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Sunday, 1 June 2014

EXPLOITING ILLITERATES: A PERIL IN NAGA SOCIETY


          Illiteracy is a disease that continues to plague countries worldwide. The illiterates live unable to voice their problems. Their lives are a daily struggle, but they live on.
          Language is a gift but to be incapable of reading and writing can be a curse. To live in a society surrounded by letters that are mere figures is but a torture.
Illiteracy is a growing crisis not only within India but many developing countries worldwide. One could go on about the troubles faced by Indian illiterates or illiterates worldwide but somewhere closer to home lies the problems faced by “Naga Illiterates”.
       In the political sphere, they are denied various benefits from schemes especially provided for them. The closest example is the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which guarantees to provide 100 days work at the wage rate of 175 rupees per day. But the officials or politicians take advantage of their illiteracy by instilling false information and denying these people their rights. Even during elections, the politicians buy the votes of the illiterates robbing them their right to participate in selecting a fit leader.
        In the economic sphere, the local merchandise produced by the rurals are bought at astonishingly low rates by the exploitive literates. In relation to this, even plots of land are bought off with cheap prices as they are not well-versed with the ways of the market. Some shopkeepers even sell goods to the illiterates at very high prices as they are unable to read the printed prices. There are even incidents of how certain people cheat them by handing out currency notes claiming them to be of higher value. Their lack of education also bars them from finding good jobs in an increasingly growing literate society. They are ultimately left to take up lower wage jobs such as manual labour where they are paid unjust wages.
        If society does not change its failing mindsets and mend its ways toward the illiterates, it cannot develop its full potential. Until then, this growing epidemic will spread its firm grasp within the Naga society and continue to oppress the people as if they were less than human. In so doing, Naga society loses.