Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the 72nd general session of the United Sangtam Students’ Conference at Seyochung village in Kiphire district on Wednesday Credit: CMO Media Cell

Kiphire: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday recounted how the advent of Christianity in Nagaland in 1872 by EW Clarke was the best thing that happened to the Nagas. Rio was addressing the 72nd general session of the United Sangtam Students’ Conference (USSC) at Seyochung Village under Kiphire district.

Rio said that Christianity and education have brought the Nagas thus far, as he recalled the Quasqui-centennial celebrations of 125 years of Christianity in Nagaland which was held from November 27-30, 1997 under the theme ‘From Darkness to Light’.

Rio highlighted how decades of strife had prevented Nagas from seeing the other side of peace and development and added that the time has come for Nagas to shed all differences and unite to reconcile, forgive and forget and further build the future in oneness and harmony.

He urged the need for students to understand the Naga history and to further take up the responsibilities of changing the mindset of the people towards peace, progress and development and said that the tag of “backwardness” must be shed as it will only be self-defeating.

“As students, you have to obey your parents, your teachers, and you have to focus on the Christian teachings and values so that we can get quality and real education,” he said.

Emphasising further on the importance of education, Rio said: “A child without education is like a bird without wings noting that learning is a life-long process and that education prepares a child to face the realities of life as it frees an individual giving them the power to think, reason, understand, act and obey the rule of law.

Naga political issue

Saying that Nagas are at a crucial juncture, Rio highlighted that negotiations between the negotiating parties successfully concluded on a positive note on October 31 last year adding that the Nagas were yearning for a solution to the decades old issue. He reiterated the stand of all legislators under the Joint Legislators Forum (JLF) to facilitate the peace process.

“We hope that we will unite and bring settlement for peace and development of our state and to get the opportunities for the youth to pursue their goals and their dreams. This is our dream, this is our hope and I feel that if we unite, we can achieve this in a few months’ time. We have hope in our youth that you will realise the importance of peace and live in harmony with ourselves and with our neighbours,” Rio said.

Need to boost economy

Citing the post-war economic reforms and policies of Japan and South Korea that shaped made these countries a developed economy, Rio pointed that Nagas must think seriously and be committed to work so that the economy can be developed to become self-reliant and self-dependent. Rio challenged Nagas to take up all forms of jobs, and rethink business and entrepreneurship rather than just depending on governmental jobs.

“You’re the future. You will take our place. You will become the leaders of our people and unless you have the preparedness to face the realities of life, we will perish. Even if we don’t like, outsiders will come and work and we will have no future. Therefore, in this 72nd General Session, I hope you will deliberate, take up challenges and see that the students’ community changes the mindset of the people and work hard to make your life and the community stronger and make all the Nagas proud,” he added.

Chief minister Neiphiu Rio, deputy chief minister Y Patton, and others during the Students’ conference at Seyochung, Kiphire.

Meanwhile DC Kiphire Sarita Yadav IAS urged the students to focus on their responsibilities and study hard in order to become responsible citizens. She said that youths are harbingers of change and that their contributions needed for the betterment of the society. She acknowledged the chief minister and the cabinet members for attending the conference, showing concern for the district and further motivating the students.

On his arrival, the chief minister unveiled the commemoration plaque and unfurled the USSC flag in presence of deputy chief minister Y Patton, CM Chang, Minister for Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Justice & Law, and V Kashiho Sangtam, Minister for Soil & Water Conservation, Geology & Mining.

The event was attended by all 8 federating units and 78 sub-units of USSC, Government officials of the district, Hd. GB, GBs, Village Council Chairman of Seyochung Village and leaders of neighbouring villages.

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