Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC) conducted Common Educational Service Examination 2019 (CESE) recently for recruitment to Asst. Professor(s), Lecturer(s) and Post-Graduate Teacher(s) under the Department of Higher Education, Technical Education, SCERT and School Education in the State. The examination was conducted at three centres in Kohima. It is learnt from a reliable source that a total of 1038 candidates had appeared the exam. Also, it was found that the candidates who appeared the exam comprised of 90% females and 10% males. If we are to compare the present status of education among educated Naga men and women, we can see that there is a wide gap existing between them. Educated Naga women are working harder and consistently performing much better in academics and competitive exams when compared to the educated Naga men. No doubt, our men have undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and are pursuing higher studies, but they are still lacking in some areas- one area is their participation in competitive exams.
The UGC NET and CSIR NET exams for lectureship and junior research fellowship are conducted every year, but we see a similar level of participation of our educated men here as well. To reiterate that educated men and their participation in competitive exams are decreasing, it is not to undermine their calibre or doubt their knowledge. It may be because of their diminishing interest or even lack of self-confidence that is holding them from actively participating in such exams.
Each one of us is born with unique talents and endowed with different abilities, but our educated youths today are unable to fully realised their potential and build their careers. We can see a change of attitude towards higher education and career prospects among educated men and women in our society presently. What could be the possible reason for this trend among our youths today? If we draw closer and delve deeper into our own homes, we find our sons and brothers struggling with confused sense of values – lack of discipline, lack of respect for parents and elders, addiction to mobile games and most important of all is addiction to liquor. If these habits persist then a time will come when there will be wide disparity between the standard of living and our moral ethos.
The Government of Nagaland, under the immense pressure from Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) enacted the Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act 1989(NLTP). The aim was “to totally prohibit possession, sale, consumption and manufacture of liquor in and of import and export thereof in the State of Nagaland.” Today, even after 30 years of enforcement of the Act, it still stands ineffective. Hence, the Act needs to be re-examined. There is an urgent need for the State Government along with the District Administration, Department of Police and Department of Excise to enforce the law stringently and authoritatively. In this regard, the Director, General of Police (DGP) can issue directives to the Superintendent of Police in all district headquarters to regulate, monitor an act stiffly against those who violate the Act.
In our fight against total prohibition of liquor, the Government alone cannot do it. It will be of great benefit to the State if all the tribes of Nagaland and civil societies spread across in all the districts mutually co-operate and stand with the Government in enforcing this Act in letter and in true spirit. Unless we ban the sale of liquor completely, we cannot stop consumption of liquor.
The people of Nagaland consider sale and consumption of liquor to be an evil thing. Over the years, consumption and addiction to liquor has killed many precious lives, wealth destroyed, families torn and drift apart and has escalated the burden of many parents. Yet, the Naga Mother’s Association (NMA) and Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) have maintained silence in this matter. If these two bodies collaborate and opposed against violation of NLTP Act, other organisations and associations will follow up.
The Government enacted this Act for the welfare of its citizens at the cost of losing revenue of huge crores of rupees annually, yet till date the Government stands resolute to implement this Act. No wonder there were some loopholes in upholding the Act and partial failure in enforcing the Act has negatively impacted many households, specially the younger generations. One reason why educated young men are struggling to cope with the pressures of life both in academics and career is because they are enslaved to liquor.
Who should be held accountable and responsible for illegal transportation, sale and consumption of liquor regardless of NLTP Act? We are all aware of how such illegal practice continues to flourish unchecked and yet our degree of tolerance against the intolerable is too complacent as bootleggers continue to thrive in their business unabated. If we take a closer look at our roads that lead us to our offices, schools, colleges, churches, homes, from the heart of Kohima Town down to Assembly Secretariat and beyond, we see shops run by locals and non-locals alike selling liquors of all kinds even in broad day light.
While liquors are smuggled in total secrecy; sellers continue to sell adulterated products briskly despite the ban. We see all this illegal activity thriving amidst us. Often we see empty liquor bottles disposed in the drains left abandoned and unattended by the roadside.
As citizens of the State, do we care to inform the concerned authority about all these illegal activities happening right under our nose? Meanwhile, even the church leaders realising the need to sensitise those who are addicted to liquor organise camps and seminars once in a while to give counselling to such members and others alike, but measures on how to curb the distribution and sale of liquor in our State are rarely discussed and deliberated upon. Paradoxically, our churches are surrounded by swarms of liquor shops.
Nagaland is a Christian State and as demanded by NBCC, the Government enacted NLTP Act for the welfare of all its citizens. It is the solemn duty of the Government, stakeholders and humble citizens to respect the law and shoulder the responsibility together by ensuring that an effective mechanism is put in place to combat this evil menace. The Department of Police has its own Intelligence Branch and with all due respect to the police personnel’s, we are aware that they are also consumers of liquor.
It will be good if they can come forward as guardians of the people, assist the government in identifying the source of origin of liquor and persons’ involved and punished the defaulters as per the law. Various organisations’, associations’, unions’ and civil societies have opposed the policies and Acts of both the State and Central Government, fought against rampant corruption and backdoor appointments persistently, but till date no such bodies has come to the forefront together to opposed violation of NLTP Act. The failure to voice against the violation of the Act will only encourage the bootleggers to rise and prosper. It is therefore, a matter of grave concern which threatens our today and our tomorrow.
The Government needs the support and solidarity of the public in this fight and therefore all sound thinking minds who envision a better Nagaland for themselves, for the younger generations, and for Naga future must condemned this evil practice tooth and nail. If all the various Civil Societies, Tribal Hohos, Mothers’ Association, Youth Organisations’, Student Bodies, Village Councils, Colony Panchayats, Church bodies and ministries in all districts, towns and villages in Nagaland stand in unity with the Government and fight relentlessly, NLTP Act can become a practical reality.