[Assam] My Days As A Hindi Teacher In Nagaland

Pradip Kumar Datta pradip200 at yahoo.com
Sat May 12 09:18:17 PDT 2007


      My Days As A Hindi Teacher In Nagaland And After    By Jagdamba Mall     "Shala Deshwali, mari dise, ami ke mari dise. Ami na chhadibo. Nak-sak sab bhangai dibo, Chatani banai dibo." said a student who was roaring and staring at to scare me. Fellow students caught hold of him. Some of them stood beside me to protect in case he jumped over me. The boy abused further, "Shala bhat bisharibo nimite Nagaland aahise, jene tene naukari pahise aaroo itya phutani hoise. Naga khan ke maribole shuru korise."

Other students were trying their level best to calm him down and for not using abusive languages. But the more he was being persuaded the more he was getting furious. He was getting excited. A great commotion occurred in class VIII. I was shocked, stunned and frightened and I could not understand what to do, whet-her to leave the class and report the matter to the Headmistress or to remain there, I could not make out. But even though I wanted to come out to save the face, I could not because I was already surrounded by the students not to prevent me from going out but to protect me in case those angry students or any of his friends attacked me. A disturbing moment occurred. Teachers and students from nearby classes came out to see what had happened. Soon, the Headmistress Khrielenuo Terhuja was informed that a student had caught Mall by the collar and dashed him off, while taking Hindi class in class VIII. She rushed on the first floor of the building where the incident
 took place. The students gave her passage and she reached to me. On seeing my Headmistress who really loved me, I could not control my emotions and I sobbed. Ganga -Yamuna flowed down my eyes. She enquired the cause of commotion but I was speechless. The students narrated the incident. The Headmistress spoke in Angami dialect and chided the furious student. She caught hold of my hand and took me to Headmistress’s Office room.

That was the incident that occurred when I had used a mild stick below the knee of an Angami student while teaching Hindi in Class VIII in Christian English School, Dimapur in early 1977. Headmistress consoled me and said, "Mall, you are new in Nagaland, you are not aware of feelings of Naga society. The Naga students are not much interested in Hindi. Moreover, the marks obtained in Hindi examination do not affect their results; therefore, try to become very practical and tactful. You should have tolerance, patience, perseverance and endurance". Terhuja continued, "Nagas are not inclined to learn Hindi due to social commotion in Nagaland. Therefore you cannot force Naga children to learn Hindi. Try to motivate them. Make Hindi classes very interesting and enjoyable. Attract children to your own personality. Give more attention to those who really wish to learn Hindi. Try wisely to control the students so that they do not make noise; so that they do not cause disturbance to
 nearby classes".

When I asked as to how the habitual offender girl or boy students should be controlled she said, "Never be very harsh to them, and also never use any stick. If it is beyond your control, bring it to my notice. I’ll see to it." I was with Headmistress for about half an hour and by the time I came out of the office room my eyes were dried.

In the recess, my colleagues -Jacob, Joseph, Ku. Angel, Rukunuo, Meken Sangma and others came to me to know the cause of the commotion. I was trying to pose as not much-distressed and was trying to bring a forced smile on my face. But I miserably failed to do so. I was much humiliated beyond my imagination. I was more hurt when most of my colleagues found fault in me for using that mild stick on the lower leg of that boy who was throwing chalks on girl students, making unpleasant noise, cutting vulgar jokes with girls and amongst his friends and disturbing other students who were complaining to me to check him from causing indiscipline in the class. He very often taunted and ridiculed me. Headmistress rebuked him several times but he was not mending his habits. Senior teachers had similar complaint against him. My close colleagues advised me, "Don’t get beaten in pursuit of becoming an ideal teacher. In return of your sincere Hindi teaching, you would one day get your nose
 broken and nobody would come forward to protect you or to plead for you. Nagas would point an accusing finger only on you. They would try to find fault only with you. If you want to survive in Nagaland, try to understand Naga psyche." 

With heavy heart I met my Hindi Education Officer, IP Singh who was then stationed at full - Nagarjan in Dimapur. I narrated the story. He said that I should be very cautious while dealing with Naga students to avoid any trouble. By this time I had developed close acquaintance with Prof. B.B. Kumar of Kohima Science College, Dr. KK Sharma of NEHU Campus Kohima, Dr. Kishore Yadav of Nagaland Secretariat and MJ Risbud who was later promoted as Chief Engineer PWD Nagaland. I had many Naga men and women as my close friends and well-wishers. What I found common in the advices of my Naga and non-Naga friends and well-wishers is that I should not be over-enthusiastic and over-sincere in Hindi teaching in Nagaland. They advised me to go slow in pace with the pulse of Naga society.

I could not just ignore the advices of great people like Prof. BB Kumar, Dr. KK Yadav who had served Nagas in different capacities throughout the prime age of their lives. They held social upheaval responsible for developing such mind-set in a section of Naga society. They also held New Delhi responsible for not paying requisite attention to what was happening in Nagaland which was hindering the all-round development of Nagas.

Though the incident was very depressing for me before I met these people, it became an opportunity to know more and more about Nagas thereafter. I purchased one after the other most of the books written on Nagas by Indian and British authors. I read them as much as it was felt necessary to know Nagas. I visited the Naga villages around Dimapur and Kohima. I visited all the district including Mon and Tuensang. Though I am a total vegetarian and absolute ‘no’ to liquor or local drinks, I was eating in Naga families and sleeping in Naga houses. It was a pleasant surprise for me. The treatment I received from Nagas in Kohima and Dimapur was entirely different from what I was showered at by Naga families in traditional Naga villages. The more I explored the more I found rare virtues in Naga society barring very few under the influence of insurgency. I found many underground Naga youths very talented and refined person ‘but due to compelling circumstances they were in underground
 camps.

Since most of the Nagas were Christian and Christianity and underground movements were so amalgamated that at least for me it was difficult to understand this amalgam. It was difficult to decipher and discern the Christianity and underground movement. The voices expressed by underground leaders and Church leaders appeared corroborative in different words and fashion. A Bible was presented to me in the school which was just lying in a comer of my rented room at Burma Camp. But when situation demanded I picked up that Bible, cleaned it properly and kept it beside Gita, Ramayan and Mahabharat in my library. I read Bible thoroughly. I read critical writings and explanations of Bible written by Indian church leaders - Nagas and non-Nagas and also by foreign missionaries.

Thorough assimilation with Nagas of urban and rural areas, study of Bible and Christianity and study of customs, traditions and indigenous faith of Naga society enlightened me (i) that Nagas are our blood brothers and they should not be held responsible for what they are doing today and for what underground Nagas are demanding today. (ii) that criminal neglect of Nagas by Hindu society is the cause of discontents in Nagaland. Because of this neglect some disruptive forces have taken undue advantage. (iii) that the underground movement was not properly handled. Harassment of innocent Naga villagers by security forces was an unpardonable offence on some occasions.

This enlightenment quietened my anger and some short of attachment for Naga society - underground or overground, Christian or non-Christian with no reservation for anybody, developed in my mind. Later only after few months I called that boy and said, "Sorry, I should not have used stick on your leg. I was wrong. Don’t worry now. I am not unhappy on you." The boy was simply speechless. He looked down. After a minute he looked into my eyes and said, "Sorry Sir" and went away.

Little more after two years of my service as Hindi Teacher in Christian English School, Church Road, Dimapur I resigned and joined as an auditor in Accountant General’s Office Kohima not for any other reason but for better service prospect. I involved myself in many service-oriented activities in Kohima. Because of my additional Hindi qualification - Rashtra Bhasha Ratna, I was appointed part-time Hindi teacher in A.G. Office in 1980 to teach Hindi to all non-Hindi speaking Central Govt. employees stationed at Kohima.

I have witnessed several ups and down in Naga society occurred during last more than 25 years in the State. The positive changes occurring today in all section of Naga society are really a matter of satisfaction. The hostility between Na-gas and non-Nagas is considerably decreased. The hostility against Hindi is mostly disappeared. Nagas today wish to learn Hindi. The elder generation of Nagas rather regret for not learning Hindi and today every Naga wants that his or her children are not deprived of Hindi learning. The hostility between different underground factions still persists. But this is a temporary phase. With passage of time, the wounds will be healed up. Hostility will disappear. And soon, a harmonious and peaceful Naga society will emerge. I dream for that ideal Naga society where there will not be any bloodshed, any hatred and hostility and ultimately there will be peace, prosperity and mutual trust everywhere.       (Courtesy: The Sangai Express) 
   
[ http://www.manipuronline.com/opinions/December%202002/teacherinNagaland30_3.htm ]
 
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