Post Mortem

Western Sumi Hoho’s ‘Operation Salvage’

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/27/2019 11:35:02 AM IST

 The Western Sumi Hoho (WSH) is of the firm opinion that civil society plays the most important role in a democracy and more so in the Naga society which from the ancestral age has been practicing the purest form of democracy. For the Nagas in today’s time with a clean cut history but confused with the present, it is the civil society which has to be the bridge by playing that definite role to not only pressure the government of the day but to the society itself which it represents. It is only in doing so that civil society can redeem itself and bring about any semblance of the desired change that is much needed in the Naga society today. 

Yes, it is the duty of the civil society to highlight the plight of the people in order to compel the government to take remedial measures. However, the kernel of truth remains in the fact that it is only when the people are receptive to change, and by having changed, can any remedial measures that the government undertake show any result. It is here where the real work of civil society begins – to educate and re-educate the people to become receptive to change and thereby truly change, and not just by championing the cause of the people for change which is infinite. The Western Sumi Hoho is committed to this change and therefore is touring all the areas under its jurisdiction for this very purpose, and also, at the same time, get to know the pulse of the people, first hand.  
The Western Sumi Hoho have no illusions other than the truth that change in our western Sumi society can come about only if we rivet back to our roots and rebuilt our work culture in order to redeem ourselves from the culture of dependency and striving for avenues of easy earning and living. It is all so evident today that the root cause of all the evils in our society is the trend of striving for easy earning and living. And this trend has not even spared the church. The fall back option of our students after everything fails (and that includes the option of joining the underground) seems to be theology as it offers the next best means of easy earning. 
The Western Sumi Hoho maintains that the main reason for unemployment is the wrong education and thinking in the society that there are no job avenues while others, non-Nagas, think there are so much job opportunities in Nagaland. It is so very true that government jobs are the most stable and the easiest source of income, but the stark reality is that all government departments in the state are oversaturated with employees. It definitely is time for western Sumis, young and old, to change the mindset. It definitely is time for we, the western Sumis, to seriously dedicate more time and resources towards work options available in the private sector. For far too long we have undermined the importance and significance of work in sectors such as farming, teaching, journalism, entrepreneurship and other non-archetypical private jobs. The Western Sumi Hoho today takes it as its bounden duty to foray and sincerely attempt to inculcate within the people the work culture and the dignity of labor which is so very missing in our society today.
Nagas in general today have to understand that Article 371(A) is proving to be a double edged sword. Our pioneering fathers fought and sacrificed for it and it was meant for the good of the future generations. It was meant to be a single edged sword to preserve our culture – the culture of work. But today, having confined acquiring of knowledge only into classrooms and deviating from the informal Naga traditional education which automatically prepared every Naga individual to attain full humanity, what was meant to be our advantage is turning out to be our disadvantage. It is because the education which was oral and oriented towards the practical is no more there. The lessons then taught were according to the needs and expectations of the community and hence every individual was accountable. Each family and village was solely responsible for the education of its young men and women. It was the way of life which encompassed every aspect of the socio, cultural, economic and political life of the Nagas. The learnings were not theoretical or academic but vocational and practical oriented covering every dimensions of life. Everything about our culture revolved around work and moral character, and therefore thrived. It is the primary objective of the western sumi hoho to bring about an awareness, and thereby change, in all its area of jurisdiction as to this anomaly in the present lifestyle of today and therefore the need to preserve and start practicing our real culture to meet the challenges of today’s time.
The erosion of Naga work culture can best be exemplified by our total failure to maintain and sustain even the one and only big industry that we have – or rather had. The Tuli paper mill. We failed simply because we forsaked work culture and opted for easy money. The greater good was at stake but it did not prick our conscience. Our pioneering fathers never expected this of us. They had the vision that the work culture of the Nagas would be channeled into modern industry, and therefore, demanded and established the Tuli paper mill as a peace package after the signing of the ceasefire on September 6, 1964. We could not sustain even what we had and yet talk about lack of avenues. Rajiv Gandhi, during his prime ministership, gave Tuli mill a second chance through the setting up of BIFR (Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction) in Jan. 1987 which kept alive the paper mill but was dissolved by the Narendra Modi government in Dec of 2016 as per provision of Insolvency and Bankruptcy code. Since then the only industry of Nagaland has been reduced to cutting bamboo chips for paper mills in Assam. We were never satisfied with an egg a day and therefore killed and ate the mother hen.
There is much talk these days about the ILP, RIIN and the IBI issue. The Western Sumi Hoho has made it sufficiently clear that it supports the government in all of these issues. Naga tribes are indigenous and Sumis – be it Northern, Southern, Eastern, or Western – are all one of the 16 tribes and will always remain indigenous.  As for the IBI issue, it is very important and more so for Dimapur and the Western Sumis. The Western Sumi Hoho is of the opinion that civil societies in Nagaland cannot afford to hunt with the hound and run with the hare. Evicting non-locals or the IBIs from Nagaland is not a problem because they can be evicted anytime if the Naga people want them evicted. The only problem lies within ourselves. How prepared are we? 
Let us be pragmatic.  Are Nagas prepared to shovel stone chips or even the easier gravel sand in the sun? Do we have the expertise or the spine to respond to every plumbing, electrical, mechanical, or technical need that is just a call away for a nominal fee, and which we take for granted? Are we prepared to take the plough and work the field in our Dimapur sun? Do we know the where withals of conducting business and offering services at the best price and convenience of the consumers? Do we know how to bake or lay bricks or the difference between an external and an internal combustion engine? Are the IBIs taking away our jobs in road construction or sanitation even though we are prepared to work the same? Forget about digging, do we even know how deep is our well and when and how to clean it? The list goes on. We simply do not have answers. And it is the answers which the Western Sumi Hoho is concerned about, and not about raising questions.
Nagas today do not have answers as much as the people of Uganda had in the 1970s. In 1972, against the backdrop of Indophobia where the local Ugandans thought that the Indians were taking over jobs and business, the Government of Uganda ordered the expulsion of all the South Asian people accusing them of commercial malpractice. President Idi Amin ordered and defended the expulsion by arguing that he was giving Uganda back to the ethnic Ugandans. 
However, after the expulsion, Ugandans were so ill prepared that normal life literally came to a standstill in Uganda and Uganda suffered the poorest growth rate in the whole of improvised Africa. It is altogether another story that Ugandans had to welcome South East Asians, chiefly the Indians, back to Uganda in order to revive their economy.  
Nagas today boast of a literacy rate which is nearly at 80% and the western sumi people too have contributed to the high literacy rate in the state. However, instead of being a blessing it has turned out to be a bane, if not a curse. It should have humbled us to value the virtue of our culture, but instead, it has stiffened our neck and spine. It has made us modern but certainly not civilized. 
We have miserably failed to understand that literacy does not necessarily mean ‘educated’. Ordinary lay Naga youths today are being swayed by the easy living culture of the pompous in the name of Naga sovereignty. Educated Nagas have laid waste their education by opting to forget that being educated means never forgetting our roots which is to eat by the sweat of our brow. This is the basic fundamental which our Christian faith demand of us – from the old testament to the new. We completely contradict it by our acceptance of the easy and yet claim to be better Christians. Is not the Church silent on this issue? 
Where does that leave the people when faith itself is questioned? Where then is the saving grace? The saving grace for the people can come only from civil society. And this is where civil society leaders come into direct focus because it is in the interest of the people to have a leader who had to be there and not because he wanted to be there. 
Kohima may be the capital of Nagaland but Dimapur is its soul. It is the soul which has to be kept well for the development of the body. The WSH is not shying away from the fact that it more of the Sumi people who are in the news for all the wrong reasons in Dimapur. Be it in crimes such as extortions, intimidations, kidnapping, vehicle thefts, counterfeit, peddling drugs or the liquor business, Sumis are at the front and never behind. And it is because of this section of criminals that the whole community is literally being tainted, categorized and labeled. The main worry is that criminalization of our society is increasing with each passing day as more and more are being lured into this criminal web. The interest of the whole community and of the future generation is being compromised simply because of the unchecked rise of criminalization in the society. 
The WSH understands that it is the socio-economic problems that have created the environment under which all these illegal activities thrive. The Hoho therefore intends to focus its attention on the social environment and play a pro-active role in order to check this anomaly in our society.
It is a tragedy that the valued custom of our ancestral tradition of according status and freedom to our women folk is being so abused today. Nothing can go more pervert than our Naga women becoming prostitutes. 
We are people with a history of the tradition where much premium is particularly placed on the chastity of women. The premium that Sumi people accords to our women have been totally negated by our women themselves, and this cannot be tolerated and remain unchecked anymore. Our boys with their empty pockets no more gets the attention of our girls who all have become materialistic, and to maintain the lifestyle, sleeps with any Tom, Dick, or Harry. Our boys need to start working and earn by the sweat of the brow, and our girls need to stop working their flesh to earn.
Addressing this moral degradation is one of the main issue that the WSH has on its agenda. This is a fundamental issue which is a grave concern for all the Nagas and can only be checked with the cooperation of all.
What is the use of a body makeover if the soul is lost. We have to first salvage the moral depravity into which Nagas have fallen deep. This is Western Sumi Hoho’s “Operation Salvage”, and in this operation, the WSH seeks the co-operation of all civil society organizations, the civil administration, the police, and all individual citizens of Dimapur.
Dr. Kakheto Zhimomi               Chekiye Village. 
Dimapur.

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