It is quite difficult to come up with a eulogy for a person who was so respected and loved in his circle as Xavier Rutsa was. Everything that needs to be said has already been said and any more than that would be mere repetition. The tributes by his peers and juniors confirmed the integrity of his person and showed those who did not know him that the community had lost a very fine citizen. There was genuine grief and longing in their tributes.
The rare quality that he possessed was trustworthiness. Even if you did not know him well, Xavier Rutsa as a journalist inspired trust in his readers. He was able to convey the assurance that you could trust the news that came from him. I think that is such an enviable quality that is sadly lacking in today’s media world at the national level and international level. We have become suspicious, sometimes rightly so, of many news agencies and the news they transmit because we have learned that they usually have a hidden agenda behind them. Added to that is the untrustworthiness of many news stories and photographs circulating on social media. In this age of fake news and constructed news, Rutsa made his mark as a reliable source. There have been several co-workers and employers testifying to his dedication and devotion to duty. His premature death is such a loss to the Nagas, and not only to the news community.
I believe that every person comes into this temporal world to leave behind something unique and something valuable. The legacy that Xavier Rutsa left to the world of Naga journalism is a lived sincerity and a deep awareness of the responsibilities of journalism. I hope that an award will be instituted in his name to show the importance of the things he lived for. It is a job for the state government which I hope they will institute soon.
This is a time that makes one reflect on certain things that have been ignored or overlooked. One is the failure to show appreciation of our journalists, both print journalists as well as those working in other media such as radio and television. The care that our veteran state journalists exercise when broadcasting news is evident in the fact that they studiously avoid sensationalizing of any news item in order to avoid inciting ethnic groups against each other. They bring to their work a sensitivity of the responsibility they owe to the community – they do this in the reporting of incidents involving different tribal communities. News dissemination as exercised in Nagaland is tempered by cautious reporting that seeks to prevent communal conflict.
There is a healthy trend in Naga journalism, of bringing to the forefront positive events happening in the community, especially when it is youths initiating constructive actions. This is a trend that builds up, encourages and supports our young and long may it find a prominent space in our newspapers. Our journalists love to report on all kinds of nation-building activities that are taken on by our young. Extensive reports have been done on city beautification projects through wall mural paintings in the urban areas, entrepreneurship efforts, self-help projects and colony clean-up initiatives like the 72-hours project. There was faithful reporting of the anti-corruption bodies and their attempts to bring justice to the people. I find all these uplifting and supportive of what the public has been trying to do to better their lives. It showed that our goals were common; that the desire for cleanliness, for higher standards of living, for meaningful employment that gave job satisfaction, all these were what we were mutually striving for, and our media reflected these common hopes by giving them public space in the media. That is a media that will build up a people and get them to stay motivated when they have gotten where they want to go. This is the fraternity that Xavier Rutsa belonged to. No hysterics, not given to hyperbole. He showed by quiet example. It’s a good, good legacy to leave behind. The baton has been passed on. Carrying on with this lesson is now our responsibility.