The conferring of the prestigious Governor’s Award to six talented Naga personalities in the field of art, music and literature on the occasion of August 15 Independence Day will be of huge boost to the human resource potential of the people especially the youths. The initiative as such of the incumbent Governor, Shyamal Datta, to set up these awards in the first place therefore needs to be appreciated. Hopefully, the tradition and practice of having such awards will encourage the countless of other talents to strive towards excellence in their respective field of professional pursuits. The Governor’s Award will hopefully also continue to be strongly wedded to the principle of excellence and fair-play and not be influenced by extraneous factors of politics, isms etc. And as rightly pointed out by the Governor, the recipients now have the added responsibility to become the cultural ambassadors that the State now desperately seeks and they are now in the best position to make it known to the outside world that Nagas do exist and that they can exist with dignity and hard work. More than anything else, the six achievers have shown with their success that Nagas can compete on equal terms with anybody.
The Naga people today require an image makeover. This can come about only if those running the affair in the State (government or NGOs) can start identifying its own ambassador and then providing them the platform from where they can contribute to the social and economic well being of the State. The Governor’s Award in this sense is a good beginning and hopefully it will continue to recognize those innumerable Nagas presently residing or working outside the State. The story of Meren Imchen, Nagaland’s own prodigy whose animated film was selected to be screened at the Annecy film festival at France is a case in point. There could be still many more Nagas out there achieving similar successes in their chosen fields. The government as such should step in and encourage such type of efforts as they can play an important role in altering perceptions about the Nagas by exposing to the outside world the rich heritage, art forms, food, traditions of the Naga people.
The Naga youths also need to get rid of their aversion to working outside the borders of the State and go out to explore the endless possibility that awaits them. Whether it is fashion designing, sporting activities, computer engineering, music, media & communications etc, the youths must now view things outside the box. At the same time, it is encouraging to note the changing mindset of the younger generation on opting for careers outside of the government sector. There is however the old mindset to be confronted with, wherein many parents still aver that their children are a failure if they do not get government jobs. It is this mindset that would need to change if at all true youth empowerment is to be fully realized.
Against the backdrop of this promised laden future that the younger generations have within their grip however remains the uncertainty over the question of peace, which continues to elude the people. It has to be remembered that only in an environment of stable peace can the society concentrate on social and economic development. Restoring a peaceful environment therefore requires the urgent political attention of all concerned if at all the Naga people, especially the youths, are to emerge as a force to be reckoned with in this fast paced competitive world.