For a very long time, Nagaland state has been described as a land with much potential especially in the field of agriculture and tourism. In various text and speech, it is repeated innumerable times that agro-tourism can prove to be a popular concept for a state like Nagaland where over 70% (some report says 60%) of the community is entirely dependent on producing crops and farmland as their main source of revenue. This information, with or without evidence, is claimed in various levels of studies, discussions and description. Over the years, the feature of Nagaland being an agrarian society, or agricultural society, has been translated into schemes and policies for developing and improving the community engaged in agriculture.
Another potential feature which crowns Nagaland in the global map is the tourism sector. The popularisation of tourism has been parallel and narrowed to the state’s annual Hornbill Festival which happens just for ten days - December 1 to 10. Since 2000, the Government of Nagaland has been religiously organising Hornbill Festival, also called the Festival of Festivals ‘to promote cultural heritage of Nagaland.’ The intention is spot on. The Festival has come a long way, nevertheless, a thought to think over here is, is tourism in Nagaland progressing and growing as an industry? The intensity of planning, resources and commitment put into the ten-day festival is visibly not present during the rest of the year.
Recently, the State hosted the G20’s Business Conference in its capital city Kohima and witnessed investment and business propositions for the State worth over Rs 4,510 Crore. The summit itself drew criticisms from all corners, particularly from the general public. They ridiculed the ‘quick-fix’ steps taken by the State government to show a dissimilar (unreal) image beginning from the make-over in the Dimapur airport, constructing the new Nagaland ‘welcome gate’ near Patkai Bridge over Chathe River, Chümoukedima, undertaking beautification works in Kohima and the rest. The acceleration to execute these projects revealed the power the Government holds; reversely, it also exposed how disappointingly the people are deprived of these developments when the Government is not hosting a summit or conference of the national and international status.
The few aspects of agriculture, tourism and international events are not all-encompassing of the many other contributing factors to the circumstances of where the State is at; and neither these are indications of recent times.
Recently, a short video clip (1.47 minutes) was widely circulated in social media platforms. The senior pastor of Kohima-based, Faith Harvest Church can be heard speaking on the wealth of Nagaland. To help frame his perceptive he says, “The greatest wealth of Nagaland is not agriculture or tourism. It is you. It is us…” He puts forward that “until the Naga mind is developed, you will still sing the same song after 20 years, you will be singing the same hymn… come and see how we dance but our mind is still in poverty. The greatest treasure is us. It is your heart and your mind.” To structure his remark, he simultaneously states “the truth” that ‘because the world as it progresses faster and faster, needs the mind and hand, wisdom, understanding, creativity… It is the mind.’
Perhaps, many will agree with this pastor that what Nagaland needs today is investment in human capital and developing the human mind. With any other investment, investments in human capital development would reap the maximum returns. For such a reform to become the reality, it will require for the Government in power to gain the confidence of the community by delivering what it ought to – right education, training up skilled-youths to take on the jobs of the future, raising new leaders who can see prophetic dreams and visions for now and beyond. The State might imprint a name in the global arena but the truth of its people living in corruption, unemployment, prohibitions, taxation and political issue etc calls for redefining the measures of its development, progress and wealth.
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