Fr. Dr. George Keduolhou Dzeyie
Vice Principal, St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama
Every time we look deep and honestly into the eyes of the children in our state, we see new horizons, bright and lustrous future of our state. We see rays of hope and expectation. Their innocent look, intelligent mind, and enthusiasm to venture, take risk and rise up in life give us assurance of growth and progress. Parents are full of optimism and expectations when they think of their growing children. Hope and aspiration run high when teachers see their students before them. Their students are mirrors where they see their future dreams of the society. Public leaders see young men and women as icons of future hope. We know how important children are today and for tomorrow and yet we keep loading perils and threats upon their life. They shed no tears now but silently cry for their tomorrow. They silently cry for their tomorrow because they are facing and living the brunt of the grownups. They cry silently for their tomorrow because they have not learned to stand on their feet and speak for their right, no voice to point out the mistaken deeds and the erroneous and misguided ideas and values of the grownups. The only choice before them is to survive or to succumb to the man made evils. Don’t we perceive their unshed tears and hear their inner voice – their cry for future opportunities and progress? It is true that we never know what the future has for us, but we know very well what we are doing with the present which has its impact in the future.
The children in their innocence may not raise their voice. They may not see and realize their tears of pain and disappointment. They may not realize and see their wounded hands and feet. But they are crying in agony and their state of agony is directly or indirectly the product of (the arrogance and conceit) of grown up people. Whether we agree or not, the effects of the acts and mindset of the grownups today produce constructive results or collateral damages. Patrick O’Donnell in his book, “Into the Rising Sun” wrote, “When you go home tell them of us, and say for your tomorrow, we gave our today.” These good war memorial words are attributed to Korean War veteran Howard William Osterkamp. These same words are imprinted on the war monolith at War Cemetery, Kohima. These words speak volumes of human responsibility and accountability. The first question that confronts us today could be, Can the grown up men and women say to the young men and women, “For your tomorrow, we give our today?” Do we have the moral authority to say to the younger generation, when you go home tell them of us that we have built your future?
One of the causes of their silent cry for tomorrow is the hazardous environment that we make and produce and at the same time remain indifferent to the dangers. For example, Nagaland may be the only state that has innovative preventive method in the form of dust-proof mask. It is so satiric to see people wearing the mask to fight the dust of the cities and roads, but occasionally, the dust-proof mask is lowered down to give way to the mouth to flash out mouthful of spittle anywhere and anyhow (from chewing tobacco related items). It is good that one takes preventive measures so as not to breathe dusty air, but what about polluting everything and anything and spreading bacteria(s), germs, viruses, and diseases through unhygienic and hazardous habits. Can the educated be educated again to avoid this hazardous habit? Travelling in AC Car and wearing dust-proof mask may temporally protect us from the dusty roads and stinking markets but not the future generation. Our unhygienic habit and nature of dirtying every nook and corner of the offices, shopping arcades, streets, markets, and even educational institutions, make the young generations the victims. They cry silently and suffer innocently day after day because the grown up invite and inflict diseases and sicknesses on them. Let us take maximum responsibility to protect our children and stop their silent cry for better tomorrow. They deserve clean environment, homes, streets, markets, schools, and colleges. It was Robert Tew who said, “The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up.” Providing clean streets, markets, schools, and colleges may be the struggle of the grown up men and women today but it is the strength for the young tomorrow. The youth of tomorrow will bear the consequences of the actions of today. We have the moral duty and responsibility to protect the innocent life of tomorrow. Who is going to be the winner in the race to make a better tomorrow? Are you there, comrades to give better future to our children? The tomorrow of the children is bright but we can most certainly assure them that they will never experience real tomorrow unless we start today. We have the opportunity and time to provide the future generation a safe living and a life worth living. Let us work together for a better tomorrow. Let the future generation say, “To those men and women who courageously gave their lives … and to those who bravely fight today … We thank you.”