass revolts and strikes being organized because citizens have lost faith in the ability of the government. Government expenditures which are meant for security and welfare of the public, where are they ending up?

As per state budget 2016-17, the government allocated Rs 280.32 crores for the development of roads and bridges; and Rs 25.63 crores for the development of medical and public health infrastructure in the state. The allocated budget probably froze, considering the fact that the road conditions in our state remain absolutely deplorable. Health facilities in rural areas are still poor. In spite of the high literacy rate of 80.11 percent, as per the 2011 Census, there are 72,415 unemployed youth in the Live Register, comprising of graduates and diploma holders in various fields. Weirdly, our state government declared 2016-17 as the “Year of Construction Workers”, so as to provide relevant skill training, and encourage the youth to take up this profession. While the initiative may have a strong basis, it also begs the question of whether we have made beneficial use of the rich resources for our youths or is this a boost for mass migration of construction workers to mainland India. 

Nagaland has considerable natural resources of about 600 million metric tonnes (MT), above 20 MT of hydrocarbon reserves, 315 MT of coal reserves, 1,038 MT of limestone reserves, and an estimated 1,574 megawatt (MW) of hydro power generation, all of which remain unexploited. The figures and data on paper indicate the presence of huge investment opportunities and growth, so why can’t we tap the resources and utilize the same for the growth of state economy? The role of leadership, and the ability and willingness to walk the extra mile plays a crucial catalyst in development. Assam moved from the 19th rank to the 7th in economic development because of improved infrastructure and macro economy.

We wake up every morning to war cries resounding from every corner- of students, of N-Naga DAO, of SSA & NRHM employees on non-payment of salaries or scholarship, of NGOs & Civil society on backdoor appointments and mismanagement of funds, of media feuds between coalition partners and political pundits, Hohos against the government, and of other such troubled people. We read tales of misdeeds and corruption by our politicians, but rarely read about the retribution. “I’m the saving grace- true messiah!” The spectators watch the endless hypocrisy.  We have mastered the blame game and are skeptical to move beyond our comfort zone. Centuries ago, Athenian historian and General Thucydides said, “Some legislators only wish to vengeance against a particular enemy. Others only look out for themselves. They devote very little time on the consideration of any public issue. They think that no harm will come from their neglect. They act as if it is always the business of somebody else to look after this or that. When this selfish notion is entertained by all, the commonwealth slowly begins to decay.”  Glimpsing the degrading state of affairs, herculean effort on the part of the government is needed to eradicate the loopholes. Is there room for improvement in government programmes, or is it too complacent due to the lack of a strong opposition party? Are our social and economic problems getting worse? What lessons have been learnt from the present political crisis? Where is the rule of law, transparency, accountability, and public service ethics? What response has been given regarding the exposed potential weakness of our governance? It takes a committed leadership to accomplish a propitious change in society. The government should operate with integrity and impartiality. Its leader should be honest, moral, and virtuous.

We are being challenged with the lack of constructive endeavour, professional accountability, reliability, predictability, participation, technical, managerial competence, and transparency. Our real happiness does not depend on the fortune and type of work we do, or the money we get in return. Rather, it depends on the dedication and devotion with which we do our smallest duty. The future is not rosy, but we are now knowledgeable enough to mitigate the threat and challenges that confront us today. It is dark inside, and Nagaland is still waiting for the dawn. Let’s hope the wait wouldn’t be too long.



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.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Dream Child Dream! -Veduvolu Khusoh, Assistant Professor, Department of English




“To be or not to be, that is the question” is what Hamlet asked when faced with the dilemma of existence. Indeed, life attains its significance only in the face of such existential predicament: Is life worth living? Yet, what makes life worth living are dreams, dreams that give life its meaning and purpose. Without dreams, the essence of humanity is lost. What redeems us as persons, as individuals is our capacity to dream and dare to achieve that which we have envisioned for ourselves. Let not the fate of Hamlet be the fate of our society’s youth.

Dream Child Dream!

Several discourses have been carried out on the problems of youth confronting our society today. Informal discussions on this issue has become common with parents at homes and other places of gathering. Yet, solutions seem to be elusive. Increasingly, we are witnessing violent and restlessness, degrading moral values, rise in mental illness and disturbing fashions and trends. To top it all, much like Trishanku, our youth appears to be suffering from incurable dilemmas, which keeps oscillating at the crossroads of modernity and tradition.

There’s no denial that over the years there has developed a segregation between the two types of youth in our society. This calls for initiating necessary measures at the earliest before the gap becomes too prominent for change. I had the chance to get some insightful and personal stories of teenagers at a prayer institute. One in particular, a twisted story of a boy, got me thinking: we were never born wicked; it is the situation and certain kinds of treatment that branded us as evil and changed the direction of who we want to become.

This boy’s mother had left him when he was very young. After 18 long years, he reunited with his mother. But his mother would introduce him to her neighbors as her cousin. One day he decided to kill her for all the pains she caused him and for being ashamed of claiming him as her own son. With this single purpose of ending her mother’s life, he joined a satanic cult to gain extraordinary powers. Thankfully, perhaps by divine intervention, before he could realize his goal, he ended up at the prayer institute. His future appears bleak but he hopes to make it big someday.

Another story of a 15 year old girl: her parents sent her to a boarding school from Class I, though they lived in the same town. She hated it and felt unwanted. She wasn’t able to comprehend why she couldn’t live with her parents. In order to get their attention she tried all sorts of repulsive things, but in vain. She never could get what she wanted - the attention and love of her parents. However, if you ask her about her dreams, her face would immediately light up. She has so much passion for fashion and modelling. I wonder, will she ever get the support of her parents to pursue her dream?

One more: a young boy once told me that he has no aim in life, and there’s no point in having one because he’s not bright enough to crack competitive exams, and there is no hope in becoming an entrepreneur either as his parents are not rich enough to help him start his venture. I was confronted with a predicament for which I had no wisdom to offer. The ambiguous attitude of our youth towards government jobs being the only respectable and secure occupation is sadly too common. As far as entrepreneurship is concerned, many wrongly believe that only individuals from well-to-do families can become successful. We get so caught up with reports of corruption and other issues of our State that we neglect these issues that require our immediate attention. Our youth are highly misinformed about life.

One of the major contributors to these issues, I believe, is a lack of inspiring role models. We haven’t had a great leader that we could look up to in a very long time. If you ask the youngsters today who Dr Talimeran Ao is, don’t be flabbergasted by their response because they have no idea about the history of this great Naga footballer! The story of how Dr T. Ao led the Indian Football Team in London without football boots on his feet, or the story of how our brave Naga leaders walked for days secretly and managed to reach Guwahati to listen to Mahatma Gandhi remain unknown to the new generation. There are many inspiring stories like these, but sadly we are forgetting them all.

In Assam, an outdoor stadium at Koliabor (near Nagaon), and an indoor stadium at Cotton College in Guwahati has been named after Dr Talimeren Ao, but nothing befitting his legacy has been done in Nagaland. Why have we stopped glorifying all these great Naga people? Our youngsters should be aware of these sublime stories, feel proud, and be inspired. Being brave; standing up for what we believe in, even if it means sacrificing our lives and helping out one another in the community, is an integral part of our roots. These good-old-days’ tradition should be passed on from generation to generation as we progress towards modernity.

On the brighter side we do have so many extraordinarily talented and brilliant young people who need proper guidance to unleash their full potential. I am optimistic that if we come together as parents, educators, and citizens, encourage our youth to look beyond government jobs, give them enough attention and let them understand the value of family and friendship, adorn them with moral values, quality education, and equip them with life skills and a sense of patriotism, then, like a comet through flames we will seize the future triumphantly.

Is this visionary dream of another Naga woman going to the guillotine, to be mocked and then killed by her pessimist readers? Even though we are not too fortunate to have a glorious past due to our struggle for identity and freedom, we can still write our stories of victory. The past does not write our future, we do! If we filter out the best of traditions and modernity, nothing can stop our youth from going far in life. The question is this - is our society listening to our stories ... the stories of our dreams?


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.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

QUALITY EDUCATION: A GAME CHANGER - Somungla Khamrang, Assistant Professor, Department of Education






E R Braithwaite in his 1959 novel, ‘To Sir With Love’, documents his life as a teacher in an American school during the post-World War II years. His students are unmotivated to learn and are weak in English. A dedicated teacher, he continues in his attempts to reach out to the students and motivate them. In response, the students grew equally rebellious and disruptive; owing also to the fact that Braithwaite was black. This made Braithwaite realize that he needed to change the way he was teaching the class. He began to treat them like adults and allowed the students to choose what they wanted to study. This radical approach helped his students learn and gain interest in studies and eventually, they all came to respect him as an educator after learning the evils of racism. That’s what education is all about, it aims to reform, and not just instruct. It aims to prepare young adults for a better tomorrow.

QUALITY EDUCATION: A GAME CHANGER 

Education is a source of survival. To quote Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.  It affords a person to discover his or her innate capacity and potential. Certainly, education does not solely mean acquiring degrees or certificates, rather the mandate of education is to make the individuals productive and responsible. In the present century, most advancements are driven solely by the power of education. Many institutions have set up varied aims to keep in pace with the ephemeral temporality of this highly globalized and interconnected world. Now the concern here is - Do educational institutions create and provide culture and ethos in sync with needs and demands of the time? Do they prepare themselves on sustained basis to develop and promote the talents of budding generations to their fullest potential and stature? Are the educational institutions ready to mould and shape the future generation on solid grounds? Educational institutions should strive to provide quality education to the younger generations by equipping them with the essential tools required to compete in a highly competitive market. As we all know, securing good results is not the ultimate value of quality education. The value of quality education invariably rests in producing creative, morally upright, and socially responsible human beings. Therefore, educational institutions must not focus solely on exam results. Nor must they commercialise education in their efforts to attract more students.

There are numerous educational institutions prevalent in the state that aim to achieve certain standards of set goals, vision and mission. Having faith on the availability of quality education, individuals enrol to quench their thirst for knowledge. Yet, getting into the right educational institution also becomes important. It is not good enough to get into any educational institution just for the sake of it. When results are declared, students and parents are busy researching institutions that are best suited for admission. Nevertheless, considering the rush during admission season, educational institutions must not overlook the mandate of quality education in favour of profit and commercialisation.

The present generation compels educational institutions to restructure the dynamics of the teaching and learning processes. For this purpose, certain factors need to be emphasised to unfold that which is waiting latent in an individual.

In order to find the pearl, deep down in the sea that is perfectly enveloped in the shells, the sea should be crystal clear. Hence, restructuring or redesigning the educational environment is needed if we are to enable individuals to contribute to the well-being of the society.

One such example of educational restructuring or redesigning is the exchange programs. Exchange program is the need of the hour. In fact, exchange programs for both teachers and students alike can be one of the effective means for innovative learning and teaching processes.

For the refinement and refreshment of the knowledge, interaction with ‘guests’ from different states and countries is in great demand for the budding generation. Inviting professionals or experts from different departments of various institutions to interact at regular intervals will go a long way in inspiring the students accomplish their goals. Making use of information and communication technology can also add an element of innovative dynamism to the educational processes.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I’ll forget, Show me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. Opportunities should be provided where students can make use of the available resources by developing their ability to think critically, find innovative solutions of problems, develop creativity, make informed judgment, and meaningfully participate in the advancement of the society. To make students an active producer of knowledge, their participation and involvement is paramount.

Assessment and evaluation of students’ performance are an indispensable ingredient in ensuring quality education. These are used to gauge the progress made by learners, and can also be used to evaluate the outcomes of learning and accomplishment as well. Assessment practices must be meaningfully integrated with the entire educational process to promote productive and engaging learning experiences. This requires that the system of assessment and evaluation should be focussed on enabling and augmenting the ability of students to learn. It should be designed to evaluate in such a way as to take into consideration students’ efforts, their progress, or if they are facing academic difficulties. Such system of assessment should be transparent, and since students are to take responsibility for their learning they should be actively involved in their assessment as well.

Imparting quality education must be encouraged so that special attention is given for the development of personal skills and potential of the students through special care and protection. Audrey Hepburn said, “A quality education has the power to transform societies in a single generation, provide children with the protection they need from the hazards of poverty, labour, exploitation and disease and give them the knowledge, skills and confidence to search their full potential”.

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.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Honesty versus Corruption in Nagaland - Mhasilie Koza - Asst Professor, Department of Commerce






India ranked 76th in the list of corrupted countries in the world, while Denmark was declared the least corrupt in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International (TI), a non-governmental organization whose non-profit purpose is to take action to combat corruption.  Denmark has one of the world's highest per capita incomes, and subsequently a high standard of life. Nagaland, on the other hand, is still struggling with corruption in many forms; backdoor appointments, proxy teachers, black market, truant officials, and fuel adulteration to name a few. We have a lot of catching up to do. It’s time to wake up and fight corruption in every form. 
 

     Honesty versus Corruption in Nagaland


Corruption! Corruption! Corruption! Everyone, everything, everywhere seems to be corrupted. We are all clear about what corruption is as educated persons. But when we are corrupt, how we can say that we are educated. All we can say is we are much more illiterate than the uneducated people with innocent minds.

What is Corruption? Anything that is not brought to justice is called corruption. Corruption, in one form or another, is a worldwide phenomenon. But everyone admits that corruption is something ugly, immoral, and detestable.

Wikipedia defines ‘Honesty as to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft etc.’ Furthermore, honesty means being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.

Unfortunately, in our state, corruption has become a part of life. Corruption is everywhere visible in its unadulterated form: bad road conditions, mismanagement of government funds, non-payment of salaries for government teachers, and so forth. It has entered the very roots of Naga society. It has become so intrinsic in our society making it extremely impossible for anyone to be honest. Looking at our scenario, honesty seems to be the minority whereas corruption the majority. Corruption makes it impossible for one honest man to carry out the required task assigned to him/her smoothly. It has superseded honesty and plays a dominant role ruling over our Naga society today.

Clear evidence is seen from our local dailies, such as misuse and misappropriation of funds, backdoor appointments, pending of works, protest against non-payment of salaries and acquiescing to demands after strikes and agitations. Does honesty prevail in our Naga society? So when all these are clearly visible how can we say we live in a society where honesty rules. It is like a tug of war in the battleground between two different opponents: "Honesty vs. Corruption". So who do you think will be the dominant group? This is a metaphor of our society.

We live in a society where the sweats and rights of the poor public are lavishly enjoyed in luxury by the unthoughtful, corrupt and powerful people. Public cries are heard but ignored. It seems justice is itself up for sale! The numerous schemes are sanctioned and given by the central government for the upliftment of the poor people living in rural areas. Yet, if we were to inquire as to who the real beneficiaries of the schemes are we find that the actual beneficiaries are the politically influential groups in the society while the targeted people for whom such schemes were allocated are denied of the benefits. The very existence of ‘ism' in our Naga society is so entrenched that people become blind to differentiating between good and bad. The irony is that, instead of fighting against corruption our society sanctifies the corrupt officials simply because he or she belongs to one’s community or clan.

An example of corruption, given by a candidate (first-hand information): there was an advertisement put up in our local dailies for the post of ‘Dobashis’. The candidate happens to apply for the said position. But when he inquired about the selection process in the nodal office, ironically, it turned out that the post has already been filled even before the advertisement was put up. This is an unfortunate instance where aspiring and deserving people with no voice to raise and with nowhere to turn for help are slowly being deprived of all hopes. This is just a story of one candidate, but there are likely many more such aspiring candidates whose silent tears spilled go unnoticed. Is our state not a Christian state? All we can say and see is ‘Nagaland for Christ’ is being replaced by the word ‘Nagaland for Corruption’. It is us who are rearing and nurturing corruption into our younger generation. It is as if corruption is everything to us and we cannot live without it.

Brethren why let corruption chain us? Why can't we unshackle ourselves from the grip of corruption? Living a life of integrity is far better than a corrupted benevolent and respectful person. Our individual commitment to honesty is a guiding light; our spiritual commitment to purity is a saving light.

Every politician represents citizens who have elected them so that they will carry out good policies for the growth and welfare of the general public. If a politician is inefficient but honest, then with the power of honesty he/she can uproot corruption from the system. At the same time, an honest politician needs the support of the public and the majority to overcome the enormous odds and challenges in our State. 

A spiritual development like love, purity, honesty, unity, empathy, justice, happiness, etc. among people is where we see no or less corruption. The reward of honesty is honesty itself, for there is nothing better than honesty. No one can be good or great without truth and honesty. No matter what, truth always triumphs.

Let honesty emerge victoriously against corruption in our Naga society. 

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.


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Enigma Called Bob Dylan - Nungchim Christopher, Assistant Professor, Department of History.






Every Year the prestigious Nobel Prize is awarded by the Swedish and Norwegian institutions to those who have made invaluable contributions in the advancement of science, culture, and peace. The declaration of this prize is usually quite uneventful except for the awardees and their academic institutions. However, this year’s announcement was a deviation from the norm when the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to an American singer and songwriter, Bob Dylan. The controversy centers on the question as to the pertinence of conferring this  year’s Nobel Prize in Literature to a ‘singer and songwriter.
                               
                                             The Enigma Called Bob Dylan

I usually relax with soft country music before retiring for the night. That night I began with Kenny Rogers’ The Vows Go Unbroken, and Coward of the County, when somehow something changed my mind and I replaced Rogers with Bob Dylan. His unusual bittersweet voice always enchants me. After listening to some weighty questions he threw in about peace and war in his 1962 hit, Blowin’ in the Wind, and his prayers to his muse for inspiration in Mr. Tambourine Man, I was now on The Times They Are a-Changin’ when my phone beeped with an alert. It was my news app Inshorts giving its latest update, “Singer and songwriter Bob Dylan awarded the Nobel Literature Prize in Literature for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. My immediate reaction was a shock. What? Is this real? I soon realised that Dylan’s song is right, the times they are a-changin’!

Yes, since the 75-year-old Robert Allen Zimmerman, popularly known as Bob Dylan, was conferred the Nobel Prize for Literature 2016 on 13th October, interesting mixed reactions have been pouring in from literary circles as to whether the Swedish Academy has made the right choice in awarding the troubadour. It’s not surprising that the naysayers are the minority, with the majority cheering. That’s Bob, an enigma, always captivating hearts throughout the five decades of his career. 

Don’t we believe that a singer needs to have a soft, sweet-sounding conventional voice to appeal to mass audiences? That’s not Dylan who’s endowed with a flat, croaky voice, a detail his critics often accentuate. They say he can’t sing, he croaks, ‘sounds like frog’, his voice is ‘very much like a dog with his leg caught in barbed wire’! It’s fascinating that this croaky and gravelly voice has long won acclaim. It’s not about perfect voice; it’s about believing in the honesty of what that voice is talking about. Subtly, he converted the shortcomings of his voice to his advantage by changing normal word accents and stressing certain syllables. This brought about a distinctive singing style and mind you, he frequently shifts the timber of his voice in the course of his career.

The very contradictions and conflicts within his art have also enhanced Dylan’s fame. It inflates his mystique and keeps fans glued. All is well with his gravelly-voiced singing style of traditional folk songs and covers of blues with his acoustic guitar and harmonica. He confronted social injustice, war and racism, quickly becoming a prominent civil rights campaigner. This made him a definitive songwriter of the 60s protest movement crowning him with an iconic stature. 

But enigmatic as he is, instead of basking and wallowing on, Dylan shifted his focus away to more abstract ideas, travelling around notions of deeper insight. His later songs centered more on personal and introspective ideas, and were subsequently far less politically charged. This changed focus outraged many of his radical admirers and friends. Not just was this shift in the themes of his songs but even in his music. His experimentation with electric amplified rock band was a shock to his folk fans who booed him, even calling him ‘Judas’ for ‘betraying’ folk music Dylan was known for. Wasn’t that experiment a symbolic turning point in music? Music, much like culture, must be dynamic.

Instead of being intimidated by fans’ discontent, he further shocked them by departing into exclusively religious songs, even suggesting that the social and political ills that his songs portray are but symptoms of a deep spiritual crisis. But within a short time, this ‘born-again’ Dylan stunned the Christian community by releasing his 1983 album Infidels, which many interpreted as a denouncement of the church. Actually, the album focused on some of the thorny geopolitical themes of a postmodern world. It brought an angry, inquiring Dylan back to his audiences who intensely desired to get their ‘real’ Dylan back.

Dylan mastered the art of ambiguity. Dylan does not provide answers but just goes about his business. When journalists tried to dissect the ’bigger meaning ‘of his lyrics, his evasive responses to them were often riddled with incongruous claims, half-truths, and sometimes even blatant lies. He always makes a conscious attempt to mystify himself and his art by ludicrous responses, thereby making his critics and media speculate. And how about his weird stage rituals where he would setup three microphones and only ever used the middle one? Why should he keep the lighting subdued throughout his two-hour concert, and mostly sing in the shadows? Why does he forbid photography at his concerts? Why did Dylan not say a word to the audiences and keep his back turned towards them in some concerts? Why did he refuse to roll out his hits when audience screamed for them? Why did he render his classics with a melody and phrasing so inverted from the originals that it almost sounded like a different number altogether? 

Thank god that weeks after keeping the whole world in suspense, he has finally acknowledged the Nobel Prize, saying that the news made him ‘speechless’. Yet, on him attending the December 10 Ceremony, in a typical cryptic-Dylan-style, he murmured, “If it’s at all possible”. That’s Bob Dylan, you don’t expect straight simple answers from him, and that’s what millions of his fans worship him for – being enigmatic!

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.

Rethinking the Issue of Migrants and Immigrants in Dimapur -David Hanneng, Assistant Professor, Department of History

image source- huffingtonpost.com Migration is a basic human nature with a desire for greener pastures. In the process, when one...