Even as hundreds or maybe thousands of our people went online and expressed dismay over the landslides in Kohima and the Kohima-Dimapur highway and took the opportunity to curse our leaders and wash their linen in the very public eye of the internet, there was a little ray of light in the gloom shining in the shape of Newmarket FC, Kohima.
The team are a lively bunch of youngsters who are devoted to the beautiful game and attend morning practice as religiously as some others attend dawn prayers, not implying there is anything wrong with the latter. The members are aged between 18-27. They have been winning two consecutive matches in the week. Many are still students and come from the New Market area which has been one of the areas greatly vulnerable to landslide damage for many years. New Market FC is an example of good sportsmanship on the pitch. Every generation has produced disciplined teams that strive to keep up the name of their team.
Recently, the beautiful example they have set for this generation is the help they rendered to the victims of landslides in the hospital area. After their morning practice, these caring young men made time to visit and physically help the affected people, leaving behind smiling faces upon their departure.
New Market area may not necessarily be the trendiest of places to live in. Age-old landslides have changed the topography of the place and the motor road dips in at places where it has been dragged down by a fickle undercurrent of soil movement. The lower section was used as the butchers’ market for many years as the uninhabited territory next to the market made it ideal for animal slaughter and quartering. Below the market were forested areas where houses have now sprouted up as they have everywhere else in Kohima. This depletion of tree cover appears to be quite detrimental for our land surface. Naga geologist Dr VizovolMekro writes that “the entire Himalayan region including our hills are still tectonically alive. Our rocks are folded, twisted and shattered due to severe tectonic forces till about 2 million years ago. The abundance of rock types that dissolve in the rain such as mudstone and marine shale, which becomes slippery like soap when wet, makes our lands very landslide-prone and overlying rocks tend to slide over it.”
And man has contributed to it by not allowing for a good all over drainage system. Many are the changes that will be needed to prevent further damage. But in the meantime, we can reflect on the beautiful ways of caring for our fellow men as has been shown by the New Market FC.
Popularly known as the New Market XI, the team was founded in 1977 and it developed without any financial support from government or semi-corporate houses. Surviving against all odds, the New Market XI went on to participate in various tournaments in the capital city. The team draws its biggest support from the colony of New Market and its citizens proudly render whatever help they can when required. The team has been around for forty years and is one of Kohima’s oldest surviving football teams. They have played in prominent tournaments at the district and state level, bringing many laurels to the state. Some players have even represented and joined top Indian football clubs.
Members of this football team come from an area that has seen a lot of devastation in the recent past. Many have been raised by single parents with no regular income. The boys understand much better than others, the pain of losing homes and one’s portion of earth. They didn’t need to be persuaded to help. They did it without using a lot of money and we too can do the same. Landslide victims have needs: water, food, blankets, housing materials, clothes, all are things we can each donate. Most of all they need our love, not our pity. They need us to give a helping hand as the New Market FC have done in their own quietly charitable way.