• Reflection

    The elite club of Nagaland

    ‘When you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression’ Nagaland today has undeniably a class divide. If someone thinks that Naga society is egalitarian, he is living in a fool’s paradise. But to my amazement, I have come across such claim in the not so distant past, unsurprisingly by someone who I will say belongs to the elite club of Nagaland. He claimed that everyone in Nagaland, whether an officer or a chowkidar now drive similar cars to prove his point that we Nagas enjoy social equality, unlike casteist Indian societies. Not many people will think or make such a brazen statement on a public platform. However, he reflects…

  • Reflection

    The need for peaceful protests

    There is power in peaceful protest and there is power in numbers in a democratic society. Protest can be constructive and it gives hope for positive change. The following article was published as Editorial for Morung Express on June 11 2015. It seems like Nagaland has come of age. We have more than a month to go in 2017 but the verdict is out. This year is going down in history as ‘THE YEAR OF PROTESTS‘. Icing on the cake is that there is an order that protests are banned. A friend lamented that in spite of all the things which are so visibly going wrong in our society, we…

  • Reflection

    Focus is the key

    Focus is extremely important for the success of one’s endeavor. Why do semi-literate migrants excel in business while locals struggle? We have seen non-locals thriving in business from small corner shops to big enterprises while the local people open shop only to close down after a few years. This is an observation in the context of Nagaland State. Local people had all the advantage to start with, although that can’t be applied as the norm anymore, as the migrants take a hold on the business establishment. The primary advantage of capital, connection, and location determine the success of a business to a great extent. But that does not always explain…

  • Reflection

    Hornbill Festival: The need to get it right

    The severest criticism of Hornbill Festival is perhaps not in the things which happen during the 10 days festival period but in what ‘does not happen’ during the remaining 355 days of the year. Nagas celebrate several festivals and most of them are related to work. For example, there are sowing and harvest festivals. Sowing festival is celebrated because there is sowing, and harvest festival is celebrated for harvest. But if sowing or harvest festival is celebrated without sowing or harvesting, something is wrong. If the State government carries out cosmetic works on the eve of Hornbill Festival, it is unlikely that people who suffer throughout the year for its…

  • Reflection

    A frustrated generation

    There is a generation of half-educated, middle-middle class, unemployed and angry young men and women who are turning into cynics, nihilists, and anarchists. What I am about to describe here may be offensive to some, simply common knowledge not worth writing about to some, or disagreeable to some who may argue that it is only my private individual perception. How do we describe the generation of today? It is not easy because no two people are the same and we all have our own experiences which inform how we would generalize a generation. But as I look at the people around me and assess how people speak, behave, or think,…

  • Reflection

    Why Work?

    The worth of a work is not measured by how much money the person made but how worthy is the thing that is made. Dorothy Sayers wrote an article ‘Why Work?’ during World War II. The piece is still relevant for our day and society. It is interesting that such a wonderful piece of writing should be available for about 70 years which could have revolutionized the way we work and yet we continue to have such poor attitude to work. She explained work as ‘a creative activity undertaken for the love of the work itself…for the sake of doing well a thing that is well worth doing’. The reason…

  • Reflection

    Is there gender inequality in Nagaland?

    Naga society is in transition where an age-old understanding of male dominance and superiority coexists with an increasing understanding of gender equality The title seems like a no-brainer that the existence of gender inequality in Nagaland should be put into question. But surprisingly many males including educated people in leadership positions hold the view that there is no gender discrimination in Nagaland. Therefore, before going into enumerating or highlighting the degree of gender discrimination, it may be worth looking at the debate on the existence of gender inequality itself. We hear it from the pulpit or elsewhere which goes something like this: Once upon a time, there was gender inequality…

  • Reflection

    The sweetness of faith

    I’m so grateful that I have found and have been experiencing faith. It is not just a head belief but it also tastes sweet. ..An inner peace in times of war. A feeling of hope in times of grief. Selfless surrender in times of greed. Love in return of hatred. What other force or source in the world can provide that? Today is World Health Day (April 7) and as I was coming home from work (early to attend a wedding), I began to think of this year’s theme: Depression. My mind went to those who suffer depression and I thought of my own life. A powerful phrase came to…

  • Reflection

    Who to blame? Let us be specific

    When we say that the public is also to be blamed for the messy situation we are in, does that mean that the baby girl who was born last night in a remote village in Myanmar border is also to be blamed? Let’s be specific. ‘Public’ is a heterogeneous group with angels and demons and every type in between. Generalizing the blame is not just for those who are not corrupt yet suffer for someone else’s faults. Blaming the public is a favorite prop politicians use to legitimize their actions. But let’s face this truth: Politicians are homogeneous in so far as corruption is concerned. By virtue of their power…

  • Reflection

    ‘Your underwear is our underwear’

    ‘Your underwear is our underwear’. This is the most creative slogan that Nagas have come up with in a public protest (in Zunheboto some years back) against extortion and molestation of women by a UG group. In a magazine article called ‘Wages of war‘, the detailed rates and means of extortion by various Naga underground groups were documented. It was estimated that the collective revenue of all UG groups is about Rs. 1300 crores annually. Not a rupee of this goes back to, say, maintenance of even 1 inch of road in the State. Where does this money go? Surely it doesn’t need that much amount to negotiate peace with…