By Limalenden Longkumer

Imagine Mokokchung a couple of centuries ago. The light of modernity had not yet dawned in our land and I am certain that life must have been pretty hard then. But our forefathers survived! They led a simple life and called this land home. It is because of their valour and sacrifice that we have a land to call our own today and I am so proud to have descended from these upright souls who knew no fear.

Imagine Mokokchung fifty years back. Things slowly began to change. Christianity got deeply rooted by then, education had spread, modernity had dawned, Naga Nationalism witnessed its heights, the land was developing, roads were constructed – things improved. Imagine Mokokchung today. We have all the modern amenities, we have English medium educational institutions, we have RCC buildings beautifying the skyline and we have the asphalt with modern fancy cars plying upon them, we have electricity and water supply, we have telephones and cellular phones and internet, we have modern transport and communication systems, our market is growing rapidly and things are changing fast. Life’s improving by the day!

That’s Mokokchung then and now in brief. But how about imagining Mokokchung in the next twenty-five years? I believe every one of us has certain dreams as individuals, but do we have a collective dream for our future? For our home? For Mokokchung? I have a dream, the Mokokchung Dream!

Mokokchung is relatively the fastest developing town in Nagaland and in all possibilities can become a “dream town”. Here’s how: Mokokchung is Nagaland’s cleanest town. Can’t we the people of Mokokchung make this beautiful town the world’s cleanest town? Yes, we can. Imagine a corruption-free Mokokchung where not a single rupee in the public account is misused, where there’s no nepotism, favouritism or bribery and where the guilty goes punished. And if Shillong can make or break a world record, why can’t Mokokchung? Yes, we can. If Darjeeling, situated at an altitude of 2,134 meters above sea level can have railway connectivity, why can’t Mokokchung? We’re situated at merely 1,325 meters above sea level as compared to Darjeeling! And our terrain is even more feasible for railroads than Darjeeling’s. The Mokokchung-Mariani Border Road is too narrow. Can’t it be widened and made into a two-lane highway, like the one between Kohima and Dimapur? We can! Traffic-jams in Mokokchung were a “rare encounter” just about five years ago, but it’s become a “daily encounter” today. Shall we dream for flyovers here in Mokokchung? I have a feeling that we’ll be necessitated to build them in the near future anyway. Coming to sports infrastructure, we have the Imkongmeren Sports Complex. Why not dream for an “Imkongmeren International Stadium” with all the modern amenities like the ones we see on TV?

Imagine Mokokchung producing 50 metric tons of tomatoes annually instead of importing them from Assam. Impossible? Possible. Longkhum village alone produces almost 2 metric tons of tomatoes annually. Let’s trigger an agricultural revolution!

Now, before you read on, I’d like to request you to pause for a moment and imagine Mokokchung of your dreams … Pause. Dream. Dream on!

Alright, let’s continue. We have a Nursing School at Imkongliba Memorial Hospital. Can’t we have a full-fledged Medical School then? It’s yes again. We also have the Nagaland University Head Quarters at Lumami, which is just a mere thirty minutes’ drive from the town. Why don’t we do some thinking and make this town an educational centre? Mokokchung town’s market is growing rapidly and is fast becoming a commercial hub for the districts of Mokokchung, Longleng, Tuensang and Zunheboto. But why is it that two-thirds of the town’s business establishments happen to be in the hands of the immigrants? In Aizawl, Mizoram, all business establishments are in the hands of the local Mizos. Right from the CEO of the biggest business house, down to the last shoe-shiner in the street is a local Mizo. Why can’t it be so in Mokokchung? Imagine Mokokchung with a well-planned commercial centre. Imagine Mokokchung with an Industrial Estate. Imagine Mokokchung with ATM booths working round the clock!

Mokokchung’s development has all along been “vertical”. Wouldn’t it be better if we develop our town in the “horizontal” plane? I mean, why don’t we take our developmental and commercial activities farther away from the “main town” to areas like Yimyu, Sungkomen, Marepkong and beyond? Why don’t we build a Ring Road around Mokokchung town, thereby setting off mushrooming of satellite towns?

We are peace lovers. We simply enjoy frolicking and we want recreation. Why don’t we build an amusement park for ourselves? With such a vibrant motley cultural heritage in the background, why don’t we engage ourselves in some imagination and bring our culture to the forefront and claim our rightful place as Nagaland’s capital of art and culture?

Media has always played an important role in bringing about changes in the modern history of mankind. Why don’t we bring out periodicals, radio broadcasts, satellite TV channels and websites exclusively for Mokokchung? (It’s good to have ‘Nokinketer’ website, isn’t it?).

Some may say that dreams are dreams – but living one’s dream is different from dreaming one’s life away! I am a dreamer and there are two things that I love the most about dreams. One, dreams are infinite. Two, dreams come true. Dreams are not wishful-thinking. Dreams do come true. The Mokokchung Dream can come true, too. “Imagination”, said Einstein “is more important than knowledge. It is a preview of life’s coming attractions”. Imagine yourself twenty-five years from now. Imagine Mokokchung twenty-five years from now.

(This article was written in 2006 and was published in various electronic and print media. I thought this would be an appropriate first column considering the fact that everything starts in our imagination. The writer feels that if our minds can conceive it and our hearts believe it, we can achieve the Mokokchung Dream).

Limalenden Longkumer is a journalist attached with The Morung Express; he is also the president of the Mokokchung Press Club (MPC) and also a successful entrepreneur. Being a prolific writer, he has written a lot of news and articles in The Morung Express from time to time. He will be a regular contributor in the Nokinketer, sharing his dreams and aspirations about Mokokchung town and its people.