The Government of Nagaland has permitted sale and consumption of liquor based on the Section 16 of the NLTP Act to foreign delegates attending the G20 business meeting to be held in the capital, Kohima from April 4-6, 2023 in order to enhance tourism. This Group of Twenty comprises of 19 countries namely Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom, and United States and the European Union.
Indeed, we are amused and attracted when such events are initiated in the name of development, trade and corporate investments with first world countries. However, we can further examine how far Nagas can balance between tourism and liquor drinking culture especially in a Christian dominated state.
No doubt, Tourism is a font of revenue, service production, and regional progress as well as advantage for those interested in foreign exchange and economic development. One can dream of milestone achievements in the tourism industry in the light of entrepreneurship development particularly in the Northeast solving various emerging problems in the region.
The innumerable policies adopted by the government towards indigenous people in the North East may dream of strengthening the outlook using various attractive slogans such as Incredible India, Look/Act East and applauded as a motor for development. Perhaps the North Eastern region is known for its artistic natural features, appealing to tourists domestic and international.
The Directorate of Tourism in their respective Governments may identify certain thrust areas based upon the opportunities available in the state for the growth of tourism.
However, can indigenous Naga Christians contemplate on the issues such as: When the pattern of development heralded by Tourism is product centered and not life centered; If such initiatives are focused on the quantity of products and not on better quality of life; If it is for the privileged and not for less disadvantaged, then such development remains questionable.
Any industry including Tourism that operates by profit mode and commercial standard needs critical assessment. Who profits for whom? Who determines the structure and policies of the whole trade? Does the issue of commercialism outweigh the ethical justice and evenhandedness particularly the tribal indigenous people who are often sidetracked and marginalized from the pool of fairness? Is it not a crime and violation when there is exploitation and objection of people and resources taking place in the name of Tourism?
In the true sense of the word, commercially oriented development does not liberate the people to reach the full potential or do justice to the poor and to entire God’s creation. Can we divorce tourism from the culture of liquor and its menaces?
ABAM today relentlessly hold on to the firm pathways of our undisputed Christian foreparents of Nagaland who fasted with tears and sacrificed their lives for this noble cause i.e., ‘The Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1989’ (The Nagaland Act No.4 of 1990) assented by the then Governor of Nagaland on April 13, 1990. As right-thinking citizens, can’t we think of doing development/tourism without abetting the culture of drinking liquor in any manner in Nagaland? Is drinking liquor the only answer to introduce Tourism in Nagaland?
Rev. Dr. Prof. Mar Pongener, Executive Secretary, ABAM
Rev. Temshi Longkümer, President, ABAM
Also Read: ABAM irked by Govt proposal to sell liquor to foreigners
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