Thursday, 31 December 2015

BEING A “NON-LOCAL” - Anjan K Behera, Asst Professor, Department of English

When our young Naga students go out to study in mainland India or abroad, they feel the reality of how it is like being a “non-local”. Our experiences differ from sometimes being treated equally, discriminated or privileged. In Nagaland too, we have people from different parts of India living here and many others who have made Nagaland their home. A “non-local’s” experience is different from a natives, and they are often caught between two worlds. Yet, as we read below, a “non-local” is just as much a “local” in love with the land and people they can call “home”.    


Born and brought up in Nagaland, and living the life of a “non-local”. It is a statement resonating with many residents of Nagaland. The state is home to many non-Nagas or “non-locals”, as they are referred to in popular lingo. Nagaland became the 16th state of the Republic of India in 1963. The fast growth of trade in the state has allowed several Mainland Indians to settle in different parts of Nagaland, with the concentration being in the commercial district of Dimapur. It is a fact that the economy of the state would be unrecognizable without these Mainland Indians setting their shops in the region. In the history that I have learnt, the Nagas always wanted a political union of their ancestral and native groups. This demand went unheeded by the Government of India, giving rise to violence in the state which continues to this day, and a buildup of hostility towards Mainland India.

I am of a Mainland Indian origin. My parents were born and brought up in the coastal state of Orissa. They have been living in Nagaland since 1986 and have been contributing to the academic sphere of the state. I have been born and brought up here, which complicates my identity as an individual. I often face situations which compel me to question, where am I from? Am I a Mainland Indian who is foreign to this land? Or do I belong to this state? I term myself as a diasporic Indian living in Nagaland, facing a ‘neither here nor there’ situation.

My family visits our relatives in Orissa once a year on an average, spending around 15 days together at the most. I have never been able to establish any emotional attachment towards Orissa. It’s not like I dislike my relatives, but to think of Orissa as my native land seems like such an alien concept. The first thing that comes to my mind when someone asks me “Where are you from?” is Dimapur. Yet the reality is that I am politically and constitutionally from Orissa. I cannot appear the exams for the government jobs in Nagaland, and neither can I in Orissa. While I can manage to speak rudimentary Oriya, I am a stranger to the script of the language. I can neither read nor write Oriya.

This is a major issue that I face as a diasporic Indian. I once had to board a bus from Cuttack to Balasore, both districts in Orissa. There are route maps in Oriya in flashing neon lights around the bus. Naturally, I had to bear the judgmental looks of the conductor when I asked him in Oriya if this bus was going to Balasore. To him I looked literate, I believe, and perhaps he couldn’t comprehend why I wasn’t able to read the signs on the bus. My mother had attempted to teach me Oriya during one of my school summer vacations. As a child, I felt this was a complete waste of my time since I would not be using the Oriya script anywhere. As a grown up, I keep telling myself that I would teach myself the language from a self learning book, but it has never materialized. Perhaps on some level I still identify Oriya as a foreign language.

While I was pursuing my higher studies in Bangalore, happiness would enthrall me on meeting a Naga. Bangalore, like any other metro city, has pockets of the Naga community blending amidst the façade of congested streets and high rent apartments. Those few moments spent talking in Nagamese would lighten my heart. I was a regular at the Zingron Restaurant located in Koramangala, owned by a Naga family. Savouring the bamboo shoot pork and king chilly chutney would remind me of ‘home’, my Nagaland which I so terribly missed. During my Masters, we had a paper titled ‘Indian Literature in English’. I was disgruntled to find that the paper included no fiction from Nagaland. I remember having a lengthy discussion with the teacher questioning the justification behind Indian Academia leaving out Naga Literature from formal education. As a teacher today I always encourage my students to read novels and poems by Naga writers.

The myriad of my experiences will sound similar to all the ‘non-locals’ who have been born and brought up in Nagaland. There are times when we feel awkward and ashamed, like for instance when there was a surge of revulsion towards the Mainland Indian community on different social media in the days following the March 5 incident. I am certainly not implying that the Nagas are intolerant towards the Mainland Indians. When my mother had to undergo a surgery last year in Nikos Hospital and needed blood urgently, most of the donors who lined up were Nagas. The reason why I sometimes feel that I am a Naga by heart is because the Nagas I have come across have been so wonderfully accepting. For my parents, living away from their hometowns for decades has been possible only because of the love and support of the Nagas.

Perhaps someday these lines dividing the children of God will vanish, and we will all be one in spirit. It is a fantasy yes, but when has reality been kinder?

Christmas 2015 - Dr. P.S. Lorin, Principal

Celebrations are in order and it’s the month of festivity and merriment! Here is a special Christmas message to all our readers – a reminder for all of us of Christ’s love in our lives and how truly blessed we are. The Tetso College family wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas! Stay safe and may Nagaland witness the true spirit of Christmas this 2015.

Christmas 2015

It is Christmas time again, and just like every year, Nagaland witnesses a flurry of Christmas activities, events and programmes. The festivities and celebrations include an extensive number of weddings, carnivals, melas, get-togethers and church programmes. But besides all these, the last few months of 2015 are actually different only in degrees from the rest of the year, as we still continue to witness both good and evil existing in our society. And that is where our weakness lies. While no country can ever be picture perfect, is it impractical to imagine that Nagaland can be a corrupt free, peaceful, united and problem-free place? I would like to believe that I can answer “No” with strong conviction, yet, to achieve that state I know is not an easy task.   

Nagaland embraced Christianity in the late 1800’s and since then, celebrating the birth of Jesus every December has become part and parcel of our lives. The effects for any movement or event to be felt or seen is gradual and not always immediate. It needs time to take shape, express itself and develop. Just like the how we choose to celebrate Christmas differently from the year before, we have choices and decisions to make for the way we choose to lead our lives the rest of the year too. I believe this holiday season is the perfect time to reflect upon our Christian selves and it is my prayer that Christ will be at the centre of our lives and homes.  

This Christian message is a simple reminder to all of us of the Christian lives we must lead in each of our own capacities as leaders, enablers, bosses, employees or supporters. We must put Jesus Christ first as the reason for our celebrations this Christmas. Jesus is no stranger, nor an ordinary citizen but the messiah or Saviour of the world. This is the spoken truth as prophesied in the book of Isaiah about the promise of Almighty God giving Christ to mankind with great names. The Angel Gabriel in the Gospel of Luke also announced the birth of Christ and how the Child will be conceived. This is the reason why Christmas is celebrated all over the world and is so important for Christians.
Jesus was given more than 200 names. In fact, the manner in which the son of God came to this world and the prominent names given to Him are found in the Bible are glaring enough to prove of his importance and majesty. “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; ……. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9: 6). He shall be called Immanuel which means God is with us (Is 7: 14). The Angel came before Joseph in his dream and said “she will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Mt. 1: 21). The above passage was prophesied/proclaimed some centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. The Only Begotten son, Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, and the Creator of All Things are just a few of the many names of Jesus Christ, who is also known as the Lamb of God. It was fulfilled in the New Testament with a New Star. The appearance of the New Star was a sign of a New King. The Christmas star that we put up in our homes today is a sign that Christ lives in our homes. Amazing, Jesus, the son of God, was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger because there was no room for him. It took place in Bethlehem (Lk. 2:7). For an average man, one can only imagine how difficult it must have been to take in all the information and pronouncements that were being made. Yet, after two thousand fifteen centuries, the traces of this wonderful story remain when one visits the Holy Land and witness the sights for oneself.    
So now, to put oneself in the shoes of Herod the King, or for that matter any other King at that period of time, the King will probably wonder if this New unborn King is truly more blessed and powerful than him. The threat felt was so profound for the Emperor Herod that many children below the age of two years were all murdered by the decree following the birth of the New King, but Jesus could not be murdered just because He is the son of the living God.

This year, the spirit of Christmas is abundant. In Dimapur, the neighbourhoods were all lined up with Christmas decorations right from 1st of December. Advent Christmas celebrations, family get-togethers, gifts of appreciation and thanks are just some of the activities the season brings on. So, as we plan 2015 Christmas Celebration, how will you celebrate the season? Will you be busy shopping for dresses, decorations, food items or gifts? While all of that is a part of preparing ourselves for Christmas, my wish for all of us is, in the midst of organising our schedules to balance our daily activities, attend weddings, worship programmes, dinner invitations, and distributing gifts, which are no doubt not an easy task, that we also remember to invite Christ in our hearts and worship Him in the true sense of the spirit that He deserves. This I believe is the greatest blessing we can receive. May Christmas 2015 be a season of sharing joy and love with others and may peace prevail in our hearts; and let us welcome the year 2016 with peace and prosperity.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

What are We Celebrating? - Pakinzinliu Chawang, Asst Professor, Department of English

The Hornbill Festival concluded just a few days ago with much pomp and grandeur. However, it was not free of criticism, especially on the grounds of morality. The Nagas have great legacy of rich moral culture. Today, it is unfortunate to see that the moral uprightness which our forefathers held so proudly seems to be slowly disappearing. We are so blinded by the changes that are happening around us that we forget to maintain our morality in the true sense. Who do we blame for that? Looking for an answer to that question will not bring any solution. Rather than pointing fingers it is high time that we study ourselves and try to imbibe the legacy of morality and ethics within us so that our society can progress in peace and harmony

What are We Celebrating?

It’s the month of celebrations! The Hornbill and Orange Festivals are just over, and Christmas and New Year celebrations are on the way. This festive season can be a time to ponder upon the significance of festivals and morality in the context of the Naga society. Festival without morality is posing a threat to Naga society. This fact needs to be realized lest demoralization overtake the society. The moral status of the people seems to be diminishing day by day with the advancement provided by modernization, the amenities available in terms of technology, and the changes in our mentality aided by the spread of education. What exactly are we celebrating?

During the early period of the Nagas’ conversion to Christianity, the commitment level was ardent with the earnest sense of respect for God, elders and festivals.. However in our society which is constantly evolving, the moral standards are degrading stealthily, resulting in the birth of a new generation that is more “liberal”.Where there are strong moral and ethical standards, the society progresses in peace and harmony, and it is religion which teaches us to uphold to these principles. Yet our present generation has failed to live up to the teachings of our religion. Lack of religious values in any society is one of the causes of immorality. The fading of morality in our society can also be traced to the adoption of many unethical practices. With this new attitude which undermines our sacred values, all religious fervor, spiritual awareness,traditional solemnity of the festivals, and social concerns are shaping and forming formidable social structures- the beginning of a dooming end.

Today, our society needs a fervent Christian culture with a high sense of socio-moral obligation toward building and making a better and humane society. Most of us are generally failing to come up to the level of true spiritual progress and humanitarian advancement. Evils are prospering and spirituality is fading. The latter should exceed the former if our people are to advance as a Christian state. It is high time that we reckon the time and define the moment for a change that will bring about social and national transformation in the right perspective. Our mental outlook must be guided by our spiritual discernment which in turn should be driven by a right sense of perception about the truth. The human mind is the factory of all evils when morality is devoid in the heart. When morality runs strong in the heart, human conscience is awakened. It is said that our conscience is the voice of God. When we stop listening to our conscience, we disconnect our relation with the divine. The result is disease, problems, and chaos.  Human greed and pride deaden the conscience. A benumbed conscience cannot discern the truth. A true Christian can be a world changer and serve as a guiding light.

When festivals are celebrated for the mere pleasure of merriment, their true purpose and meaning is soiled. This is happening with the shifting of attitude and motive from moral based celebrations to commercialized and fashion oriented revelry.Festivals in the context of the Naga society are age old traditional celebrations with solemn ceremonies involved.Traditionally festivals were celebrated with a sense of worship.  Is the current nature of festivals in our society more of a formality rather than solemnity? .When we generally observe the usual way festivals are celebrated, Nagas are seen to be absorbed, immersed and drowning in the pool of a materialistic world and spiritual darkness.

Evidences can be cited in the way Christmas is being celebrated today in our society. For many, Christmas is merely seen as an informal festivity for fun, rather than embracing the birth of the Savior in their hearts. When we look at the nature and flow of the celebration, for many, the spiritual element is less emphasized. Instead the focus falls on feasting, drinking, and decorating. This has become an accepted norm or culture for many in our society. There are some of course who truly celebrate Christmas with the dignity it deserves. But it is also true that many of the present day Christians are celebrating Christmas and other religious ceremonies as social occasions, with not much difference from that of the Hornbill and Orange festivals.

We need a defining moment for each individual and society so a mass reformation drive through awareness, orientation, and reverence can take place in the society. Our society can experience a revolution when we begin self reformation.

“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, 9 December 2015

The 21st Century Women and Politics in Nagaland - Mhasilie Koza, Asst Professor, Department of Commerce

Women in the Naga society are increasingly exposed to modern ideas and concepts due to factors like contemporary education, media and technology, the globalization process, and Westernization associated with Christianity. However, the truth is that their social reality continues to be constrained by the traditional modes of thinking. These ideals are based on a rigid patriarchal value system that which has been handed down through generations. This is especially visible in the political milieu of Nagaland where our leaders are mostly men. A society can never fully develop until all sections of society stand for themselves and make their voices heard..

The 21st Century Women and Politics in Nagaland

The most crucial impediment to social development in the 21st century is the exigency to incorporate women into decision-making institution and bodies at all levels. Thisneeds to be addressed as the Naga society today stands at the crossroads over the very question of including women in decision-making. The recent high court ruling on the 33% reservation for women in the municipal and town council in Nagaland is a major landmark in Naga women’s history. But their social reality continues to be constrained by the traditional modes of thinking based on Patriarchal value system. The pattern of socialization of girls and the social norms of motherhood resulting in the dichotomy of public and private sphere is accountable to a large extend for undermining Naga women’s public role in the 21st century. Women in Naga society are characterized with a very low sense of political efficacy. The low political efficacy of the Naga women demands consideration in the light of their extremely low level of participation in the political process of the state.

Conscious political awareness and civic education becomes crucial to combat the problem of low political efficacy on the part of the Naga women. The pessimistic female political efficacy in Naga society can be a response to the increasing criminalization of our political state of affairs.With the overriding elements of “Muscle Power” and “Money Power” ruling in the Naga electoral practices, women generally feel helpless being confronted by such typically ‘masculine’ representation of these political activities. It then results in a general distrust of political and the political system.

The low political aspiration of the Naga women is totally incongruous when the demand for political empowerment of women throughout the entire world is an increasing phenomenon under the sway of the women’s movement. Women all over the globe were clamoring for the right to be part of the decision-making institutions particularly after the UN international Decade of women.

The emergent picture that Naga women showsvery nominal interest in entering the highest decision-making body in the state  raises questions regarding the social and political environment of Naga society. Naga women need to get involved in the public affairs of the state with the understanding that it is their civic duty as responsible citizens.

Notwithstanding the low political aspiration of the women, many of them are visibly of the opinion that more women in Nagaland should stand for elections and be a part of the state legislature. Naga women also strongly feel that having women legislators would usher in a more fair and just society undoubtedly a positive inference to the increased gender awareness on the part of the Naga women. There is a strong emergent perception among the Naga women for the need to improve their social and political position in society. Women of the day fells that having women legislators would draw attention of women into politics which would then make possible a review of traditional law in matters like inheritance and property rights, marriage and divorce, custody of children, all of which were heavily biased against women.

Why are all our politicians always men? In Nagaland, many of the male politicians have been tarnished with allegations of corruption. The blame games played by the various political parties have deteriorated the functioning of the government. Simple issues are politicized instead of solving them. We actually have never seen our male leaders “in action” raising their voices against corruption. So perhaps there is no heavenly advantage of having male politicians. Women today are walking hand in hand with men trying to make a difference in the world. There is no point of holding back women just because “they are supposed to stay at home and look after the children”. They can do that, and much more. .

Many Naga women are of the opinion that only then would they be in a position to break free from the traditional dominance of male opinion and decision-making in all spheres of life and take control of their own destiny. Through increased participation in the administration of public life, women could fight for their rights and privileges which would ultimately result in “the opposite sex looking upon us as subjects and not objects”. Naga women were known for their aptitude of hard work and enterprising spirit, even to the point of surpassing their male counterparts on their count. A widespread belief popularly held by women in the state was that they ought to be given a fair chance so that their capabilities would be realized to the fullest possible extend which hitherto was repressed through generation of patriarchy and related norms.

In Nagaland, the political process in general, and the electoral practices in particular, have over the yearsdepicted a very negative image. It is significant to note that one vital factor that deterred Naga women from politics was the negativity associated with politics. Therefore,it is believed that having more capable women legislators in the legislation would bring about a greaterpositive transformation in the image of political activities.

“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:”.

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Shy Versus the Outspoken - Judy Dimhoihkim, Head of Department of Education

Learning is rapidly shifting from conventional methods of classroom teaching to more practical learning strategies. In a conventionalclassroom environment, an introvert student may not reach the expectations of a teacher; because they need more time and space to develop their ideas and express them. In most cases the extrovert students stand out more and receive appreciation, whereas the introvert students often tend to be sidelined in the classroom. There is nothing wrong in being an introvert, and as teachers, one must be observant of the different personalities in the classroom and try to create an active learning classroom that makes the introverts feel safe to express themselves. We take a closer look at how teachers play a vital role in providing support to help introvert students.

The Shy Versus the Outspoken 

Our classrooms are composed of students from different spectrums; the extrovert, the introvert, and the ambivert. Extroverts are outgoing, socially confident persons, while introverts prefer keeping to themselves. Ambiverts have a balance of extrovert and introvert features in their personality. I intend to focus on the introverts who we usually see as quiet, reserved, and active listeners. They are shy.  Most of the time we tend to focus on the ambiverts and extroverts, unconsciously ignoring the introverts. In fact most of our teaching, classroom activities, and learning are associated with the extroverts and ambiverts. Teachers need to realize the importance of student’s identity. Extroverts will always be lively and participate actively, which might not be the case with the introverts. A third to a half of the population are introverts, so that means one out of every two or three people we know are introverted. Just as forcing the extrovert to be an introvert would be futile, we should also give space to the introverts to do what they think is best whether it be reading, writing, thinking, or any other activity. Their identity should be identified and respected. As much as the extroverts crave for social stimulation, the introverts need a quieter place, a more low-key environment where they feel most alive. They need quiet time to refuel.  Research has proven that introverts are better with grades and are more knowledgeable, even though an ideal student, according to most of us, would be the extrovert.

It is time for a teacher with all her/his innovative practices to create a safer learning environment for introverts. They should be given more choices with regards to choosing their assignments and classroom activities. Most of them are better at writing than speaking. They work best on their own, rather than in a group. They need time to prepare for interaction, conversation, and process their thoughts and emotions.  An uncomfortable task, like forcing them to respond in front of the class, is an attack on their identity.

There are times when the introverts are expected to be more like the extroverts, which is quite impossible. We all recognize ourselves as belonging to one or the other type. We need a better balance. This is mostly important when it comes to boosting creativity and productivity, because when psychologists look at the lives of most creative people, they find that people who are great at innovative ideas have had a serious streak of introversion in them. This solitude is a crucial ingredient for creativity. Some of our transformative leaders in history like Gandhiji, Eleanor Roosevelt, etc have been introverts. These people describe themselves as being quiet, shy, and soft-spoken. Susan Cain, the author of the 2012 non-fiction book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, says that when it comes to leadership, introverts are routinely passed over for leadership position. This is because introverts tends to be very careful, and much less likely to take outsize risks, both of which are favourable qualities required for these positions.

We need a classroom with teachers who are able to identify the students and teach accordingly. Apart from teaching students to work on their own, schools need to teach the students to work together as a group. Space should be given to both introverts and extroverts. They should be encouraged to come back with their own ideas which they generate by their own unique means. It is important for teachers to stop using negative labels for introversion. Failure to respond, and preference to work alone are often wrongly understood as problem cases.  We must recognize their identity rather than force them to alter their personality! They might not always raise their hand when asked a question or respond as expected, but introverts are more of active listeners, which is a vital part of participation. As teachers, we want all our students to feel confident, so we have to provide them the vehicle for self expression. This could be through non-traditional modes of assessment such as painting, writing, chart-making, and thus provide them a tool for coping.

To support my views, here is my experience as a teacher where I’ve come across different kinds of students. Being part of our college’s mentoring programme, my mentees are mostly introverts. They are shy, reserved, aloof from the group, and whenever we had a group mentoring session, it always ended up with me being the active participant. When I approached them asking how they would want the session to be conducted, surprisingly they told me that they would prefer a one-on-one session. Following their requests we had few sessions and it was an absolute success. The common problem my introverted mentees faced was expressing their ideas, giving presentations, and conversing with their class-mates(their socializing skills). Many times, they are down and depressed, and tell me how difficult it is for them to socialize and be understood by their fellow mates and teachers. I found a way to solve this problem by providing them with an environment for socializing with a friend with a similar temperament. It’s a relief for introverts to find other introverts with whom they share interests. They are now much happier, and more adjustable individuals with the capacity to never give up. The key here is to maximize the environment favourable for different spectrums of students so as to optimize their talent and excel in life.

“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:

Friday, 27 November 2015

Room for Creativity - VeduvoluKhusoh, Assistant professor, Department of English

People are most productive when they follow their dreams and do what they are interested in. In the US, it is a common for students to enroll for career guidance and counseling programs which assist them in making and implementing informed educational and occupational choices. In India, the scenario is different. Youngsters are steered towards careers by the expectations of their parents and by the trends in society. Students in Nagaland are expected to join the Science stream if they score well in Mathematics and Science in Class 10, even though they may be interested in Humanities. Many sit for UPSC, NPSC, and other competitive examinations without any actual zeal for those jobs. A country can truly progress only if everyone is able to give their best, but which may never happen if careers are mismatched and creativity is curbed.

Room for Creativity 

Just a few weeks back I attended a “World Children’s Day” celebration. One thing that really left me flabbergasted from this celebration was when the speaker asked the children seating in rows what they would like to become in the future. Majority of the boys cried in unison “Engineer!” and the girls shouted “IAS officer!” The speaker was quite awed with the response. He stressed on the importance of Government jobs and exhorted them to work hard to become engineers, doctors, NP officers etc.

I don’t completely disagree with the speaker. Of course we need to encourage children to achieve these professions as we need them for ensuring the peace and progress of our society. But on the other hand, it’s high time we stop instilling only these ideas into their young and formative mindset – that only those who join these professions are high-water marks of human achievement.

Living in this 21st century, having a degree is just not enough anymore. With the increase in population and the number of students graduating every year, we simply can’t drill our children to focus on combating only for government jobs in our society. There are noble things that we can pursue other than government jobs. What is more important is to inculcate in them a creative and critical mind to uncover and unleash the power of each individual gift. We need to focus on their talents. We need to sensitize and train their creative mind to come up with new ideas and solve everyday problems.

I have seen scores of people grudgingly appearing competitive exams year after year just to fulfill the desire of their parents and some of them actually failing miserably. They have passions of their own. They want to be entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, designers, farmers etc. but are too afraid to thwart their parent’s dream or they don’t get enough support from them since they deviate from their parents plans.

Picasso once said “All children are born artist. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up, we don’t grow into creativity but we grow out of it.” I heartily agree with this because we have creative talents of our own. Not everyone is born to become engineers or doctors. Parents should understand this. We are all here on this planet to play our part with God-given talents. But along the way we educate ourselves or talk our way out of it. What a tragedy!

Unemployment problem in Nagaland will curtail significantly if we start fostering creativity at a young age and continue to nurture it as they grow up, adding more creative activities in schools and colleges. We start by not only encouraging them to have a mind of their own and pursue their passions in life but also reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity.

With the increase in population and subsequent decline of natural resources coupled by the advancement in technology at a sky-scraping speed, we are at a stage where we need to treat education and creativity equally. We do have a role model in this context. Our very own ZhokhoiChuzho, who started from a very humble beginning of acting in Nagamese movies, has now made his name in Bollywood. If we allow our children to be who they are and support their dreams, they would find a way to live contentedly and magnificently.

Here’s a short story of Gillian Lynne- a choreographer. When she was at school she was really hopeless. The school in the 30’s wrote to her parents and said “we think Gillian has a problem”, she was fidgeting in the classroom and disturbing her classmates. Her mother took her to see a specialist. She was made to sit while her mother told the doctor how Gillian was having problems at school. At the end of it, the doctor asks if he could speak to her mother privately. The doctor turned the radio on which was on his desk. The minute they left the room she was on her feet moving to the music. They watched her for a few minutes and the doctor told Gillian’s mother that Gillian is not sick- she’s a dancer. Gillian was taken to dance class and eventually auditioned for the Royal Ballet School. She later founded her own company- The Gillian Lynne dance Company. She has been responsible for some of the most successful musical theater productions in history. She’s a multi-millionaire today.

What our children need is the right push and strongest support from their parents. Our only hope for the future of our next generation is to influence them with creative imagination and ideas so that they can face the future independently with innovative ideas and live a more meaningful life doing what they love.

“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:”

Friday, 20 November 2015

Naga Peace Accord: A Young Mind’s Perspective - Anubhav Tiakaba Kar (BA 5th Sem English Hons) and Ahyulo Khing (BA 3rd Sem Political Science Hons)

For nearly 70 years, the history of the Naga people has been filled with tragedies and atrocities. Countless number of dialogues and agreements have been made between the Government of India and the people of Nagaland. A lot of viewpoints and opinions have emerged and everyone has an opinion on the latest framework agreement but they are also apprehensive to voice it out. For a lot of the younger generation in the colleges and schools today, they have no first-hand experience of what transpired in the 70’s and the 80’s. Accordingly, a glimpse into the minds of Generation Y was provided during the Tetso Autumn Festival 2015. An essay competition was held on the topic “Give your views on the signing of the accord between the NSCN(IM) and the GOI. Will it result in a viable solution to the question of Naga sovereignty?“ Below is a compilation of the two winning essays. Kindly note that the views expressed are an attempt by the youth to understand the situation. While every attempt has been made to check any factual information stated in the essays, errors if any are inadvertent and regretted.

Naga Peace Accord: A Young Mind’s Perspective

Nagaland has always been independent long before the British came to our lands. When India received its independence in 1947 from the British, the British government had also agreed to make Nagaland an independent state. But the British left India without giving sovereignty to the Nagas. It was the greatest betrayal. . Since then Nagas has been fighting for its freedom from the Government of India for decades. Many Nagas have lost their lives and families, villages have been burnt to ashes. Countless women have been tortured and raped. Under the leadership of A. Z. Phizo (President of Naga National Council), the Nagas have fought hard to regain its freedom and realize the dream of all of being an independent state. Over the years many groups have come up in Nagaland with the aim of attaining independence from the Government of India.
On 11th November, 1975, The Shillong Accord was signed. It was an agreement made between the Government of India and representatives of Nagaland's underground organization, to accept the supremacy of Constitution of India without condition, surrender their arms and renounce their demand for the secession of Nagaland from India. Many people in Nagaland who believed in forming an independent nation saw this accord as a denial of their rights.
NSCN was formed on 31 January 1980 by Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and S.S. Khaplang opposing the Shillong Accord. In 1988, NSCN split into two with NSCN-IM headed by Isak Chishi Swu & Thuingaleng Muivah and NSCN-K headed by S.S. Khaplang. Peace-talks amidst incidents of violence pursued ever since. A ceasefire was finally signed between the Government of India and the NSCN-IM in 1997 as a way to peacefully negotiate terms.

The NSCN-IM has become the main focus of media attention after signing another Peace Accord with the Government of India on 3rd August, 2015. “We are making a new beginning today. 60 years is a long time of fighting, the wounds are deep,” Modi, standing alongside NSCN-IM secretary general and co-founder Thuingaleng Muivah, said in a press conference following the signing of the Accord. This agreement is said to be a landmark agreement in the history of the Nagas and is supposed to lead the Naga people to sovereignty, but even though months have passed, the people do not know the exact details of the agreement. Though this agreement is supposed to decide the future of thousands of people, the public seem to be kept in the dark and they still don’t know what was decided between the leaders.

This mysterious agreement also raises other questions. Will Nagaland receive its sovereignty through this Peace Accord? Who do we turn to for answers? Hypothetically, if the Accord clears the pathway for India to grant sovereignty to the Nagas, will the public agree to be an independent nation? If the Accord prevents the Nagas from demanding a free nation, then perhaps it isn’t a great thing after all. By the looks of it, right now, keeping in mind how the details of the agreement are still unclear, the talk about sovereignty may be sidelined for a while.

Why have Nagas still not achieved independence? When these questions arise, there are many views which can be discussed. Firstly, the factional groups through taxes, extorting money from the public, threatening of the people has caused havoc in our society, our society is filled with chaos and confusion as to whether to trust the factional groups or to be on our own. Secondly, there are still those who work sincerely for true cause of our land and the remaining simply spoil the system. Suspicion, mistrust, uncertainty has led our people into chaos. Unless the Nagas as a whole are united, there is no meaning of attaining or achieving sovereignty as it would lead to more conflict and chaos in the future.

This so called ‘solution’ that has been debated about for so many years now, still seems to be far away. As long as the leaders continue to be secretive and keep the people in the dark, no real solution can be achieved. In the end, it is the people who should have the authority and freedom to make the right choice for themselves. To arrive at a real solution, public opinion, voices, and grievances should have been heard and taken into account while framing the Accord. Therefore, this “Framework Agreement”, needs to be scrutinized and explained in detail to the Nagas.

Thus, this alleged “Landmark Agreement” may be a milestone in Nagaland’s race towards sovereignty, but it is still only a milestone, and the destination is still far away. Let us not forget that. May we never give up hope, but strive for a better world where we all have our rights, and are treated equally, and live in a free Nagaland, free from oppression of any kind. Our dreams are yet to be achieved. But if it comes down to this recent agreement, I hardly believe it is going to solve our problems. 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Who is Responsible for the Problems in Our State? - Kahor Raleng, Head of Department of English

Nagaland recently witnessed the ‘Walk Against Corruption’ organized by ACAUT on 30th and 31st October 2015. When events such as these are organized it makes one realize just how important the role of the public actually is in shaping its success or failure. Similarly, when it comes to the governance of our State or society, it is not just the politicians but the public that play a huge role. Although it is easy to blame the government, the politicians or leaders for all our problems, we fail to realize that blaming them also means blaming our own selves, because we are all responsible for creating the kind of environment we live in. The most basic example would be something as simple as our State’s cleanliness. It does not make sense to condemn the Municipality for not maintaining our environment, and then go litter the streets and spit on the walls. So then, we ask…

Who is Responsible for the Problems in Our State?

Life in this generation is interesting. It poses several questions and for this article I am especially preoccupied with questions concerning the politicians and the general public. Allow me to ruminate on a few. How will life be without politicians? Whom shall we blame for things gone bad or things not done? Without them whom shall we point fingers at, to criticize? Our politicians are so fortunate. They are at the core of all our criticism. Bad roads, they get the brunt of the public. Erratic electricity, they are at fault. Water shortage, again it’s their fault.  Everything has to end with the politicians. They are supposed to be magicians and perform tricks, be the maker and create jobs and repair things, and most importantly play God and make everything perfect. Well, it is not surprising that they do feel very important and pretend to be; after all they are the ‘can do it all’ class of people in the eye of the public. Granted, they have a huge responsibility, but dearest public, let us remember that they are not God.
I do not have any inclination, whatsoever, towards any politician, neither do I plan to become one, but let us be sensible and take a look around us. There are some questions we need to ask ourselves. Who dumps the garbage in the street, or clogs the drainage and river with garbage? The public. Who uses excessive electricity and also leaves it switched on, the whole day and night, though not in use? The public. Who pays money to buy a government job? The public. Who has a government job but still looks around for a private job in order to appease their wants? The public. Who builds houses or horrid structures on the road and does not leave space for pavements? The public, again! So whom do we blame?

With advancement and modernity, it is taken for granted that a society and its lifestyles improve. But our society seems to be benefitting nothing from advancement, modernity, and education. Rather, it is on a rush downhill and degrading at a speed not even the fastest driver can achieve. Our civic sense seems to be on the verge of extinction and it looks like we have left behind our principles, our values, and our decency in the past with our ancestors. In our society today, every act of the public comes along with a justification. For instance, it is perfectly okay to buy a government job because everybody does it and that’s the only way to get a government job. Reality check- no matter how honest you are, paying someone or bribing somebody to get a government job is still CORRUPTION: nothing more, nothing less!
When the public itself is corrupt, how in the world do you profess to eliminate corruption? When we have lost our civic sense and are fine with dumping garbage in the street, how can we expect our surroundings to miraculously become a paradise overnight? Let us be rational. Half of the problems around us are all self-made. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.

I applaud ACAUT and all the other several organizations for their efforts to make our society a better place to live in. But my dear public, just a group of people cannot bring complete change. The general mass has to play its part. Until and unless the general mass is willing to sacrifice, we cannot expect total change in our society. We ask for four-lane roads but are not willing to give away an inch of our land. Are they supposed to make four lane roads in the air? We ask for regular supply of electricity and water but we are not willing to be careful with its usage. It doesn’t materialize from Narnia. We ask for a clean city but we are not willing to clean our surroundings.

A humble request; let us stop pointing fingers and stop putting our politicians on a pedestal, but work in our own little spaces to bring change for the better. Let us ask ourselves, “What do I do regularly?”, because what we do regularly has the potential to become a habit, and habits develop into the character of an individual and eventually become the essence of a society. Change has to ultimately begin within. Every individual is responsible in order to bring change in our society. We have to move out of our comfort zone and stop doing things for selfish motives. Our mentality is such that we are obsessed with what will we get in return? If everyone becomes this myopic, development is going to be a difficult goal.

All said and done, our politicians and leaders are still accountable to the public. They have been elected by the public to lead and so lead they should. Let the public be good followers and be wise when they elect someone to lead them.

Friday, 6 November 2015

NAGAS AND MODERNISATION: ARE WE LOSING OUR IDENTITY? - Amenla Jamir, Asst. Professor, Department of Education

The Nagas have come a long way from our grandparents’ culture to the present day lifestyle. There has been a paradigm shift with the onset of modernisation and the affluence towards the Western culture; and we have effortlessly adopted the ways of it. But are we modern in the true sense or are we just trying to be a part of the trend? Trying to act modern will not do any good to our society unless we have the right attitude and mindset about it. There have been developments of superficial Westernisation in matters of dress, food, habits and other activities which have seriously challenged the Naga traditional way of life; and while we are in the race of imitating the West, let us make sure that we do not lose out on our good old traditions that create our identity. 


Nagas today impose certain social and economic entities in defining the concept of modernity. It is disheartening to see that very often Westernisation has been confused with modernisation, and vice-versa. It is obvious that one cannot be fully understood without the other, but that doesn’t mean they mean the same. Modernisation can be understood as the process by which a country moves from a traditional agrarian society to having a more secular urbanised society and in the process it remoulds the cultural system into a new mode. On the other hand, Westernisation would mean that a certain indigenous cultural element is replaced by the Western element, and the functional role of the former is taken over by the latter. Modernisation is advancement towards betterment and moving forward with positive results. In Westernisation there is no newness or innovation because individuals only tend to follow the ways or archetypes that are already prescribed by the Western culture.

Like other traditional societies, the Nagas also possess a rich tradition and heritage. They have their own set of values and moral standards preset by the cultural paradigm. In the past few decades, immense modifications have crept into the Naga society. The introduction of Western education and Christian faith brought about tremendous changes in the Naga way of life and belief systems. This has also resulted in a drastic shift in the socio-cultural system. Modern education improves livelihood and health status. The spread of Christianity in Nagaland has both positive and negative impacts on the Naga society. The changes are observed in the belief system, mindset’ and attitudes of the people. Today many young people do not even remember the traditional stories, the songs and dances. They do not understand the significance of the patterns on their tribal shawls, nor do they revere nature as once their ancestors did.

Naga society changed drastically and completely within the span of just one century. Today traditional Naga attires, dances, and other cultural symbols can be seen only during important occasions and in celebrations like the Hornbill Festival. Are trends like driving expensive cars, going to discotheques, eating out every weekend considered being modern? Today in the Naga society, everyone wears Western clothes. There is nothing wrong in it, but believing wearing Western clothes makes one modern is a flawed ideology.  People tend to think of ‘Western’ and ‘Modern’ as synonyms, which is erroneous. What makes a person modern is evolution of thoughts, not imitation of the Western culture. Certain celebrities imitate Korean trends in terms of dressing and grooming, and we mindlessly emulate these thinking we are being modern, while at the same time we don’t think twice about littering our roads and spitting paan juice all over the place. Musicians today, are they actually expressing the Naga voice, or are they trying an imitation of the Western popular culture? People here rush to KFC and Pizza Hut with the concept in mind that eating there makes them hip and modern. It is sheer ignorance of the philosophies of the west, coupled with blind desire to imitate them that actually results in the decadence of our true identity.

The Western countries are already modernised and advanced. There is no such harm in adoption of Western patterns. But it is really harmful when in the shade of adoption we start condemning our own great cultural patterns and heritage. Western countries are financially better off than we are, and they can afford to lead the lifestyle they follow. Instead of focusing on more crucial areas, why are we trying to mimic them? Are we spending more than we earn just because we want to be a part of a trend? It is morbidly humourous to see some of our youth going to the fish market in attires fit for a party at a 5 Star Hotel. We just don’t seem to know when to start and when to quit the art of copying.

It is the choice of the individuals: do they want to be developed and advanced and be modern in the true sense, or do they simply want to become mere imitators? The Society must respect its own culture and heritage first. Following other cultures and lifestyles should not be done at the cost of losing respect for our own culture. Adoption of any Western patterns and norms is not wrong when first the society becomes self- sufficient and knows how to strike a right balance between adhering to their own cultural patterns and adopting foreign cultural ideologies.
The Nagas are indeed in the fast lane when it comes to developments, be it in terms of infrastructure or pop culture. Many dramatic transformations have been taking place in the society. Today in our society this process of modernisation is overwhelmed with Western ideas, images, and concepts. With this trend continuing, the external pressure is so strong that it is sweeping the treasures of our rich tradition. Now the question that we need to ponder is the perception of Nagas modernity. Today the level of modernity is measured in terms of materialism and power of wealth.

If our society has to catch up with the fast changing world, it is imperative that we forego part of our traditional beliefs and practices to meet the demands of the time. Our immediate task should be to sharpen and broaden the scope of our modern education which will lead to a better understanding of the West and changing times it will help us to cope with the fast changing world. Our main concern should be to fill the communication gap between the West and the East, otherwise our culture will soon vanish. In the quest for modernity, let’s not be deluded into accepting Westernisation as modernisation. Let our own culture not metamorphosize into an alien foreign culture even without our realisation. Let us not allow our own culture to become a thing of the past.

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...