Friday, 28 April 2017

Let’s Impact Lives! -Samoaba Jamir, IT Technician

In the race to succeed and live a purposeful life, let’s stop and take a breath to ask yourself an important question today - are you becoming more apathetic or immune to the world around you? Whether it may be towards building meaningful human relations with fellow citizens or to empathize with other people's life eventualities. In this week’s article, the author makes us reflect on how impactful a life are we actually living.

Let’s Impact Lives!
Love and empathy are two things we seem to be losing as the modern world progresses by. Whether it’s the progress of the world from a simpler to a more complex life, or it’s just an inevitable component of evolution, the causes may be debatable. However, it is apparent that we have grown colder and numb to the plights of our neighbours and the people we pass by each day. I’m not saying that we have to plunge ourselves into the personal problems of everyone we come across, but we can all try to be a bit more sensitive and understanding to the people we interact or deal with in our day to day lives.
We are quick to judge and label those actions we deem immoral or unethical, while our own personally defined morality overlooks our own transgressions. Yes, we are hypocrites who forget the fact that we have been marked guilty many times in our own trials and sometimes in the same ways as the people we accuse. We are quick to point at the weaknesses of others, especially those in power and the limelight, ridiculing them while acting as if we are at the pinnacle of perfection. Instead of relating their humanity to our own flawed selves, we judge them marking them as “failures” or “disappointments”. When will we learn to look into the mirror i.e. our own souls and learn to identify our flaws and be able to relate with others facing the same or different issues?
We Nagas are a Christian community. Even so, we, the followers of a religion whose core principle is love, have failed to demonstrate the same, time and again. Is something wrong with the understanding of our faith? Or are we turning a blind eye to it in order to pursue our own selfish goals with the illusion of a clean conscience? Yes, selfishness might be at the core of every human being as a part of our survival instinct, but it certainly shouldn’t be the dominant trait of our character. We are definitely capable of more selfless actions if only we choose to and build ourselves on it.
In the recent years, there have been many instances where our people failed to demonstrate the love and empathy that our faith teaches. From our leaders to you and me, we’ve all failed in one way or another; from the infamous lynching (which personally horrified me), to the deaths of our two young brothers whose funerals became another spectacle for political agendas. The public perhaps suffers since those in power ignore the issues and have self-motivated interests in mind. Where is the love and empathy? Love for the people, love for your neighbours, love for the state, the empathy for the poor and suffering, for the innocents paying the price for another’s transgressions.
I keep my distance from the online social discussion pages as much as possible because the picture is even uglier there. People can anonymously spread venom and provoke others for no reason. Sometimes going through the comments on those pages makes me lose whatever little hope I have for us as a state, though yes, I know that real public opinion can never be tapped. The peace loving state that we are supposed to be, shrivels and withers up immediately when we choose to spread hate without a second thought. And there is an abundance of people who do that online on every online social discussion page I’ve come across. The wise ones usually refuse to express their opinions hiding behind likes and emoticons, while others choose the ineffective option of pointlessly arguing with such people.
The whole world is afflicted by this deficiency of love and empathy, and it has been so since time immemorial. The proposed ‘Muslim ban’ in the US, the Syrian refugee crisis, all point towards this. Countless lives are lost while the world watches by, unable to act because only a few actually care enough to do something. Yet these few may not have the power needed to achieve set goals. War and hate crimes are still abundant. Can we do something about it? Or have we completely given up?
However, things don’t necessarily end there. Progress towards the greater good is always hampered by feelings of complacency and defeat. We must always be wary of these two things as they abate the human growth, stagnating life itself. We might not be able to change the world in a second, a day, a month or year, but our every action can most certainly bring about the ripple effect that eventually covers the whole world itself. How we live our lives and the lessons we leave for our descendants matter, even if we feel that we lead rather insignificant lives. Every human being acts as a drop in the giant river of life; we are a like a collective existence that keeps changing; we pass on what we learn so the next generation knows better. Our little acts of love and empathy definitely will serve as an example to the future generations becoming an even better existence as a whole.
This quote by American astrophysicist and author Neil de Grasse Tyson comes to mind: “Humans aren't as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that we're reading, writing, arithmetic, and empathy”.

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. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan K Behera, Tatongkala Pongen, Nungchim Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email:

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Are We Performing Our Duties? - Mhabeni Tungoe, HoD - Education


Ms Zuboni Humtsoe never gave up on her dreams. In 2011, she began her indigenous fashion brand ‘Precious Me Love’ (PML), with a capital of just 3500 rupees. Today PML has ventured into the e-commerce arena and has over 1000 clients around the country. Yes, Nagaland is marred with a plethora of problems. There’s illegal taxation, unemployment, bad roads, corruption, erratic electricity supply, and tribalism. However, none of these stopped Ms Humtsoe from doing what she wanted to do. The result of her hard work led Ms Humtsoe to be awarded the ‘Nari Shakti Purashkar’ in March 2017, which was presented to her by His Excellency the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee. As long as we persevere and do our duty, achieving success is never a distant reality.

Are We Performing Our Duties?

Human beings are social animals, we don’t live in isolation. From birth, we mingle with other members of the society. Being a part of the society, each one of us is obligated to fulfill certain role expectations by executing work that our society requires of us. Every individual wants to live in a better condition; to enjoy life to the fullest with less difficulty. Hence, if we are to realize such wants, it is very important to play our part well in the society. Society is made up of a varied system. If we want development and progress for the betterment of self and welfare of the society, we need to perform our part in a responsible manner.
In life, an individual is required to play different roles. And as members of the society, it is our responsibility to play our parts effectively and efficiently. We are here in this world performing various duties that invariably come along with the role we occupy, such as parents, leaders, followers, students, teachers, politicians, social workers, government servants, etc. In every institution, whether it’s in a family, educational institution, community, government, churches, and so on, there are duties and responsibilities, rules and regulations, norms and conduct that we have to follow and practice as a leader or a member. In any kind of system, there are certain goals, objectives, and missions. Moreover, to achieve the goals, it requires the involvement of every member of the group. Numerous plans are prepared and implemented, and this requires cooperation. Cooperation is an essential ingredient in the functioning of any system. Every one of us is considered as an important part of the group in which we are a member.
Everyone has a duty - to be a responsible member of the society. But unfortunately, not everyone takes their responsibility seriously. There are lots of people in our society who do not know what being a responsible member means and these people are the ones who destroy the system. For in being a responsible individual, society becomes content and harmonious.
I want to share a story which has a very strong moral message about how each member has an important role in the well-being of a society. There once was a traveler who was travelling alone in a car. Suddenly, the car slowed down, sputtered a moment, and with a final gasp, broke down. There he was alone with only a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, miles away from a mechanic. He had no knowledge on how to repair cars. He lifted the hood of the car and looked around, but everything seemed in order. Then a passerby came along. He jiggled the carburetor and said, “Plenty of gas”. He placed the screwdriver across some electrical connections and he said, “Aha- no spark!” Soon he found a loose wire. One little screw had come loose, which caused the motor to stop running. Just as little parts of an engine are vital to keeping it running, every member of the society is essential to the functioning of a system. Failure to do our part may automatically hinder the whole system from performing properly. Our failure to work may result in the disintegration of the whole system. Our little part, if neglected can result in big problems.
Now, I want to request the readers to ponder on the following question: Are we doing our part? Being members of different systems—educational, grassroots organizations, business institutions, government, etc.—are we doing justice in performing our duties and obligation or are we ignoring them? In our Naga society, we have problems and issues that are there and will be there like in any society or country. It is part of life. We know that we cannot create or make a perfect society as we are only humans. Challenges and issues will always be there, whether it’s in the realm of family, society, politics, or culture, education, and economy.
This does not mean we ignore our responsibilities and duties. I believe that if every member of the society does their part well, then at least to some extent there will be a noticeable improvement, as well as concrete changes and development will begin to take place in our society. We talk about corruption and blame each other whenever problems arise in any area. Besides, we need to question ourselves- “Are we the ones responsible for the problems because we are not fulfilling our duties faithfully? Is blaming others going to do any good?”

As individuals, it is crucial to develop a sense of conscience so that we can identify with the society and contribute to its progress. And in order to do our part, it is necessary for one to be disciplined in every aspect of life. Without discipline, we cannot expect the society to grow. In any area of life, refinement and improvement of both the individual and society largely depend on discipline, since it enables us to be sensitive with regard to the welfare of others and correct our behavior, all of which contribute to an exalted sense of responsibility, respect for authority, love for orderliness, eagerness to discharge duties with regularity, efficiency and a desire to be agreeable and helpful to others.

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. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan K Behera, Tatongkala Pongen, Nungchim Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email:

Thursday, 13 April 2017

How Must We Speak? -Daniel M Khan, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

The Right to Freedom of Speech is a basic Human Right. Article 19 of the Indian Constitution provides citizens with the “freedom of speech which is the right to express one’s opinion freely without any fear ...” Accordingly, Clause (2) of Article 19 contains the grounds on which 8 restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression can be imposed, in respect of the sovereignty and integrity of the country. How do you understand what these articles mean? Here is a thought provoking article that contends that while it is necessary to preserve freedom of speech and expression in a democracy, it is also necessary to place some restrictions on this freedom for the maintenance of social order since freedom can neither be absolute nor completely restricted.

How Must We Speak?
“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom- and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.” Benjamin Franklin, USA.
Freedom of speech and expression is the most basic of all freedoms granted to the citizens of India. This provision in our constitution of course was inspired by Western ideology. The founding fathers of the United States of America established their nation by setting forth many Biblical principles in her constitution, like the Bill of Rights. In it, the first amendment essentially gives the freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, etc. However, by declaring these freedoms, the founding fathers never meant to endorse the rights of those who would do ‘wicked’ deeds. The laws of society should impose penalties on evil perversions of true freedom. Thus, true freedom must have boundaries and penalties must be imposed upon those who violate them. Often, however, this freedom is misused.

With recent spates of intolerance to views and ideas expressed both in print and electronic media, the interpretations of ‘Freedom to Speech and Expression’ continue to unravel. Over the past few months in the JNU (Delhi) campus, the Democratic Students Union (DSU) organized a debate to air their concerns and ideas about the issues of Kashmir. However, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members fearing that the debate would be “harmful for campus atmosphere”, wrote to the administration of JNU to withdraw the permission to organize the same. DSU decided to go ahead with the debate, and the rest is history. It resulted in what was termed by the media and later by the political parties as “anti-national slogans” being raised, fuelling an unhealthy discourse which resulted in heavy casualties and sedition charges levelled on many students, making international headlines.
Was it antinational to organize an open debate and have free discussions? Clearly not. What however is troubling is the raising of antinational slogans such as “our fight will continue until India is destroyed”, and the like, by angry students. In a democracy, everyone has the freedom of expression and undoubtedly, freedom of speech and expression entails responsibilities and consequences. While condemning the misuse of freedom of speech, I suggest that neutral platforms are created for constructive debates where all voices could be placed, heard, and responded or condemned.
In Nagaland too, there have been many cries for the voices of the people to be heard. The recent standoff between the Government of Nagaland and the people’s voice spearheaded by the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) and Naga Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) may be a case in point. The issue was nonviolent protest against the 33% reservation for women in the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections, which later took an ugly turn leading to rampant destruction of government property and loss of three precious lives. What could have been achieved with peaceful dialogue, negotiation, and restraint on the blatant exercise of the freedom of speech was wrought with violence. Should every issue that concerns the citizens be then settled with bloodshed and violence? Let us learn from the lives of our great heroes of humanity like Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela who through nonviolent approaches fought for just causes and brought down oppressive governments and ushered in peace to troubled worlds.  
Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest exponent of the doctrine of ahimsa or non-violence. His actions were brilliant examples of the proper usage of the Right to Freedom and Expression. Gandhi, in 1931 said that, “I will not purchase my country’s freedom at the cost of non-violence...”. We must remember that Gandhi applied his method of non-violent resistance not only against foreign rule, but against social evils such as racial discrimination and untouchability as well, thereby winning the respect and support of the entire world. Not so long ago, Anna Hazare, a follower of Gandhi, used his freedom of speech in a nonviolent protest to bring about the passage of Jan Lokpal and the Lokayukta Bill, both of which ensures the citizens of timely and just investigations of corruption cases.
In recent times too, the wise use of freedom of speech and expression bringing about a positive change is that of the Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu. The leaderless mass movement largely conducted in a peaceful manner across Tamil Nadu by over 4 lakhs protestors led the Supreme Court to lift the ban imposed on the traditional bull-taming sport called jallikattu. Let this be an example for us that the voice of the people raised in a non-violent and peaceful manner has the power still to bring about the necessary changes in the society.  

Thus, while it is true that speech is a God given faculty and the constitution also ensures our freedom to practice free speech, we should do so with care. It is my strong belief that what cannot be achieved with bloodshed and violence can be achieved by wise usage of freedom of speech and expression in a peaceful and nonviolent manner. In conclusion, I quote from the Bible: Matthew 12:36 - “I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak”. I therefore encourage everyone to exercise your freedom of speech and expression to build others up; through encouragement and praise, appreciation, love, patience, kind and gentle words, constructive criticism, and to speak the truth with grace.

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. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan K Behera, Tatongkala Pongen, Nungchim Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email:

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

My College Journey - Ilina Shohe, BA 6th Semester (English Honours)

College years are often quoted as the best years of one’s life. From the first day you step into class to the time spent making new friends, connecting with teachers, hanging out at the college canteen and learning new things– the college journey is unforgettable. As Nagaland University examinations begin today, a 6th Semester student takes a walk down memory lane and looks at the lessons she has learnt over the past three years.

My College Journey
Life is like a roller coaster; full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and full of surprises. But when life’s journey is smooth, life is beautiful. Our college life is just as exciting, where we experience ups and downs like being on a roller coaster ride. There were exciting moments along with stressful, anxious, nervous, frightening, and victorious moments. The college years are genuinely surprising and a wonderful point in life where we take mature steps towards our future, meeting many friends, choosing our majors, finalising our careers, and preparing for the challenges of the real world.
So, with few days left to be in college and enjoy student life, I longingly look back at the three years gone by. I have gone through a lot of bumps during the first few semesters, but I’ve also enjoyed the ride in between. This has been an amazing ride, no matter the struggles I have faced. Many a time, I hear people complain about college life, saying that they could have done much more, but in my case, it is the best experience one could have had. I still remember the first day of college, wandering hither and thither, surrounded by strangers. I felt I was Alice in Wonderland; so much to see, so much to explore, full of fears, and unsure of the future.
In these three years of our college life, we have come across lots of struggles; be they our grades, or adjusting with the environment and new friends. There were times when we had faced problems such as learning to submit assignments online, making PowerPoint presentations, presenting seminar papers, and being stressed for semester exams. At times we complained and said we missed our high school life. As the roller coaster went higher, we also had to deal with many challenges, obstacles, and difficulties to get to our destination and goals, much like Ville from Easterine Kire’s When the River Sleeps. With the passage of time however, I learned to find the silver lining. Everyone has problems in their life. I learned from Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway to never give up! And then, everything began to get interesting: spending time with friends, enjoying the canteen food, at times bunking classes and lectures, debating with friends over silly questions, doing assignments, working together with friends as a team and winning it.
Recently, I had an interaction with one of our assistant professors about his college days. He shared his thoughts with me and stated that he thoroughly enjoyed the roller coaster ride of his college life. He had enrolled at Christ University in Bangalore. He said that the first day for him was extremely intimidating. The sheer confidence level of his peers shocked him; especially having come from a state where answering a question to a teacher in class was a phenomenon. Students over there didn’t just answer the questions but actually initiated intellectual discourses with their teaching faculties. It took him a while to cope with them, but he soon realised that he would have to drop his inhibitions and join the bandwagon so as to make the best use of his college days. He also said that friends provided solace and helped him with numerous assignments and presentations. He learnt that asking help at the right time was critical to his success as a student.
He had eventually transformed into an inquisitive person who didn’t shy away from questioning existing norms and critiquing various concepts seen as the absolute truth. By the end of his college, his ride levelled up and he was happy and confident since he had learnt all that he could have and was ready to face the adventures of the real world. He has also faced ups and downs, but he didn’t give up. He enjoyed that journey.
During my third semester, our class planned to stage an adaptation of the Sema folktale Nisapa and NIsala, during our Department’s annual fest Renaissance Clique. At first I was apprehensive. When would we practice? What if we forgot the dialogues? What if people laughed? What if we didn’t get the costumes? As days went on, owing to everyone’s cooperation and hard work, things fell into place, and the performance was appreciated by everyone. There was a lesson there for me, that one can never achieve success by giving up!
What we students need to learn from this is that in this ride, we are going to go through lots of bumps and face many problems and difficulties. However, at the end, we are also going to enjoy being at the top. It is up to us to choose whether we enjoy the ride, or simply waste our time complaining.
College life is not as easy as we think. We need to be fully prepared to accept the challenges and tough situations thrown our way. These experiences have taught us how to lose gracefully, and also enjoying winning. They have taught us how to have faith in our ideas and to believe in oneself. They have taught and prepared us to face the real world, and strive for excellence no matter what happens!
In order to enjoy the ride, one should know how to accept the fears and challenges that come our way. We should always be positive, no matter what the twists and turns. Enjoy the rise, the falls, and everything in between. I have had the time of my life, and I can’t wait to soar into the world of infinite possibilities.

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. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan K Behera, Tatongkala Pongen, Nungchim Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. 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...