Wednesday, 28 February 2018

What Life’s Like for a Student in Nagaland - Nentile Kath Rengma, BA 6th semester, History Honours









A young student from Nagaland hits a raw nerve with these questions posed to the leaders of Nagaland: “Do the leaders of our land think of students’ welfare when they make decisions? Do they know that there are many students who have the desire to acquire knowledge and have immense potential and talent but are unable to meet the expenses or get due opportunities? Do they care for their dreams and aspirations, or do they even know that these students are the leaders of tomorrow? I can only wonder.”



What Life’s Like for a Student in Nagaland



While other people wore cloaks of silk, I wore a sheet of dust as I started my morning as an auto passenger on my way to College. But, I was not fully clothed until I put on my daily hijab-like-headscarf, an item I cannot do without for nothing else but to protect my head from the dust filled roads of Dimapur, after which I felt ready to jump into the bustle of everyday life.


The journey to any destination is never easy when you are a daily commuter in Dimapur. In winter, I get driven through carpets of gold dust, which decorate my shiny shoes; and in summer, the roads turn into rivers. Changing multiple autos, I haggled over the exorbitant fares, while some classmates zoomed ahead with government registered cars, which made me wonder when had the government became so rich as to start distributing cars to students, while here I am still waiting in vain for my scholarship!  


I reached my college in one piece; but I’m already late, thanks to the traffic and snarling roads, and just my luck to be greeted that day by the disciplinary committee who wait patiently and dedicatedly for late arrivals. They gesture to me to pick up wrappers strewn by individuals lacking civic sense. I learnt the “Dignity of Labor”, and thus my classes started on a humble note.


Everything seemed to be going well otherwise, until the teacher walked in solemnly and declared war with our empty heads announcing that there would be a surprise test. I thought I fell in love because my brain became mush, my hands turned into jelly and my speech incoherent. I realised this was the life of an eleventh hour preparer. The whole class united against this surprise announcement chiming in that no “notes” were given for it, and then it struck me, that we students are too dependent on our teachers and our parents. It takes us further away from testing our capability.


During the much awaited break, we hurried to the College Hotspot café and as we chomped down on chowmein and sinju, my friend suddenly began venting out that she had to discontinue her studies after graduating, because her parents expected her to appear the “NPSC” examination, abandoning her talent and dreams of becoming a fashion designer. It made me sad because I was in a similar dilemma for my future, wondering if Government jobs are the only way of survival in Nagaland or whether there are any other platforms where we can have a secure future.


After the break, classes resumed and the lecturer asked questions as she explained about a topic. This made the once noisy classroom become as quiet as politicians after elections. By the end of our classes, I was already exhausted and ready to call it a day but Nagaland roads gave me no luxury of going home in any other way than to follow the morning routine of cursing and complaining of rollercoaster-ride-roads and dust.


The long ride in the auto gave me an opportunity to think about my future. As much as I wish to go out to seek higher education, I can’t help but wonder why it is the only way of securing a good university degree. Why aren’t there many such colleges or central universities in our own land where the quality is at par with national or international standards? I believe everyone has the right to acquire quality education!


We have limited institutions for acquiring quality education in Nagaland; it results in depriving many students who are not able to acquire education outside the State due to their limitations. At this juncture how are we supposed to compete with others?


Many are not able to pay fees for even the basic level of education. Our parents are compelled to borrow to send us to any reputed institution. This makes me question. Do the leaders of our land think of students’ welfare when they make decisions? Do they know that there are many students who have the desire to acquire knowledge and have immense potential and talent but are unable to meet the expenses or get due opportunities? Do they care for their dreams and aspirations, or do they even know that these students are the leaders of tomorrow? I can only wonder.


Why does our government not sponsor any bright students? Are they too poor?  Many nations like Ireland, Finland, Belgium etc give free or very low cost of education to students right from their primary to the universities. Is giving opportunities to a few students a sin?


The indifferent attitude shown to students by our leaders makes me conclude two things about them: they don’t know the value of education and they are selfish people who care only about themselves. I end up praying for a change to come, that I’ll wake up to a new Nagaland. At the same time, I am reminded that I’m also a part of this drama, equally responsible and with a role to play. I realize that I am still amongst the fortunate few who are able to pursue an education in a college, and it is my responsibility to contribute in uplifting my society in my own little way, no matter how insignificant it may seem.



 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, Tatongkala Pongen, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email:dot@tetsocollege.org.

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