Post Mortem

Western Sumi Hoho Operation Salvage -2

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/22/2019 12:01:58 PM IST

 The sound of Rousseau’s famous old quote, highly acknowledged round the world thorough out the ages, ‘Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains’ still reverberates freshly as a morning dew in our minds today. His other quote, unknown by many ‘It is difficult to free the fools from the chains they revere’ seems to hold more sway and rational in our present Naga context and more so in my tribesmen’s mentality today.                                                                                                                                       

Of late, we Western Sumis in particular seem to be reveling more in our past glories and bygone triumphs rather than concerned about the present mess we are in or the road where we are heading to. This Western Sumi ‘Operation Salvage’ tour has been undertaken to revisit ourselves and clean up own our kitchens first. While it has been able to attract wide applause and appreciation from many quarters of the community, there are many who doesn’t seems to like the very idea of this tour because it is ruffling their feathers as they are now being shaken from their comfort zones as this mission stands and dare to speak out the truth and clean up our very own hearth and cloister. It is better to rub salt in a wound and let it heal instead of letting it rot. We need a complete overhauling in our villages, churches and our Sumi community at the earliest. If Sumis fail to see the clear writings on the wall, the sweat and blood shed by our fathers for us are all going to be in vain.

Instead of treating only the symptoms as in the past, the time has now come to treat the disease. The new team under the dynamic leadership of our new leader Dr. Kakheto Zhimomi, no-nonsense man and highly intellectual person who’s erudite knowledge in almost all field is serious in his business to bring a change within us first. The answer lies in the Sumi mass on what results it will yield. Either you’re with us or against us is the most apt word here. We need a sound transformation so much that its reverberations will have an impact on ours as well as the coming generations where everybody wins. While we look on without any sensitivity or sanity the ground beneath our feet is shrinking and moving away. Moral integrity inherited from our warrior forefathers considered as priceless and incomparable which surpasses all our other values now seems to be the rarest value amongst us today. Divisions within us, clanism, denominationalism, groupism etc. have reared their ugly heads which is proving to be very harmful only to ourselves. To add salt to the wound the presence of huge number of our Sumi youths in various factions with each contending for one’s superiority over the other and holding one’s own turf has further created more chasms amongst our Sumi tribe.

We, the Western Sumis, have been abundantly blessed by God in multiple ways, the most important and the most valuable amongst many others being the gift of the land. Everything comes with the land be it natural resources, food, wealth, etc. While population increases and nations and communities expand their horizons, land remains the same as it is. Abundance of land, which is of anybody’s envy and the most prized resources for any race or community, has been bestowed by Almighty on us. Sumis at present has 167 villages including the disputed and non- disputed ones in Dimapur district alone ranging from small clusters of dozen huts to almost nearly a thousand situated in adjacent to the urban areas. But we seem to be at crossroads of ideological differences on issues ranging from church, Naga issue etc. The glaring absence of work culture, lure of easy money despite of presence of huge fertile lands for agriculture and other resourceful activities has not yet been understood or utilized by our failure to grasp its importance in the churning of our economy and revenue from this God’s gift to Western Sumis. The craze of luxurious lifestyle without shedding a single sweat from one’s brow is proving to be a huge bane for the young Sumi lot. From growing our own vegetables, fruits or taking up plantations to rearing fish, poultry and livestock have all been left completely dependent on migrant labourers. The blessing of land in plenty to us is been now turning the other way round. We need to go back to the land. It is the only hope to salvage and revive our economy as well as our rebuilding our character in the midst of moral degradation when being tempted by easy money that has crept in mainly because of our absence of work culture. Our Sumi young boys seem to be hogging the limelight and occupying most of the newspaper pages for the wrong reasons such as extortion, car lifting, bike lifting, kidnapping and many other anti-social acts. The community need to enforce some stringent laws to act as deterrent for the countless bringing bad image to the community .Many young females captivated by the charm of the cosmopolitan Dimapur and the big city life outside the state which has plenty to offer with cheap thrills and momentary pleasures are drifting in the morass of moral decay losing their dignity and the pride of what a true ‘Sulimi’ should be and ought to be. Lack of proper ethics and moral values either in their upbringings from homes or the failure of our churches or society as a whole to educate and teach them the right way at present is proving to be very fatal with many ending up in unwanted abortions or brothels in huge numbers. The lack of infrastructural development and good jobs for decent earning cannot be entirely blamed on our political leaders alone because we are failing to utilize what is within us and also our failure to adapt positive changes like clean elections. Despite the gift of enviable land, we are still depending on all minimal supplies from outside for domestic consumption. Most of the youths leaving for greener pasture in the big cities lands up in trouble with the law or their employers. The updates of various incidents on social-medias are fine examples and witness to these quandary we have found ourselves in and put the young lot into. In this land of plenty we don’t find any employment but outsiders come and find any kind of job and earn big money anytime. Government’s tractors allotments in most villages are sold off to migrant labourers and they seem to thrive prosperously because they work. Most of the landlords now don’t even know their land demarcations and depend on their farmworkers. It’s really a sad predicament. The landlords are happy as long as their farmhand gives him his due share of the crop harvested of which is mostly manipulated and diverted by the farm labourers for his own income and thus they can afford and further invest in some more flourishing business. Western Sumi area is said to have the highest rate of school dropouts owing to many factors as revealed by statistics. We cannot blame forever only on the proxy teacher issue but also on utilization of funds with transparency and accountability and the functioning of our Village Education Committees. A thorough cleansing up through holistic approach must be done to restructure the crumbled edifice of our education system in our rural areas. No wonder many of these drop-outs lands up in Dimapur town committing every sort of crimes as they need to survive and fill their belly. In this entire predicament, where do we all, as stakeholder of Western Sumis, stand today? Everyone seems to be reluctant to correct the wayward and delinquent youngsters because of clanism, regionalism or plain indifference or easy going attitudes of many of us. There are many to advise but none to take the responsibility.

Most of the pastors and church workers don’t want to go and serve in far flung remote villages where even the payment of their monthly salaries is a struggle for those impoverished villages. Many God’s servants today wants to shuffle between the big town churches only where boleros, ACs, generous offerings, extra side incomes becomes more important than the lost sheep. Home visitations only to the rich people are not mere hearsays but a reality now. Nepotism, favoritism and materialistic objectives have become the main goal for many servants. Instead of serving others many now wants to be served only in the lap of luxury and lead opulent lifestyles. Class conscious churches have replaced our good old faithful churches where everyone was given equality and importance no matter what their status or social standing was. Building magnificent and splendorous churches has become a vogue and we seem to have many keepers of aquarium but none wants to be the fishers of men in a real sense as Charles Spurgeon rightly pointed out. Inability to accept one’s shortcomings and flaws when being pointed out by others and threatening with a curse is one main weakness of our churches we are seeing today. The mushrooming of many prayer homes with full house on any given holidays and vacations are a clear tell-tale signs and raises questions we should ask ourselves if our churches are able to quench the spiritual thirst of the believers. In our search for materialistic and monetary fulfillments, people with high rank and files and rich people are all inducted in the board of deacons without an iota of question on their moral integrity. Instead of only praying and felicitating the UPSC/NPSC/ Allied Services toppers and competitive exam aspirants, our churches should start praying  for productive farmers, hardworking masons, carpenters, electricians, mechanics, good road makers, barbers, tailors etc. to make our youths industrious and ours a land of truly prosperous and self sufficient. Generous offerings brought on the altar from questionable sources like snatching off from a widow’s share or an orphan’s portion or other developmental funds for the impecunious and poverty liners are something to be concerned about. Is God truly accepting them? Is God pleased with the lofty announcements made from the pulpits with those showers of cash brought to his Holy Sanctuary?  Or are we even trying to bribe God? Let us not only be silent spectators of unfairness or injustice as the grave will provide more time for the silence. The Church’s yeomen service are uncountable and it will consume more precious time and space to write all but it is like the Pharisees and the Sadducees who always act ‘Holier Than Thou’. Social relation with the congregation should not be subdued by economic status or political clout or one’s social standing. No one or nothing is flawless or free from blemishes in this world except God. As earthly beings let us all accept corrections too when required.

(To be concluded)

Jonah Achumi

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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