Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Test of Tolerance - Limala Longchar, Visiting Faculty, Department Of English




“Tolerance is wanted in the queues… in the street, in the office, at the factory, and it is wanted above all between classes, races, and nations.” These wise words were stated by E. M. Foster, the 19th Century English novelist. Tolerance is a virtue that many applaud, on the other hand, as the article raises, there also instances when we need to away with our tolerant or indifferent attitude and raise our voices for causes that matter. So, when do we practice tolerance and when do we not?  





Test of Tolerance



“Do not push my limits” is what best describes our feeling when any situation or circumstance exceeds our endurance level. It may seem like a sign of a person’s vulnerability as a human. These five magic words are likely to restrict a person from exposing an unattractive version of the self. But is it really helpful to diffuse the wide range of exploding emotions? Hypothetically, the person may burst, in order to have an outlet, in this case the outlet coming in the form of a bomb with a big ‘BOOM’. When this happens, our tolerance level is taking a break and just chilling.
There are two sides to a story (some even say three). I would like to discuss tolerance in that light, having the binary elements .There are ongoing debates about tolerance- how to apply it, and how to restrict it. Both are needed for the progress of the society. There is a zero-tolerance policy on so many issues in our society which ensure the smooth running of the society, and it should best be kept that way. However, we might just want to practice being more tolerant. We meet so many intolerant people, with an air of self importance, walking down the street, perhaps in your locality, church, bank, etc., making complete fools of themselves. They are being intolerant and pushy because they could not have their way and do not have patience to be civilised.
In such situations, we form a mental picture of how conflict could have been avoided by just being calm, tactful, and most important of them all, by reacting tolerantly. The tag ‘complete fool’ would then easily find its way into the garbage can. The person will get the crowning glory, and join the bandwagon of the tolerants.
The whole scenario is like the right to vote, whereby the person either votes for, or against a candidate. Both the votes are equally important and helpful in shaping public opinion. This is exactly how tolerance works. It has a kind of duality attached to it.
The whole question of a person being tolerant in our Naga context is related to ‘Sorom’ (the English equivalent being ‘shame’). The ‘Sorom factor’ has a very high appeal and makes it very glamorous. “Sorom ase” and “Sorom khai” are some of the most frequently uttered phrases among the Nagas. Is it because our ego is very fragile or just bloated up? We don’t want to point fingers at something which is going wrong. We are blind by choice and perhaps wearing a shade which is so dark that it is blocking our view. Or, are we just selectively blind? We see only what we want to see. Lack of curiosity, questions, and the tag of being branded as ‘oversmart’ are perhaps some of the reasons why we are ignorant on so many issues surrounding us. In the name of being ‘tolerant’ we turn a blind eye to the many evils in our state. Here is one quote which explains the scenario- “The problem is not people being uneducated. The problem is that they are educated just enough to believe what they have been taught and not educated enough to question what they have been taught.”
Tolerance when put in a positive way can do a lot of good. Examining various episodes in history, we see that tolerance would have perhaps saved so many lives. Thousands were displaced, killed, and raped during the India-Pakistan Partition. Trains filled with dead bodies would enter both countries. Had people shown tolerance, precious lives would not have been lost in this gruesome manner.
We Nagas are tolerant when it comes to major issues that need to be addressed. Talk about our roads, our electricity, LPG shortage, or truant government employees. We tend to switch on the mute button and ignore all of these. “Olop adjust kuridiwo”. This attitude helps corruption flourish! On the other hand, we are very intolerant of so many minor issues. For example, we are intolerant of people who seem to have a different opinion from us. 4+5=9, 6+3=9, the answer is the same. But we question or critique the method. The person is crucified on account of differences of opinion and there is the endless ‘war of words’! Where’s democracy?
Parallel thinking, when it comes to tolerance, is crucial. We can’t think ‘good’ thoughts all the time and be tolerant of the evils around us, nor can we keep barking at everyone and be intolerant of everything that goes against our expectation. There should be a balance. ’Sorom’ should not be the reason for us to be painfully tolerant. I think tolerance should be like ‘a breath of fresh air', whereby we are inhaling the clean oxygen and exhaling toxic elements.
Aristotle has used two words in relation to character, which I would like to apply in this context: ethos and dianoia, the former indicating the moral disposition in character, while the latter means the intellectual element which determines all rational conduct through which the ethos seeks an external expression. Are we willing to let ethos and dianoia work together in perfect order to achieve the desired goal?

Lastly, tolerance has some final words to say –“I function perfectly well! Use me or abuse me, that is in your hand”.

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

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Are you Employable? - Amar Ranjan Dey, HoD - Commerce

                                                                                                                                               



Education is not merely acquiring a degree. To be able to practically apply one’s learning correctly to the needs of one’s environment and job requirements is the other measure of success. Some major problems in Nagaland, identified by Amar Ranjan are the lack of practical knowledge, employability and life skills amongst job seekers. So while we may be complaining about the number of qualified unemployed youths in our society another important question we might want to ask ourselves instead is – Are you employable?


Are you Employable?
The strength of a state is dependent on the intellect and skills of its citizens. Without quality human capital, a state will be weak as there will be an insufficient human factor to take on new initiatives and challenges. Quality human capital comes from a quality education process. A carefully designed and well planned educational system is critical in developing such human capital. The term “employability skills” is here referring to those skills required to acquire and retain a job. In the past, employability skills were considered to be primarily for vocational jobs; they did not include academic skills. Current thinking, however, has broadened the definition of employability skills to include not only many foundational academic skills but also a variety of attitudes and habits. These transferable skills include the ability to solve complex, multidisciplinary problems, work successfully in teams, exhibit effective oral and written communication skills, and practice good interpersonal skills.
As we go through local dailies, we come across similar statements being made by our local leaders, MLAs, and even our Governor when they visit educational institutions. They urge that educational institution should emphasize on skill development and add job oriented courses besides the general courses. Nagaland Governor Shri. P. B. Acharya, while addressing the gathering on the occasion of Tetso College’s, Scholastic Day 2017 programme, expressed serious concern over an ever-increasing number of educated unemployed youths in our state. He wondered if everyone was too engrossed with academic education, all the while neglecting the crucial aspect of equipping youths with practical knowledge and life skills. He also asserted that we need to develop work culture besides book knowledge; otherwise, our youth could be misused by any unwanted social evils prevailing around us. So, the institutions of higher learning play a vital role and the teaching and learning processes in institutions of higher learning should provide such knowledge and skills to future graduates.
With the needs of  modern man keep changing, it is education that helps him survive through difficult situations in life, earn a respectable living, and fulfil his dreams. A job and its associated benefits, such as a handsome pay package, perks such as a plush lifestyle and acclaimed social standing, is what drives the youth these days. But to attain this, some specific skills like entrepreneurship, communication skills, and use of tools and technologies are required, besides the basic academic and technical skills. It is important that educational institutions, specifically colleges, improve the employability of their graduates by focussing on reducing these important skill gaps through improvements in curriculum and teaching methods.
To meet these emerging skill requirements, many educational institutions are now collaborating with various technical and vocal training institutes. An article published in The Telegraph informed that the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun, has incubated the school of International Law & Diplomacy (SoILD) and the school of Public Policy & Governance (SoPPG).  BA and MA programs offered at these schools have been conceived with the vision to groom young leaders ready to take up roles in set-ups as diverse as posts in the government sector, public service, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and businesses. Keeping in view the career aspirations of the new generation, UPES has embedded Civil Services Examination coaching along with the regular course curriculum for these B.A and M.A programs. UPES is the first private university in India to offer such an embedded test preparation component. Therefore, we should evoke similar thought process to impart such add-on courses beside the general academic courses.
Each institution should define the set of skills or courses a graduate ought to have during weekdays or after each examination. Besides, colleges need to change their teaching methods and go from being teacher-centric to student-centric. More assignments for students should be included which will equip them to independently analyse and apply tools to real life problems. Student-centered learning puts students’ interest first, acknowledging students’ voice as central to the learning experience. In a student-centered learning space, students choose what they want to learn, how they want to learn, and assess their own learning. This is in contrast to the traditional ’teacher-centered learning’ which situates the teacher as the primarily “active” role while students take a more “passive”, receptive role.  In a teacher-centered classroom, teachers and the concerned board or supervising university decides the curriculum and methods of evaluation. In contrast, student-centered learning requires students to be active, responsible participants in their own learning and with their own pace of learning.
Student-centered instruction focuses on skills and practices that enable lifelong learning and independent problem-solving. In my opinion, only through such changes in the education system can we ensure that students become employable after leaving college. As a state where the unemployment crisis is rampant, we really need to scrutinize our priorities and re-evaluate the content being taught to our students. Is the very education being provided to them hampering their growth as individuals and potential employees? While the traditional approach can be used as a reference point, education in the current scenario must depart from old methodologies and content. All of this will enable our youth to find the jobs they deserve, thereby improving the economy of Nagaland as well.


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

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Manipur’s Interminable Economic Blockade - David Hanneng, Assistant Professor, Department of History



Blockades reveal discontent or resistance to policies of the government which the society deems unsuitable. Certainly, in a democratic society, such forms of resistance are not illegal. However, just because we are allowed to resist the government policies, it also does not justify, no matter the policies under question, the disruption and immense hardships caused to innocent civilians who ultimately bear the brunt of such thoughtless acts. This week’s article looks at the deleterious effects of the economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council in Manipur.

Manipur’s Interminable Economic Blockade

On 1st November, 2016, the United Naga Council (UNC) called for an economic blockade in Manipur. It is still in place and has now crossed more than 130 days. In Nagaland too we have witnessed bandhs, on and off, a period of uncertainty which prevailed in February, except with the privilege of buying our essential items in the evenings. Trains and trucks carrying essential goods to Dimapur remained unperturbed. This bandh, though comparatively mild when compared to those in Manipur, hampered day to day affairs. The discomfort it caused remains unparalleled in recent memory. Business establishments would have incurred losses amounting to crores. One can only imagine then how much havoc the bandhs called by the UNC must be causing to the people of Manipur.  Though we are not the ones enforcing it (except for few days by NSF), we in Nagaland, seem to have either approved of it by our silence or is it that we are completely unconcerned by the happenings in Manipur. Except for Rev. L Suohie Mhasi, not even one organisation condemned this blockade.
Imagine a situation where Assam enforces an economic blockade on Nagaland, perhaps due to the border dispute, or by the Meitei groups in Assam who have a sizeable population. We all know how choking and life-crippling it would be. If some sand-traders' Union in Karbi Anglong impose a blockade on the export of sand, that itself causes so many hardships. A full-fledged economic blockade would be terrifying.  If such a situation so arises, on what moral ground would we be condemning it? Moreover, if the ASEAN (Association of South-Eastern Asian Nations) highway which aims at bypassing Nagaland materialises, will we not be at the receiving end? The current route (Moreh–Imphal–Manipur) has been a great economic boon. The diversion is being aimed mainly due to the frequent bandhs in Manipur, much like the present one. Lok Sabha MP, Mr Neiphiu Rio, has recently requested the Indian government to stick to the old route instead of the newly proposed Tupul-Jiribam-Silchar-Guwahati route which would bypass Nagaland. Our silence and ignorance at this stage can, in the long run, harm our economy.
While the justification of the blockade might be debatable, we know it stemmed from the plan of the Manipur government to create new districts. The UNC felt this would infringe on the ‘Naga Land'. The Chief Minister of Manipur, O Ibobi Singh was supposed to inaugurate Sadar Hills as a district, however, due to opposition from his cabinet members, the plan had to be abandoned. However, Ibobi Singh, who had escaped an attack at the helipad in Ukhrul, announced the creation of seven new districts on 9th December 2016.
In Manipur, the Nagas, Kukis, and Meiteis form the three major communities, and each community is known for calling bandhs for extended periods of time. However, a bandh which is stretched like the present one makes the state machinery redundant. Additionally, it makes items of basic needs of the people scarce. How much petrol, LPG, and rice etc. can be airlifted for the population of an entire state for such monstrous duration? It ceases to be a practical and long lasting solution. Besides, the very Human Rights abuse that we keep harping about seems to be the same one we abuse when it comes at the expense of other communities. The people of Manipur are sufferers, and one can only admire their resilience and self-sufficiency that they are somehow still holding on even after 4 months of bandh! Had it been in Nagaland, we would have starved by now or perhaps would be back to the jungle hunting roots and wild leaves. Aren't there any other means of solving issues apart from these inhumane blockades? Ultimately, it is the common man who suffers, the same common man who has absolutely no say in matters of the state.
When it comes to the issue of land, Rev. Dr. Wati Aier (Principal of Oriental Theological Seminary, Dimapur) while speaking at a seminar in Tetso College  said, “While we Nagas claim that our History and our land is Unique, we should also acknowledge and respect other people's rights to their land and uniqueness of their history." Perhaps the mentality of holding exclusive rights over lands in the Manipur Hills is something we have to ponder on.
The only way forward would be to find an honourable compromise. The Interlocutor of the Naga Peace process, R N Ravi expressed that the economic blockade might hamper the ongoing political talks. It’s high time that the people of Manipur find a way to live together in peace and harmony. A civil war like situation had recently emerged, with counter-blockades from the ‘Valley’ people. These conflicts would be catastrophic for the people.  Whether it be Manipur or Nagaland, if we claim to live in a modern world and modern society, we should somehow learn to find a more peaceful and better way of settling disputes apart from blockades and arson.

There seems to be a great deficit of statesman in our societies today who can dissolve crisis and lead us in the right direction. As for Manipur, bifurcation of districts is a state affair, and the Centre can do little to interfere. Finally, "Do to others as you would like them to do to you", a celebrated statement of Jesus should be reflected upon, as we think and ponder over our actions and inactions which shape our future. We hold the key.

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

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Battle against Tribalism in Nagaland - Lika S. Zhimomi, BA 6th Semester, Education (Honours)

                                                             
                                                                       
                        

Nagas are well known for their hospitality and friendly nature. Our social fabric and sense of belongingness to community life is so strong that it does not go unnoticed by visitors, non-locals and foreigners, who often comment on this, appreciating and even envying this special bond. Yet, there is something amiss as pointed out by Lika S. Zhimomi. This sense of unity seems to stop somewhere along the way. “Tribalism, she says, is the social threat of today.” We are waging a vicious battle against tribalism in Nagaland.



The Battle against Tribalism in Nagaland

Unity, according to the Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary means the state of being in agreement and working together; the state of being joined together to form one unit.
I would like to begin by stating to all the readers that whatever I’m going to write is not out of compulsion, but out of endless thoughts which pop out in me every now and then as I look at the prevailing situation in Nagaland. As a student, I honestly believe that whatever is going on in our society will not bring resolution for where there is no unity, the word “peace” cannot prevail. Development in the fields of economy, politics, society, etc. is not possible without unity and to bring development the presence of unity in a particular society is essential.
With the passage of time, the presence of various divisions has led to the creation of cracks in our social structure. The biggest of these cracks can be attributed to tribalism, which is a social threat that constructs an illusion of differences, and creates enemies and hatred. The presence of ‘ism’ has hindered our society’s progress. Life on this green planet races like the blink of an eye, and as Shakespeare once verily maintained that the world is a stage and we are just mere players. We have been created by a creator to perform certain tasks and this can’t be done without the presence of unity in our lives.
I’m elated to share one common, yet powerful, story. This is my version of the tale. Once there lived five brothers and their father. Their lives were filled with hatred and enmity among brothers. This was painful for the father. One fine day, the father called them for a task. He asked his eldest son to bring a stick and politely asked him to break it which the eldest son did into pieces. The father asked the same from his second son, and he, too, broke the stick easily. Likewise, the other three brothers were asked to do the same. The father then asked his sons to bind 30 pieces of stick tightly together and break it, which to their surprise could not be broken. The five brothers gave a stern look at each other as none of them could complete the task. Then their father told them, “Dear sons, have you realised that 30 sticks binded together cannot be easily broken. Likewise, the more united you are, the stronger you become.” Thereafter, five of them lived together as one.
This story is short but the message it gives out is huge. Perhaps we all need to realise that divided nothing can be achieved. The more we create identities to differentiate; ranks to classify, the more our society is going to slide away from development. The most important thing which this story teaches us is the importance of ‘unity’; unity to do the task together and to show unity in every breath of our life by eliminating anger, selfishness, and arrogance.
It is a known fact that the population of our state is comparatively low, and we have very few industries and factories. Our society has become a hub for unemployed youths. Nevertheless, this does not wash out our selfishness, arrogance, and bias against other genders and tribes. It hinders the young talented youths from securing the right job, which they are capable of, since they never have the right mindset towards work. On the other hand, the undeserving find jobs, owing to political backings and money power.
A society without the feeling of oneness will always lag behind in terms of social, political, and spiritual development. There will always be a lack of co-operation, adjustment, and moreover, various problems will arise bringing with them equally numerous consequences which we will have to face. Chaos will take place and slowly the society will be separated by factionalism.
Society is not solely for some men or women only, but it is an endeavour where everyone has to work together. One should treat others as one would like to be treated. People must not create a room for differentiation but, in fact, work together. To bring development and change in our society is not easy. Our path toward advancement is hindered due to lack of unity among Nagas. For the bright future of our loving state, each one of us must set a common goal and should have one common voice, for where there is unity there is peace and development. To sum up my thoughts, I would like to pen down a poem dedicated to my state.
Many have shed their blood;
More remains to be shed,
But what does it reflect,
If it all went in vain?
For there is no sense of oneness.


To create oneness,
Is to create love and peace,
Live as one,
Voice as one,
And resolve every challenge we face.


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

Friday, 3 March 2017

In Search of Life’s Utopia - Tabitha K. Assumi, BA 4th Semester, History (Honours)



Life places numerous hurdles and untold hardships along the way. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with our own task of surviving and prevailing over these life’s challenges that we forget to cultivate the nobler characters in us. We become egoistic and self-centered. We take it for granted that all of us are in one way or the other dependent on each other. And that cultivation of one’s humanity, such as helping others and getting rid of our ego, is essential to overcoming life’s challenges. Ultimately, we are writers of our own life stories, not passive observers.


In Search of Life’s Utopia

Dreams lie within our benevolent being, pining for millions of answers for it. We are fading in a haze of bitterness and so we keep on struggling despite finding ourselves falling into the midst of a storm that does not seem to go down quite well in life. This, I believe, is what takes us to a whole new level of existence. Vanity comes hand in hand with hard work, failure walk side by side with accomplishment, and so does sacrifice quietly accompany gain. Despite all these differences, man is in fact born to strive for an unusual kind of ideal; an ideal that invariably will determine his destiny. Man is not limited to the act of choosing the circumstances he is in; yet, he is fully aware of the long-term consequences that his fate inevitably brings.

Passion and zest could actually be the catalyst that ignites the engine that has broken down few miles away from its destination. Passion, in many ways, is the key ingredient that enables us to appreciate the goodness in life. Certainly, that goodness is not just limited to the level of success we pine for and tussle over against all odds. Besides hard work, passion is the force that makes you steer and guide toward one’s destination. I believe that every little event in one’s life exerts its own influence, for everything around us can either inspire us or lead us toward the path of self-destruction. All these life’s incidents mold and sculpt us, either transforming us into a better or a bitter person.

Every incident in life reminds us that all of life’s races are not free from hurdles; that all ways do not point us to the right directions. Sometimes, in life, it is harrowing to affirm the existence of possibilities in the midst of difficulties. However, we, in the midst of those struggles, continually try to overcome those hurdles, we manage to turn to the right direction, and we turn impossibilities into a reality. Such moments afford us to rediscover ourselves; that there is more to life than our endless needs; and that we are quite capable of cultivating, in ourselves, of seeds of kindness and humanity.

From the way an individual expresses his sense of freedom to the depths of his insecurities, from the kind of pleasure he seeks to the grief in times of sorrow, one thing we know is that man desires to hold an upper hand for the bliss he seeks in his life, or else his life turns into a sordid boon. I believe that mankind must have taken the brunt of the unconditional grace and hence we justify our ignoble actions by blaming the conditions we find ourselves in rather than appreciating the wretchedness of our conditions. Every hour, minute and second ticks off precious moments of our lives that cannot be replaced; instead of appreciating our own fragile conditions, we lose ourselves chasing life’s vanities.
The irony of life lies in the fact that we desire our independence, yet, at the same time, we also cognize our dependence on the goodwill of others. We all have the capacity in our veiled benevolent selves, a prayer, a duty, an obligation, and a sense of responsibility towards others. Therefore, in a world held captive by opinions and emotions, chipping off one’s selfish egos can do much good than worse. And if this had been whispered into our hearts, as if it through some divinations from within, then, maybe, we ought to realize that it is our unconscious self that is urging us, you and I, to strip off our egos, which blind us. Only if we could trade a baggage of frailty for a speck of brilliance or if we could trade darkness for light, then we may find a silver lining marking a possibility for a sunny day.
History has a lot to say about the slave system and I bet we are making history repeat itself by virtually becoming a slave to some factors in life. We have carelessly metamorphosed ourselves as slaves to avarice and to the fear of losing our emotions, and to the fear of taking responsibility for the risks we take in life. Each one of us has something to offer, something to give in order to witness and experience that ideal life, which we all long for. I believe in the need to lend a hand; after all, what benefit does it bring me in not doing so? We all have sighed over a crumbling scene unable to make a move. There were times I cried as if there’s no tomorrow and raged as if there’s no tomorrow. But all the while, they have taught me to keep running as if there is no tomorrow till I step into ‘that’ moment of ‘tomorrow,’  where what fate has in store for us finally unveiled itself. In this way, we also have a better story to acquaint to the young hearts. Until we get there, we are all involved; we are all responsible, and we are all in the process of writing a better story.

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

Mixed Martial Arts in Nagaland - Hivika Shohe, Class XII (Arts)

The world of fitness is flexing its muscle and within it Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is becoming a rapidly growing sport. Conor McGreg...