Tuesday, 14 November 2017

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 community feels threatened or dominated economically by a migrant community, there always arises ‘uprisings’ against them. While the focus is mostly on how much they have taken away, we also need to consider how much they have contributed.



Rethinking the Issue of Migrants and Immigrants in Dimapur



The issue of ‘migrants’ and ‘immigrants’, whether legal or illegal, has dominated the discourses in the social media and the newspapers in recent weeks, especially after some unfortunate incidents.  While the discussions have been heavily biased towards a pledge to gouge out illegal immigrants(which hardly happens), I would like us to rethink on some of the benefits of having migrants and while at the same time deliberate on how to abate it. For our information, migrants are those who come for a period of time whereas immigrants are those who settle down permanently.


While discussing about migrants, let’s first take a re-look of the history of Dimapur. History reminds us that the original inhabitants were mainly kacharis who had their capital at Dimapur. Today, Dimapur is populated by many Naga tribes including migrants mainly from both Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Manipur, Rajasthan, Punjab and our neighbouring country Bangladesh. Whether the migrants are legal or illegal, I believe, is hardly our business. Our main concern should be how useful or harmful they are for our society.


Dimapur became a small town during the British rule with businessmen being mostly Marwaris and Bengalis. The trend still continues and the major businesses are still controlled by outsiders which today has become the talking point of many Nagas. Let us remember, however, that these businessmen had to work under duress for a long time facing threats and demands from multiple revolutionaries. They somehow kept Dimapur from turning back to the early days of jungles and wastelands. Many of us remember that Dimapur, even in the 1990s, was still a small town with hardly any building worth the name. Even businessmen from outside were afraid to invest lest they become the target of Naga insurgents. In the midst of that, the migrant workers persevered. The ceasefire agreement between Naga Insurgents and Govt. of India had changed the dynamics to such an extent that Dimapur today is comparable to cities like Imphal, Dibrugarh, Siliguri etc.


Migrants as a whole, bring in new ideas and fill up the gaps where we are still wanting. Infact, throughout the world, we see that it is the migrant community who brings in substantial positive changes to the economy and society. For example, in Dimapur district, the Bangladeshis were the one who introduced many new ways of work even in the field of agriculture or architecture. They helped replace the old way of thrashing the grain harvest by hand with that by buffalos. Besides, they are the ones who open up shops including pharmacies in remote areas providing very useful services.


The issue that worries most of us is “Bangladeshi immigrants”. If the problem is of their illegality, then that’s the problem of India and Assam to handle. Now, as for their dominance in trade in most districts of Nagaland and their permanent settlement, whom shall we blame? Aren’t they the go-to-man for all the works that we don’t want to do? Infact, we prefer them because unlike Naga workers, we can underpay and get away with it. The ‘uprisings’ against them in various towns, I believe, is just a sham. They are here to stay as long as we are not willing to do our own works. Infact, we should be grateful to them for doing most of the works which we were not able to do-at death cheap rates. They have ‘built’ up not only Dimapur but also the whole of Nagaland. If we feel threatened, bullying will not do. We have to just start learning to do our own work. If local people can be cobblers and Masons in Aizawl and Churachandpur, or for that matter open up tailoring shops and saloons, why can’t we? Why do the little shops or businesses that we do have to be over expensive or why do the local Auto drivers have to over-charge? The problem of migrants taking away all our business is our own doing.


As mentioned earlier, Talks about chasing away migrants and immigrants, especially those considered ‘illegal’ keep surfacing time to time not only from Dimapur but also from other districts. There is a general tendency here in Nagaland to look down on people categorised as migrants. What name may we give to Nagas who go outside to cities like shillong, Guwahati, Kolkata, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai etc. to study or to work? Are they tourist!  Infact, when one looks at Naga history even within Nagaland, we are one of those heavily migratory groups shifting from  one village to another or one village to town be it from Khonoma to Medziphema or from Zunheboto to Niuland. Most of us staying in Dimapur ourselves are migrants! Thus, migration is a universal fact starting from pre-history where people are always on the lookout for greener pastures. We live in a world where exclusivist mentality no longer holds ground. A person is a migrant one time or the other in his life. Thus the mentality of looking down on migrants should change.


However, there are areas we need to be deeply cautious. The probability of immigrants changing the demography of the state especially Dimapur, is a serious matter. Enrolling them in electoral rolls will have a severe consequences in the future as far as the political and social structure of the state is concerned.


The way forward is not about creating hatred and antagonism against them and it is not Christian to campaign their deportation. We might help ourselves and posterity tremendously with us ‘lazy people’ doing our own work and having political foresight.





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, Nungchim Christopher, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.




Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Can People Ever Be Content? - Malcolm Fernandez, Executive,Administration

image source- azquotes.com








The search for meaning in life seems at times like an endless pursuit. Some people find it through leisure, some through work, others through material possessions or a combination of all three and some more. What really makes us happy and content? And why do we feel the way we do? We may never have the precise answers to that, but there is usually always a reason behind it. 


Can People Ever Be Content?


“People are made to be loved and things are made to be used. The confusion in this world is that people are used and things are loved.”


I think this choice of being content or partially content actually starts from the time we are born.  You may ask why & how? Well I see it this way. From the time we are born our loving parents pamper us with a lot of love, which leads us to want more of it, followed by the best possible infant care, be it the best baby food, clothes, soaps, oils and so on.

As time passes with age comes the feeling of complexity, and when this happens, then we start feeling uneasy in the environment we were once living with ease.
Has it happened that you have set a goal, achieved it, and then moved on to set a higher one, or even had a good job but wanted a promotion to a higher post with a better and higher paycheck and more facilities. Do you have a car but still have your eyes pinned on the next latest model with enhanced features. These are some of the practical life scenarios we will experience in our human lifetime. Have we for a moment stopped and contemplated as to where we are going in life? Is our life going ahead, stagnant or are we living a meaningful life?


From the Stone Age till the present time, man has never been content with the things he has had. He was always in search for more and better things to make his life easy and fulfilling. It’s in our human nature to always search for more, which is also a good habit as it has brought us this far, but at what cost? And even though it has made our lives better and easier, where do we stand? I am sure if we check the past records some of the sickness and diseases we hear nowadays were not even present in the early 60 or 70 years back. So the question arises, have we progressed or have we pushed the human race to a faster pitfall than it was actually anticipated?


Green forests are being cleared for human settlement, wildlife is being displaced, ozone layer is depleting, polar ice caps are melting, the ever increasing garbage and not to mention the toxic and chemical waste which are disposed off into the ground and into the rivers, which is the only source of fresh water. What does this indicate of our progress? On the one hand, we have climbed up, but we are looking down at the most hurtful fall.


So, are we humans, in the first place, even capable of achieving satisfaction in our lives, or is it in our nature to always desire for more and more? Is it a thought that is practical? I don’t mean to be so pessimistic and show the dark side of humanity or in an utterly doomed situation but this is the time we are living in.


The desire of comparison is very far-fetched than we usually assume. Comparing ourselves to others in the field of wealth, social status, and intellectual aspects keeps us either happy or depressed about our lives. We rarely tend to focus on our own unique individual talents and abilities. When we compare ourselves with others, our focus shifts away from the positive aspects of our own life, and we tend to become disheartened, thinking about what others have that we have not acquired yet or never will.


We are always curious to find out more about objects or experiences that are new and unfamiliar to us. Human ambition knows no bounds, as long as there is determination and life we tend to move on. We have, in many ways, conquered nature and made our lives more comfortable and possibly more pleasurable. But being ambitious makes us strive harder to improve ourselves and acquire better things. Because of having future ambitions, we are never content with our present achievements and fulfilled ambitions.


Anything that is new and unexplored is very interesting at first, be it a travel destination, new friends, new flavors of food, drinks or even gadgets. But eventually these things get monotonous and outdated with time and experience and soon boredom creeps in, and there we are all set in search for something new.


It is very rarely seen that a person is actually satisfied with his/her life and the way it has unfolded. The only one true satisfaction of how I see it would be in the arms of our loving parents of whom we can never be tired of and doing positive deeds to better help society and humanity. To be content or not, is entirely one’s own choice, whether we see the glass as half full or as half empty, what’s more important is to live every second of our lives in doing the meaningful things that actually matter, touching the many lives we may encounter with our good deeds, keeping the human touch alive in the human race.


The Ten Commandments in the BIBLE are all simple instructions to follow, but practically, we have broken every one of them directly or indirectly. Human beings are so very complex, with a mixed array of emotions, it becomes really difficult to differentiate from our needs and wants.


I think humans can never really be content. But we can be satisfied with ourselves if we can determine how much is enough to keep us happy.





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, Nungchim Christopher, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Teaching Students of the 21st Century -Temsukumla Ao, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

image source- aft.org




It’s true that today’s students are fortunate to have powerful learning tools to locate, acquire, and even create knowledge much quicker than their predecessors. But being able to Google is no substitute for true understanding. They must develop strong critical, independent thinking and interpersonal communication skills to be successful in an increasingly fluid, interconnected, and complex world. As educators, are we leveraging technology enough to meet the emerging educational needs of this generation? 


Teaching Students of the 21st Century



Teachers today are experiencing a whole different approach to education while dealing with the 21st century students. In this era of modern science and technology, students are usually equipped with latest gadgets rather than with notebooks and pens. This 21st century students are so occupied with technology outside of the classroom walls, that they have made it their real world. In such a scenario where technology is dominating the world we live in, it is becoming a challenge for teachers to keep up with the changing trends.


Technology is changing the world at an alarming rate, and dealing with the  students of today demands a vastly different approach than earlier. A lot of development has occurred in the field of information, work culture, socialising and many more. And as teachers we need to be ready to prepare our students to face this new world and ensure that they are equipped with the tools and knowledge to compete in the global economy.


One of the biggest challenges for us teachers is to keep up with technology and adapt to the changes that are happening around us. Our educational system, curriculum and the approaches we believe in needs to improve along with the passage of time. We need more than the very foundation of a basic skills-oriented education program ie. the 3 R’s- Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Jill Jenkins, in her article “The New Three R’s of education: Resourcefulness, Responsibility, and Respect”, beautifully explains how expectations of the world have become more complicated and the demand on education has also become more complicated. These new three R’s would be very significant in dealing with 21st century students: (1) Resourcefulness – “By encouraging students to explore and experiment, teachers can provide students with opportunities to use resources and depend on themselves instead of adults”. Today’s students must be taught to depend on themselves and he/she should learn to be resourceful and face challenges in the real world. (2) Responsibility – “No one ever achieved anything without hard work and accepting the responsibility of his/her own actions”. Students should be taught to be responsible citizens and the value of hard work must be inculcated in them by making them accept the negative and positive impact of their actions. (3) Respect – “The world is melting pot of different ethnicities, religions and races.  Showing respect and dignity to others is the only way that anything is going to get accomplished”.  Teaching students about cultural and ethnic differences can help them not only show more empathy and acceptance, but avoid behaviour that might be considered disrespectful.


21st century students must also master the 4 C’s creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration (Melinda, 2011). Along with the new 3 R’s students need to acquire these 4 C’s to be successful in the 21st century. These skills allow students to function, learn and adapt throughout life. Isn’t it interesting to be living in a world that demands new and different abilities? Critical thinking and problem solving will not only enrich the young minds but will help them prepare them for lifetime success and personal fulfilment. As educators’ one needs to impart skills that will allow students to collaborate, work on different problems, and engage with community.


Our world is changing rapidly, and while we are trying to adapt and implement new ideas, accordingly we may be faced with a lot of challenges. To become better educators it’s best to know the type of students we are dealing with. Though technology plays a big role in the medium of instruction, one should not just use technology because students have a poor attention or different interest. It is equally important that students learn to struggle and train their attention span, and learn to focus on something like books or lectures, because this strength is equally important as being technology savvy. Education today is more than just giving lessons and assignments. It is now a two way process where both the students and teachers learn from each other side by side.


Education is a lifelong process, and teaching as a career has been there without much changes in the past few years. However, considering the situation and world we are living in, one must be able to adapt to the new changes and develop and use new methods appropriately. As the saying goes "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade", as educators we need to consider modern technology as powerful learning tools at our disposal as it can develop and also help us become more efficient academically and professionally. As such, a teacher should not only embrace technology but also  be willing to learn and get more out of it. This applies to the students as well, when they are surrounded by latest technology and equipment they need to take it as an opportunity to acquire more knowledge instead of wasting their time misusing it.


Traditional classroom teaching methods still continue to play an important role like it has been doing  in the past, but with new modes of teaching and better tools it engages the minds of students of all ages towards greater knowledge learning. The educators will serve as the facilitator and guide to help the 21st century students.
As Ian Jukes says, “To understand their world we must be willing to immerse ourselves in that world. We must embrace the new digital reality. If we can’t relate, if we don’t get it, we won’t be able to make schools relevant to the current and future needs of the digital generation.” 



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, Nungchim Christopher, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.




Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Victims of Domestic Violence - Monjit Roy, Assistant Professor, Department of Commerce

image source-fabrikantlaw.com







Domestic Violence is a threat to the social fabric of family life, mental well being and peace. It is a violation of that sacrosanct marriage vow and promise made at the very beginning to love and to cherish each other, in sickness and health and for better or worse. We look deeper at some of the inherent reasons for its impending rise and how, as a society, we ought to do much better. 



Victims of Domestic Violence



Domestic violence is a dreaded social evil and sadly a deep part of the society we are living in. The contributing factors could be the desire to gain control over another family member, the desire to exploit someone for personal benefits, the penchant to be in a commanding position the entire time, showcasing one’s supremacy so on and so forth.


One of the reasons for it being so prevalent in society is because of the orthodox mindset of the society that depicts women as physically and emotionally weaker than men. Though women today have proven themselves in almost every field of life, affirming that they are no less than men, the reports of violence against them are much larger in number than against men.


According to the UN population fund report, around two-thirds of married Indian women are victims of domestic violence, and as many as 70 per cent of married women in India between the age of 15 and 49 are victims of beating, rape or forced sex. In India, more than 55 percent of the women suffer from domestic violence, especially in the states of Bihar, UP, MP and other northern states. Domestic violence is caused mainly by dowry, addiction, social, cultural as well as political aspects, sexual behaviour of the husband, making familial decisions, giving birth to a female child and so on. Though the literacy rate of our country is increasing day by day, the extremeness of domestic violence remains the same. Most of the families face disorganization among the family from violence, most children drop out from school as they deal with quarrelling parents. In some cases, wives are being beaten severely, sometimes being raped by turns, sometimes being hung and made to look like suicide. Again, in most of the families, women are tortured for any simple reason as they fail to bring money demanded by their husbands. In some cases, I found that the inability of the husband to impregnate their wife is also solely blamed upon the wife.


A close friend of mine, confided that she is a victim of domestic violence too. Her husband is from a well-to-do family. But despite being well educated her husband indulges in domestic violence frequently, not sparing her even at the time of her pregnancy. However, she did not raise her voice because she was forced to believe by the norms of the society and her parents that women should bear all these pain. Whatever happens is for her own good and she must take it all in her stride. She can never go back to her parental place nor share her problems openly in public because  this will invite her more trouble instead.


In my opinion, to stop domestic violence against women we need a change in the mentality of the people who think that the only duty of women are in the kitchen and to take care of the children. By treating women equally, and teaching the next generation the same, I think we can make a lot of change in the status quo. There are a number of things which can be done about stopping domestic violence against women. We have to be cognizant of the fact that the government can only make the rules and enforce them, but the real change comes from changing our attitude towards such matters. Most of the time people hide it because of the stigma associated with it. Women should be encouraged to talk about it and not hide it.


I am not saying that disrespecting women always results in violence against women. But violence against women begins with disrespecting them in the society. Both girls and boys should be taught from their childhood that nobody has the right to underestimate and discourage them in any way. Even parents have no right to be violent against their kids. If parents try to correct kids by resorting to violent means like hitting, slapping etc. kids will learn to be violent and end up growing in that way. We cannot force people to be good or bad. But the young ones are still clay. We can mould them in whatever shape we want, and imbibe them with good characteristics by teaching them to respect women. Sometimes girls are forced to stay in marriages to avoid the stigma attached with divorce. By bearing undue duress women not only spoil their physical health but mental health too.


To stop this violence we should give more importance to women and not only to our brothers, sons and fathers. Social attitude is shaped by what we see in day to day life. And therefore if parents teach their girls only to be home makers, then boys will also think of them as nothing more than a cook, a body or some property they own.
To curb domestic violence in our society it takes every individual and society to be more responsible and more sensitive to the situation. Further, I would like to suggest that mass effort from all sectors - government, media, education, NGO’s and other influential bodies should take up this issue more seriously and educate women regarding their rights, as well as the alternatives that are open to them. Programmes on the changing status of women will make a positive contribution in changing the general attitude of society towards women.



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, Nungchim Christopher, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Happier Shopping and Healthier Eating - Somungla Khamrang, Assistant Professor, Department of Education





Let’s take a closer look at Nagaland and the local bazaar shopping experience. Come rain or sunshine it’s difficult to enter our markets - slushy pathways, heaps of garbage (rotten vegetables, fruits, paper waste etc.) and lack of hygiene all around. At a time when even footwear are now being sold in air-conditioned shops, we are still selling the bulk of our vegetables and other essential foodstuffs in unhygienic conditions, next to drainages, filth and trash. Providing a hygienic and pleasant shopping experience is just as important as clean and healthy food.


Happier Shopping and Healthier Eating



The stability and the sustainability of our health largely depends on the food that we consume every day. Good and hygienic food is essential for us to make or to sell food that is safe to eat. We all know that food can be easily contaminated at any point during slaughter, harvesting, storage, processing, distribution, transportation and preparation. So, one has to be very careful about food hygiene, which are the conditions and measures to ensure the safety of food from production to consumption. Anybody involved in the food business should have a good knowledge of food hygiene for personal as well as for general good health. Good knowledge of food hygiene will help to reduce the chances of food contamination in food management.


In light of this, the condition of food supplies in our market is an impending threat that we need to treat more seriously. The daily markets in our cities have lots of vulnerable shops on the roadside. The weekly bazaars in our localities are far worse again. No doubt, the various foodstuffs being sold in such vulnerable markets are rich in nutrients that are required to keep our health intact. However, when we look at the dust, dirt and trash lying around, it is scary to even consider the hygiene of the food we are consuming.


Yet, it is not enough to be concerned and careful with just the environment of the market alone, we also have to worry about the source of supply of those foods. It needs to be checked and ensured that they are hygienically harvested, processed and distributed to the suppliers. Transportation of food from the field or farm to our kitchen needs to be hygienically done. Today the food supply to our market is questionable, particularly, the food sold on the roadside and the open/weekly market. They are exposed to all sources of germs and other contaminated substances. If the process of food production and harvesting is unhygienic, furthermore, exposure of food to garbage adds increased toxin to our food that affects our health. They are being exposed and sold in the open air on the footpaths, and near garbage where swarms of flies hover around carrying deadly germs. Physically, we live in palatial like houses and clean, shiny kitchens, yet we buy our food from weekly/daily market places which are no better than waste dumping sites. How clean and hygienic can the food we buy and consume be? I don’t think the tidy kitchen/utensils alone will keep us healthy, rather, it is the kind of food we choose to eat and drink. We should not be blind consumers. We need to know what the contents of the food items are - the environment of the market and the probable contaminated foods should be examined.


Various kinds of food items, especially vegetables and fruits are being brought from the rural areas and cold regions. Many such nutritious foods rot faster in a warm place like Dimapur. So, cold storages or other forms of preservative methods of food items are needed to ensure that seasonal foods are made available throughout the year. Efforts for preservation can either be initiated by the local authority or the daily market dealers and business people. I believe this can be a source of development for our society in many ways because it encourages the local farmers to produce organic foods that we need by widening the market for them. Furthermore, it can promote our own cultivators and farmers and enhance the economic status of our own local people, especially in rural areas.


Sellers who are in the agriculture and farming business should be educated with the knowledge of hygiene management. Here, even the role of education in promoting food security and value is crucial. Educational programs can be expanded to accommodate food purity and security.  Awareness programs and consultative sessions for people can be taken up. Children in the class can be imparted knowledge about the importance of hygienic food and the basic knowledge of hygienic food management.


It is high time that our society upgrades the social standard and system of public administration. The concerned authority, management and administration must sincerely engage to create a better society with commitment. While the system of tax collection and annual contributions towards concerned authorities or local authorities seems to be increasing  in a phase-wise manner, one would expect that the conditions of the market and weekly bazaar should be standardized and upgraded simultaneously too. On the contrary, it is disheartening to see that our bazaars are rather turning into pathetic dumping grounds. Marketing sheds and other commercial platforms in the market should be provided and the existing infrastructure should be upgraded. We must emphasise on progressive development, and find out ways to improve the markets. In this case, I feel that it should be like a give and take culture, where the tax payers should also enjoy the market experience of shopping in a clean environment and consuming healthy food.




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, Nungchim Christopher, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.
                                                                                                              






Tuesday, 10 October 2017

“I was Denied the Right to Vote” - Thungdeno Humtsoe, HOD of Sociology





NBCC’s call for Clean Elections is for all citizens of Nagaland to come together and voice out the need to vote and contest conscientiously and consciously in the Nagaland Legislative Elections  2018. Because voting is not just an individual right, it is a collective responsibility to choose and be represented by a leader who is capable and also deeply concerned about Nagaland’s present, and its future vision. But it is very, very hard to do it all alone. 


                    

                   “I was Denied the Right to Vote”



I grew up learning that the right to vote is a human right of every citizen. In truth, the very foundation of democracy is the right to vote. Although this right comes with a bonus called ‘responsibility’. By qualifying myself as a voter, I bear an enormous responsibility in determining the fate of the leaders that I will choose, the outcome of which has an enormous impact both on me and the society. One should be cautious and thoughtful in choosing a leader to avoid any unwelcome mishaps.  Make a wrong move and you are doomed for five long years. Yet, to get a taste of this so called responsibility, one should be given the freedom to choose whoever his/her heart desires.


The population of Nagaland has been affected by the widespread disease of corruption in one way or the other. And unless each and every responsible individual takes the lead in finding a remedy for it, every one of us will be digging our own graves. Come election, we forget our own selves for selfish pursuits. The truth is, it is us who run after corruption, and not vice versa. 


I would like to share a simple narration in relation to the practices and conduct of election in my homeland, which, I suppose, happen to many unfortunate citizens who are denied the right, power or privilege of making a choice.


It is alarming to witness the whole of Wokha getting split up into two equal halves during elections - the areas to the right of Police Point, controlled by Village 1, and the areas to its left, controlled by Village 2. The population residing in between these two big villages get caught up in a whirlpool of unutterable anguish and terror. There’s no other way but to remain submissive because that’s where force and threat make their grand entry. It is disheartening, but the fact will always lie bare that a huge population of the enrolled voters do not even make it to the polling station, let alone choose a leader.


Carefully tucking my newly laminated voter ID into my shirt pocket, I took the path to the polling station. Halfway down to the polling station, I saw a large group of people, consisting of aged persons, men and women, being held up by another group belonging to a particular village.  They appeared to be taking control of the timorous crowd. It was apparent that whatever was going on there was not good news.  I saw that everyone in the assembled group was giving away their voter IDs, as demanded.


As I observed those group of people, I wished they could realise that the way they were conducting themselves was not democratic at all. I wished that they could understand what electing a representative meant, and that there was no such thing as ‘my candidate’ or ‘your candidate’.  It’s that simple to understand that by voting we’re actually deciding the fate of the rulers and the collective fate of the ruled.  An ugly and degrading performance such as this was happening right in front of my eyes. I couldn’t decide which of the two angered me more - the frightened group who were too afraid to voice out their rights or the other group who amassed authority in their own hands, denying fellow citizens to exercise their sole rights.


“You are an offender! Booth capturing is a punishable offence under section 135A of the Representation of the People’s Act. Just because you took money from the candidate or you let him promise you in securing a smooth future for your sons and daughters, or even for yourself doesn’t give you the right to take the matter into your own hands and deprive other’s rights. You might not be aware but there are still a bunch of people who want change, a real change, and who are interested in the greater good of the society unlike you.  You cannot take away a fellow human’s basic right and you also cannot deny us representation. We live on the same soil as you are, we breathe the same air as you are, and we toil the same as you are. How then can you exclude us from exercising the equally given right in choosing a leader who is to govern the society as a whole? Are we not part of the fabric of the society?”


Those were the exact words I had in mind, but I was too afraid to speak up, or simply didn’t have the courage to deal with the consequences of my just action. I wished I was bold enough to fight back or things could have been different. That was me back then, an 18 year old who happened to have just a bookish knowledge, but unsure of how to apply that knowledge in the real world. Knowing one’s right is not enough, the fact of the matter is how far we put that knowledge to practice. As my turn came to submit my voter card, I murmured to myself, “Vote or no vote, I’m not giving you my voter card”, but I meekly handed the same to the man in charge. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
At a time when one is almost running out of hope, taking into account the recent incidents which happened in some parts of Nagaland, the efforts being made by the NBCC seem like a soft refreshing breeze in the scorching summer heat. The NBCC’s endeavour in making ‘Clean Election’ a reality is laudable. It’s time you and I as distinct individuals come together and unbound ourselves from the shackles of corruption. 




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, Nungchim Christopher, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

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