Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mütsale village, Phek District, Nagaland

Mütsale village
Mütsale villagers without exception can speak Chokri and Sumi dialects with ease. In their everyday conversation they use Sumi dialect but in the church, they speak Chokri. Mütsale is a Chakhesang village in Phek district, Nagaland. Unlike the typical Naga villages which are located on mountain tops, it is located close to the Tüsürü river (which flows into the Tizu) in between Phuhgi and Khuza village. The two villages are the only other villages which can be seen from Mütsale and due to its poor connectivity (road, phone signal), there is now a popular joke that in Mütsale, even Guitar does not produce sound when strummed.
Reserved common fishery
According to 2001 Census, the total population is 636 (127 households). It is said that before coming to the present site, Mütsale was located in a slope overlooking the present one and the village had 700 houses. The present site does not have much space for expansion and a new village is beginning to be set up towards Kütsapo village. Two families have already settled in the new village and playgrounds are also prepared. The new village will be hosting the upcoming Tizu area sports meet.

The village is connected by Katcha road which connects Sekruzu to Phuhgi and passes through the village and continues on to Khuza and Phek town. Two years back, a new road has been constructed through PMGSY scheme which connects the village to Ruzazho village. The new road has considerably shortened the road distance of the village from the State capital.

The village has one school, one church, and one health sub centre. The school is a Govt. primary school with classes up to 5th Std. There are over 100 students, 7 classrooms and 5 teachers. So far, the village has produced 4 college graduates. Many of the villagers have migrated to Phek and other places for studies or work. The village has only one religious denomination (Baptist).

Medicinal spring water, believed to be good for eyesight
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood. Jhum cultivation is widely practiced and there is not much wet terrace rice cultivation compared to other Chakhesang villages. Forest covers are depleting due to jhumming and a village leader remarked that because of this, the village is getting much hotter in the last few years. The village has a reserved forest which is home to monkeys, bears, deers, antelopes, etc. Fish rearing is also widely practised. Fresh water trout are found in plenty and it is a special delicacy that is loved by villagers and visitors. Rearing of fishes is a potential/promising source of economic income but rearing for commercial purpose is yet to be developed.

The village has a very good water supply. But sanitation is a concern as pigs continue to be reared in the open and drainage systems are insufficient. But there is improvement as some culverts and drains are constructed under NGNREGS.

Camping at river bank, Mütsale
The people are warm and have good sense of humor. The villagers take the guitar joke in good health and they themselves are propagating the joke adding flavors to it. Like Rajnikanth jokes, more and more are being added to the joke that even Guitars don’t make a sound when strummed at Mütsale. ‘At Mütsale, all you see is the sky and nothing else’, ‘at Mütsale, even radios do not produce any sound’, and so on.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Books: Chomsky and Schumacher

This is the book I got today from online shopping in This site is beating flipkart in terms of price, packaging; and delivery is equally fast. MRP is 550 but I got it for 330. It delivered in exactly 1 week after order... through Blue Dart courier. So much about the ordering process..that's because I'm yet to start reading.

This is what I wrote in a discussion group in facebook:
Just a suggestion. I have been reading E.F Schumacher's 'Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered' and I feel that if you can get the time, it will be nice to study the book together. The book costs Rs. 239. Each of the 19 chapters is a separate essay. Economic thinker EF Schumacher was a dedicated atheist who converted to Christianity in 1971. Two years later, Small is Beautiful was published. The book has been translated to several languages and Random House published the book again in 2011, latest as far as I know. The Guardian recently discussed on the book title ‘small is beautiful’ which Schumacher reluctantly put for his book and the danger of reducing it into a meaningless phrase.

Here are 2 quotes from the book
‘What is at fault is not specialization, but the lack of depth with which the subjects are usually presented, and the absence of metaphysical awareness. The sciences are being taught without any awareness of the presuppositions of science, of the meaning and significance of scientific laws, and of the place occupied by the natural sciences within the whole cosmos of human thought. The result is that the presuppositions of science are normally mistaken for its findings’. (Chapter 6: The greatest resource – Education)

‘Development does not start with goods; it starts with people and their education, organization, and discipline. Without these three, all resources remain latent, untapped, potential’. (Chapter 11: Development)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reflections on conducting medical camps in Nagaland

For Nagaland Post, Eastern Mirror, and Morung Express
NGOs including church bodies organize medical camps as a part of their humanitarian or mission work. Are such medical camps beneficial? Yes, of course. But I think the side-effects are also real. So, I want to draw attention to these untoward effects of such noble endeavors and suggest ways to minimize them.

First, Medical camps are one day affairs and have no sustainable impact on people’s health. They are, if I may be so unkind, a kind of ‘hit and run’ method of delivering health care. But many illnesses require time (and investigations) to come to a diagnosis, more time to assess the outcome of illnesses be it recovery or deterioration, and may require follow-up, revision of treatment, and so on. But medical camps compel a doctor to come to a diagnosis and give treatment on the spot. It is difficult to send away a patient in a medical camp without any medication. Therefore there is always the danger of wrong and unnecessary medication. Many people would turn up just to get free medicines; and faking of illnesses or narrating past illnesses as if they are present for getting medicines for future use happen quite often.

Secondly, Medical camps are costly and the adverse effects can be damaging in the long run. I sometimes wish that the money and medicines be instead donated to the existing rural health centers. All people do not suffer at a point in time, on the day when the camp is conducted. Therefore, if the resources can be donated to the health centers, that will help more people and over a period of time rather than those who are sick on the appointed day. If free medicine samples are used, chances of misuse are greater, especially antibiotics. Antibiotic samples hardly come as a full course, and if different brands are compiled to make a course, it is more confusing and patients are less likely to complete the full course. There is enough evidence that inappropriate use (not completing the course, saving some portions for future use, self medication and prescribing for family members, etc) and use of poor quality antibiotics (there are evidences to believe that some of the samples may be half chalk powder) are leading to drug resistance. Without the help of laboratory and other diagnostic facilities, doctors may resort to prescribe ‘blanket treatments’ by using broad spectrum antibiotics which can contribute to resistance. Resistance is a real and present danger. Antimicrobial Resistance simply means unresponsiveness to antimicrobial agents given in their standard doses.  It escalates the cost of health care, prolongs treatment and sickness, increases mortality and the burden on health system.

Thirdly, medical camps are concentrated on curative medical care when the emphasis should be on health promotion and prevention. Medical camps become a kind of an extended hospital OPD. A medical camp should instead be called a health camp or a health awareness camp with emphasis on health education, demonstration of first-aid and home based care methods, promotion of healthy lifestyle, etc. For instance, it is much cheaper, more effective and the impact much more lasting for diarrhea management if villagers can be taught how to prepare Oral Rehydration Salt at home with commonly available materials like salt, sugar and drinking water than to treat a few patients who come with complaints of diarrhea. And so are posters and handouts more effective than some do’s and don’ts muttered to patients in a typical heavily queued up medical camp. Free health check-ups can be put in place where people can be screened and only those with genuine illnesses be given treatment. Such a healthy mixture of promotion, prevention, and curative methods of health constitutes an ideal camp that any organization or the medical department can organize.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fraternity League

The fraternity league of Kikruma and Mezo- Phetsu, March 19 to 21, 2011 at Kikruma village. This league is observed once in every 30 years to pave way, platform for the upcoming generation to re-dedicate the degree of its pioneers and strengthen the bond of brotherhood of both the community dating back to 1880 (Nagaland Post).
In This video are the menfolk of Kikruma village engaging in what is called kürüle