Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Social Pollution: A Case of Naga Society - Zujanbeni M Lotha, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Naga society has been going through a magnitude of changes since the formation of Nagaland. In spite of having one’s own state within the constitutional fabric of India the problems of the Nagas have not been sorted out, but they have seen to be aggravated manifold. The society is infected by the viruses of, to name a few, corruption, failed governance, and tribalism. Common Naga is silently suffering in the hand of the state as well as one’s own destiny. Where is the hope then?

Social Pollution: A Case of Naga Society

It is a requirement of any social system to function unhindered for its sustenance which is not always favored. It is disturbed and stained with multifarious interests and the social scale which is out of balance. The ever-expanding human society is equally filled with various social pollutions from every corner, the reason being untamed human actions. When there is a high concern for the environment pollutions and its pollutants, not so often do we deliberate concerning the social ailments erupting and damaging our society. It is not only the physical environment that is polluted and damaged; the social environment is confronted with various deadly problems arising every now and then. Inspite of having different cause and effects singularly, social pollution and environment pollution could also be analyzed analogically while taking a fact into the consideration that the human unrest needs immediate attention and loopholes checked.
One's action does not instantly become a social issue at once until it involves many people who are influenced by others. Individual's behavior, minor or serious, if left unchecked turns to a habit which may cause hazards to the social world. Today we witness developmental lag in our society. Rapid individualism but slower societal development. Poor roads yet rich tall buildings are no less. Beyond the flooded rough path lie palatial houses. Social pollutants have been spreading across gender, class, age group, geography, travelling at a very high speed. We see high moral deprivation which resulted in the disorder of the order in the social dynamism. Seldom do we care or notice our poor neighbor, orphan and the needy. Though not everyone is a pollutant by nature and it is not an inherited trait, in course of time they are unconsciously influenced by lifestyles as we tend to live and interact only within the same social circles. 
Countless invisible social evils are killing us silently, suffocating the inner state of a person, lessening the scope for ideal living. These are detrimental for any society's growth, slowly weighing it down to a pit as much pressure is exerted on it. People are muddied in favoritism, blinded by preferences; while everyone is in a race and equally competing for a position. This fever makes an easy way for some and they are pleased with it. One's rights and shares are snatched away by the fortunate others who rest on this. Hence, for the dedicated one, the realization of self cannot be achieved. When many positions in the service sector are occupied by incompetent, unskilled labors, we cannot expect a healthy society. In addition, jealousy co-exists with us. Interestingly, one's inner evil is cemented by attractive appearance and sweet speeches.

To earn something we tend to barter our honesty. In haste, the moral values fail to take its course. It has been seen that many government sectors keep ghost employees, irresponsible workers mostly in rural areas which directly affects the remote dwellers to a great extent due to their innocence as well as ignorance. Cheating and deception, alien to us for a very long time are rotting in our soil. Innocent ordinary people are victimized by the smart tongues- in offices, in market and in any social place. Disrespect and disobedience are seen everywhere. Drunkenness and countless addictions have tarnished the beauty of our land. The dry state has high liquor consumers. Scores of issues are not presented publicly, which are experienced in different ways.
Social pollutants get easily pollinated in every human habitat by the active carriers wherever they go. Our land has many literates but uneducated people, not mindful of what we say and do. We are blessed with many intellectuals but fall short of ethics. Cries for rights and justice remained unheard. Fatty promises given to the people are seen to be disappearing with the passage of time. Therefore, the contradictions prevailing in the society needs to be addressed.

The Legal system is ineffective and non-protective in our place. The situation gets worse when some defaulters easily escape the social sanctions through secret business. Integrity is often traded for something in return. The existence of many factions in Armed Political groups as well as the issue of ‘tribalism’ denotes how disorganized our society is, moreover, multiple ineffective organizations and unions only exhibit the many social maladies. Upright and honest people are the most targeted ones, as evidenced by the state's recent case. One has to please the corrupt representatives or lose one's position. It is no offense to pull down anyone righteous.

Social transformation is repeatedly choked by the unruly human behavior, paralyzed by few elitist shared interests. The cause of the poor and destitute stands less defensive. It is a hard thought on how our present society will be read like in future. The meaning of life and individual as well as common happiness cannot compromise with the effects of social illness. The outcomes are what we see today - division, underdevelopment, human estrangement, lack of consensus, materialism, anonymity, which ultimately will bring death to our society.
The challenge we take today in being a little more honest, giving and sharing; the love we extend can balance the social habitat and not keep vengeance in wait to those who harm us. The power to demolish the social calamities is within us. No particular group or class is absolutely accountable; it is the responsibility of every individual. There is always a scope for a better situation if we are desirous of good values as we have the potential of achieving anything constructive.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thoughtwill 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, Tatongkala Pongen, Aniruddha, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email:

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Rethinking the Inner Line Permit (ILP) System - Akatolu Assumi, (Ph.D. scholar) Assistant Professor, Department of History

The main purpose of introducing ILP was to protect the indigenous people of Northeast India against the influx of outsiders. But, by looking at the number of illegal migrants flocking in, it has become a matter of concern and a challenge in Nagaland. The issue of ILP has been genuinely raised by all concerned individuals and organizations and yet no concrete solution has been found till today. How far are we willing to compromise with a system that has many loopholes? The issue of ILP is in a state of turmoil now but it is never too late to bring a change and address this issue in a sensible manner.   

Rethinking the Inner Line Permit (ILP) System

The history of a line

The ILP has a curious history. On March 1, 1873, the Government of Bengal forwarded a draft Regulation initiated by its Department of Agriculture, Revenue and Commerce under Act 33, Victoria, Chapter 3, Section 1, which gives the power of summary legislation for backward tracts to the Executive Governments. In Great Britain, Acts before 1963 were named by the year/s of the monarch's reign for the session of Parliament in which they were passed. 

The draft Regulation was called, "A Regulation for the security of certain districts on the Eastern Frontiers of Bengal, and for the better ordering of the trade with the hills men living on the border of those districts". The Regulation was to be extended to the districts of Cachar, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Kamroop, Durrang, Nowgong, Seebsagur, Lukhimpoor, and to the Naga Hills, Khassiah (Khasi) and Jyeteah (Jaintia) Hills, and Garo Hills with effect from April 1, 1873. The draft Regulation had ten Sections. The important sections of the Resolution were Section 2 and Section 7.

It was introduced by the British colonial administration as the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation in the then undivided province of Assam, which included practically all the states of the present-day Northeast, except Manipur and Tripura, which were then independent kingdoms. The use of the word ‘regulation’ was not accidental and says something about the line’s original purpose.

As colonial historian E.A. Gait notes in A History of Assam, a Regulation is a summary legislation for ‘backward tracts’ as distinct from an Act which are laws passed after discussion in the legislature. By this Regulation, then, an Inner Line was created along the base of the hills surrounding the plains of Assam, and British subjects had to get special permission from the administration to go beyond the line. In essence, the ILPS was meant to protect the British revenue districts of the Assam plains from the “wild” hills men.

Not long after the British annexed Assam in 1826 after the First Anglo-Burmese War, this new territory, still administered from Fort William as a part of Bengal, began showing revenue potential especially after the Bruce brothers’ discovered tea in the 1830s. Along with tea were also lucrative prospects in rubber, timber etc.

The Governor-General in Council of British India in a Resolution on January 17, 1872, decided to define the line of the ordinary jurisdiction to be exercised by the officers of the Government of India in the rubber-producing districts; to declare that Government will not be responsible for the protection of life beyond that line; and to require that the movements of British subjects beyond that border be subject to certain restrictions, or even, it might be in the case of Europeans forbidden altogether. The Governor-General in Council also thought that special care should be taken to prevent the transfer of land possessed in the plains by hillsmen to European or native planters. Accordingly, the Lt. Governor of Bengal was asked to prepare a Regulation which will meet the above requirements.

Way back in the 18th Century when India was neither a country nor a legal State, there came a law canon by Her Majesty, Queen Victoria to safeguard, through punitive regulatory provisions, aimed at regulating transit facilities to non- hill people into the hills and the entire North Eastern Region through the Government of India Act, 1870, viz., The Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. The Law bequeathed judicial powers on the districts authority of Kamrup, Darrang, Nowgong, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur (Garo Hills), Khasi and Jaintia Hills, Naga Hills and Cachar to frame restrictive prohibitions for the entry of only Indian Citizens or passing through such districts from going beyond such line without a pass under the hand and seal of the District Officer/officers.

Today, Inner Line Permit is used by the non-Nagas travelling to Nagaland beyond Dimapur. Inner Line Permit is an official travel document issued by the government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected/restricted area for a limited period. The applicant submits the ILP form which is processed by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Office. However, a concern regarding the ILP is on the question of why the ILP is required only beyond Dimapur? Is Dimapur not a part of the so called inhabited area of the Nagas? We have already come to a dead lock with this so called system of ILP given to the preserved states. Presently, some states like Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur are seeking and there is an ongoing demand for the introduction of ILP in Assam, Meghalaya, and Manipur to regulate the entry of outsiders into the state. But as Naga people are we losing the importance of protecting the indigenous hill people by not maintaining the ILP system strictly? In fact, implementing ILP system rigorously will not only solve the problem of illegal immigrants but also other problems that are created by the illegal immigrants which is a serious issue to be addressed. With this in mind we can overcome and safeguard the continuous flow of illegal immigrants by taking steps like implementing the ILP stringently so as to preserve our culture and protect the indigenous tribes 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 recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Tatongkala Pongen, Aniruddha, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email:

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

A ‘Fishy’ Business - Limala Longchar, Assistant Professor, Department of English.

"Formalin injected fish” were the headlines of the newspaper dailies in Nagaland last week. But this is not something new, as adulteration of edible food, the extents to which they occur in varying degrees, infiltrate our markets. The scary part is how do we identify the authenticity of the commodities that we buy from the market? Consumer awareness, going organic and stricter food safety regulations seem to be some ways of going about this food crisis that is fast becoming a daily part of our lives.

A ‘Fishy’ Business

The Government of India, under the Ministry of Consumer Affair started Jago Grahak Jago, a consumer awareness programme. As a part of this initiative, the government has used multiple channels to create consumer awareness through Print Media Advertisement, Audio Campaign, and Video Campaign. As a child, I remember tuning in to Doordarshan Channel and watching the video Campaign which was very catchy, where consumers are alerted on the sale of expired products and sale of products above the MRP and numerous other issues alerting the consumers.
Now, for the past few days our local dailies are flooded with the news of formalin infested fish pouring in every single day. The news report reads over 900kg destroyed in Dimapur dated June 29, 2018(The Morung Express), while 1666 kg destroyed in Kohima dated 28 June, 2018( Nagaland Post) and  Mokokchung banning the sale of imported fish until the formalin issue is resolved( The Morung Express, dated June 27, 2018).
According to a fish wholesaler, the bulk of fish are sourced from Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata and Assam. Around 20-30 tonnes of fish reach Dimapur daily by road, a portion of which also go to Peren, Kohima, Phek, Wokha and even Imphal. In Dimapur alone around 5-6 tonnes of fish are sold daily. So far news reports on formalin injected fish has been pouring in from only 3 districts in Nagaland. This trend should be stopped because we are in a phase where “Ignorance is no longer bliss”. The Nagas in general need to be aware, alert and vigilant on food safety, food security and hygiene, which is greatly lacking among the Nagas. Most people rarely do a double check on the expiry date of the food products, or the medicines they purchase from the market and silently bear the consequences. The need of the hour now is to be educated on our Consumer Rights.
The fish crisis which is happening at present is not just limited to Nagaland alone, given the fact that Andhra Pradesh supplies fish to other parts of the country. Therefore, this is not just a state crisis but a national crisis. Few years back, one of my friends from Wokha remarked on the differences between the fish we purchase from the market and fresh fish from Doyang River, the taste of which is very distinct. This makes me question why is it that the locally reared/grown products in Nagaland are not gaining importance or popularity? Some reasons could be because the public are ignorant about the various prospects available, due to price wars and the problem of taxation, which prevents the producers to meet the supply and demand of the consumers.
 The public in general refrain from purchasing the local products. What is wrong with the local/organic products that we wind up going for chemically treated products which although might be comparatively cheaper but compromise on our health. The government should take the initiative on better distribution of Doyang fish in order to ban the supply of formalin injected fish into the market of Nagaland. However, the initiative should not be limited to fish alone, it should also extend to other items like vegetables, fruits, grains, cereal etc. as we have good agriculture produce every year. But, the only struggle is for a market, fair price and the absence of exorbitant tax.  
 Before the fish crisis took over the state with an uproar, there had been cases where some vendors in Dimapur were using chemicals for the artificial ripening of banana. So fish is not the only fishy edible consumed by the consumers. Hence, the public should not  be overjoyed at the sight of huge mangoes, cabbage, pumpkins, watermelons and cauliflowers. We should always enquire and, question if they are organic or laced with chemical fertilizers before buying them from the market.
 Nagaland as a state should work progressively towards the increase of our own fish production and work towards fish distribution in all the districts instead of depending on the fish supplied from the other states. With a fair price system and decrease in taxation, the fish production and distribution will flourish in Nagaland, it will also help in the growth of steady state economy and create employment opportunity for large number of unemployed youth, thereby providing a solution for unemployment.
Awareness on the part of the public is very vital. Vigilance and alertness can go a very long way in rescuing us from the hazardous effects of products supplied from outside the state. The public should also be mindful of the sea-food served in restaurants as we don’t have any idea or evidence on its source as it comes from far off places treated with chemicals for durability. The public may be more than willing to pay for the exotic/delicious meal completely ignoring the consequences.

I would like to conclude by saying that the Nagas are not lazy but hardworking folks, it’s just that things are a little topsy-turvy at the moment. Let this fish crisis not just remain as the tip of the iceberg but also serve as a means of unearthing the hidden depths of all the unseen crisis that may be prevalent in our society.

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

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A Peek Into India’s Political Destiny - Aniruddha Babar, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

Degree of thought

Indian politics goes through fluctuating aspirations that tends to leave an in-deletable stamp on the way forward. Can the scales be more balanced between left and right wing, to provide a newer perspective to the interface between various political groups that constitute the political spectrum in India. Is it now time to revisit the politics of the left?

A Peek Into India’s Political Destiny

Minimizing the complexity of variations in the political opinion to a scale of left or right is common discussion in the public discourse. It is also a very convenient assumption of modeling in Political Science. From historical perspective, the role of communist party in the year of 1942 is a much maligned one. The communist party had committed a tactical blunder during that period by not supporting the ‘Quit India’ Movement; the fact of which the communist formations in the country have accepted. However, communists stayed a significant category during the freedom movement and also thereafter, which has resulted in making India undergo the new alignment in its politics with distinct characteristics. The periodization of the political systems of India is debatable and it is also basically acceptable that there were a minimum of 2 key political alignments in the history of independent India prior to the current alignment of Indian politics that includes a party of the right wing that attain a majority in the parliament of India.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar identified social structure of India as a “Building without staircase” which ghettoized the Indian society that makes populist agitation difficult and shifts the entire focus of political mobilization to caste-identity; hence the identity politics soon became a major characteristic of Indian politics.  Moreover, the people of India are oriented towards religious identity too that further resulted to the shift of the politics in the orientation of more fragmented lines along religion and caste which has been more prominent after 1989, which was the beginning of the growth of neo-political movement of Hindutva Politics and degradation of communism.

In India most of the parties are left or center left wing, however, this is relevant in the sense that they happen to use the strength and power of the government for doling out the favors towards their castes and supporters which made them powerful political pressure groups. However, the electoral fundamental of these parties, like that of the Samajwadi party in the state of Uttar Pradesh appears to be very constrained however, the recently made BSP-Samajvadi alliance in Uttar Pradesh has a capacity to cause untimely tremors in the Pradesh politics impact of which will be observed up to 7 Race Course Road. 

Since 2014, India has entered into a newer state of political alignment with the developments in power-dynamics of the BJP which is one single right wing party against a multiplicity of parties in the right wing movement. While most of the success of BJP is because of the ‘cultivated’ popularity of Narendra Modi, however, there are various structural aspects (for e.g. underground work of RSS cadres, tactful use of mass media, mobilization of Dalit-Muslims Votes and also the financial resources) as well. It has been seen that the right wing party politics has been successful in consolidation of the society which is more focused on saffron or Hindu section of the society as compared to the various formations of communist parties. The center left political parties such as the Congress Party have not done much for transforming the structural dynamics of the poorer or lower caste groups, notwithstanding, the performance of Congress in Karnataka State Poll catalyzed the change in the power-dynamics in Karnataka’s political play-ground. However, Bahujan Samaj Party still holds its position as the third largest National Political Party in India which has been battling on political fronts to lead the “Ambedkarite Bahujan Movement of Dalits and Tribals in the chaos of the power-politics between BJP and Congress. The victory of N.Mahesh of Bahujan Samaj Party in Karnataka State Poll 2018, who defeated Congress A.R. Krishnamurthy gave sufficient evidence as to what the cadre based party like BSP can do to make political life of BJP and CONGRESS miserable. 
The role that communist parties have played in Indian politics has become obsolete. The communist politics became a victim of the wrath of its own ideology which could no longer bear the weight of the expectations of modern India. Moreover, Communist leaders failed not only to transform their core political beliefs to connect with the changing needs of the nation but also failed to give a concrete vision of growth which resulted in the shifting of political spectrum of modern India towards right wing politics. However, there will never be a complete shift in the entire political system. 
The communist’s parties, however, have been successful in alienating the communist philosophy from the youth by propagating the irrelevant ideology of class-politics. Moreover, the Revolutionary communist ideology of a ‘Classless society’ has always been irrelevant to the Indian society which is based on the structure of graded social inequality. 

Communist ideology was never able to form roots in the soil of India; however, it nourished the political ambitions of the supporters of ideology in the states like West Bengal and Kerala. Moreover, the failure of Naxal Movement in radical politics and its transformation into the so called Naxalite-Maoist insurgency shows how the people’s movement deviated from its path. Therefore, the failure of overground and underground politics of communist parties and armed groups raises serious questions as to the future prospects and political validity as well as relevance of Left wing communist politics in India.  

Notwithstanding, It is a fact that when right wing is getting stronger, the left wing needs to balance the scale. However, in the interest of the future of Indian Constitutional Democracy, Centre-left parties and the left wing Formations of Communist Parties and other secular forces will have to bear a historical responsibility to ensure the balancing of the country’s political system in effective manner. Moreover, the right wing will consider to it as a scale for providing better governance to the country, which makes the presence of Left and Centre Left inevitable. 

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, Tatongkala Pongen, Seyiesilie Vupru, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email:

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Killed by Whatsapp? - Dr. Nonlih Chohwanglim, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Today, social media has become the centre of our lives. In fact, what is shared on social media has a huge impact on our lives and our surroundings as well. Alluding to the unfortunate lynching incident on 8th June 2018 at Dokmokla, Karbi Anglong, we learn the importance of understanding how one must be rational and more responsible instead of rashly sharing and spreading information through social media, because what is imprinted once in our mind is near impossible to unlearn.

Killed by Whatsapp?

In the binary opposition between Learning/Unlearning, ‘Learning’ is generally given the central position. Ever since a human being sees the day, learning is emphasised: nursing, sitting, standing, crawling, walking, physical running, running the race of life...and they say ‘Learning is a lifelong process.’

So, learning seems to be more challenging and an important task than unlearning. And we seldom even consider unlearning and its role in our life. In this article, I would rather emphasise on ‘Unlearning’. From a layman’s perspective, I see the human mind as an enigma, a beautiful puzzle, never ceasing to intrigue and interest. What enters our mind and gets imprinted is very crucial as our mental and physical behaviour is directly linked to it. 

We behave, eat, cloth, think and act based on what our mind has been fed and cultivated with. Recently, my grandmother, who is a nonagenarian had a minor fall and hurt her toe. The doctor after an x-ray examination, advised for rest and against massage. The next morning, even before I was awake, her foot was greased with OIL, pulled and pushed and dragged (dramatic!!!). I could not say anything, as the action had already started; gone were the hardboard and crepe bandage. I was told that she is a hardcore believer in Oil, mustard oil to be specific, for any and all purposes; cuts, wounds, sprain, headache, stomach-ache...oil to the rescue. I could understand her trust in the oil. That was what was imprinted in her mind during her young days when medical facilities were not available at the doorstep. So, no matter how much I tried to rationalise with her, the imprint in her mind about the oil could not be “Unlearned.” Don’t get me wrong, I am not protesting against any oil or its usage. 

Once a concept/thought/idea enters our mind, to ‘unlearn’ is near to impossibility. We tend to stereotype and tag based on what our mind has been imprinted with. With this, I intend to highlight the danger of imprinting ideas/notions/concepts into the mind. Alluding to the recent unfortunate, uncalled for, a regrettable incident ( on June 8, 2018 at Dokmoka, Karbi Anglong, of losing two aspiring young souls, whose intention was simply to be in the midst of nature and explore it, the improbability of unlearning is evident. An idea was imprinted in the minds of the gathering, which totally blinded any rationality or humanity. Even the most rationalised mind is subjected to ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’. The ‘blame-game’ here cannot undo what has been done. With social media spreading the news at lightning speed, uncountable minds get imprinted with an idea. An idea enveloped with rumour is a tricky and slippery business. When we act and react irrationally based on a rumour imprinted on our minds, can we really claim our Civilisation, Development, Progress and Enlightenment? This is not to be wrongly quoted as discarding alertness or precautions. 

As responsible citizens, we so rightly fight for better roads, bridges, salary, jobs and so on. But should our responsible being turn towards the material development alone? In this day where losing sight of mobile phones gives birth to a cyclone of trauma and drama,  where networks going slightly down evokes cries of desperation and plea to heavens; every user irrespective of so many diversities and differences are bombarded with news/ facts/ rumours/truth/fabrication which gets imprinted in the mind. Very few are fortunate to be able to filter the bombardment and reach a sound conclusion. The vast majority being ill-informed draws a different and even dangerous conclusion. Spreading news even with the good intention of informing others at times takes a divergent road leading to unintentional destruction. A sound and rational mind cannot be called  if it fails to have the clarity of the far end of the road. We may be the most educated, polished, cultured, rational people; but if we wrongly insert ideas into layman’s mind leading to dire  consequences, it becomes senseless. 

Generally, we fail to pause for a second before sharing and analyzing the post  on social media. Social media has given us a lot of positive influences and many success stories can be traced down to social media.  And we should make sure that social media is explored to our advantage, for our benefits, not destruction. As responsible citizens, cross-examining what we propagate through social media is much called for. It does not stop at posting; it is the beginning of imprinting an idea into several minds. The information stays stubbornly in the mind, strongly resisting erasure. The ideas seem to be shouting, “I have been learnt, I will not be unlearnt”.

So dear readers, could it not begin with you and me, to pause for a moment before we imprint minds with (wrong) ideas and (mis)information. Could we not control what we propagate? Messages of encouragement, love, inspiration, right knowledge, right information and anything positive must be  imprinted positively into countless minds. On the other hand, could we not constantly check our tendency towards ‘copy-paste masters/forwarding messages experts’, ‘confirmatory biases’ and impromptu posting? Could it not be our mission to let no mind be wrongly imprinted, no life is destroyed or lost because of social media? Thus, it is my plea to let us try and kill the very statements such as ‘killed by Whatsapp’. 

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, Tatongkala Pongen, Seyiesilie Vupru and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Special Economic Zone: Myth and Reality - Supongtemsu Longchar, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

As a Special Economic Zone, can Nagaland upgrade its existing infrastructure to not only utilize to its maximum capacity, but at the same time attract industries other than agro based tapping into the reserve of the demographic dividend coupled with central government focus on skill India? Is Nagaland ready to emerge as a hub for industries to use as their base of production?

"Special Economic Zone: Myth and Reality"

Export Processing Zones (EPZs) are an international phenomenon influencing increasing share of trade flows and employing a growing number of workers. In 1986, there were 176 zones across 47 countries; by 2003, the number had increased to over 3,000 across 116 countries. Over the past few years, the policy of promoting zones has found favor with the government of India as well. In 2000, the government replaced the old EPZ regime by a new scheme of “Special Economic Zones” (SEZs) with several lucrative incentives/benefits that were not available in the earlier scheme. In 2005, it enacted the SEZ Act and the SEZ Rules were notified in February 2006.The policy is expected to give a big push to exports, employment and investment in SEZs.

The ministry of commerce claims that these zones are expected to attract investment of about Rs.1,00,000 Cr including FDI of Rs. 25,000 Cr and create additional 5,00,000 direct jobs, by December 2007. These claims notwithstanding, the policy has come under heavy criticism. Dissenters contend that the policy would be misused for real estate development rather than for generating exports. Concerns have also been expressed on the displacement of farmers by land acquisition, loss of fertile agricultural land, a huge revenue loss to the exchequer and adverse consequences of uneven growth. The promotion of SEZs is an attempt to deal with infrastructural deficiencies, procedural complexities, bureaucratic hassles and barriers raised by monetary, trade, fiscal, taxation, tariff and labor policies. These structural bottlenecks affect the investment climate adversely by increasing production and transaction costs. Since country-wide development of infrastructure is expensive and implementation of structural reforms would require time, due to given socio-economic and political institutions, the establishment of industrial enclaves (SEZs/EPZs) is seen as an important strategic tool for expediting the process of industrialization in the countries. The zones offer numerous benefits such as,
(i) Tax incentives,
(ii) Provision of standard factories/plots at low rents with extended lease period,
(iii) Provision of infrastructure and utilities,
(iv) Single window clearance,
(v) Simplified procedures, 
(vi) Exemptions from various restrictions that characterise the investment climate in the domestic economy.
These benefits foster a conducive business environment to attract local and foreign investment, which would not otherwise have been forthcoming. The competitive advantages of zones may also be explained within the framework of the “cluster approach”. Zones are industrial clusters where external economies of scale and other advantages help the operating firms in reducing costs, developing competitive production systems and attracting investment, in particular, FDI. As a result of these benefits, many developing countries have been promoting zones with the expectation that they will provide the engine of growth to propel industrialization. There is, however, no conclusive evidence regarding the role of the zones in the development process of a country. While some countries have been able to capture the dynamic and static gains from zone operations, many others have not. In that context, it is important to analyze the Indian experience.

Indian Experience

A micro level analysis of the zones’ contribution to industrialization efforts in India reveals that EPZs have had a catalytic effect in promoting new production sectors, exporting new products and in building up the country’s image in certain products in international markets. The foundation of the modern jewelry industry in India, for instance, was laid in SEEPZ in Mumbai in 1987-88. It was there that the “wax setting technique” was introduced in jewelry production, which made mass scale production possible and dramatically transformed the labor-intensive jewelry industry from its cottage industry status into a highly mechanized modern industry. SEZs accounted for over 55 per cent of total Indian jewelry exports in 2002-03. SEZs have also been instrumental in creating the base for the growth of the electronics industry through technology transfers, spill over and demonstration effects. Until the early 1980s, electronic hardware exports were primarily originating from EPZs. Even during 2000-02, the share of SEZs in total hardware exports was only 26 per cent. The Indian software saga also really began in SEEPZ, Mumbai. The first major breakthrough in India’s software exports came in 1977 when the Tatas established a unit in SEEPZ in partnership with Burroughs, an American company, to export software and peripherals. This activity drew attention to the possibilities available for offshore software development in India. Soon after, Texas Instruments and Hewlett-Packard established subsidiaries in Bangalore, in 1986 and 1989, respectively and the rest is history.

The success stories notwithstanding, the economic contribution of SEZs remained minuscule at the national level. Though India was the first Asian country to take the free zone initiative and set up the first zone in Kandla as early as in 1965. The share of SEZs in exports was a mere 5 percent in 2004-05. Furthermore, they accounted for only 1 percent of factory sector employment and 0.32 percent of factory investment in the same year. Although they have had a positive impact on regional employment and human development by creating economic opportunities, especially for those without high levels of schooling, their potential in contributing to human development has not been fully exploited due to their failure in attracting investment and promoting economic activities in the region. With the approval of the Agro and food processing special economic zone, AFSEZ, Ganeshnagar, Dimapur vide No.F.1/149/2007-SEZ dated July 9,2009 by the Ministry of Commerce, the State government initiative seems to be a step in the right direction, however, issues remain to be addressed like augmenting the capacity to supply power, construction of internal roads, repair of existing internal roads, construction of proper  drainage and sewerage, provision of telecommunication facilities, post-office and reinforcement of existing security fence. 

While the overall economic changes in the country has attributed to the changed perceptions and thinking, organization like NIDC( State Govt agency to promote , develop, establish and assist industries) must be supported at the same time it will be of great service if they can venture into new avenues(IT enabled services etc) whereby they can take advantage of  demographic dividend at the time, the State Government must ensure that initiatives like skill India leaves an impact upon the youths. 

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, Tatongkala Pongen, Seyiesilie Vupru and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Victim Mentality - Mhabeni Tungoe, HoD, Department of Education

Mhabeni Tungoe
Are we in that category of people where every problem in our life is someone else’s fault? Or are we among the handful of people who accepts the responsibilities that comes along and tries to tackle it. Yes, it is very easy to play the blame game and remove ourselves from taking responsibility. Perhaps, instead of avoiding our responsibilities or  complaining and making excuses, accepting it will enable us to lead a more contented life and definitely make a difference in the society.

"Victim Mentality "

In life, we experience moments of joy, happiness, sorrow, and sadness. All these emotions are the elements of life. Likewise, issues and difficulties arise in all fields of human society. At present in Naga society there are certain concerns  and issues, that needs to be addressed  whether be it in the field of economic, political, social, personal, workplace  etc. It is unfortunate but quite evident that   majority of the people in the society tends to blame each other and does not take responsibility if some problem arises in our social system. There are only a few individuals who are ready to take charge and not try to find faults in others but instead try to solve the problems.  Instead of blaming one another how good it will be if we take the responsibility for the actions and deeds we have done and rectify the errors and improve our society and ourselves as well. As  parents, children, students, leaders, and citizens of Nagaland we need to be responsible for overcoming the dilemma of life. I feel that being responsible is the most important guiding principle and the core of life. It should be inculcated and instilled in every individual beginning from home environment. 
Being responsible means being reliable, keeping our words and fulfilling our commitments. It means accepting what we do and say and willing to face the consequences. Those people who have a sense of   responsibility   do not make excuses for their actions or blame others when things go wrong. Being responsible also means developing our inner potentials. Every move we take towards being responsible and productive helps us to raise our self-esteem and improve relationships with our family, friends, and co-workers. Taking up our responsibilities seriously can help us to live a less stressful life and gain the respect of others. I would like to share one poem which is written by Charles Osgood, which reflect the aspects of irresponsibility and blaming each other -

“The Responsibility poem”-Charles Osgood
There was a most important job that needed to be done, 
and no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
is who exactly will it be who’ll carry out the task?
Anybody could have told you that everybody knew
that this was something somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling; anybody had the ability.
But nobody believed that it was their responsibility.
It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done, 
if anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since everybody recognized that anybody could, 
everybody took for granted that somebody would.
But nobody told anybody that we are aware of, 
that he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And nobody took it upon himself to follow through, 
and do what everybody thought that somebody would do.
When what Everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining that Somebody dropped the ball.
Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And Everybody looked around for Somebody to blame.
Somebody should have done the job and everybody should have but in the end, nobody did what anybody could have.

Life gives us choices. Whatever we do, we are the one who chose that path of life. There are people who take complete responsibility for their experience and circumstances and these people are the ones who are able to make the right choices in life as they understand that they are responsible for their choices. However, there are some few people who are irresponsible and keep on blaming others for their choices as well as issues that occur in the society. For instances, if we don't like our job it is not the fault of the boss, or if we are unhappy in a relationship it is not the fault of the other person. We should never blame each other. When we want to blame our leaders for political, economic, and social problems; Or when we want to blame others for corruption in the society, or when we want to judge people for being inadequate, we need to question ourselves , whether we are  being irresponsible and become a part of these problems instead of solving it?. As a human being, we make mistake but we should move on with life instead of blaming ourselves or others. Because, if we blame others it means we are not going to change or improve and we will remain stagnate without improving in life. In any personal or professional relationship, it takes discipline, commitment, and hard work to achieve success. Let’s be more responsible and allow others the same freedom so that we will be rewarded with more happiness and joy. 

We may think that life is sometimes not fair at all. We all faces challenges and learn lessons in life and   while we are down with all the challenges life throws at us, we see that others are doing better than us and living a much easier life. However, we should not be discouraged in this kind of situations. Instead, we need to take life positively because we are responsible for our life. Negativity creates dissatisfactions which hinder our goals and objectives in life. When we become responsible in every aspect of life, we become a giver, rather than a taker. In return, it can create a profound positive impact on the society. The reason why our society/personal life tends to stagnate in development and growth may be because we fear of taking responsibility on issues concerning us and the world. Therefore, let’s all be responsible and play our own role and empower humanity.

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, Tatongkala Pongen, Seyiesilie Vupru and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please

Thursday, 31 May 2018

World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day is being observed on 31st May 2018 around the globe. The theme for this year “A Threat to Development”, addresses the urgent need to promote health and development more, including tightening tobacco control. Consumption of tobacco creates potential risk for development of coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, lung diseases and cancer.

Hindustan Times reported in June 2017 that tobacco consumption in India is the highest in the six north-eastern states of Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and Assam. According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4) on average, 70.7% men here use tobacco in some form or the other. In Nagaland 69.4% of  tobacco users are male, whereas 37.7% is the female average for tobacco users in Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland, which was way above the national average of 6.8%.

If you’re a tobacco consumer, it is never too late to stop now. People of all ages have benefitted from quitting. These facts below are based on a report from the World Health Organisation (WHO):

      At about 30: gain almost 10 years of life expectancy.
      At about 40: gain 9 years of life expectancy.
      At about 50: gain 6 years of life expectancy.
      At about 60: gain 3 years of life expectancy.
      After the onset of life-threatening disease: rapid benefit, people who quit smoking after having a heart attack reduce their chances of having another heart attack by 50%.
According to Dr. C Tetseo, the District Nodal Officer of Dimapur’s National Tobacco Control Programme, some of the major challenges faced to combat the problem is the sheer lack of political will to implement tobacco control laws, lack of awareness among people in the rural areas, and amongst institutions there is poor response from the government schools. He also expressed that the social acceptance of tobacco habit is quite high, and impressed upon the need for the churches to take up a greater role in this.

We also wanted to hear the youth’s take on this, and so we asked some questions to a few of our freshers and seniors at Tetso College. Here’s what they had to say:

Benrithung Junglio, HSSLC (Arts) Rank 1, Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Wokha

“I feel that teenagers like eating tobacco, mostly because it makes them feel more mature.
As for me, I am a Christian so I want to stay away from it. It is also mentioned in the Bible that the body is a temple and so we must keep our body clean.”

Akuminla Pongentsur, HSSLC(Arts) Rank 6, Great Commission Higher Secondary School, Dimapur

“There are many youngsters who consume tobacco. I guess they take tobacco because of their friends’ influence and they also think it’s cool, and then it ends up becoming a habit. Parents never even know their children are consuming it.

I feel that shops should not sell it to kids wearing uniform. Shops must not sell it especially if they are located nearby schools.”

Ria Jain, HSSLC (Com) Rank 10, Christian Higher Secondary School, Dimapur

“I think nowadays consumption amongst high school and higher secondary students is rapidly increasing. Schools and colleges should help prevent it. They should have more seminars about the harmful effects of tobacco, provide guidance and encouragement to help those who consume it stop.
Bad  influence from friends could be one of the major reasons for starting, after which they just get addicted to it.”

Cynthia Zeuzeule, HSSLC (Arts) Rank 2, Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Dimapur

“I feel that everyone is already aware that tobacco is harmful but I don’t know why they still take it. I really feel awful for them, because despite knowing it can kill one, they still continue consuming it. Despite restrictions and awareness being done by schools, they just don’t get it.

I think they consume it to try to look more cool and it makes them feel like they are more grown up. ”

Ratna, HSSLC (Com) Rank 7, Pranab Vidyapith Higher Secondary School, Dimapur

“I don’t have any friends who consume tobacco, but I’ve seen a lot of people around me take it. 
There are many shops around schools, and so we must tell the shopkeepers not to sell tobacco to the students. Constant checking is also required in institutions.”

Albert Sangtam, General Secretary, Tetso Student Council

Sharing his thoughts on how to prevent consumption of tobacco amongst the youth:

“Engagement in different co-curricular activities and social activities may steer away and distract one’s intentions or urge to consume tobacco. Maybe this will help prevent them from developing these bad habits.”

Lituna Jimo, Asst. General Secretary, Tetso Student Council

“Regular poster campaigns, seminars and setting up of no tobacco zones across all schools, colleges and public places is necessary. One cannot be forced to give up on tobacco, but also it’s not impossible to make someone understand. If a person is made to understand the right way and also about what one is doing to his/her body, then hopefully they will realise and change their ways.”

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, Tatongkala Pongen, Seyiesilie Vupru and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please

Social Pollution: A Case of Naga Society - Zujanbeni M Lotha, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Naga society has been going through a magnitude of changes since the formation of Nagaland. In spite of having one’s own state within...