Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Road Rage & Road Woes - Tatongkala Ao, HoD, History



Frustration hits a high when driving along the roughshod roads in Nagaland. Add to that the non-adherence to road rules and driving irresponsibly, and it turns to frustrated rage. It’s time we learnt how to follow basic rules and practices such as using signals while entering or exiting the highways, avoiding rash overtaking, creating double lanes, driving sober without the influence of alcohol or other abusive substances. Learning to drive is one thing but being civilized drivers is another.


Road Rage & Road Woes
“Nagas are so modernised, and you people have the latest of everything. It must also be very exciting to enjoy the bumpy rollercoaster ride in those fancy cars, no?” said my friend sarcastically, who had come to visit Nagaland for the first time. I was at a loss for words and a little embarrassed too. She was referring to the long stretch of bumpy roads, which of course is not a new thing for us. Much has been discussed on the sorry state of roads in Nagaland and maybe it is making the government and the concerned authorities take notice in some way...or maybe not!
Another concern besides the bad roads is rash driving and driving under the influence (DUI) which is becoming more common, especially among the younger generation. Drunk driving and driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offence in India under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act. In 2016, the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi, gave its approval for the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill, where the penalty for drunk driving was increased from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 10,000. That is a good start I believe, but the question remains: is it really effective in a state like Nagaland? There are cases of when a driver under the influence of alcohol is caught after causing damage and is taken to the police station, but instead of following the rules strictly, the culprit is let off lightly because the matters are settled amicably between the vehicle owners. It is sad because it only portrays the weakness of the police force. Strict measures must be taken so that it will set an example thereby making citizens to be more conscious about driving under influence. If we look at the latest report of National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) released in December 2016, Nagaland had the second highest percentage increase, 49.2%, in total accidental deaths in 2015 as compared to 2014. In a state like Nagaland which is legally a dry state, the cases for drunk driving must be zero, but according to the 2015 statistics, there were only 4 reported cases of drunk driving.
Owning a car has become a necessity these days; however, the problem arises when we shy away from being responsible while being seated behind the wheel. A good driver is not someone who can drive the fastest but someone who understands the rules of driving on the road.  The Nagaland Road Safety Act 2013 is already put in place and though the Nagaland Road Safety Authority Committee has been formed, there are many instances of road accidents on the news. Of course, the accident rate in Nagaland is neither high nor alarming as compared to the rest of the country; nonetheless, we do have serious accidents every now and then, with images of such tragedies going viral on WhatsApp. Many school-going students are seen driving cars, and this makes me wonder if these juveniles even have a valid driving licence. And when youngsters violate traffic rules and cause accidents, the guardians or the parents are equally to be blamed. Underage driving should not be encouraged. Young drivers account for many cases of road accidents. This is because they are, most of the time carried away by the idea of ‘the fast and the furious’.
Driving has its own share of responsibilities which we continue to ignore. Perhaps, having poor road conditions in Nagaland is a blessing in disguise for us. Otherwise, one cannot imagine the speed with which the cars will be plying on the road. This includes not only four-wheelers but even bikes. In our state, the roads are very narrow and therefore we need to be more careful.  However, we behave as if the rules are non-existent. Over-taking is a major concern in our roads today. Everybody is rushing to reach their destination and it doesn’t matter if that happens at the expense of causing harm to the other. Such is the attitude most of us have while on the road.
We talk so much about being decent with regard to our dressing sense, our moral behaviour, and so on. So, how about we talk about being decent while driving? From my personal observation, most of the people do not have the decency to drive. For instance, the use of high beam lights while driving at night. One must understand that the glare distracts the driver’s coming in from the opposite direction and this could sometimes lead to accidents. Hundreds of lives are lost every year in road accidents and in most cases, it could have been avoided.
While the state government is taking a pledge to promote road safety, cases of road accidents due to rash driving are rapidly increasing. Just recently on 30th of April 2017, we saw the news on the local dailies about the hit- and- run case where three people were killed when a vehicle rammed into a two-wheeler. In September 2016, a minor girl aged 9 was killed in a hit-and-run case. These are just two instances but there are still many cases which have been registered. And most of these accidents happen due to over speeding and careless driving. It is high time that we inject the fear of law among drivers who put the lives of pedestrians and other drivers in danger due to their reckless driving. Learning to drive is one thing but let us learn to become civilized drivers first.

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, 17 May 2017

Hyper-reality: the Child of Yellow Journalism - Meliwe-u Elah, Assistant Professor, Department of English


Today, news circulates in an instant. Our daily lives are constantly bombarded with scores of information from every direction and from equally innumerable sources. In such a world, can the fourth estate, successfully prevent the occurrence of disinformation, and faithfully serve its purpose of informing the citizens of what’s happening in the society?




                                                 Hyper-reality: the Child of Yellow Journalism
Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan said, “All media exists to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values”. This statement might be decades old but continues to hold weight today. Media is a means where the news and information are transferred to the audience. It claims to be a representation of reality and is known as an agency of public knowledge. The mediums such as newspaper, magazine, television, radio, and internet condition our access to the world and saturate our views about the world. However, the news is released only after strategic selection and systematic arrangements, thereby altering reality. Media today is flooded with information. Most audiences accept and believe the content so generated as the ultimate truth. French philosopher and culture theorist Jean Baudrillard, in his theory of simulation, explains that media is not a representation of reality but rather an occurrence of something real which has no origin or reality. He calls it a “hyperreality”.
Media claims to be independent of any government bodies and institutions. The level of its “independence” becomes clear when we see journalists and writers being threatened and even murdered. The big media outlets are owned by few corporates of the western countries. Every day tons of information is thrust into our system, which appears to be a simulation of what they want us to know and believe.
Do you ever feel if all of it is the construction of an illusion of reality for us? We are told about who are the heroes and the villains. Malcolm X said, “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power! They control the minds of the masses”. In connection to this, we are made to believe that the American or the western military are the heroes, and, doubtless, the terrorist groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and others are a threat to the whole world. But do we ever question the reason behind the formation of such radical groups? What compelled them to take such extreme steps?
When the World Trade Center was attacked in 2001 by Osama Bin Laden and his followers, the world sympathized with the Americans for their loss. The 9/11 attack was magnified, repeated on all the news channels, newspapers, and magazines. The photograph of the two tallest buildings crumbling down amidst smoke and fire is imprinted in everyone’s minds.
Didn’t America finance Al-Qaeda in the 1990s to overthrow Sadam Hussein? And what about the destruction in Iraq, Syria, and other Middle-East countries caused by the heroes? Their lands are destroyed, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed, millions of people and children are displaced from their homes and became refugees because of continuous war, conflict, and threat. Did the world come together to support them during such crisis?
When Paris was attacked by terrorists in 2015, the world mourned and prayed for the Parisians. They sympathized with them, they lit candles for the lost souls, they illuminated significant buildings with the flag of France, Facebook users created their temporary profile pictures featuring the French flag. This much was done because people were informed that the good people were attacked by the villains, and they must fight against the evil. But what happened when the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) was dropped on Afghanistan in April 2017? Did the world light candles to remember the lost lives? Of course not! Because we were informed that 36 ISIS fighters had been killed; the villains, not civilians. And we are informed it’s for a good cause! The President of America, Donald Trump, pronounced the mission as a “successful event”, and that he was proud of his military troops- “the greatest military in the world”. So their use of the biggest bomb against humanity was justified.
It is also learnt that the ISIS used war tanks and other weapons which were left behind by the western militariy after the war. Why did they leave these weapons?  It is obvious ‘heroes’ won’t leave the weapons for the ‘villains’ purposely. Period.
Murder is murder, whether it is done brutally or subtly. We should not be biased to the sufferings of the people regardless of what media portrays. The objective here is not to discredit the news in the media, but to be judicious when reading or listening before formulating opinions and drawing conclusions. We are all at some point in our lives susceptible to becoming the victims of media and its simulation. But it is our duty to see the story from both sides indifferently, instead of simply accepting and agreeing with everything we hear or read around us.
In order to get the attention of the audience and also market their news, media outlets, particularly those in the entertainment industry, manufacture sensation. The lives of the rich and famous are always updated and exalted, though the information about them will not be productive to the public. They also exaggerate minor events creating unnecessary commotion and fear among the people, thus omitting important news. The present on-going conflicts and cold wars might be more perilous than the reported news. “Newspapers (media) are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization”, once said writer George Bernard Shaw.
The important thing is that we should not lose our opinion and perspective to information and propaganda that may sometimes be disguised as truth and facts, as Malcolm X stated, “If you are not careful, the newspapers (media) will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing”. While we cannot do without media and journalism for information, let us also be sensible and prudent as to whom or what we allow to control our perspective, our reality, and truth. 

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.



Monday, 15 May 2017

Value Youth! - Heninle Magh, Assistant Professor, Department of Commerce


HSLC and HSSLC NBSE results are out! And so is the race for admissions and choosing the right place and institute, where our youth will be guided and shaped into the right kind of future we want for our society. This is why making the right choice and knowing the important responsibility of youths is so important. We need to work together with our youth to figure out what our society needs. Let’s value youth.



                                                            Value Youth! 
The youth of today are the future of tomorrow and this has been stressed upon many times. They are the driving force which can mould the nation for a better tomorrow. Many organizations, NGOs, associations, and institutions have been consistently working to empower the youth for the development of the society in turn changing the nation. However, unless the mindset of the youths is set in the right direction, no amount of outside work that is being instilled will harvest a good yield.
Swami Vivekananda, a great philosopher and saint, had immense belief in the potential of the youth. He described the period of youth as “incalculable and indescribable”. He believed that youth life is the most precious life and it is the best time.  The way in which we utilize this period will decide the nature of coming years that lie ahead of us.  He says that our happiness, our success, our honour, and our good name all depend upon the way in which we spend our youth. Hence, it is essential for us to realise the importance of our youth years and give our best.
We live in a realm blessed with different indigenous communities, cultures and festivals, and no matter what people have called this place, hidden somewhere on the face of the earth, Nagaland has always remained a demographic dividend for the youth. Astonishingly, in the past few years the government and various other NGOs and organizations has come up with some brilliant ideas to make youths participate in various developmental activities and awareness programmes. VLOG Street Fitness, Project 72 Hrs, voluntary contributions from different churches across the state, Young Indians (Yi), Youth Net, and even the Directorate of Youth Resources and Sports are all dedicated to facilitating opportunities to the youth. They focus on all round youth development and conduct youth festivals, adventure programmes, and outdoor learning programmes, awareness campaign, sensitization programmes, etc. In my opinion, this helps them (the youths) believe in themselves, and thus spreads hope through positive living, learning, and leading.
We have heard some stories about successful people who exclaim that they couldn’t have done it without that one or more special person. The contributions by these various organizations for the society will be remembered and acknowledged by the present and upcoming generations.
Youths have the collective power to influence leaders and change the world. The emotions, openness, understanding, and sensibilities of the younger generation are quite different from the older generation. But it is not wrong to say that the present generation has certain deficiencies as well. To ensure that they are moving in the right path and that they do not stay in a deep slumber of complacency, proper education should be given to strengthen and mould a youth’s mindset; learning not just through books but an education that makes one logical, open-minded, self-respecting, responsible, and honest.
In this fast moving media-oriented culture, the world is full of choices. Different generations have different needs and interests. Parents should not equate the success of their children with getting a government job. Waiting to be hired by the government is another contributing factor towards unemployment. The world is moving on and there is immense scope even in the private sector. 
The current scenario in our state is such that the youth have multiple degrees but still cannot find work that pays enough to sustain a decent lifestyle. Perhaps to a great extent, corruption is to blame, and this creates failure in the job market leading to unemployment. This in turn often triggers anger, depression, and frustration. But looking at the situation through an optimistic viewpoint, this dark scenario provokes the youth and in some ways makes them eager to bring about a change in the society. The youth are the powerhouse of the nation and if harnessed in a proper way, the nation can reach untold heights.
In December 2012, a girl was brutally gang raped in a moving bus in New Delhi. This left her critically injured and she was battling for life. Enraged by this, the youth organised a massive protest outside the Rashtrapati Bhawan and Parliament of India demanding a safer society for women and stricter laws against rapists. Similar protests followed throughout India, bringing India to international attention. This put pressure on the Government and laws regarding rape were amended so as to ensure speedy justice. The youth have massive power, and can positively affect the society, if properly channelled. In Nagaland, our roads are deplorable, LPG is often overpriced, there’s shortage of electricity, and results of students are sometimes delayed. Is there a way our youth can work together to address these issues? This I believe would be a rather productive use of the youth force. It’s not just about having meetings and fests; the role of the youth goes a long way.
To conclude on a positive note, I have to say that I am really impressed with the Dreams Unlimited Production.  Dreams Unlimited is a theatre and film production group based in Nagaland which often makes videos about the youth. Most of us will be familiar with their name and their short film The Demand (Part 1 and Part 2). In the film we see that a youth is tempted into evil ways. However, towards the end, the good triumphs over evil. It makes me hopeful, that better days are to come, and that the youth of Nagaland will be able to bring about a positive change. What I feel and want to convey to the present generation is that the decision you make today will have an impact on your tomorrow. Let’s make the right choices!

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.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Naga Women: A Force to Reckon With - Zujanbeni O Jami, B.A 6th Semester (Sociology Honours), Tetso College

      image credits: sinlung.com

Women empowerment, women’s lib movement, women’s rights, women’s march – we have heard it all and more, and we cannot stress more than enough about the power of women and the important role the female gender plays in our society. While it is not about establishing the superiority of genders we speak of here, it is about working together, hand in hand, towards a positive and progressive future. So, the other important question is ‘how do we play to our strengths’?

 
Naga Women: A Force to Reckon With
Peace-building is a long-term and complex endeavor. It is, at heart, a transformation agenda for social change. The UN Peace-building Commission explicitly affirms, ‘the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts’. Women peace builders bring a different perspective to men, and their role in re-establishing the social fabric of the society is vital. But whilst women peace builders have made vital contributions to peace processes in diverse places such as Northern Ireland, Guatemala and Liberia, the reality remains that women are denied meaningful participation in many peace processes.

Women’s involvement in peace-building in Nagaland is as old as their experience of violence and discrimination. Naga women have played a variety of roles throughout history that support a war, and other forms of violence, from warriors to supportive wives and mothers calling men to the battlefield. However, their gender identities allow them to do some form of peace-building that men cannot do. In addition, some women have found it advantageous to draw on skills, assets, and capacities that are available to them in oppressive patriarchal systems and harness these for productive use in peace-building. They do not operate independently of a social value system. It can be argued that one reason the Naga women in the peace movement have achieved such success is that these movements do not challenge the traditional role of women but instead negotiated spaces within their roles.

Women have played a vital role in stopping violence throughout Naga history. As socially sanctioned peace-makers, women have historically intervened in the midst of battle and appealed for an end to violence. This cultural role has enabled Naga women to protect their communities through informal mediation, to mobilize for reconciliation, and to shape the formal peace process, such as the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA). In the 1990s, when the violence began to take its toll on the communities, the NMA decided to take up the call for peace. During the NMA General Assembly held at Zunheboto in 1994, a resolution on ‘Shed No Blood’ was adopted. A peace team comprising members of the NMA was formed and it visited the various factions of the rebel groups, held consultations with them and facilitated dialogues on reconciliation and peace.

NMA has proactively engaged with the Government of India during the peace talks that were held with the NSCN-IM. It also partnered with the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, Naga Students Federation and the Naga Hoho on a ‘Journey of Conscience’ initiating a people-to-people dialogue to strengthen the process. It has also vociferously campaigned for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) and for 33% reservation for women in municipal bodies in Nagaland.
Naga women have a brilliant approach towards peace making in the society. Naga women live in a politically sensitive environment given the people’s prolonged struggle for self-determination. They also face the complexity of the society that is undergoing the binary change and continuity, with the pull towards modernity on the one hand and strong undercurrents of traditional and customary particles on the other.

Naga Women organizations should have the mandate of the people and represent the voice of women most of who were borne out of the conflict and are therefore an integral part of nation building. Women in numerous Naga villages have intervened during battles. Some have gone into the midst of firing and clutched into guns, and pleaded the men to stop the shooting.

Where violence has become a part of the day-to-day life, women, in general, have played a constructive role. Yet, women on the front-line of efforts to end violence and secure a just peace, seldom record their experiences, activities and insights. Each woman has a story which is inspiring, teaching lessons of values, integrity and compassion. They have often acted as the bridge between civil society and the group involved in conflicts.

Traditionally, women have been left out of peacemaking and peace-building, or regarded simply as ‘the homemakers’. For peace-building initiatives to remain sustainable in the long term, women must be included in every level of the process. Yet current formal peace-building processes often remain largely male dominated in many societies with no exception to Naga Society. Their work in rebuilding communities, building peace and resolving conflicts has often been ignored and remain invisible. Women are also clearly under-represented or even absent in formal peace negotiations. Even if women leaders and organizations are active in civil society forums, they do not necessarily find their way into the formal peace processes. Women not only call for issues specific to themselves but raise issues that affect society as a whole such as individual and social disorganization. Thus, without the inclusion of women as equal partners in every stage of peace and security governance, in policy-making, planning, and implementation, the likelihood of creating a sustainable peace is much diminished.

As activists and advocates for peace, women contribute to reducing direct violence. As mediators, trauma healing counselors, and policy makers, women work to transform relationships and address the roots of violence. As educators and participants in the development process, women contribute to building the capacity of their communities and society to prevent violent conflict.
Naga women have proven themselves to be successful peace-builders and that their sacrifices and efforts should be acknowledged. Naga women’s understanding and wisdom of the workings of peace-making procedures should be appreciated and employed on a wider scale in order to meaningfully transform the Naga society.   
*This article (abridged version) won the first prize in the inter-college essay writing competition organised by the North East Institute of Social Science and Research (NEISSR), Nagaland under the theme “Role of Women in Peace Building in the Context of Nagaland”.

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.




Friday, 28 April 2017

Let’s Impact Lives! -Samoaba Jamir, IT Technician


In the race to succeed and live a purposeful life, let’s stop and take a breath to ask yourself an important question today - are you becoming more apathetic or immune to the world around you? Whether it may be towards building meaningful human relations with fellow citizens or to empathize with other people's life eventualities. In this week’s article, the author makes us reflect on how impactful a life are we actually living.



Let’s Impact Lives!
Love and empathy are two things we seem to be losing as the modern world progresses by. Whether it’s the progress of the world from a simpler to a more complex life, or it’s just an inevitable component of evolution, the causes may be debatable. However, it is apparent that we have grown colder and numb to the plights of our neighbours and the people we pass by each day. I’m not saying that we have to plunge ourselves into the personal problems of everyone we come across, but we can all try to be a bit more sensitive and understanding to the people we interact or deal with in our day to day lives.
We are quick to judge and label those actions we deem immoral or unethical, while our own personally defined morality overlooks our own transgressions. Yes, we are hypocrites who forget the fact that we have been marked guilty many times in our own trials and sometimes in the same ways as the people we accuse. We are quick to point at the weaknesses of others, especially those in power and the limelight, ridiculing them while acting as if we are at the pinnacle of perfection. Instead of relating their humanity to our own flawed selves, we judge them marking them as “failures” or “disappointments”. When will we learn to look into the mirror i.e. our own souls and learn to identify our flaws and be able to relate with others facing the same or different issues?
We Nagas are a Christian community. Even so, we, the followers of a religion whose core principle is love, have failed to demonstrate the same, time and again. Is something wrong with the understanding of our faith? Or are we turning a blind eye to it in order to pursue our own selfish goals with the illusion of a clean conscience? Yes, selfishness might be at the core of every human being as a part of our survival instinct, but it certainly shouldn’t be the dominant trait of our character. We are definitely capable of more selfless actions if only we choose to and build ourselves on it.
In the recent years, there have been many instances where our people failed to demonstrate the love and empathy that our faith teaches. From our leaders to you and me, we’ve all failed in one way or another; from the infamous lynching (which personally horrified me), to the deaths of our two young brothers whose funerals became another spectacle for political agendas. The public perhaps suffers since those in power ignore the issues and have self-motivated interests in mind. Where is the love and empathy? Love for the people, love for your neighbours, love for the state, the empathy for the poor and suffering, for the innocents paying the price for another’s transgressions.
I keep my distance from the online social discussion pages as much as possible because the picture is even uglier there. People can anonymously spread venom and provoke others for no reason. Sometimes going through the comments on those pages makes me lose whatever little hope I have for us as a state, though yes, I know that real public opinion can never be tapped. The peace loving state that we are supposed to be, shrivels and withers up immediately when we choose to spread hate without a second thought. And there is an abundance of people who do that online on every online social discussion page I’ve come across. The wise ones usually refuse to express their opinions hiding behind likes and emoticons, while others choose the ineffective option of pointlessly arguing with such people.
The whole world is afflicted by this deficiency of love and empathy, and it has been so since time immemorial. The proposed ‘Muslim ban’ in the US, the Syrian refugee crisis, all point towards this. Countless lives are lost while the world watches by, unable to act because only a few actually care enough to do something. Yet these few may not have the power needed to achieve set goals. War and hate crimes are still abundant. Can we do something about it? Or have we completely given up?
However, things don’t necessarily end there. Progress towards the greater good is always hampered by feelings of complacency and defeat. We must always be wary of these two things as they abate the human growth, stagnating life itself. We might not be able to change the world in a second, a day, a month or year, but our every action can most certainly bring about the ripple effect that eventually covers the whole world itself. How we live our lives and the lessons we leave for our descendants matter, even if we feel that we lead rather insignificant lives. Every human being acts as a drop in the giant river of life; we are a like a collective existence that keeps changing; we pass on what we learn so the next generation knows better. Our little acts of love and empathy definitely will serve as an example to the future generations becoming an even better existence as a whole.
This quote by American astrophysicist and author Neil de Grasse Tyson comes to mind: “Humans aren't as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that we're reading, writing, arithmetic, and empathy”.

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, 18 April 2017

Are We Performing Our Duties? - Mhabeni Tungoe, HoD - Education

                                                                                                                                                                 
Ms Zuboni Humtsoe never gave up on her dreams. In 2011, she began her indigenous fashion brand ‘Precious Me Love’ (PML), with a capital of just 3500 rupees. Today PML has ventured into the e-commerce arena and has over 1000 clients around the country. Yes, Nagaland is marred with a plethora of problems. There’s illegal taxation, unemployment, bad roads, corruption, erratic electricity supply, and tribalism. However, none of these stopped Ms Humtsoe from doing what she wanted to do. The result of her hard work led Ms Humtsoe to be awarded the ‘Nari Shakti Purashkar’ in March 2017, which was presented to her by His Excellency the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee. As long as we persevere and do our duty, achieving success is never a distant reality.

Are We Performing Our Duties?

Human beings are social animals, we don’t live in isolation. From birth, we mingle with other members of the society. Being a part of the society, each one of us is obligated to fulfill certain role expectations by executing work that our society requires of us. Every individual wants to live in a better condition; to enjoy life to the fullest with less difficulty. Hence, if we are to realize such wants, it is very important to play our part well in the society. Society is made up of a varied system. If we want development and progress for the betterment of self and welfare of the society, we need to perform our part in a responsible manner.
In life, an individual is required to play different roles. And as members of the society, it is our responsibility to play our parts effectively and efficiently. We are here in this world performing various duties that invariably come along with the role we occupy, such as parents, leaders, followers, students, teachers, politicians, social workers, government servants, etc. In every institution, whether it’s in a family, educational institution, community, government, churches, and so on, there are duties and responsibilities, rules and regulations, norms and conduct that we have to follow and practice as a leader or a member. In any kind of system, there are certain goals, objectives, and missions. Moreover, to achieve the goals, it requires the involvement of every member of the group. Numerous plans are prepared and implemented, and this requires cooperation. Cooperation is an essential ingredient in the functioning of any system. Every one of us is considered as an important part of the group in which we are a member.
Everyone has a duty - to be a responsible member of the society. But unfortunately, not everyone takes their responsibility seriously. There are lots of people in our society who do not know what being a responsible member means and these people are the ones who destroy the system. For in being a responsible individual, society becomes content and harmonious.
I want to share a story which has a very strong moral message about how each member has an important role in the well-being of a society. There once was a traveler who was travelling alone in a car. Suddenly, the car slowed down, sputtered a moment, and with a final gasp, broke down. There he was alone with only a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, miles away from a mechanic. He had no knowledge on how to repair cars. He lifted the hood of the car and looked around, but everything seemed in order. Then a passerby came along. He jiggled the carburetor and said, “Plenty of gas”. He placed the screwdriver across some electrical connections and he said, “Aha- no spark!” Soon he found a loose wire. One little screw had come loose, which caused the motor to stop running. Just as little parts of an engine are vital to keeping it running, every member of the society is essential to the functioning of a system. Failure to do our part may automatically hinder the whole system from performing properly. Our failure to work may result in the disintegration of the whole system. Our little part, if neglected can result in big problems.
Now, I want to request the readers to ponder on the following question: Are we doing our part? Being members of different systems—educational, grassroots organizations, business institutions, government, etc.—are we doing justice in performing our duties and obligation or are we ignoring them? In our Naga society, we have problems and issues that are there and will be there like in any society or country. It is part of life. We know that we cannot create or make a perfect society as we are only humans. Challenges and issues will always be there, whether it’s in the realm of family, society, politics, or culture, education, and economy.
This does not mean we ignore our responsibilities and duties. I believe that if every member of the society does their part well, then at least to some extent there will be a noticeable improvement, as well as concrete changes and development will begin to take place in our society. We talk about corruption and blame each other whenever problems arise in any area. Besides, we need to question ourselves- “Are we the ones responsible for the problems because we are not fulfilling our duties faithfully? Is blaming others going to do any good?”
As individuals, it is crucial to develop a sense of conscience so that we can identify with the society and contribute to its progress. And in order to do our part, it is necessary for one to be disciplined in every aspect of life. Without discipline, we cannot expect the society to grow. In any area of life, refinement and improvement of both the individual and society largely depend on discipline, since it enables us to be sensitive with regard to the welfare of others and correct our behavior, all of which contribute to an exalted sense of responsibility, respect for authority, love for orderliness, eagerness to discharge duties with regularity, efficiency and a desire to be agreeable and helpful to others.

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, 12 April 2017

How Must We Speak? -Daniel M Khan, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science



The Right to Freedom of Speech is a basic Human Right. Article 19 of the Indian Constitution provides citizens with the “freedom of speech which is the right to express one’s opinion freely without any fear ...” Accordingly, Clause (2) of Article 19 contains the grounds on which 8 restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression can be imposed, in respect of the sovereignty and integrity of the country. How do you understand what these articles mean? Here is a thought provoking article that contends that while it is necessary to preserve freedom of speech and expression in a democracy, it is also necessary to place some restrictions on this freedom for the maintenance of social order since freedom can neither be absolute nor completely restricted.



How Must We Speak?
“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom- and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.” Benjamin Franklin, USA.
Freedom of speech and expression is the most basic of all freedoms granted to the citizens of India. This provision in our constitution of course was inspired by Western ideology. The founding fathers of the United States of America established their nation by setting forth many Biblical principles in her constitution, like the Bill of Rights. In it, the first amendment essentially gives the freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, etc. However, by declaring these freedoms, the founding fathers never meant to endorse the rights of those who would do ‘wicked’ deeds. The laws of society should impose penalties on evil perversions of true freedom. Thus, true freedom must have boundaries and penalties must be imposed upon those who violate them. Often, however, this freedom is misused.

With recent spates of intolerance to views and ideas expressed both in print and electronic media, the interpretations of ‘Freedom to Speech and Expression’ continue to unravel. Over the past few months in the JNU (Delhi) campus, the Democratic Students Union (DSU) organized a debate to air their concerns and ideas about the issues of Kashmir. However, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members fearing that the debate would be “harmful for campus atmosphere”, wrote to the administration of JNU to withdraw the permission to organize the same. DSU decided to go ahead with the debate, and the rest is history. It resulted in what was termed by the media and later by the political parties as “anti-national slogans” being raised, fuelling an unhealthy discourse which resulted in heavy casualties and sedition charges levelled on many students, making international headlines.
Was it antinational to organize an open debate and have free discussions? Clearly not. What however is troubling is the raising of antinational slogans such as “our fight will continue until India is destroyed”, and the like, by angry students. In a democracy, everyone has the freedom of expression and undoubtedly, freedom of speech and expression entails responsibilities and consequences. While condemning the misuse of freedom of speech, I suggest that neutral platforms are created for constructive debates where all voices could be placed, heard, and responded or condemned.
In Nagaland too, there have been many cries for the voices of the people to be heard. The recent standoff between the Government of Nagaland and the people’s voice spearheaded by the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) and Naga Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) may be a case in point. The issue was nonviolent protest against the 33% reservation for women in the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections, which later took an ugly turn leading to rampant destruction of government property and loss of three precious lives. What could have been achieved with peaceful dialogue, negotiation, and restraint on the blatant exercise of the freedom of speech was wrought with violence. Should every issue that concerns the citizens be then settled with bloodshed and violence? Let us learn from the lives of our great heroes of humanity like Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela who through nonviolent approaches fought for just causes and brought down oppressive governments and ushered in peace to troubled worlds.  
Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest exponent of the doctrine of ahimsa or non-violence. His actions were brilliant examples of the proper usage of the Right to Freedom and Expression. Gandhi, in 1931 said that, “I will not purchase my country’s freedom at the cost of non-violence...”. We must remember that Gandhi applied his method of non-violent resistance not only against foreign rule, but against social evils such as racial discrimination and untouchability as well, thereby winning the respect and support of the entire world. Not so long ago, Anna Hazare, a follower of Gandhi, used his freedom of speech in a nonviolent protest to bring about the passage of Jan Lokpal and the Lokayukta Bill, both of which ensures the citizens of timely and just investigations of corruption cases.
In recent times too, the wise use of freedom of speech and expression bringing about a positive change is that of the Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu. The leaderless mass movement largely conducted in a peaceful manner across Tamil Nadu by over 4 lakhs protestors led the Supreme Court to lift the ban imposed on the traditional bull-taming sport called jallikattu. Let this be an example for us that the voice of the people raised in a non-violent and peaceful manner has the power still to bring about the necessary changes in the society.  

Thus, while it is true that speech is a God given faculty and the constitution also ensures our freedom to practice free speech, we should do so with care. It is my strong belief that what cannot be achieved with bloodshed and violence can be achieved by wise usage of freedom of speech and expression in a peaceful and nonviolent manner. In conclusion, I quote from the Bible: Matthew 12:36 - “I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak”. I therefore encourage everyone to exercise your freedom of speech and expression to build others up; through encouragement and praise, appreciation, love, patience, kind and gentle words, constructive criticism, and to speak the truth with grace.


Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. 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.


Road Rage & Road Woes - Tatongkala Ao, HoD, History

Frustration hits a high when driving along the roughshod roads in Nagaland. Add to that the non-adherence to road rules and driving ...