Thursday, 25 April 2013

Good for good’s sake -Sashikala Imchen, B.A. I (Eng Hons.)

Jesus used parables, Aesop had fables and every religion or culture has at least one story that tries to convey a message. Many of us have likely read a Tinkle, an Archie, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and more.  Whether we realized it or not, we probably learned something from these stories. Read on as our English honours student, Sashikala shares a simple yet meaningful story about how our actions determine the outcome of good or evil. It reminds us that even the most minor actions and decisions can make a difference in the lives of people around us and even those whom we love.

Good for good’s sake

Let me start by narrating a story I read a long time ago.

Every morning a woman baked chapati, an Indian flatbread, for members of her family and an extra one for a hungry passerby. She would always place the extra chapati on the windowsill, for whoever needed it. She noticed a hunchback come by everyday and take the extra chapati. Instead of expressing gratitude, he would mutter the following words as he went on his way, “The evil you do remains with you. The good you do, comes back to you!”
This went on day after day. The woman felt very irritated. “Not a word of gratitude”, she said to herself, “Everyday this hunchback utters this jingle! What does he mean?”

Exasperated, one day she decided to do away with him.  “I shall get rid of this hunchback,” she said. She added poison to the chapati she prepared for him. As she was about to place it on the windowsill, her hands trembled. “What am I doing?” she thought. Immediately she threw the chapati, prepared another one and put it on the sill.
As usual, the hunchback came, picked up the chapati and muttered the same words, “The evil you do remains with you. The good you do comes back to you!” The hunchback proceeded on his way blissfully unaware of the war raging in the mind of the woman. Everyday, as the woman placed the chapati on the windowsill, she offered a prayer for her son who had gone to a distant place to seek his fortune. For many months, she had no news of him and she always prayed for his safe return.

That evening, there was a knock on the door. As she opened it, she was surprised to find her son standing in the doorway. He had grown thin and lean. His garments were tattered and torn. He was starved and weak. Looking at his mother he said, “Mom it’s a miracle I am here. While I was but a mile away, I was so famished that I collapsed. I would have died, but just then an old hunchback passed by. I begged him for a morsel of food and he was kind enough to give me a whole chapati.”

“When he gave it to me, he said, ‘This is what I eat everyday. Today I shall give it to you, for your need is greater than mine!’” As the mother heard those words, her face turned pale. She leaned against the door for support. She remembered the poisoned chapati that she made that morning. Had she not thrown it, it would have been eaten by her own son and he would have lost his life.

She finally realised the significance of the words, “The evil you do remains with you, the good you do comes back to you!”

Living in the 21st century, I don’t believe in the absurd idea of considering each and everyone as my own brother or sister. I feel that no youngster or elder or anyone of us has this mentality. But I do believe that everyone should be treated as humans.

In life’s journey, no one lives on an island. Everyone is dependent on one another in one way or the other. A few loving words and kind deeds would help someone be relieved of their pain. It sometimes helps to bring back someone’s lost smile and happiness. There is nothing superstitious about it. Blessings are needed for everyone to get ahead in life, no matter what, whether anybody agrees or disagrees with this fact.

Let us not just waste our life in mere things. We can sort out things together. We can be uncommon in this common world. Our first and primal duty as a human being is to understand and help one another, and to heal this world of its grief and burden. Why don’t we spare a little of what we have? Why not spend just a few moments with someone who needs to be loved? Why not bring back someone’s lost smile? Why not give some time to our older generations who are neglected frequently by the younger generation? Why don’t the youth join hands and contribute our part to heal our love starved land? It doesn’t matter whether we do it in a small or big way. It doesn’t matter if people don’t appreciate or praise us. We don’t have to be disappointed. No one can perform or play our roles better than us. The only thing that matters is whether we did it wholeheartedly and joyfully.

So, why not start today? Do good and never ever get tired of doing good, even if it’s not appreciated. Every little gesture of kindness sows the seeds of love in us. Little deeds of kindness shown or done never cost a single praise. But the satisfaction that the giver gets is beyond everything. It is invaluable and can never be measured in terms of money or any other valuable thing.
“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. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email:”

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Putting Thoughts on Paper - Aghatoli N. Chophi, Asst. Prof. English

In Nagaland today, the power of writing is growing rapidly. We already have our own renowned writers such as Easterine Iralu, Temsula Ao and more. Thanks to print media and online platforms, one now has easier access to writing opinions, voicing concerns, protests and more. This has increased the need to become a more proficient and prolific writer, if one is to become an effective writer of change. Writing is a form of expression that can fire passions, educate masses and even entertain. Through letters, anecdotes, poetry, prose and more, writing is one form that can stand the test of time. The literature of the ages is proof of just how far and wide good writing can travel.

Putting Thoughts on Paper

Literature, a narrative of human events, reflects all the hopes, emotions, feelings, sorrows and frustrations that men have had in the course of their long struggle for survival in this beautiful world. Its appeal is therefore universal.
There is no machine in this universe that can count the number of words we speak each day. In our daily lives we discuss about the events or the things that we encounter with our friends, we also talk about the latest gadgets (cell phones, i phones, i pad etc.) or automobiles, but such conversations are quickly forgotten. Some of the words which are spoken and written each day are worth keeping because they have value for the beautiful way in which they are used and for what they say. 

Research tells us that written language was invented by Sumer, an ancient civilisation of southern Mesopotamia, which is believed to be the place where written language was invented around 3200 B.C. Since then man started to keep a record of worth -while sayings and writings.

Early man hacked out in stone the teachings of the teachers. In the middle ages, monks spent their lives copying manuscripts. Today, thanks to the print publication, there are books, newspapers, magazines and the best of all that has been written, which we call literature.

The works of great writers such as Aristotle, Homer and Shakespeare are classics, which have indeed earned universal appreciation. Great writing is timeless in context. The works of Shakespeare, which are brilliant portrayals of human relations and emotions through tragedy, romance, comedy, are as popular today as they were when he wrote them 350 years ago. Parts of the Bible are more than 3000 years old, but the Bible is still the world’s best seller because it has all species of literary forms like history, parables, dream-allegory, legend, biography, fables and proverbs. Its supremacy was instantaneous and unchallenged, quickly colouring speech and literature. The bible has not only been considered a work of high literary quality in its own right, but also in its original language and translation. One can best appreciate the vastness and complexity of the bible. It is an entire literature because it was the outcome of a process of evolution.
To take a very simple example, an Indian has the same problem of obtaining food or for providing for his family as a neighbouring country has. Both laugh at and cry for the same things. The recognition of these facts has increased the feeling of oneness among the people of the world. Similarly, when a good idea is expressed by a writer of our country, it is absorbed by people in many other lands.

According to Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, literature, as its name in Sanskrit implies, makes for fellowship, togetherness, reconciliation of people. A great work of literature generally negates frontiers and in these days of wide communication we have no doubt that the great works will be read not only in our country but in other countries as well , just as we read the great works of other countries here. A literary artist is not limited merely to mirroring of one aspect of social life .Its duty is to break down bad social forms and practices and raise human quality. Mere mirroring of issues as they are may be a kind of realism, describing Utopias, or escaping to a dreamland, which may be a form of romanticism, but great writers possess the ability to affect a balance between what things are and what is aimed at.

During times like now, when we are divided among ourselves and the world is threatened with distinction. What is needed is to establish some kind of solidarity, a communion of minds. That is what all literary artists, if they are true to themselves, should aim at it. A true piece of literature is not merely a track for the times, but it is a work of all times. Only true pieces of literature by writers who have the intensity of experience, and ability to express ideas in clear and shining words that can penetrate expression are those that will endure for long.

An effective way of achieving national integration and international solidarity are by means of these literary productions. Literary artists have a great function in our society and in our country. Writing is also the medium through which we can reckon with evils in our society, educate the human mind, remove such evils and establish a more decent society. Applicable to every society of every age, there is much truth in the statement, “Literature belongs not to one age but to all ages “.
“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. Tetso College is a Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email:”

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

No Time To Waste - Toshimenla Ao, B.A. 2nd Semester

So, Students, How are you spending your time? Finally, exams are over and students must be celebrating the end of it. Going out and having fun might be all the rage now, but at the end of the day, that’s not what will get you by in life. This is probably the most ideal time, especially for students, to do something productive with your free time. Whether you’re a student, an employee or unemployed, time is always precious. A student reminds us that in life, there’s no time to waste. For those about to join college here's a sneak peek into what could await you from our very own student experiencing the new University system at Tetso College.

When civilisation dawned upon humanity ages ago, life undertook a revolutionary change. Mankind has entered a new era of concept and luxuries. Today, one’s life is much easier, comfortable and safe. We are now living in an age of computers, robots, insats and atomic energy. The computers behave similar to the human mind. But this heaven lies only for those who work hard and keep themselves busy in every walk of life. The society itself is obsessed with being busy. It is not worth living for the ideals in this fast changing world.

To compete in this competitive world, the first priority that an individual should possess is to have self-respect, which is the power to do hard work with concentration of the human mind. On the other hand, it is the sole way of improving the character of a nation as well. When a person keeps himself busy, there is no chance of entertaining any evil thoughts in his mind, which is why a hard working person never falls into the trap of evil doers.

Coming to the most important aspect - students. We, as students, should not be idle. Of course, college life is hectic and full of events and activities. One moment there are art and literary competitions then you have sports meets, as you struggle to balance your project work. Apart from this, there are also conferences and seminars where time needs to be spent studying and attending lectures. Therefore, it is very important that we students know how to balance our lives and make our college experience more enjoyable.

Learning can be fun when one tries to do one’s best. Interacting with intelligent teachers, updating oneself on current events, acing a test or exam can be exhilarating at times. We have to read a lot more in college but through reading, we also learn why people like Einstein, Marx and Tagore are so famous. There are many kinds of books which may cater to varied tastes. Books are of different kinds, depending upon the person who reads them. If you are a regular reader then through your learning, you are probably more disciplined and not as lazy.

I think the education system of Nagaland in the present scenario is tremendously improving in both academics such as curriculum, syllabus, teaching and learning etc. and also vocational skills training like computers, music and more. I don’t think students have as much free time as before, if they were to really study. There are so many classes to attend, projects and assignments to complete. However, at the same time there are countless distractions in the form of watching T.V, browsing net, social activities like – playing games and sports, doing household work. I feel students are also very busy people with hectic schedules.

On the other hand, there are many students who waste their time. They don’t study as much or fail to pursue their academics seriously. Perhaps they are misled by their home, family environment, elders, society etc. What is sad is that some of these people might turn out to be criminals or rejects in society and resort to crime. As a student, I also feel, having the right group of friends circle is very important. We meet all kinds of people in school and college, some that influence us both in a positive and negative way. Therefore, choosing friends we can relate to, gain support and learn from is important for us all.   

I would like to encourage everyone to be active and work hard during their student life, and have positive competition. Being active and busy automatically makes us broadminded. It trains us to think on a higher level. I believe, the word “civilized” plays an appropriate role in our lives and is a reflection on the way we lead our lives and our time meaningfully. Busy and hardworking people will almost always render Yeoman’s service in the society. When one has experienced a hard-working and busy life, then the experience changes him, he learns more and his personality changes accordingly. Success would turn him into a role model to be an inspiration to others.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Being a Teacher: Not as easy as you may think - Zuchano Khuvung, Asst. Prof. Pol Science

The Nagaland Education department has recently issued appointment orders for graduate teachers in Higher Secondary schools in Nagaland. It is hoped that the present batch of teachers will be sincere and make a difference in the areas in which they are posted. We salute all the sincere teachers who will be catalysts for change. At the same time, we are painfully aware of the difficult conditions many of them may have to work in to do a good job. Many may move away from the comforts of home to deal with poor infrastructure, weak students, parents and maybe even indifferent colleagues. This week we feature an article from one of our relatively new teachers who presents her views on teaching.    

Being a Teacher: Not as easy as you may think

It is the second year of my teaching experience and so far I find teaching to be challenging, intellectually demanding and emotionally rewarding. Teaching is not static rather it is all about reviving and refining.

Unlike many other careers, teaching can potentially be a job for life, but although it is a rewarding job, teaching can also be extremely challenging and frustrating. Therefore, a teacher who learns to effectively process his own stress and frustration will be far better equipped to thrive in the profession for longer than those who enter it expecting it to be an easy career path or as a stop gap arrangement. If this is the case, then who can become or who can be called a real teacher or what does it take to become a great teacher.

A real teacher is not one who can simply impart information but along with it he or she must be able to influence and make a difference to the lives of children. A teacher must also possess the qualities of creativity, be dynamic and adaptive. So how can all of this be possible- that is a question we need to ponder on. The only answer I could come up with is ‘passion’. Passion is not simply a word but implies all sincerity to what one does. Our passion towards career/work will ultimately result in devotion to the schools or college’s philosophy and goal towards education. Teachers should manage their expectations well and devote their resources to where they will be most effective. This does not mean ignoring gifted children or lavishing attention on slower ones, but identifying the different needs of each student while maintaining a positive and engaged atmosphere.

A teacher’s mind is constantly at work and what a teacher does in a classroom is scripted by the curriculum requirements. In order to be successful at teaching the curriculum requirements, teachers have to be creative and use their teaching materials, so that they reap the rewards of their creativity. Teaching is not only about making the students thorough with the given syllabus but also directing them to take up certain steps that would help them achieve their goals and mould them in such a way that they become responsible and influential personalities.  In this way, teachers often become mentors or counsellor to the students and they could also become role models to them. Teachers have a substantial amount of influence on the development and growth of their students. They spend hours with their students everyday and many of them grow up remembering their favourite teachers fondly, and realizing that those talented leaders gave them opportunities that they may not have otherwise encountered.

Teachers not only have to deal with students on a daily basis, but along with the proper student-teacher relationship, they have to interact with parents and extended families. In some cases parents or guardians can be just as challenging as the students. Teachers have to be actively involved in partnership with the parents in order to improve the educational system and maintain high standards for their student’s education. They can also act as effective agents in creating a cooperative community by encouraging parents to see that they too can experience the rewards and benefits of teaching.

Although there is talk about the high stress and low pay of teachers, there are, on the other hand, numerous benefits to entering the teaching field. The opportunity to work with young people is one of the main reasons many people decide to become teachers and for those who love the idea of influencing their country’s future, becoming a teacher might fit that goal. Teachers play one of the most important roles in the lives of young learners. Infact, teachers are second only to parents in the importance and effect they have on children’s lives, surpassing friends and other relatives. In the teaching profession, teachers can become mentors in the community, specialize in a certain field or subject, enjoy continuing education opportunities and support from professional organization etc. There is again a fair amount of freedom involved in teaching. While teachers do have curriculum they need to adhere to, the methods and strategies they use to achieve the given curriculum goals, are often left to the discretion of each teacher that can be products of their own creativity and initiative. Thus, within the confines of the classroom, teachers and students build relationships and a learning environment of their own, and since teaching and learning are very personal efforts, the classroom becomes a home-away-from-home to a greater extent as compared to many other professional environments. 

The Missing Principles in Naga Society - Zuchano Khuvung, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

Moral and ethical values as social categories are crucial for generating a sound culture in any given society. However, people tend t...