By: Apem Hongvah
Before I write about the night life in Nagaland particularly in the commercial hub, Dimapur let me dwell a bit about the history and evolution of nightclub. A nightclub (also known as a discotheque, or simply a club or disco) is an entertainment venue which usually operates late night. It is generally distinguished from bars, pubs, taverns by the inclusion of a dance floor and a Dj booth where DJ plays recorded music. From about 1900 to 1920, working class Americans would gather at honky tonks or juke joints to dance to music played on a piano a jukebox. Webster hall is credited as the first modern nightclub.
During US prohibition, nightclubs went underground as illegal speakeasy bars with rumors circulation of police bribery. With the repeal of prohibition in February 1993 nightclubs were revived and the rest is history .Nightclub entry criteria may vary from club to club. Many nightclubs choose who can enter on the basis other than just age, e.g. dress code and guest list. This is used to make their status as a nightclub more “exclusive “quiteoften, there are no clear policies governing entry into nightclub thereby allowing doormen/bouncer to deny entry to anybody at their discretion. I for one had partied in different metropolitan cities in India and had also organized events in different parts in Indiaparticularly in the capital city Delhi and in NCR region like Gurgaon and Noida. Most of the party goers in cities are working people and of course the universities students. Cent percent of the party goers would hit the club either in the weekend or during their week off just so to relief themselves from their stressfully weeklong workload. There is no denying the fact there always are people who hit with club to gratify their sexual pleasure (depending upon the situation based on consensual).
The existence of club in the so called commercial hub in Dimapur had a different story to tell altogether .I had visited almost all the club in Dimapur which I am not proud of. Whilst I was in Delhi I heard a lot about the nightlife in Dimapur from many friends and I was actually fascinated by such stories which in reality turn out to be otherwise .Unlike the clubs in metropolitan cities there is no such thing called ‘AGE LIMIT’ in Dimapur night club. Most of the party goers are underage (you will also get to see lots of married woman and married man which I don’t object so long as they came and spend their own money) but the problem kicks in when a married man would try to hit a young girl (mostly wearing a skimpy dress) who would of actually been his daughter age. Since the club owner doesn’t check the identity card to confirm about the biological age cent percent of the clubbers are underage with no income or less income (most of them depends on their parents for their pocket money) what is more ironical is the presence of hordes of miya’s , marwaris, Indians (no pun intended- allow me to be a a bit selfish in this) .
I get to see lots of North eastern girl hanging out with the main land Indians, Nigerians, hippies, Russians in metropolitan cities and who am I to raise objection in such matter so long as they are hanging out with mutual consent .However, I never could imagine in my wildest dream that such trend would happen in my own land where I was born and raised. However to my dismay I get to see lots of young Naga girl hovering around with the miya’s or for that matter outsiders.one of the reason why our Naga girl hang around with them could be because they find it more secure with them plus they might as well be paying them (it’s just a speculation tough).
Another drawbacks of nightclub in Dimapur is it doesn’t have any time limit.so long as the party goers continue to shell out their money and buy drinks the club will remain open until morning and thus it gives an opportunity to people who came with ulterior motives to finished their unfinished business taking maximum advantages of those drunk and happy going kids who party like there is no tomorrow and doesn’t mind sharing their bed when given a ride or offer some assistance. I had been told that some young Naga girls had been chased out from their parents because they would sneak out at wee hours almost like every day to hit the club and would return home in the morning (some end up sleeping at their friends place /hotels). The parents couldn’t condone such behaviors which eventually force them to take suck extreme steps in a bid to either keep them at bay or just so to let their child learned a lesson. Such girls would end up living at their friends place or they would group themselves and stay at a lodge or lives in a rented apartment with no income to support which eventually force them to give paid services even. How cheap have we become? As opposed to club in metro cities most of the club goers in Nagaland goes to club like thrice or even more in a week if my source is correct. So you can imagine how do they manage to get the money in the club when most of them are underage with no income or with very less income (I know there are many children from a well to do family as well) keeping in mind the exorbitant rate charge by the club in any alcoholic beverages (in a tax free -so called dry state, underground might as well have their own share ).
There are hordes of hooligans in the club as well. Most Guys would end up flexing their muscles by hitting each other. They would drink like there is no tomorrow and the more they drink the more boosts full they are likely to become which eventually leads to individual fights or group fights. Fighting’s in the club is common phenomenon everywhere but at least in other parts of the world they maintain some level of decency. Group fights can even results in the loss of a life. Most of the Dimapur club doesn’t have a proper lift system and walk over. Any drunken person could of easily fall and hit the ground (I am just saying). Looking at the way things are changing around the world we too want to become one yet the way we behave and act is just so pathetic (pathetic is the word I would want to use).
My whole point being the existence of club is doing more harm than good. I for one wouldn’t recommend having a club in Nagaland at the moment because it still is not at a par with the rest of the world in terms of maintaining a standard and the way we behave .Let us be civil first even if at all there has to be a club in Nagaland (depending on the consensus of the people).while appreciating the Announcement of banning of nightclub in Dimapur by the NSCN (IM) ,it is also requested to enforce in letter and in spirit less it becomes a mockery .In this venture the involvement of civil societies, students activist ,youth leaders is much needed .A holistic approach to address the problem is the need of the hour. It needs a concerted effort from all and sundry. Am certain that the club owner (I don’t have any personal grudges) might try to offer something to let things run as it is. But for posterity sake it will be best to ignore when such offer comes in their table. If the NSCN leaders can manage to do that and if the civil societies can co-operate by not only raising their voice but give their time and energy by educating the masses we can say that we are cleaning up the mess for real .