A “Naga” of Value

Education, Electricity and Employment – the 3 E’s of progress were stressed upon on Republic Day in Nagaland this year. For this, human skills are key in achieving our targets. And with human skill sets is a very important factor that determines the quality of our targets – our values. As a society, the value system we adhere to goes a long way in shaping our choices and decisions, our workmanship, our dedication or the sacrifices we are willing to make to succeed. Values as basic yet important as keeping our word, being responsible and accountable, being punctual, honest and sincere may be the answer to the problems ofcorruption, extortion, bribery, nepotism, etc. thatwe keep hearing about in our State. Maybe being a “Naga” of Value, as suggested by B.A. 6thSem student, Khathila Y. Sangtam is the answer to a progressive society.   Khathila Y. Sangtam, B.A 6thSem (English Hons)  

I sometimes wonder – do Nagas have a strong value system? Values are usually norms of behavior set by our society for us to follow. They are formed according to the needs and demands of the society. Values revolve around human beings; it is one of the deciding factors of what type of person we are and is a reflection of one’s society. Values are socially approved desires, goals and objectives which internalize in the learning, conditioning as well as socializing of one’s personality. A socially valuable person always does his work and lives according to the desires and needs of the society. The society requires the presence of socially valuable people for they are considered as an agent of change and development.  

As man is a social being, we cannot live in an isolated place by ourselves. Thereby, we live in a society with societal norms and principles. Social characteristics such as love for humanity, universal brotherhood, sincerity, honesty, integrity are the duties and responsibilities assigned for us to fulfill. To live a socially valuable life, our practices must uphold the difference between rightand wrong, undesirable and worthwhile.  

In my opinion, outsiders usually characterize our Naga society in two different ways. For some they still see Nagas as headhunters. They consider our present society to be brute, uncivilized and least desirable. On the other hand,some others depict our society as well cultured and developed when they see some dignified Nagas doing really good and being responsible.  

Which of these observations do you think is more applicable to the Nagas? If you feel strongly about the latterthen what would you suggest to prove them wrong? Or if you agree withthe former, thenhow would you rate our value system.Looking at the current state of affairs, I would sadly say that the value system of the Nagas is not at all desirable or noteworthy. If we objectively look at our Naga society today, we will see that it does not provide an atmosphere for nurturing the right kind of values which is needed for creating a healthy and prosperous society. Corruption is like our cup of tea, and bribery and extortion are like our bread and butter. This has a very negative effect on the younger generations, as it discourages them from working hard and having positive goals. They feel that no matter how much they work and try to do better, there will always be someone at the end who will beat them to the top because of their so called ‘connections with higher ups’. This is also probably one of the many reasons why there is an alarming increase in the number of drop outs among our people.  

It must be noted that, if we want to see any positive growth in our society we should do away with all the blame game and start within our own homes. Parents and elders should realize that only when their children achieve their goals through proper means, through their own sweat and hard work will they become socially valuable citizens in our society. There is no shortcut to success, and only when this kind of positive mentality is enshrined in the minds of the people; our people will truly become socially valuable and give way for a productive society. The trick is to ensure that the right and deserving candidates are given their place in office. Promotions and employments must be made according to ones achievements and capabilities. And for this to happen, the people as a whole must be wise to voice out their concerns and ideas.  

Lastly but not the least, the saying goes “man of value rather than man of success”; this means  that we should not be a mere successor for you have money to pay off, but rather, be a man of integrity and selflessness which are the general acclamation for societal value system. As an educated social being we should inculcate value education and its importance to our fellow Nagas who are less fortunate in understanding the importance of social values. We should realize that being a leader or even a member of a society does not amount to much if one does not possess good social values. I conclude with a quote from the book of 1 Timothy, “But you man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant now to put their hope in wealth, which is uncertain, but put their hope in God, who will richly provide us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to give/share”.  

“Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email: [email protected]”.