Knows Everything but Understand Nothing


By: Dr. Ngulani Leo*


Sometime I imagine myself to be jack of all trade, master of none. As a child, I used to be always obsessed with a dream that, if I am a man, I must do all kinds of things, I must taste and touch everything. I wanted to become an artist, so I started to draw things and earned some money by helping in painting tribal shawls in the state exhibitions. I wanted to become a journalist, so I learned stenography for 3 months, I was not good at typing and I feel lazy to learn so I quit. I wanted to become stage actor, so I used to perform in every Christmas gathering in my village when I come home. I used to watch every new film regularly.


I wanted to join insurgency; I was mentally prepared to work for the nation, inspired by people around me and in order to keep myself physically fit I used to practice running and jumping where I broke my left hand. I wanted to become a football player, I practice so hard, I can play but not that well, so I quit. I wanted to become a magician, so I read a lot of magic books, even performed in my village at my brother’s marriage, some of my villagers still believe that I know magic. I wanted to become an inventor, I operated my father’s radio and old watches, though I was not good at it, I made my own bed switch with ball pen and nail inside it. I wanted to become a rock star, so I learned how to play guitar, even performed once in our college auditorium, but I couldn’t sing nor could played well, so I quit and decided not to sing.


I wanted to become a trendsetter of our time with punk etc; I started to drink wine and dress with all sorts of clothes. Three of my friends expired because they couldn’t overcome drugs. I wanted to change the religious system of our people because of too much corruption and politics in the church; I study the Bible to question the authority. I wanted to become an anthropologist; I was interested in the relic of the past, so I took anthropology as my honours subject in DM College.


What do you think of me?

Many people tend to think and do things like me. You may think that’s interesting. But it’s a waste and I know myself that I am not good with any of them. A Turkish saying, “One who knows everything cannot do anything.” I regret today that if I happened to concentrate only in one or two things, I could have been mastered it by now A Vietnamese saying, “Being master in one job is better than being average in nine jobs”. Later on, I realized that what I’ve been doing is wrong. The education system and the environment that shape us are still primitive. There is no direction to what we are learning. There are hardly people who can guide us. Those who are lucky enough they got into some professional fields. The mass are still alike.


What is our village lifestyle?

If we happen to live a village life, men are required to know the art of all sorts of crafts in order to earn their livelihood. It is a must that man ought to know the art of every activity. Those who know many things are often respected. This is the thinking of most of our people. With those thoughts we go out of our hometown thinking that we can fit into anything with our simple graduation degree.  When we step out of the village, things are different. It’s like jumping over a

boundary drawn between the Primitive world and the nuclear world, for we don’t have Medieval and Modern period. What we do is that we try to mingle everything in our work and thinking of how, we were brought up. So, when we are expose to the outside world, we find them very complex thinking that they are very selfish and they appear to us as if they will devour us any time.



What are our general people thinking?

As an average person when we compare ourselves with our mainland counterparts, we are smarter. They usually compliment us because every Naga boys can play guitar, football, speak English, sing, etc. But when we really think about ourselves and ask question to ourselves, are you as good as those professionals? The answer is far from truth. A Finnish saying, “Usually a compliment sometimes implies irony: a tool designed for all purposes is not really good for any specific purposes.”


What do we lack?

First of all, we are often confused of what to do, what we are good at. Even if we are good at something, we never try to master it; rather we took it for granted. That is why we always become an average. Alec Bourne, once said, “It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated.” Likewise, we try to mix up our studies with everything like, social activities, extracurricular activities, parties etc. We Nagas are closely knitted society; we are jolly and easy going people and it is believed to be in our gene. We often have too many functions and meetings. If we count the number of social functions of our tribe like the activities of the churches, students meetings, wedding parties, birthday parties, village wise meetings, other tribes functions etc. etc. For a student, you just count all the invitation and compare with your academic days in a year. A Hungarian saying, “He who grasps much, retains but little” We the Naga people have more meetings and social functions than any other tribes or community in India. Is that really going to affect our target or not?


Why we need skill in today’s world?

In order to survive in this modern world or in the city, only thinking will take us nowhere. There is a Mexican saying, “You aim for everything, but you hit nothing”. You have to master in something or the other. We don’t have time to know about all things, that’s not possible for a human. To know about many things without mastering anything will be like “An ocean of knowledge of an inch deep” And it’s a waste of our lifetime.


What do we learn?

We all know that Sachin Tendulkar got a talent for cricket, we consider, he is born for it. Now imagine, if cricket was not introduced in India as a game, then what will be the fate of Sachin? Who invented this Cricket? Is it man or God? That cricket becomes a talent of someone? Now the question is, did someone like Sachin is born for it or did he shape his profession by dedication and determination? Is God doing partiality that he didn’t allow any Naga to be born as famous cricketer, gymnast, boxer, industrialist, scientist, etc, etc.? But why so many politician and philosopher who lecture without really doing what they profess. My microbiology teacher, used to say,” If you give time to think and dream on this little mosquito as much as you do to your girlfriend; you’ll become as famous as a renowned scientist.” We were amused, but there is a deep meaning behind it.


What we need to achieve

If we happen to give extra effort in what you are good at, you’ll always notice, the difference between you and your friend. You will be respected for it. You can bring changes to society. We need to push each other and walk together with join hand. Let us think beyond our own tribe and look at other tribes and forget those pity fights in our kitchen. Let us forget village barriers, tribalism or clans etc. We need to pray to God and focus what do we want to become with hard work, discipline, dedication and determination. We should mold our younger generation to the right direction. Let them do what they desire to do, encourage them to master it, only than we can shape our society.


By: Dr. Ngulani Leo

*Courtesy: Poutsii, September 2011, Poumai Naga Tsiidoumai Me, Delhi (PNTM news letter)

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