Viva La Nagaland—Don’t mess with us

 Atsei Neikha

It is a universal truth that “light travels faster than sound” but you convert it to the Naga version and bingo! You have “The hand shoots up faster than sound”.

Just this morning I gaped in horror as one young boy was trounced by a much older sturdy local man. The motive behind the fracas- apparently the older man had asked for a newspaper from the young duty bound boy whose job was to distribute newspapers to the residents of that colony. When the young boy said that he didn’t have a spare paper, the older man went into a wild frenzy and started to verbally abuse and smacked him repetitively. This is just the tip of the iceberg because there are many such occurrences which have become a banality in Nagaland.

Non –locals have to cower in fear and be submissive because they want to be on the safer side. We literally treat them as outcasts with aliases like ‘Mia’, Bihari etc. We walk around with an air of pomposity like there is a sash on us that reads “Don’t mess with me, I’m a Naga”.

I have observed especially in market places how intractably someone would stand to her grounds to get a product at the price that he/she has bargained for even if it meant threatening the vendor and getting into a scuffle.

We profess that Nagaland is a Christian State and that Nagas are for Christ but if our conduct is anything to go by then sorry fellas we are on the wrong track.

With extensive extortions and killings prominent in the state we are definitely heading for a bleak kismet.Take the case of auto drivers in Nagaland; I avoid hiring autos driven by locals because charging money far above the normal fare has become their dictum. They are always on the lookout to make easy money which riles me.

While on the road they drive like maniacs on a grand prix race trying to outdo the other drivers and defiantly breaking traffic rules while the passengers sit frozen chanting prayers under their breath.

The auto drivers would holler at richshaw-wallas for being a nuisance and standing in their way while the poor fellows had to retrace their steps in a haste so as to steer clear from a volley of blows. 

A noted journalist working with “The Hindu” remarked in a seminar I attended some months back that “We Indians should stop treating people from the North-East as outsiders because they are also very much  Indians as you and I are”. We need to stop jeering at them with names like ‘Chinese’ or ‘Chinkies’. 

Of course I agree full on that we aren’t treated any better outside but if we want to redeem ourselves as Christians and Nagaland a Christian State then maybe we can make a difference right here, right now in our own soil.
Viva La Nagaland.