The other day there was a very interesting and very rare congratulatory message carried in our local dailies about celebration of 81st Wedding Anniversary of Mr. Saku Lungkumer (106 years) and Mrs. Nukmila Jamitsur (104 years) on April 23, 2024 who happens to be from my village. They were solemnized in holy matrimony by Pastor late Chubaonen, who also happened to be my uncle, on April 23, 1943 at Akhoya Baptist Church as per the written record preserved in the Church register.

Mr. Saku Lungkumer (full name Sakulepden) was born onApril 19, 1918 and his wife Nükmila(full name Sennükmila) born on January 17, 1920. The Akhoya Baptist Church in Mokokchung district was established in the year 1888 hence written records are well maintained therefore is authentic. The couple eldest daughter Mrs. Tinutola has also attained 80 years of age and alive.

Mr. Saku Lungkumer and wife Nukmila are the first centenarian couple from the village although there were several other centenarians from the village but either husband or the wife had predeceased the other spouse before attaining 100 years age.

From time to time in our local dailies we come across congratulatory note of couple 50 years Wedding Anniversary but it is for the first time we read of the 81st Wedding Anniversary in our State. We also read in our local dailies obituary tribute of number of Centenarians and some even above 110 years.

In absence of any survey being done by any agency, or in that matter appropriately by the Social Welfare Department, correct me if I am wrong, we do not have any data on Octogenarian, Nonagenarian, Centenarian and above in the State.

Our knowledge on existence of such golden old age people comes to us only after their death through the obituary references column. Bottom line, we are enlightened that Naga’s too have longevity in spite of the poor living condition and poor dietary habits but could be due to breathing natural ambient air quality, drinking clean spring water and taking organic food in combination of daily sweat out physical exercise working manual labor, walking down and up through the winding path to and from patty field.

Today we have better hygiene and better living condition, better medical health care system and ate better nutritional food and supplements so automatically longevity should go higher up but let us imagine the yonder past village life and living condition when the couple were born and brought up in the early nineties. It is sheer God’s mercy and providence that they were born as chosen people.

The world best longevity is found in Japan, especially in the Okinawa archipelago. Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles have done extensive research on the Okinawan life style and dietary habit and have produced a book on “The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” in their book titled “IKIGAI”.

The long life of the Okinawans is attributed to their food habit. They ate at least five serving of fruits and vegetables every day. At least seven types of fruits and vegetables are consumed by Okinawan on a daily basis. Grains are the foundation of their daily diet and eat rice daily. They rarely eat sugar, and if they do, it is cane sugar. They eat fish but on an average of three times a week. Some of them eat meat but only pork and that also once in a week.

Although they eat less in volume, they eat more varied item putting in separate number of dishes that create psychological impression that they are eating more. It is interesting to note that all the longest living people do not have the same food habit but greatly differs from one another.

Misao Okawa who lived 117 years when specialist asked her self-care routine, she answered quickly, “Eating sushi and sleeping”. Her message was “Eat and sleep, and you’ll live long time” Maria Capovilla 116 years told, “I’ve never eaten meat in my life.”

Jeanne Calment who lived 122, the longest verified age in history had the most interesting life. She rode a bicycle until she turned 100. She lived on her own till 110, when she agreed to move to a nursing home after accidentally starting a small fire in her apartment. She stopped smoking at 120, when her cataracts started making it hard for her to bring a cigarette to her lips. One of her secrets may have been her sense of humor. As she said on her 120th birthday, “I see badly, I hear badly, and feel bad, but everything’s fine.”

I have gathered from the Website the updated record of the longest live married couple in the world and appending here below in the table to rationalize that a couple from Nagaland in India have also reached a place among the world longest live married couple galaxy coming to the 13th place.

The longest live married couple in the world as on April 2024:

The longest marriage was of Herbert Fisher and Zelmyra Fisher U.S. 86 years 290 days as of 27 February 2011 when Mr. Fisher passed away.

Humans being; homosapians, are mortal is not only universal truth but is also biblical truth. Our first father and mother; Adam and Eve were instructed in the garden of Eden by the creator God not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge that was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden. They were categorically told that the day they ate they will surely die, Geneses 2:17. When God said “you will surely die” God did not meant instantaneous death of the body but being contempt to die and depart from the realm of immortality at that very moment which we find written in Hebrew 9:27″And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement”.

The moment we become conscious of life, we start pondering longevity and ask ourselves how long would we live. As believers if we look in the bible we find variable general human destined longevity in different books such as 70 or 80 years of age in Psalms 90:10, 100 years and beyond in Isaiah 65:20, and 120 years in Geneses 6:3. Bottom line, life expectancy is only a general average but not guaranteed to any individual. Human life have no guarantee, a new born baby may also die, some die young, some die at prime of life, some die at ripe age and some die at very old age living a century and beyond.

Human longevity depends upon so many factors which are not within the scope and purpose of this short write up. But looking at a glance of world country wise life expectancy chart, we find India comes to sl. No. 126 among 201 countries as per study of 2023.

Life expectancy of the world Population:

Looking at our Nagaland average, we find that male longevity at 69.01 is lower than the female whereas female longevity stands at 74.05. Interestingly, if we look at the world longevity chart it is found that in all the country female longevity surpasses the male longevity.

Due to space constraints I could not reflect here all 201country’s figure but on careful perusal in the full chart, surprisingly, there is not a single country among the 201 covered by the study where the male life expectance is higher than the female, thus Nagaland is no exception.

Leaving aside the mainland and other countries, some of our young brilliant Ph.D. students should embark on to research the factor for female higher longevity and the lower male longevity in our own context.

Our female longevity is higher than the national average but the male longevity is lower than the national average. Our male longevity is 1.51 below the national average whereas our female longevity is 0.40 above the national average. Our study should focus on research how to bridge up the gap with the national average after all we live in a better climatic condition and environment comparing with the mainland India.

I implore the Nagaland University to launch the research without waiting for other University to be the first in the venture. The study should be also segregate village and urban conglomerate and also district wise to know the respective community approach to life and its impact. The research should focus on corrective measure on social aspect, genetics and epigenetic mechanism to improve the male longevity so as to bring it up to the national average and also to bridge up equal gender balance in the State.

T. Meren Paul
Lower PR Hill, Kohima

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