Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Where is Nagaland Headed? - Mhalo Ngulie, Asst. Professor, Dept. of English

Recently, we saw the penalty meted out to a rape offender in Meluri, Phek, creating a huge debate on the degree of punishment imposed. All over the world, when people are wounded, we become protective of our own and enforce measures that sometimes lead to the cost of another’s life. Is this right or wrong? Are we making the right judgment call? These are questions that plague us as they directly impact the kind of state we create for ourselves. Similarly, in Nagaland, looking back at our history and culture and comparing it with the lives we lead today, there are moments we must question exactly where Nagaland is headed today.   

Where is Nagaland Headed?

I have read about the origin of the ‘Nagas’, the root from where I have originally come. People from different states, different colours have raised issues on its origin. Here, I’m not concerned with how, why, or where we are from, but how we lived in the earlier times. Despite modernism, the mechanism in our life, a Naga family was a happy family (in general). We were illiterate, but not narrow minded, we were always ready to protect our loved ones and by that we mean every Naga. No doubt, we were head-hunters but that is long forgotten. We fought against giant obstacles in our society in unity. Brotherhood, love, peace, unity, appreciation and humanity were all so known to each and every Naga. The question is do we still acquire all these in our blood? It pains me when I move around and see people repairing the walls to confine themselves from being loved by others. I don’t see people wavering around for help. I no longer see a person appreciating another person for his/her good deeds. Where is the good land of brothers flocking together joyously? Where is the land of love where foreigners came and envied the intensity of our relationships? Why can’t we feel the presence of belongingness anymore? Has anything changed? Or has it been the same since the beginning?

There is chaos everywhere, in individual lives, family and society. Relationships are no longer based on trust nor is there any kindness left in our society. They say that we don’t have a definite origin, a long time subject of debate and research. Why has this differentiation risen amongst us after all these years of good bond? What is the reason behind this uncertainty in our society? The society where I grew up was a place of bliss where people never cared for the lengthy roads. Nagaland was a simple and humble circle where there was no beginning and an end, but where everyone participated to fill this circle. But now people here are less human and more like machines engrossed in materialism. We are now fighting with each other to win the game. Fame is all we are after and filling up our treasure has become our end. There isn’t any protection from our brothers but insecurity has made us timid. We are now scared of darkness, of the filthy hands that are eager to touch and defile our morality. Day light no more brings us strength, but we are woken up by the news of slaughter and bloodshed around our land. Brothers are killing their own brothers over issues such as wealth, land, property, etc. Sisters are rebelling against their own sisters for some unworthy thing. The old are no more our ‘wise old man’ when we used to gather and take their advice, but they are being thrown from the society. I wonder since when the word ‘Dalit’ entered our sweet land.

We have become so blind to neglect all this chaos in our land. It’s time we shake ourselves and see the evils encircling our land. It is now the time to break the chain of social, political and emotional evils from our lives. Remember that the right time will not come to us, but we should make the time right for us. It is time we unite to gather all the lost dignity. We should strive to bring back the joy in our peoples’ lives. We should learn to appreciate others when they do something good, instead of envying them. Being kind has been gifted to us from above so we should not hesitate to help others. We should not stop ourselves from being good. We can still gain back the peace that we all are yearning for. We have been far away from the land of good but there is still, for sure, the scent of goodness lingering around our land. Though things have changed, though we are against each other, yet we all are still ‘Nagas’ and we have the ability to reunite and make this barren land ‘Nagaland’ once again. This is to each section of Nagaland and not to a particular race. We might have come from different lands, we might have different origins, but when you decided to come and live with us, you became a part of our sweet land. And it is now left to us; it is now the duty of each and everyone to make this part of earth a sweeter and better land to live on.

“For we are all pieces of art which when brought together can make a fine art”.
“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. For feedback or comments please email:”.  

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Keep Hope Alive - Lekokonen, Asst. professor, Dept. of Commerce

Life can never be exciting without hope or a dream because that is what keeps us going. Without hope, life would be full of fear for what tomorrow might bring. Yet, hope is also like a miracle, which we sometimes expect to just happen. People usually get bored without trying their best in what they set out to do. On the other hand, some give up easily and still hope for the best, even though it’s impossible. As there is a saying, “God helps those who help themselves”, for those who hardly try, they can never succeed in life if they just pray to God and don’t contribute anything on their own. I should say that they are just leading themselves to failure.

Keep Hope Alive

We should always remember that hope begins with self. It is obvious that everyone longs for their beloved ones, but whether we like it or not, we would be leaving one day as we are mortals. So it is important that we leave some good memories behind before we depart. Life is not about always winning or being at the top. It is about giving our best at what we can do, be it a winner or a loser. But we should also keep in mind that everything happens for a purpose and for good. It is very important that we take things positively.

Nagaland today is experiencing rapid transformation.  In fact, we are growing fast and even surpassing others too in certain ways. But if we take a closer look at our society, some children still depend on their parents later on in life instead of repaying them for what they did. If we look at western society, the moment they reach the age of 18, they are totally on their own feet, and not at all dependent. This shows how far we are lacking behind others. We should live our independent life and find our own path in life for what God has planned for us. If we look at our political scenario, we find that people usually vote for the person who spends more money but not for the one whom we think can lead our society. This shows that we can’t even choose the right leader yet still hope for the best in future.

In the education scenario, both students and teachers need encouragement but students need it the most. They have enough pressure from parent, teachers, exam or assignments etc., and to get rid of that pressure, I should say, some encouragement is the best medicine. But the students who need encouragement the most are often the least likely to receive it. This is because most of the time, the weak ones are left out. The most important skill to raise a student is the ability to encourage them. As a teacher, we should never look down on our students no matter how weak they may be, because what we deliver to them today might influence them forever. So we should be careful of what we say or speak. We should keep in mind that the student we mould today is going to be the fruit of our future.

My profession is a testimony that even though life may be full of challenges, one must never lose hope. I have been teaching for a couple of years. During these years I have had great days as well as bad days. A good day would be when I come out of the classroom knowing that my students not only learned something from me today but enjoyed sitting in my classroom. These are times when I feel happy that I made the right career choice. On the other hand, I have also experienced tougher days either because of my students or pressure from my superiors. There are times I have walked out of the classroom unhappy because my students seemed disinterested or bored as compared to other days. I questioned myself during these times about whether teaching is the right career choice for me. However, I have realised that life has its share of ups and downs and holding on to positivity and hope helps get us through these challenges.

However, like one hand alone can’t clap, hoping alone won’t bring a solution to any problem, because we can’t hope for something when we do nothing. Whenever I think of hope and success, it reminds me of Rick Allen, drummer of British rock band, Def Leppard, who lost his left arm in a car accident. But even after losing his arm, Allen didn’t give up because he had hope in himself. Soon after his recovery, Allen met with some engineers, who helped him design a drum set to assist his drumming. He could still play some drum rhythms with one hand, with the help of his left foot. After practicing hard, he again joined his band members and today, he is famous for being a prominent professional drummer who continued his music career despite the amputation of his left arm. Through this story, I would like to encourage each and everyone that we should never look down on ourselves, no matter if we are black or white, weak or strong, rich or poor. God has a plan for all of us.

Life is full of little tribulations and uncertainties.  We all need to learn exactly how to make sure that things go our way every time. I conclude with the thought that hope is like a balloon; it can’t rise to the Heaven if you hold it by the string. As Romans 12:12 says, “Let your hope make you glad, be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying”
“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. For feedback or comments please email:”. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Religion and Politics - Kinitoli K. Aye, Asst Professor, Dept. of History

Religion plays a pivotal role transcending governance and also seeps into personal and societal life in Naga society. Should religion and politics be separated or should the two be combined. We see the influence of religion in governance where certain countries follow Islamic principles, or some propagating Hindu practices or using the Name of Christ to carry out activities. Religion and politics can be great instruments of social change but they can also be misused.

Religion and Politics

When debating about the existence of life, we often inflict ourselves to the beliefs and the carried-on traditions and historical facts. Religion and science have so far been age old discussions. I am no such scholar who will be giving ideas on how to resolve the ethical conundrum of the existence of life, but I would like us to take a look at the scenario in our land.

It is a common saying that “The root of all evil is money.”“The root of all the possible good cause is money.” We are all consumed by the fear of becoming poor; it is in human nature to be affluent. Do we not have principles and morals which define us? Christians live by rules and precepts of Christianity. An atheist lives as a free thinker, sceptic and leery. We go to church every Sunday, showing respect and fear to our Creator. We are fed with the Gospel that teaches us to be a good person and to lead the right path. This is the Universal protocol of every Christian.

Religion is a way of life. There are more religions than the number of heads in a family: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Paganism, etc., to name a few. Every religion has different cultural systems and beliefs. Church associations, Pastors, Leaders, Reverends etc., are the foundation to mend our beliefs and attitude. But it is sad to know that they do not cherish their work, but take their theological study and knowledge as a profession to earn coins. We have celebrated 100 years of Christianity and have produced countless theologians but failed to define the real purpose of a Collective Christian Society. Why has our Church become so cold? Why is there always a blame game between politicians and church leaders? Are we not taught to love one another as Christians? Metaphorically, religion and politics are two sides of a coin, both fairly important to synchronise a society. Without changes in religious and political concern, it would only lead a society to nihilism.

Gandhi wrote, “Politics should be guided by religion.” In his early years, Gandhi, who was a deeply religious person, emphasized the close connection between religion and politics. This was because he believed that politics had to be based on morality and to him all religion was the source of morality. Religion was, in fact, he believed, itself morality in the Indian sense of Dharma. But later on when he saw that the communists were using religion as a sectarian belief system to divide the people, he overtly began to preach the separation of religion from politics. Thus he said in 1942: ‘Religion is a personal matter which should have no place in politics.’ And again in 1947: ‘Religion is a personal affair of each individual. It must not be mixed up with politics or national affairs.’  

Every individual requires principles and moral values and that counts most to the leaders and to possess those principles and good moral values, religion acts as its fundamental development of virtues. Religion cannot be excluded from any area of human activity including politics. One’s religion must guide all of one’s activities. Religion being the most potent force in our society can be and must be utilised for the social change and the building of our society.

Fishes live under water, bird lives on trees. Shuffle their habitat and both will perish. Same implies for religion and politics. They cannot interchange their place though both are imperative for the existence of life. It is needless to say that human beings differ from one another. Religion and politics classify the mental reverberation of a communion, bringing people, group and society to an agreeable mindset, which is impeccably constructive for a society. This reflection on politics and religion mandates the moral and discipline of a society.

Our existence has been questioned over and over again in ancient, past and the present. We do not have a definitive answer and the society requires the basic element of religion and politics to provide a sustainable answer. Many scholars have given their views on this particular topic. Many have expressed their thoughts trying to deliver answers to the questions unanswered. This issue of political and religious struggle may only reach a limit of satisfaction unless we have changes.

Religion and politics are a blessing to us. They help us to maintain a degree of humanity, though it has loose loops of functionality. It is up to us  to favour the best and the right relation of existence. This article is merely an attempt to comprehend what adjudicates our silly and intricate feelings towards optimism and belief.
“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. For feedback or comments please email:”.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Kindness - Kezevinuo Yano, Asst. Professor, Dept. of Education

We live in a competitive world where people may pull one another down in order to get ahead. The world can seem mean and people selfish. Life does not have to be like this. While it may not be possible to love everyone in this world, it is possible to be kind to everyone. “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”-Mark Twain


Kindness is the universal language that is understood beyond boundaries. Each and every individual understands and speaks this language. The dictionary defines kindness as “The virtue of showing love” and qualities of having a sympathetic, affectionate, warm hearted, and a considerate nature. It can be defined as the righteous and caring attitude towards others. But the definition of kindness does not limit to these words only. It is a complex term to comprehend yet simplest to realize. Kindness is the simple basic driving force of nature. Kindness means we recognize others are fragile, and that we have the power to hurt or heal them.

As quoted by His Holiness, theDalai Lama, “My religion is very simple, my religion is kindness”. Kindness is taught by every religion, be it Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism or Islam. All the religions teach to express kindness towards others. Kindness is certainly a part of God’s aura. The biblical Book of Psalms refers to God’s kindness more than 80 times.

Kindness is not only a religious virtue. Kindness softens hearts, lifts spirits, and moulds relationships. Being kind to your siblings helps to build a strong family foundation. Showing kindness to neighbors and colleagues helps in developing a positive environment. Even the smallest considerations and selfless acts of kindness may help in growing business in leaps and bounds. As said earlier, the language of kindness is comprehended by each and every being. Kindness is not a duty or an ethic either, kindness begins in the heart. It is really more than being nice, polite, or agreeable. It has more to do with our being than our behaviour. The term is not only restricted to human implementation. Even the mute animals wave their tails as a response to gestures of kindness shown to them. In the same way, plantsgrow large and bear fruits as a response to the kindness of their care taker. Nature has its own way of expressing kindness.

When you put some kindness in to the world, you’ll be surprised to see what the world gives back. Small acts of kindness have created ripples and have probably done more good for the world than all the religious zeal, eloquent words, or education of the masses combined.

The value and worth of our lives is best measured not by the material possession we have acquired, but by the hearts we have touched. Who we are is far more important than what we have. Everything we do affects not only our own life but also the lives of those around us. Even the best intentions fail if we rely on our own strength. The Bible calls kindness a fruit of spirit, because it cannot be grown effectively without the Spirit continuing work of love in our lives.

It is a scientific fact that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. Kindness matters in the world. Most of the times, selfless deeds result in the most favourable and flourishing deals of life. What goes around comes around. So just be kind and the same will come back to you. Being kind to others is equally important as being kind to one self. To err is human. We make mistakes eventually and so we must learn from that experience and move ahead in life.

I believe in random act of kindness. The smallest things in life make a big difference. This belief is not based on one significant personal experience, but some of the few experiences throughout my life.

One can never be out of ideas for being kind. Go ahead! Be a little kinder than you were yesterday. Share your umbrella with a complete stranger on a rainy day; give a sincere compliment; make them feel welcomed; pick up litter as you walk; let someone have your parking lot; offer your change to someone struggling to find the right amount; treat a loved one to breakfast in bed; lend your listening ears; say sorry (you know who to); buy an unexpected gift for someone; do a chore that you don’t normally do; get back in contact you’ve lost touch with; ask yourself, since I am here now what kindness can I do?; do kindness act without letting anyone know about it. Kindness can fix any problem one might have.

We shouldn’t be selective about who we should be kind to, by doing that, it means we have selfish motives behind our kindness and that will not do us any good. Kindness does not really means giving people gift or material things; it’s about giving in love, truth and in spirit. Also, there are some people who always depend upon the kindness of strangers. The circumstances of strangers may be unknown to you, be kind anyway, because you might be entertaining an angle while unaware of it. “No one has ever become poor by giving”.-Anne Frank

Your success depends on how generous and helpful you are to others. If you are kind enough to help others in need; you will have someone to help you when you are in need too. Have you ever done something good for someone without any reason? Has anyone ever done the same for you? Every single person in the world has the ability to choose how they treat others. Many choose to be kind whereas, many allow greediness and self-centeredness to take over their virtue of kindness. Kindness is the smallest thing that makes the biggest impacts in people’s live. So, here is my challenge to you. Today, before you go to bed, do a random act of kindness. It can be to someone you know or a complete stranger and eventually, you will receive a random act of kindness in return.

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...