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:

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...