Friday, December 23, 2011

Don’t ask me to take bath at Pfutsero this winter

I will climb Glory Peak for you

I will walk from Rukizu to Seed Farm just to meet you

I will carry a basketful of cabbages from Mali Farm to Bazaar just to feed you

From the top of Porba Hotel building I will proclaim my love for you

But please, please don’t ask me to take bath at Pfutsero this winter       

Merry Christmas everyone

Bible Reading for Christmas (Isaiah 11:1-9)

If you want to get a book to read on Christmas and you have been all too familiar with the gospel narratives in the New Testament, you need not go Christmas shopping again (although it is a curiosity how many people visit the book store during Christmas). All you have to do is turn back the pages of your Bible to the book of Isaiah. The book is full of Jesus Christ although it was written 6-8 centuries before the birth of Christ. I have a number of passages that I really, really love but here's the passage from chapter 11 which  is my Bible Reading for this Christmas.

Isaiah 11: 1-9 

The Branch From Jesse

 1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
   from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
   the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
   the Spirit of counsel and of might,
   the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
   He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
   or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
   with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
   with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
   and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
This is what Heaven will look like
 6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
   the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
   and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
   their young will lie down together,
   and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
   and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
   on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD
   as the waters cover the sea. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is too much Music and Dance making us stupid?

I have been working on an article for local newspapers which I have tentatively titled as ‘Is too much Music and Dance making us stupid?’ It is a difficult piece to write. There are pieces of thoughts scattered all around and I haven’t been able to put them down coherently just yet. The State Hornbill Festival had just finished and Christmas is round the corner. So, it is a good time to get it out soon.

In this article, I’d like to give a critique of how the present generation is fixated to music and other forms of entertainments which I believe is distracting us from being aware of the more pressing issues in the society. In this information age when what’s happening in a distant land can be known here and now as it unfolds, second by second, and there is a flood of information in the net which is just clicks away; there is also a form of ignorance which is pandemic: We have missed out on the basics of education. So many of our students can’t write or speak basic sentences. They use SMS text formats to cover up. So many students do not have basic grammar knowledge and they commit silly spelling mistakes. While they are aware of the latest twists and turns in the private lives of Hollywood celebrities, they are ignorant of their neighbors living next door. In a recently conducted entrance exam where students from Class 10+2 and above appeared, many of them do not know how to construct sentences with words like Envelop, Principal, Deed, and so on. Only 9 out of 46 students in one room got it right that there are 66 books in the Bible. Some even don’t know how many districts are there in Nagaland, or which town the District Headquarter of Peren is. With computers and the internet, we have lost the art of reading comics, magazines and books. Besides the academic text books I wonder how many of our students read.

We live in an age of quick fixes and instant gratification. We need to be entertained 24x7 lest we die of boredom. Chris Hedges says that celebrity culture is so pervasive that one is made to feel as if one is living in a movie in which one is the main star. Or that life is one big reality show. Celebrities are projected as the ultimate objects of desire and that anyone can achieve that status. We live in this make-believe world and mistake it to be the real.

Nagas have become attracted to neon lights and their lives are becoming plastic. The State has so much bought into celebrity culture and the present government blatantly promotes and sponsors immoral behaviors that come with it. The leaders may wash off their hands saying morality is an individual’s choice. But how many young lives are going down because of the governments’ decisions? The Church also remains a mute spectator and sometimes even wallows in its own sin. The moral cost of such State Sponsored indulgence week as the Hornbill Festival needs to be counted. The festival per se may be a good thing. But there need to be an ‘enough’; some kind of regulation and limit. If there is a moral scale to gauge governments, I’m sure the present one wouldn’t score very high. Chances are it may go down in history as the most immoral ever. And as the German churches during the Nazi rule, the present Naga churches too may go down as the generation which didn’t speak out in the face of evil, but even colluded with it.

Recommendations: (will expound later)
1. Solitude
2. Moderation
3. Habit of reading

Your inputs please

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Would have I done the same?

It is half past midnight and I can’t sleep. I have just come back from an incident where two thieves were caught and beaten by some village youths. I heard my tribe being insulted, falsely blamed and shamed because the two thieves happen to be from my community. They were beaten, tied, and one was stripped half naked. The road side was stained with blood.

The two were caught for stealing vehicle parts. I wasn’t there when the beating took place but I was told that they were beaten for denying to have committed the act. They admitted that they were guilty. But what was to unfold after that affected me so deeply that I couldn’t sleep. So, I switched on the light again and turned on my laptop to write my thoughts.

The thieves are thieves; they are lawbreakers who need to be caught, put on trial, and be punished. We have policemen to catch them and lawyers to put them on trial and pass sentences according to the book. But what about some young hot blooded members of an NGO who take the law into their own hands, thrash criminals, then still talk about giving punishment to the criminals according to the law of the land? Who is more guilty now? It is more dreadful to fall into their hands than the police. You won’t get a fair trial and the trial begins after severe thrashing.

The police arrived late as usual. They were sent back by the youths saying they will resolve it. They went. What need is there for police or lawyers when some hot blooded guys control the society? Then, someone hurled insults at the thieves, then on their community. This guy then put the blame of car robberies on the whole community. He raised his voice to say that by the grace of God, one car thief was caught recently, who also happen to be from the community as the present ones. ‘What is happening to the community?’ He asks.

One guy asked the thieves for the truth, ‘aren’t you also Christians?’ One of them nodded. He asks them to confess and reveal all the past robberies that they have committed. They answered that this was the second time.

The Police came again, but by then, it was decided that someone close to the thieves take the risk and let them go home for the night. The case will be discussed some other day. Some guys from the NGO told the thieves to be thankful that their hands and legs are not broken. One of them couldn’t stand on his feet and had to be propped as he limped to the vehicle.

If the thieves were from some other community, or if I happen to be from the community of the NGO, would have I reacted differently? Would have I done the same? In my own place, have my people been treating outsiders similarly? Perhaps, Yes. My heart sinks to think of this, that I may be less sensitive if such things were suffered by some other community. More subtle but the same; I have been guilty many times of stereotyping others, generalizing to some community by looking at some individual. It is also sobering to think, ‘Will my impression of the other community members who thrashed two of my fellow members be the same again? Will I be able to love them as much as myself?’ My answer is: If not for the cross of Christ, I can’t. But because of the power of the cross, God will help me to forgive and love. That is the only power I have.

And Oh, to think how we abuse the name of God! Not knowing our hands are stained, we point fingers at others with God on our lips. I feel that God is closer to those two thieves whose guilt is before their very eyes than those people who thrash people and demand for the truth. It was as though the story of the woman caught in adultery, found in the gospels of the Bible was played out. Thieves are thieves, and there was no way to defend their act. But how innocent are those who claim to be clean and hurl punches and insults?