Saturday, 30 December 2017

The Spirit of the Season - Limala Longchar, Assistant Professor, Department of English

The Spirit of the Season is all about loving, bonding, giving and sharing with those around us. Are we extending our friendship, warmth and generosity to those outside the comfort zones of our social circles too? Here’s some food for thought for the last few days of the year from our writer this week, Limala, who brings a different perspective about giving to the spirit of this yuletide season.  

The Spirit of the Season

Another two days have passed, since Christmas and New year’s is just a few days away. During this time, a question is usually asked every year, “Have you done anything significant this year?”. To this, everyone has a different answer. For some it is the best year, for some not so good, while some are not giving up yet. But, I shall not aggravate you by asking the same question that you get every  year. 
I would like to shift my focus on gift-giving and sharing during Christmas season. Traditionally, we relate the Christmas festival to carol singing, gift-giving, sharing, attending churches, decorating and lighting our homes. It is very  diverse and vibrant and heart-warming.

Come December, everyone flocks to the market, which is very famously referred to as “Christmas shopping”. It has become synonymous with our culture and way of life. Gifts are given and exchanged between families, friends, near and dear ones as a token of our love, appreciation. The whole atmosphere becomes very euphoric. Sharing is the further extension of gift-giving, whereby you divide your possession in the form of grain, rice, meat, fish, fruits and cakes amongst your family and friends.

Gift-giving and sharing is interrelated. The Naga society is a classless society, but there is no denying the fact that there is a huge disparity between the “haves” and the “have nots”. Likewise, the medium of exchange, sharing and gift-giving is also limited among the equals. The “haves” share and exchange gifts only amongst themselves, which most of them actually don’t need as they already have enough for themselves. Here, we see only one section of the society is uplifted. If we have to make a graph, we will see an increase among the “haves” and a steep decrease among the “have nots”. It gives a very grim picture of where our society is heading. The imbalance is clearly reflected.

Disparity between these two sections of society should be done away with. Sharing and gift-giving should be done within all sections of society. A random act of kindness can go a very long way. As humans, people tend to become very comfortable within their own circle, and their lives revolve only around them. This season, for a moment, can we stop being so engrossed in our own circles and look further. Delving deeper into the different sections of our society can be an eye-opener. We will find that there are so many neglected people whose living conditions are far below the poverty line. Can we shift the focal point from public display of material wealth among equals to a more nobler cause, whereby we can impact the lives of the less fortunate one. A humble suggestion is to outsource the abundant resources and materials to the less fortunate people. This contribution will go a very long way in impacting the life of people. Happiness provided to these people will give you a deep sense of satisfaction, much better than the insincere, overrated gratitude we receive from the more fortunate people.

There is no better moment than this time of the year to reach out to the unfortunate or more needy, or to go beyond our own comfort zones and interact within different social circles. This season is the perfect opportunity to spend with not just our near and dear ones, but to also extend our generosity and friendship to the less familiar. And it is the “haves” who can help bridge the divide between them and the “have nots”.

The balance can only be achieved when the “haves” and “haves not” blend together and work collectively. This is not an appeal for the creation of an utopian state. However, one simple solution can be, seeing the more fortunate take the initiative to strike a balance (minimum). This can be done by starting with people who are neglected, ignored and struggling with daily amenities. Look at the rural areas, where there is no electricity or even basic running water facilities. Light in the dark is a very rare sight for them. Some people don’t even have enough for both ends to meet. Their lives can only be brightened if people from all sections of society work in harmony. The reward can be the happiness you bring into someone’s life. So, now is the time and it can be any one of us.

Sharing and gift-giving need not be loud or a spectator’s game, where it is put on display for everyone to watch and receive ostentatious appreciation. The true essence of sharing and gift-giving should not be tampered with. It can be a very private affair, where the person can even go anonymous or incognito, take a step back, and watch the joy and gaiety of people with a deeper sense of satisfaction.               

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:

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