Thursday, June 07, 2012


After nearly a month of “football-drought”, Euro 2012 is finally arriving. Who will be the kings of European football this time around? Will the “total football” of the Dutch finally triumph, will the ‘possession football’ of Spain shine once again, or will the “attacking football” of the young and talented Germans outdo both of them? For me, these three are the favourites to win the title though you can’t rule out the resurgent French squad. 

For a person who can never support Brazil and Argentina (don’t know if that will change in the future), Euro sometimes feel more exciting than even the World Cup. Before going further, I have to confess that in international football, my support changes from one tournament to the next (or next to next!). As for club football, I am a die-hard Arsenal supporter since the Invincibles era-Dennis Bergkamp who had the best footballing brain and Henry the best and most condifent striker of that era.  Barcelona comes a close second with their mesmerising football. As for international football, my support hinges on who is my favourite player at that particular time. As a young lad, I supported Germany in the infamous 1990 World Cup final against Argentina in which the Germans triumph. The next World Cup was a disappointment for me  as Germany were eliminated early in the tournament (hardly watch the live matches those days, mostly replays as there were very few TV sets in Lamka). 

Then came the 1998 World Cup during which a certain Zinedine Zidane impressed me so much with his coolness, calmness and playmaking ability that till today I consider him the best footballer. No, the best footballer for me is not Pele or Maradona surpass as I was still so young or not even in the picture during the heydeys of these two legends. Because of Zinedine Zidane, I came to support France in the 1998 World Cup and 2000 Euro both of which France won due to the inspirational Zidane, or Zizou as they call him. World Cup 2002 and Euro 2004 also were big disappointments as France were at their worst. In his last international tournament, World Cup 2006, Zidane didn’t disappoint and entertained the writer with his usual cool and slick passing which saw France enter the finals. But in the finals, his infamous headbutting of Materazzi and his eventual sending off led to the defeat of France at the hands of my perennial non-favourties Italy. 

After the end of the Zidane era, came the Spanish midfield trio of Xavi Hernandez, Iniesta (of Barcelona) and Fabregas (Arsenal, who else). So, my loyalties shift to Spain who were potential underachievers, rightly called the best team to have never won a major tournament till that time. They didn’t disappoint me by winning both the Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010. All this while, I am an admirer of Dutch “total football” which produces one of the greatest crop of footballer like Dennis Bergkamp, Van basten, Kluivert, Ruud Gullit, Robin van Persie, Sneijder, etc. My dream final happened in 2010 World Cup when Spain and Netherlands met in the final. I was spoilt for choice as to who to support and at last eventually went for Spain(because of who else but Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas who was the captain of Arsenal at that time). This time around, with Xavi in his twilight and Fabregas having shifted his loyalties, I am going to go for the Netherlands who I feel deserves a major trophy at long last, and because of none other than the Arsenal captain Robin van Persie who is the best footballer in the world for me at present (I know many of you will say I am biased and that Messi and Ronaldo are much better. But then...) 

Forgive me for digressing, now I will analyse the teams that I think have a shot at conquering Europe this summer (my top 5).

5. England:

Perennial favourties at every major tournament, or rather perennial paper tigers but perennial underachievers. Marred by selection problems (Ferdinand) coupled with injury (Lampard, Barry, etc) and a new coach.  But still have potential in their ranks. Some fans have already written them of saying the coach, Roy Hodgson favoured Liverpool players. But write them off at your own risk. If the coach can find the right combination, this team is capable of beating any team on their day. With the young, talented Joe Hart between the posts, and very solid defenders in John Terry, Lescott, Cahill, Jagielka, Cole, Baines, Jones, Johnson, etc, this team boasts of one of the best defensive units in Euro 2012. With the hardworking Scott Parker in defensive midfield, captan Stephen Gerrard as the link between defence and attack in Central Midfield, and if the coach choose an attacking line-up of Oxlade Chamberlain as Central Attacking Midfielder (I know he’s untested, but he has got bags of talent and loads of confidence. His performance in this position during the second leg of Champions League match between Arsenal and AC Milan is testimony to that), Walcott as Right Winger (I know he’s sometimes so frustrating but on his day, nobody can stop him), Ashley Young as Left Winger and Rooney as the Lone Striker. Except for the first two matches (with Rooney suspended) in which the coach should use Welbeck instead of that Carroll. This is my starting 11: GK-Hart, RB-Johnson, CB-Cahill and Lescott (no Terry, he’s past his prime), LB-Ashley Cole, DM-Scott Parker, CM-Gerrard, CAM-Ox, RW-Walcott, LW-Young, STR-Rooney, formation 4-3-3.

4. France

Hopefully, the problems of 2010 World Cup are behind them now. With very good goalkeepers like Lloris and Steve Mandanda in their ranks and good defenders like Patrice Evra, Laurent Koscielny (most improved Arsenal player), Gale Clichy, Adil Rami, Mexes and Debucy (never or rarely watch the last three play but heard of their talent), this team woulnd’t leak too many goals. With a midfield talent which boasts of Yohan Cabaye and Ben Arfa of Newcastle, Yann M’Vila (only watch youtube compilations of his play as he is an Arsenal target, called the next Patrick Viera and Makelele, so he must be damn good), Samir Na$ri and Mathieu Valbuenan And a striking position which boasts of Karim Benzema and Oliver Giroud (apparently another Arsenal target and Frence Lique 1 top scorer). I bet my money this team will be in the semi-finals and I will not be surprised if it even gets to the final. Couldn’t choose my starting 11 and formation as I hardly watch this new-look French team play but I do hope Koscielny gets the nod in central defence. Would love to watch Arsenal target M’Vila play to see how good he really is.  

3. Spain

Will Spain create history and win a hat-trick of titles and will their possession, one-touch football triumph once again. The absence of Puyol in defence and Villa in attack may prove to be their Achilles’ heel, but a midfield which boasts of Busquets, Alonso, David Silva, Juan Mata, Xavi, Iniesta and Fabgregas can never be written off. Pass-masters, whose passing looked as if they were perfectly planned (I don’t remember who said this, but it’s a very famous footballer) during the FIFA World Cup 2010. Will they be able to re-create their midfield magic again. It would be a real selection headeache for the coach, Vicente del Bosque. Would love to see the twisting, turning and inch-perfect passing of Xavi again for this may well be his last major tournament (He’d be 34 by the time the next World Cup comes around, but he has a truly worthy successor in Fabregas). Xabi Alonso’s long pass,  Iniesta’s dribbles and Silva’s tantalizing runs and passes around the opponent’s box will be a joy to watch. My only worry is where will the talented and too-good-to-be-a-bench-player Fabregas fit in? Will he just warm the bench, will the coach rotate him with the aging Xavi or will this be his big moment? Same goes for David Silva who is too good to just warm the bench. Will the coach go for the out of form Fernando Torres or Fernando Llorente?  Torres was one of my favourite strikers and there was a time when he strike fear in the hearts of defenders, especially during Euro 2008 and his heydays at Liverpool. Has he lost his mojo forever or will he get his groove back? He seems to be the less preferred option now at both club and country where Drogba and Villa are clearly first choice. But injury to David Villa may present a chance to redeem himself? Will be be Spain’s saviour once again (like when he scored the lone winning goal in Euro 2008 against Germany) or will he squander his chances again, and squander Spain’s opportunity of creating history.  My starting 11 will be, hmm, it’s too difficult to choose the midfield so I would rather leave it to the coach!

2. Germany

So much young talent in a squad, it’s unbelievable! The senior team members like Mertesaker, Schweinsteiger, Podolski and Lahm (no one in their 30s execpt Klose) are there for a long time now, but they are still very young and very experienced. Sami Khedira, Mesult Ozil, Thomas Mueller have now played at the highest level both at club and country although they are still very young. And with talented Toni Kroos, Lars Bender, Andre Schurrle, Mario Goetze and Marco Reus breathing down their necks, the old-timers will give their all. Not to mention the confident, young and talented keeper in Neuer. After having lost to Spain in the final of Euro 2008 and semi-finals of World Cup 2010, will lady luck finally smile on them or will Spain be the stumbling block again. Only time will tell, but in terms of talent, this team is second to none. And if they continue to play the type of attacking footbally on display during World Cup 2010, they will continue to win many hearts along the way.  There is a big question who will have a bigger headache in terms of squad selection between Joachim Low and Vicente del Bosque! Be surprised if they don’t win this tournament! It may be a problem of plenty. 

1. Netherlands

When Arsenal’s Captain “Vantastic”, Robin van Persie says that he is not sure whether he is the first choice striker in this Dutch team, you would have to take notice. If you think Low and del Bosque are the only coaches that have to deal with selection-headache, think again. Van Marjwik’s job is in no way easier. Will he choose the Premier League’s top scorer upfront or will he choose the Bundesliga top scorer, Klas Jan Huntelaar, who is the top scorer in Euro 2012 qualifying? But can he ignore the form of van Persie’s season at Arsenal? Or will he opt for 4-4-2 by playing both of them? With an attackling line-up that boasts of van Persie, Huntelaar, Robben, Affellay, van der Vaart and Sneijer, will the Dutch “total football” find European glory again? I hope so. This team with van Bommel, De Jong, Mathisen, Heitinga, Sketelenberg, etc is too good to not win a major title. And with most of the senior squad in their 30s, this will well be their last chance to win silverware. So they must really be motivated. With the Dutch grouped with Germany in the group stages and if both get pass the first hurdle, they will not meet till the finals, my dream final this Euro is to see them play in the final match again. I would go for a Dutch win because of their superior strikeforce. 

Well, that’s it for now. Happy football ecstasy for the next three weeks!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Khangthakte Politics leh Governance a i lunglut uh hunta hilou hiam?

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it where it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy"¬-Ernest Benn

"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.”¬-Nikita Khruschev

“Manipur Government hoihlou lua”

“I politician te uh chauh thei longal uh”

Hiai a tung a simlaivai leh gamsung kivaihawmna toh kisai a kigente i theihchiat sa uh leh i zaakzaak sa uh ahih i gingta. Banghiam i gamsung a thil hoihlou hong tun chiang in government mohsak a baihlam mahmah, government chau lua, government hoih kineilou, government in a mohpuakna a zoukei a eive i chisuk pah sek uhi. Ahihkei leh thil apai diklou banghiam om chiang in ‘politics’ kigolh eive ichisek uhi. Hun tamzaw ah leng ana dik mah ahi. Adiak in politics bang “dirty game” ahihkeileh “last resort of scoundrels” ahi chi in khangthak, laisiam ten mullit bawl in taisan i sawm sek uh. I gam sung a thil paidikloute ah politician te leh government va mohsak pen i hobby uh mah bang mai in ahiding him in i koih uhi. Himahleh poltics leh governance ichih va nawlkhin theih mawk thil ahikei a, politician te leh government va mohsak mawk pen le a damdawi ahituan sam kei. Politics ka lunglut kei chia politics bangmah a mulou/simlou te leng a hinkhua uh politics in vaihawmkhum thouthou ahi. Mihing i hihsung uh politics taisan theihvual ahikei.

I gamsung, adiak in i District hi’n Manipur hitaleh thil paidan diklou himhim, a system paidiklou mawngmawng. Mipite mawl taktak te heutu gam-le-nam it kichite’n hon pi mang in khemhai in i om sek uh. Hiaite bangziak hiam? Kuate i mohsa di ua? Nam heutute mo? I telching/vawkching uh i sik-le-tang dia palai a i sawlte uh mo? Hi e zenzen. Himahleh mipite moh lou ikichite thei di uam? Kichi theilou ding.

Politics leh governance khawng i lunglut louh luat ziak ua i gamsung hichi lel ahi. Tamtak ten politics i chih chiang in galvan tawi a government kiang a statehood hiam sovereignty/independence hiam va nget sese pen politics in i sim uh. Banghiam a paidiklou ahihkeileh buaina omchiang in government i mohsa pah sosouh ua, eite lah huai government nasemte kihizel. Ei le ei kimohsa, kigensiasia chihna suak. Huaiziak a government hoih i deihleh ei government nasem ten i sepna ah ginomtak a i sep ngai phot. Niteng nek-le-tak zonna ah, government nasem ten i nna ginom tak a i va sep uh kaan a i nam-le-gam adia thupi omlou ahi. Hiai khawng ahi politics diktak. Nasepna a gin om tak a sep a thil paididan tak a paisak.

Bangziak a i dinmun uh hichituak a niam ahia? Adiktak in government apat i gam puah na di sum-le-pai hong pailou ahizenzen kei. Huai le i theihsa vek uh ahi. A zatna di diktak a a kizatlouh ziak hilel ahi. Adiktak a kizang hileh tuni in i dinmun un hiaiten lel a hikei peuhmah ding chih haihvuallouh ahi. Vaigam khawng ah leng min le negu thou uh, hilele na le a kilawm tan seem sam uh. Eilawi Kristian kichite ki-uang zaw. Hiaite bangziak a hong om thei hiam ichih le politics leh governance a i lunglut kei uh, a lunglut te le i lunglut dan uh diklou. Mahni hamphat na di tan lel a lunglut. Government apat i gam puahna dia bangbang hong pai a bangchi kizat ahia chihte kuaman kansui peihlou. A thei khat-le-nih in hon pei lumlet uh. En huaite ahidimah, a paididan mah ana kisai zomah.

Khangthak laisiam tamtakte ngaihdan ahihleh laisiam ding, sepna hoihtak nei ding Lamka taisan a khopi a lungmuang/galmuang takleh nuamtak a mundang a khosak ding, i gamsung ei bawlhoih vual di hilou chih hita. Akua-akua in “Flee Lamka Syndrome” vei mah kibang. I gamsung enkol tu ding om nawnlou. Sepna ziak in miteng Lamka ah khosa theikei mah ni. Himahleh i omna mun chiat apat i hihtheihna lam zong chiat le. Laigelh theiten laigelh ding, RTI file theiten file ding, sum-le-pai a i gam adia pangtheite pang ding. I laizilkhiakte hiam i sepna tungtawn a thu i theihte bangchi leh ka gam-le-nam adia kizang thei dia ahihkeileh thu i theihte midang theihdia kilawm te bang mipi simtheih ding in gelhkhe zelzel theile phattuam mahmah ding in a gintakhuai.

India gam a politician naupang, laisiam leh minthang taktakte enzual le: Rahul Gandhi, kum 40, Modern School, New Delhi, Doon School Harvard leh Cambridge ah lai ana zil. Sachin Pilot, kum 33 lel a upa, India a college hoihpen St.Stephen’s apat a graduate ban ah khovel pumpi a business school minthang Wharton Business School apat MBA zoukhia, MNC khawng ah sem ut hileh khakhat a lakh bangzah a a lohkhiak ding, himahleh poltics ah lut. Tuabang mah in Jyotiraditya Scindia, kum 39 lel a upa, Doon School, Harvard University leh Stanford University te a lai ana zil, tulai a khovel a loh tam penpen a kigen investment banker a Meryll Lynch leh Morgan Stanley ah ana sem khin politics a hong lut ahi. Hiai a a zilna sang taktak te uh gam-le-nam adia hon zat chiang un hong lohching mahmah uhi. Amau politician minthang taktak tate ngen eive uai ichi maithei, a dik. Himahleh MNC minthang taktak khawng a khakhat a tampipi loh a sep sang a mipi leh gam-le-nam nasem dia kipiate ahi uh.

Eite bel laisiam masasa in politics taimang san sawm, politics gamlat dedeuh hileng hang kilawm kasa. Tuni in ei khangthak ten politics i niam et ua, i nawlkhin vual uh ahikei Politics ah lunglut lengle sum-le-pai lou a chinzoh di hiloupi ichi maithei, a dikmah ahi. Himahleh politics ichih pen MLA hiam MDC hiam a va pan ahi sese kei. Miteng in MLA i tuh theikei ua, miteng politics ah i lut theikei uh. Himahleh i hihtheih uh omchiat ahi, awlmoh in panlak sawm le contribution neithei chiat ihi.

Lam tuamtuam ah i pantheihna uh om chiat ding, i sepna toh kisai a thu iva theihte hiam ahihkeileh i va zilkhiak te i gam i nam adia bangchi zat phattuam theidi chihte ngaihtuah in nei gige le. A houpen a genle India Government in govt. paidan a transparency omtheih nading in Right to Information Act bang hon pass a, hiai kha eiten zatdan siam leng i gamsung bawlhoih nading leh i maban politics uah galvan poimoh tak hong hi ngei ding. Thauvui-thautang sang aleng zat phattuam zawk theih ahi. Aziak chu information i deih peuhmah Ch. 10/- lel piak a ngettheih hitel eivoi, Indian sovereignty leh security adia lauhuai pha information ahihkei nakleh government in hon iim theilou ahive. Hiai kha thu awlmoh bang i neihleh RTI khawng file suk ziau a information kaihkhop ding. Huaiban ah tulai a khopi a omten internet access theivek hita. Internet bang leng a zat phattuam theih luat, information tampi muhtheihna, tutmun apat. Nidang dan a information zong a diang vialvial, tai vialvial ngai nawnlou. Tutmun a information deihdeih ban ah mipil misiam te ngaihdan te khawng mekkhiat a sim ziahziah theih hita.

Ei sung a thil paidan diklou te thutuam hitaleh, midang-namdang toh i kisaina uh hiam ahihkeileh i gam a thiltung omchiang in national media khawng a ana tangkoupih ding kisam. Hiaidin khangthakte’n journalism leh mass media lam bang ah lut zungzung leng uthuai. Media poimohna kha i theih ua, a zatdan i siam uh hun lota hi. Naga movement bangziak a hichituk a hat hiam i chihleh amau a history uh, India sepaihten human rights violation te khawng newspaper, magazines, journals leh laibu khawng a gelh zungzung uh, huaiziak a min a thu uh thei ua sympathize uh. Huaiziak mah a India Govt. inle a nawlkhin theilou.

Huaiban ah researcher bang leng kipoimoh mahmah. India gamsung a university tuamtuam a research bawlte bang in i gam, i nam toh kisai thute bang i thesis ding un telthei in, i research paper te bang uh publish ding. University library khawng ah simtheih din omleh deihhuai petmah. Hiai pen politics lam hiseselou in social, economics, history leh culture khawng le deihhuai vek ahi. Khovel theih a i hihna uh, i dinmun un puanzak hun lota ahi. Huaiban ah journal tuamtuam Economic and Political Weekly, Mainstream chihte khawng a eilam thu research bawl a geltheih ding tamsem kipoimoh. Hiaidin khangthakte mah kipoimoh zel. Hiai lampang ah Dr. Vumlallian leh Dr. Khamkhansuan te bang pahtak huai mahmah uh. Amau chauh a hunsak lou in nungthuap tou din khangthakte kisani.

Khangthak, laisiam te politics a i lunglut louh ziak un thilpoi tampi i tuakta uh, i tuaktou zel lai ding uh. Tunaichin a i thiltuah te enle. Manipur solkal in kum 20 sung ina nawlkhin sa uh MDC a hon khemhai in election hon neihpih, en kipahpih mahmah lai. MDC power bang a chihle theilou ngen, a hoihna leh hoihlouhna le theilou ngen khawng ana kihilim. 6th Schedule toh kibang power piak di chi khawng a ei-le-ei kikhem nalai. Hiai khawng khangthakten a Act leh huai nuai Rule kibawlte i study ua, a hoihna hoihlouhna te i pulak zel uh kisam. Hiai toh kisai bang ah Naga te aware mahmah ua, study hoihtak ana bawl in a hoihlouhna bang hon tangkou pih pah uhi. Eiten leng issue tuamtuam ei interest hon sukha thei dite i lunglut ua, i sui ua heutute leh mipiten a theihkei uale i hilh uh kisam. Huai hihtheihdite khangthakte mah hizel.

District boundary thu en ta leuleu le, i pawlten thauthang zang hetlou a a guk a i gam i khua chia i kisaktheihpih mahmahte phaizang district a honna koihsakta uh. Hichibang thilte kha hong tam hiaihiai di. Thautang a kidouhna hilou in tulai in media leh file khawng a kidouna hong tam dedeuh di. Huaite dou dia khangthakte kipat petmah ngaita, laisiam ding, sepna hoih taktak nei ding. IAS, IPS, MCS, MPS, etc tamsem kipoimoh. Khangthakte kisak hun lota a zekai luat ma in. I gam-le-nam toh kisai lunglut ding. Government nasem ten le loh muhna maimai dia seplouh a hiai ka nasep apat ka nam-le-gam adia phatuam bangchi’n ka sem thei dia ahihkeileh ka mi kasa te adia thil poithei dite bangchi’n ka daal theidia chihte ngaihtuah hunta. Huchih ken zaw miten pilsiam tak in i gam hon laksaksak ding uh. A tawpchiang a ei gam mahmah a mikhual kisuak ding. Tripura te thiltuah te khawng i maban uh ahimai ding. Contractor politics chauh sai hun hinawnlou, politics taktak saihun ahita. Huaidin khangthak te kipanta ni.

Kingaihtuah hun ahi ka khangthak pihte. Khanglouta ni. Politics leh governance taisan sawm nawnlou in lunglut ta ni.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
-Edmund Burke

Monday, December 06, 2010

Way to Go, SSPP FC

It seems that the soccer gods have finally smiled upon the SSPP FC players and its fans. Skeptics may have already written them off, naysayers may have already predicted their downfall and sounded their death knell even before their first match. But the tables may just have turned this time, just maybe.

It’s that time of the year again when the whole Northeast community in Delhi is gripped by the soccer fever. With the World Cup 2010 falling in the same calendar year, the 4th edition of the Northeast Tamchon Memorial Tournament, organized by the Tangkhul Naga Society, Delhi began on the 4th December, 2010. It has again generated much heat and excitement. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that football or soccer is synonymous with the Northeast people. Whenever there is a football match in the capital city, whether national or international matches, the Northeast youths thronged the matches.

Among the teams participating in the Tamchon Memorial Tournament, the team that has the largest number of fans is the Siamsinpawlpi Football Club (SSPP FC), under the Siamsinpawlpi, Joint Headquarters, Delhi. Its fans outnumbered even that of the organizers, the Wung United (Tangkhuls). They turned out in huge numbers-young and old, students and working professionals; and cheered their team. They were loud and noisy in a harmless way. Whenever SSPP FC plays the crowd is so huge that it looks like the final match of the tournament is being played.

But unfortunately, the SSPP FC which has no dearth of talent in its ranks, has never made it to the knockout stages of the tournament in its previous three editions. But that hasn’t dampened the moods of the majority of its fans. They turned out in huge numbers, as usual, on the 4th December, 2010, to watch and cheer their team in the opening match of the 4th Tamchon Memorial Tournament at Ambedkar Stadium. A little bit of fear, skepticism and apprehension were writ large on their faces but they turned out in huge numbers nonetheless. That is the beauty of being an SSPP FC fan. You cheer for your team. No matter what. You win. You lose. You are there for your team.

When the SSPP anthem was played, the crowd rose in unison and sang along. Sadly though, the song was not played in full. The opening match between the defending champions of last year’s edition, the Wung United and SSPP FC started at around 4.40 pm. As one looked around, it wasn’t hard to miss the mood of the SSPP FC fans. It was a mixture of fear, or rather apprehension, and hope. Fear that they might return home disappointed again, though the team never lack in skills, creativity and talent. Somehow, somewhere, something seemed to have gone wrong and they just couldn’t come up with a win. There was also a glimmer of hope that somehow they will find the magic formula this time. But fear and apprehension was palpable. That’s excusable when you are playing the defending champions and when lady luck seemed to have dumped you in all your previous matches.

At half-time, the scoreboard read 0-0. The match was keenly and evenly contested. The defence, which was the weakest link last year, did a very good job this time. But it seems that the midfield, considered to be the team’s strength, is in a disarray. They hardly controlled the game, and created very few chances. In the second half, more chances were created by both the sides. The game became more physical and the crowd became more noisy and loud. Night fell and the lights shone in the Ambedkar Stadium. But still there were no goals. As the referee blew the final whistle, the score line still read 0-0. All in all, the defending champions seemd to be the better team. They had more possession and created more chances. For the SSPP FC team, it was the goalkeeper and the defence that saved the day for them. The saves and timely interventions by the goalkeeper, Thuamkhanmang, was really commendable and he deserved to be declared man of the match. For the SSPP FC fans, he was their hero. The players didn’t disappoint their fans this time. They played with confidence. With Conviction. And with enthusiasm till the final whistle. That’s a delightful watch. In the past, the fans were always overconfident and the players nervous. But this time it’s the other way round. The players played confidently but it’s the fans who, in their earnestness to see their team win, were getting jittery.

Though the match was a goalless draw, for the SSPP FC fans, it’s no less than winning. They had equalized with the defending champions. That gave them hope. They went in droves to congratulate the team and the managers. And the apprehension and skepticism before and during the match were replaced by smiles and hope. They went back with satisfaction .

The next day, the 5th December, 2010 the SSPP FC fans began trickling into the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium before noon. To cheer for their team. Again. Though it was a Sunday, a day of rest and worship, the crowd was huge. Towards the start of the match. one can see many elders and families, who are conspicuous by their absence the day before. Maybe they were busy or maybe they couldn’t bear to see their team lose and didn’t come the day before. But today, they came in droves. Maybe excited by the results of the first match.

The match between SSPP FC and Sikkim FC, which was supposed to start at 2:30 pm, was delayed and started only at around 4:30 pm. It was SSPP FC who drew first blood through their captain, David Ngaihte in the third minute. Right from starting whistle, it was SSPP FC all the way. It seemed that the Sikkim players were chasing shadows. The defence was rock solid, the midfield controlled the game and possession and the strikers were fast and agile. Two more goals within a span of ten minutes and the SSPP FC players and fans knew that this was going to be their day. The crowd was roaring in delight. The drums got louder and the humming of vuvuzelas can be heard. It reminded one of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The score line at half time was 4-0. The SSPP FC drilled three more goals into their opponent’s net in the second half. David Ngaihte scored five goals and Pausiam Valte and Michael Chongthu scored a goal each. The man of the match was clearly David Ngaihte. The Sikkim defence didn’t know how to deal with the raging striker as he scored goal after goal. The players and fans went back happy and contented.

As the match ended the delightful fans could be seen beating the drum and singing the SSPP Anthem at the top of their voices. A group of fans were heard shouting near/to the players “Aw khatvei bek second round ah”. Will the SSPP FC players be able to fulfill the wish of their fans this time? Definitely. They could even do better, if they continue playing with the same spirit, confidence and team work. But only time will tell.

Cheers to the team, the managers and the fans.

Go, SSPP FC, Go.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


It goes without saying that the condition of government schools in Zodawn is deplorable. That the government schools are in dire straits and in need of urgent reforms is an undeniable fact. Much have been said and countless efforts have been made in the past for the reform of these schools in Zodawn. But all efforts towards that end prove to be futile and a solution to the problem is still illusive. I don’t have a panacea for it either. So my current discourse will be about the private schools in Lamka and the need for reforms in the teaching methodology of these institutions.

Urbanisation is the trend everywhere in the world today and we, too, are not left far behind. The “well-to-do” or “better-off” (for lack of another word) from the Zodawn villages, migrated to Lamka in search of greener pastures. One of the contributing factors is the availability of good private schools in Lamka. Because all parents, from the illiterates to the most educated, strive to give their children the best education that they can afford. The mass migration from villages to Lamka town and the deplorable condition of the government schools have led to the mushrooming of a plethora of private schools in and around Lamka town. These private schools are doing a commendable job and have also become a source of employment for many people. Before offering my critique on these schools, I would like to clarify that I have great respect for them and I, too, am a product of the private school system. Whatever I have become today, I owe it to the private schools that I had attended.

My first point of criticism is that private schools in Lamka promote and glorify the system of rote learning or spoon-feeding. During my days at St.Paul’s Institute, one of the best schools in Lamka, this system of rote learning was highly prevalent. It would have been the same in all other schools and I believe this system is continued even now. Notes were given even in Class X and we were made to “learn by-heart” these notes. During exams, high scores were assured if one can reproduce these notes verbatim. It is my firm believe that learning by rote or mugging up of facts just before the exams should be shown the door immediately. A teacher should never encourage learning by rote. Spoon feeding is not in the best interests of the students in the long run. In fact, I believe that notes should not be given to the students, at least from Class-IX. Students should be made to prepare their own notes and the teacher’s role in note making should confine to checking the notes prepared by the students and suggesting improvisations.
Secondly, students are not encouraged to raise queries and there is little or no interaction between the teachers and students during classes. Teaching is usually a one-sided affair, the teacher doing all the talking and the role of the students confined to mere listening. Students who ask too many questions were ridiculed, made fun of and not appreciated, let alone encouraged by most teachers. Education should make you more humane, inculcate a spirit of enquiry and a thirst/hunger for knowledge. A teacher’s job is to try to inculcate a spirit of enquiry, curiosity and interest in the subject so that the student is motivated to explore the subject further. Once you arouse curiosity and interest of a student in a particular subject, the rest is as good as done.

Thirdly, a school should have a library where students can read and explore books beyond the prescribed school text books. There is so much emphasis on school text books and scoring high marks in exams. Reading newspapers, magazines and other books of general interest should be encouraged and inculcated from a very young age. Wide reading broadens your horizons. Focusing only on school textbooks narrows your outlook and stands in the way of the full development of the personality. Mastering only your subject will do you no good unless you want to become a researcher or a lecturer/teacher. In today’s competitive world, one has to be master of one (master of two if you want to go through civil services) and jack of all trades. Most of us study to get a job, and especially in competitive exams, learning by rote or mastering only one subject will never be of much help. You have to be aware of what happens around you and have opinions on all important current issues. That can be gained only by reading newspapers and magazines, and that too more time should be given to editorials and opinion columns. A school can play a role towards this end by having a library with a good collection of newspapers, magazines and books of general interest. I firmly belive that one of the reasons why in today’s competitive world, we are lacking behind others is our emphasis on learning by rote and our focus only on school textbooks.

Fourthly, there is little emphasis on extra-curricular actitivties. Extra-curricular activities, whether fine arts, sports, debates, quizzes, etc should be given more emphasis. These type of activities prepare a students for the real work-life and helps in the development of the whole personality of the students. Also, every school should have a career counselor or simply a counsellor who will attend to the queries of the students regarding their careers, aims and aspirations. If this is not feasible, at least one or twice a year, career seminars should be held and career counsellors and experts/eminent personalities or alumni who have made a mark in various fields should be invited to present papers and answer the queries of the students. Also, it would be very good if schools have classes for social, environmental and political awareness classes so that our students would turn out to be more caring towards the society and make better contribution for the good of the society.

My last point I sincerely wish that private school in Lamka will also introduce the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Evaluation of students should be a continous and year-long affair. I have always found it ridiculous that the fate of a student is judged by one year-end examination. What if a very bright student suddenly fall ill or because of tragedies in his family, could not attend the year-end examination? Should all the hard work, time and money spent by that student be allowed to go waste because of circumstances beyond his control? I was on the verge of suffering from the same fate when I was in Class XII at Rayburn College. During the selection examination for the Council Exams, I fell ill and could not appear for all the papers. I was dejected, thinking that one year of my life had gone down the drain, just because I had the misfortune of falling ill at that “opportune moment”. But fortunately for me, I could sit for the Council exams despite not having appeared in all the papers. Every test and every exam should be counted for the final evaluation so that a student should not ignore any test or exam. This will make the student master his subjects very well.

These suggestions does not need much financial investment. Even for the library thing, I believe that there will be people, especially the alumni, who will be very much willing to contribute money, text books and gift magazine/newspaper subscriptions,etc. Let’s hope that these suggestions are given heed by the management of our private schools, for the future of our students, for our better tomorrow and for our society. All it needs is a change in the way of our thinking, a change in our mindset.

Friday, September 04, 2009

To Sir, With Love

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~William Arthur Ward

He is a teacher par excellence. The best teacher I could have asked for and I consider myself as really lucky to have had him as a teacher during my schooling days.

On this Teacher’s Day, I have the pleasure of introducing you to my favourite teacher, Sir Zampi, the genius who teaches English at my alma mater, St.Paul’s Institute, New Lamka. He is not your typical teacher who teaches as if the whole teaching exercise is a chore. He teaches with passion and his enthusiasm for the subject is infectious/contagious. He is, in my view, the best teacher that St.Paul’s has ever had.

My mind is often transported back to my schooling days when I used to listen attentively, trying to absorb each and every word he spoke. His erudite expositions of such poems as “On His Blindness” by John Milton, “To Daffodils” by Robert Herrick and Sonnet No.116 (Let me not to the marriage of true minds) by William Shakespeare still ring in my ears till today. I have a strong belief that the formation of “The Pearls”, a society of the Class-X students of St.Paul’s Institute (1997-98 batch) is inspired by his explanation of “After Twenty Years” by O.Henry. Like the two friends in the story, Bob and Jimmy, who promised to meet again exactly after twenty years no matter what their conditions might be or from what distance they might have to come, the class of 1997 had planned to meet again after ten years in Lamka. Well, it’s another story that our plans don’t materialize.

It is he, who has spurred on my interest in English literature. If I had an English teacher half as good as him in Class-XII, I definitely would have taken up English literature in graduation. I, sometimes, still regret not having done that.

Lazy bunches that we were, he used to give us notes. His notes were very much sufficient to guarantee us good marks in the Class-X Board exams. Interested, as I was, more in novels and magazines than my school textbooks, listening to his lectures and quickly going through his notes at the time of examinations usually more than suffice. And the great thing is that unlike some teacher, he never penalized us for not reproducing exact replicas of his notes. Instead, he always encouraged writing answers in our own words.

I firmly believe that learning by rote or mugging up just before the exams is no learning at all. Education does not entail mugging up of facts. Education should make you more humane, inculcate a spirit of enquiry and a thirst/hunger for knowledge. A teacher should never encourage learning by rote. He should try to inculcate a spirit of enquiry, curiosity and interest in the subject so that the student is motivated to explore the subject further by himself. That is exactly what Sir Zampi does. Some teachers just gave us notes and consider their job done. They even penalized us and gave lesser marks if we cannot reproduce their notes in the examination though the contents of the answers may be the same. Spoon feeding is not in the best interests of the students in the long run. In fact, I believe that notes should not be given to the students, at least from Class-IX. Students should be made to prepare their own notes and the teacher’s role in note making should confine to checking the notes prepared by the students and suggesting improvisations.

He taught us how to write answers. That we should answer a question in the same tense as the question. This simple, yet very important fact was never told to us by other teachers. He taught us the nuances of grammar and explained to us very clearly the meaning of words, especially difficult words, the difference in degree in the meaning of words like anger, rage and fury, etc, the difference between compared to and compared with and so many things which cannot be reproduced in this short piece.

I know that many of my classmates and his former students share the same thoughts about him. It’s just that nobody ever took the initiative to write about him.

He is my hero. May his tribe increase.

(Dear Sir, I salute you, once again, for all the dedication and passion with which you teach your students. I thought of writing this piece a long time ago but could never do so earlier. And I hope that I am not too late. This is the only thing that I can do to repay you for all the things that you have taught me. On this Teacher’s Day, as always, my thoughts and prayers are with you.)