Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Clash of Clans Mania - Anjan K Behera, Assistant Professor, Department of English

“My village is under attack...”; “I need to go to war”. These are the words we will hear from the people around us every day. As urgent and panicky as it might sound, no war is happening in the real world but it is happening in the virtual world. Yes, there are clash of clans happening online, where the players are building communities, training troops for battle, attacking other players to earn gold and elixir. In this article, the writer who is an avid player himself tries to look at this epic combat strategy game Clash of Clans (COC) as a form of escapism from the real world.

                                                                Clash of Clans Mania

It was a humid afternoon at the dentist’s. My dad was in for a root canal procedure. Quiet shadows making vague movements could be seen through the frosted windows. The nervous silence that one finds in the waiting rooms of dental wards was however absent. The clamour of something like the clink of coins echoed through the room every few minutes. The other patients awaiting their turn peered curiously towards the source. It came from the direction ofa rather haughty young lady who was probably in her 20s sitting in front of me. She was busy with her smartphone and seemed unaware of her surroundings. How was she minting money right in the dentist’s ward? Curiosity got the better of me, and I strained my neck to spy on what exactly was happening on her phone. She sat there playing a game, oblivious to the worries of the other patients, unmindful of the pain the old granny she had come with was experiencing. The granny seemed perturbed, and from the way she winced periodically in pain, I feared the worst- she was here for an extraction. Suddenly, I could hear the painful dying groans of women coming from her phone.  This obviously had an effect on the granny. Her eyes winced in fear of anticipation of the pain one always expects at the dentist’s. A victorious trumpet blew. The young lady smiled in accomplishment. She had won a war, while sitting beside her granny, at a dentist ward.

I would later come to know that this game was Clash of Clans. Clash of Clans is a strategy video game released for Android and iOS platforms. It is a freemium game which means users do not have to necessarily pay money to play it. In Clash of Clans, the player assumes the role of the leader of a village set in the medieval ages. The player can attack the villages of other players for loot, and simultaneously upgrade the armiesas well as the defences of his own village to protect it from raids from other players. This game also allows users to join ‘clans’, chat with other players, and help each other with troops, and war with other clans.

So what is it about this game that makes it so popular? I knew I had to try it.
After three failed attempts of downloading the game, through a network that was supposed to be 3G, I finally had the game. Players are required to choose a username, and I named myself ‘Belfire’, the son of the mythical wizard Rumplestiltskin. When I play the game I am no longer an Assistant Professor of English, but a fierce warrior who can do anything to save the interests of his village. I know a friend who is the sweetest person ever, who wouldn’t even hurt a spider. Yet on this game, she is known as ‘Wicked Witch’, and is a ruthless warrior. Games like these form an escape from reality and the accomplishments I achieve by moving my fingers do bring a sense of fulfilment. It allows me to be a hero, and save the day. After all, isn’t that what we all want?

And so it began. I started getting notifications at 2am- “Your village is being raided by Mirea!” Who was Mirea and what had I ever done to her? Why was she raiding my village! A man who can never even get up at 6am to jog was now wide awake at 2am exacting revenge from Mirea for destroying his village. I learnt to attack other villages (might I add without the slightest feeling of guilt), and felt satisfaction as my warriors collected the loot. My village was constantly raided as well, and the notifications would come pouring in. If I did not open the game for too long, a notification would read “Come back, your warriors need a leader!” Oh how could I ignore such a plea! I found myself engaged in prolonged talks about war strategy with my friends.

Gamers argue that it has positive aspects as well. It allows one to relive childhood mythical stories of gallant medieval wars, it fosters a sense of team spirit – crucial for winning clan wars, and tests the problem solving and reasoning skills of players on the basis of how well they are able to strategise. Each war is new, and each day is unpredictable! It is this unpredictability which makes the game appealing.

Whenever I feel I am perhaps taking this game too seriously, I can just visit any one of the many Clash of Clans Facebook groups to participate in virtual discussions with other players. A clan search reveals more than 70 ‘clans’ existing in Nagaland alone- ‘Naga Warriors’, ‘Padampukhri’s, ‘Chumu Kings’ and many others.Clash of Clans, since its release in 2012, has become a part of pop culture. Clash of Clans is taking the mobile gaming world by storm, and as such, is possibly a revelation into the human psyche and our deepest desires. Maybe we are bored with modernism and democracy, and want to go back to the medieval ages; and maybe we prefer mythical heroes to real ones. Perhaps, the scariest thought is we prefer fantasy over reality.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Solution to Nagaland’s Economic Growth - Lanu, Assistant Professor, Department of Commerce

Nagaland is endowed with huge untapped natural resources and has the potential to transform itself into a commercial hub of India and a tourist paradise. If we take advantage of our blessings then we can not only boost our economy, but also improve the problem of unemployment, which is a pressing problem in our society today. In view of this, the Micro Small and Medium enterprises (MSMEs) can play a vital role in the economic structure of Nagaland. This week, we take a look at its significant contributions in terms of output, export and employment.

A Solution to Nagaland’s Economic Growth

The Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector has slowly come into the limelight, with increased focus from government and other government institutions, corporate bodies and banks. It is viewed as one of the greatest agents of growth. Policy based changes, investments into the sector; globalization and India’s robust economic growth have opened up several latent business opportunities for this sector. Even the domestic market is no more an insulated zone in a controlled economy; the competitive pressures of a free market economy are catching up in India. The domestic market has been flooded with many low cost, reasonable quality, bulk produced products giving tough competition to MSMEs. With the opening up of the economy, the MSMEs have to catch up with global standards of excellence in order to remain competitive and profitable. MSMEs are increasingly having to adapt to new standards in technology, quality and pricing to be able to survive in the marketplace.

MSMEs contribute 8 per cent of the country’s GDP (MSMEs contribution to India GDP has been growing constantly at 11% per annum), 45 per cent of the manufactured output and 40 per cent of the country exports. The labour and capital ratio in MSMEs and the overall growth in the MSMEs are much higher than in the larger industries. The non-homogenous structure in terms of range of produce/service as well as size of industry adds to its dynamism. Thus, MSMEs are important for the national objectives of growth with equity and inclusion. To talk about the economic development of Nagaland, it is essentially the economy of 19,80,602 person occupying an area of 16,579 sq. Km with a population density of 120 /sq. Km where the rural population consists of about 82 percent and urban population of about 18 percent. The number of educated unemployed has been rising at the rate of 9.32%per annum, which has to be taken into account in any economic planning. For a developing nation like India, where the labour is abundant and capital is scarce, the Micro and small enterprise sector is a major source of employment for millions of people.

In Nagaland, the effort for economic development started in the real sense only after its statehood in 1963. During that time, the economy was agrarian in nature with more than 89% of its working population directly depending on agriculture. The technique of production was more or less pre-Newtonian type with very low productivity in income. The level of urbanization and infrastructural development was very low and industrialization virtually non-existent. During the last four and half decades of statehood, beginning from scratch Nagaland has made significant achievement in various fronts. However in many sectors, the state’s economic planning has failed to move in the right direction and the base of development has been rather slow. Besides, Nagaland state was created out of political necessity and hence it was anticipated that Nagaland would not be economically viable for a long period.

Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector has emerged as a highly vibrant and dynamic sector of the Indian economy over the last five decades. MSMEs not only play crucial role in providing large employment opportunities at comparatively lower capital cost than large industries but also help in industrialization of rural & backward areas, thereby, reducing regional imbalances, assuring more equitable distribution of national income and wealth. MSMEs are complementary to large industries as ancillary units and this sector contributes enormously to the socioeconomic development of the country/state.

MSEs in Nagaland have growth potential and can significantly contribute to state economy provided appropriate measures are taken to boost these sectors in the interest of economic ends. However, in Nagaland, information about this sector is very limited, so far as official records and research data are concerned. It is therefore, envisaged to investigate into the operational efficiency of Micro and Small Enterprises and their contribution to socio and economic development of the state. The State Govt. of Nagaland has also been assisted to set up a Mini Tool Room & Training Centre at Dimapur, Nagaland. Tool Rooms are equipped with Hi-Tech machinery for providing common facility services to the industry; conducting various long-term and short-term training programmes such as 4-year diploma in Tool & Die Making, Computer Aided Design, Basic Workshop Technology, Turning and Milling, Engineering Drawing etc.

In spite of immense potential of MSMEs in Nagaland, the region has largely remained underdeveloped. A key constraint to the growth has been poor infrastructure and limited connectivity (roads, telecommunications and power supply), both within the region as well as with the rest of the country. The region, connected to the rest of India by a narrow stretch of land called the ‘chicken’s neck’, needs infrastructure to support and ensure significant investments and developmental aids. Hence, it is necessary for the government to mobilize the SMEs in Nagaland to channelize their resources for economic development of the region.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

How do you find Nagaland? - Prajwal Suvarna, Trainee Teacher from Christ University, Bangalore

Nagaland is not well connected with the rest of India. There is only one town with an airport and rail connectivity and the roads and highways are bumpy and potholed making every journey uncomfortable. This makes any trip to Nagaland from mainland India and adventure and sort of labelled as exotic. We introduce you to Prajwal Suvarna, from Christ University, Bangalore who is currently interning at Tetso College to tell us a little bit about his travelling experiences here.

How do you find Nagaland?

When people ask me “How do you find Nagaland?” I am at a loss for words. I usually reply “I don’t know about Nagaland, but Dimapur is good”. You see, Dimapur cannot be a synecdoche for Nagaland and in the one and half months of my internship in Tetso College, Sovima, I have not strayed far from the immediate environs of the college and hostel. This is partly due to the laziness that comes from the routine, and partly some unforeseen circumstances. But from the little knowledge gathered by reading newspaper reports and interacting with the students and teachers, I understand that the situation in the interior parts of the state is quite desperate: there are still places that lack basic facilities. So it would be criminal on my part to make generalisations about an entire state based on my short stay here. So therein lay the difficulty in answering the question, “How do you find Nagaland?” So let me stick to what I do know.

It is only after travelling here that one realises just how far and insular Nagaland and the Northeast are from the national imagination. Rather than viewing the North east, one views from the north east. Having been brought up on a staple diet of National dailies, to read the local newspapers has been an edifying experience. The concerns of the “mainland” and “mainstream” media fade away. This distance, both literal and metaphorical, characteristic of border towns or states, cuts both ways and leads to a certain exoticism that is quite different from ground reality. For instance, one of my classmates in the University, a practicing Brahmin, dropped me an email that quite irritated me. Among other niceties, it said

“How's your internship coming along? You must be having a good time. Who wouldn't, if they're working in a place where you are!”  
It was not as if I was not having a wonderful time, or not enjoying my work. I simply resented the easy assumptions it made, especially the last sentence, coming from a person who wrinkles his nose when we pass a non-vegetarian hotel, almost gagged and retched when we entered a dry fish market. I knew for a fact he would have a horrible time here. I resented even more his tone, which cast Nagaland and the North east as a sort of Shangri – la, as the veritable other to your mainstream ideal. Such an attitude discounts the drudgery and absolute normalcy of everyday existence here and everywhere else. Of course the Nagas have a rich history and a distinct identity anomalous with that of India, as do most other states and their peoples. But taking a tone of absolute incredulity, as if things in this state were so drastically different is to discount ground realities.

In the one and half months working as an intern teacher, I gained valuable experience of working in a professional environment, being asked to handle certain portions, conducting classes, delivering lectures, even simply hanging around, taking in the staffroom dynamics. In that respect, the practices of the college are on par with that of any other institution of a similar stature in Bangalore, where I study, or Mangalore, which is my hometown. The teachers complain like all other teachers in the colleges I have studied, about all the paperwork. I saw in practice something that my lecturer in Mangalore had told me – “Being a teacher has very little to do with teaching” he had said “and more to do with everything else” It was a great experience, but not great in the sense of something alien or exotic. I thoroughly enjoyed the genial atmosphere in the green campus, set as the college is amidst nature, something one sorely misses in the polluted, urban, concrete mess that is Bangalore.
While I love travelling, to me, there is something disconcerting about being cast in the role of a tourist. And that is one thing I refused to be during my internship. I travelled to Nagaland because the schools in the plains are closed for the summer and my Professor in the University knew one of the lecturers who worked in Tetso College. A part of the reason for coming here, I admit, was to visit the North east and Nagaland, but I refused to be the clichéd wide eyed traveller clicking photos and looking at sights. At the risk of sounding pompous, allow me to say that I travel because with every journey, there is a small but definite change in my understanding of the world we live in and of myself.

The philosopher Alan Watts says “If there were no eyes in the world, the sun would not be light”. Travellers depend on the inherent difference between peoples and places to derive the pleasure that they do. It distresses me, therefore, to see the fever for “development” slowly infect Dimapur. I am sure what most people mean when they say development; is a stead electricity connection, more roads, schools, healthcare facilities, etc. And it is true, these are basic amenities and everyone should have access to them. But the nature of development in our country is such that it brings in tow the meanness and monotony of sights urban sprawl, poverty, environmental degradation, and pollution that are afflicting the small towns in our country. You very seldom have one without the other. The Indian idea of development is a great leveller: crushing cultures and societies to a mind numbing monotony. I dread coming back to Dimapur a few years from now and not recognising the place, or finding out that it has taken the turn that Bangalore has over the past two decades. I see the main town as a sort of cancerous sore on the landscape that will only spread outwards. Already, one sees its effects in the half finished ugly concrete complexes that dot the Dimapur - Kohima highway. Yet, to fight progress is to swim against the tide, but one can have ones fantasies.

This stay in Dimapur at Tetso College has been a respite from the relentless pace and noise of Bangalore. I keep telling people that living alone in a room, reading most times, having regular meals, and keeping regular sleep times has left me feeling like I can join a monastic order. Living in the cities, being woken up by the crowing of the neighbour’s cock instead of the blaring of car horns, or being able to move about without seeing or bumping into another person has been a treat of sorts. It is this I take away when I leave tomorrow. 

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Say “Green”! - Zujanbeni Lotha, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Nagas have been blessed with a flourishing natural environment, and our love for it has often been coupled with our love to capture it on camera. But of late, even finding a decent clean and green place for a beautiful shot seems grim. The environment around us plays a major role in our continued existence. However, when we look at what’s happening today, the way we seem to exploit it is far greater than the protection it gets. We need to help our environment exist and we need to learn how to save our beautiful mother earth.

Say “Green”! 

Society and environment are two different things but related concepts. Every society has its own environment on which it survives. Society is related to environment through adaptation and exploitation- adaptation to some elements on which one has no control over and exploitation of natural resources for one’s survival. Environment here is inclusive of all the elements found on earth in any form. Both biotic and abiotic components of the environment need society to care and protect them. Environment provides all that the society needs but they are exploited mercilessly for human unlimited wants. The relationship between society and environment can be clearly seen from the hunting and food-gathering societies till the present urban-industrial societies. Every society is blessed with rich natural resources which have been replaced by exploiting it in a way of building dams, cities, roads and industries which pollute the environment. It is also a matter of distinguishing between the poor and the rich, developed and developing countries. Nature’s benefit is not accessed equally by all sections of society. The rich enjoying all the modern facilities while the poor struggle to make fire with dung and so on. Rich people are becoming richer at the cost of environment. Population explosion is another serious problem which affects the environment to a great extent, where human beings render less attention in using the gift of nature judiciously.

Setting up of industries would not only bring more jobs in the developing countries but would also pump money into the economy. This is what the developed countries like the U.S, U.K etc did in the 20th century which in turn increased their income and improved the standard of living of the people. However, experts are of the view that taking care of a million people who are starving is more important than saving the natural resources, most of which are renewable. The developing countries cannot share the green concerns of the developed countries which will put a gap on the emissions as it is fighting a constant battle with an enemy (poverty) that can be defeated only by industrialization.
 The most important issues facing our environment right now are the depletion of ozone layer, global warming and the subsequent rising sea levels caused by the rapid melting of glaciers in the Antarctica, pollution, land degradation, extinction of species etc. Industrialization is directly responsible for pollution and increase in the global warming. Factories worldwide are responsible for releasing pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulphurdioxide, nitrogen oxides etc. into the atmosphere which is the prime reason why the ozone layer is depleting. With the rise in the income levels across the world, more and more people are buying vehicles which are adding up to the pollution in the atmosphere. The soil is getting degraded by chemicals like chlorinated hydrocarbons and metals like cadmium, lead and benzene. Large scale use of fertilizers are also making the land unfit for agriculture. Trees are being cut either for wood or for making roads and buildings. The rate of cutting of trees is more in the developing countries.

Environmentalists are of the view that in order to preserve the earth for our future children and grandchildren, the developing world will have to start practicing sustainable development which will put a gap on their emission on a yearly basis. The earth cannot support the kind of unrestricted growth which is being seen in the developing world today. The cordial relationship between society and environment starts to degrade as man learns to exploit nature for his selfish gain to have a comfortable life. Most human beings only know how to feed on environment and can do little or nothing to improve our environment. The more environment omnivores rise the more degradation it will be done to environment if they have less knowledge of replenishing the damage done on it. It is obvious that there will not be any development without damaging the environment but consequences should be thought of first before damaging it. Although, it may be impossible to completely stop environmental damage, but it is important to counter the negative influence of development on the environment. For instance, the loss due to deforestation activity must be resurrected with an equal afforestation and by providing a similar habitat to the affected humans as well as animals at another location to maintain the ecological balance. The Chipko Movement or the hugging of trees by the women in the Himalayan region to protect the trees from the hands of the contractors is significant in saving the earth. More of such movements are needed in every region as deforestation is apparent in our present day. Destroying forest is also risking the lives of wild plants and animals. All men live on the same planet hence any destruction on environment anywhere affects the whole earth, so let us think of any alternative measures to recover any loss to our earth before harming it. I am sure even the nature cries when they are destroyed by humans. It is therefore the knowledge of and respect for the intricacy of the web of life which will guide man to his highest destiny.

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...