The Optimist Citizen

A man who left his family’s farming tradition to carry the voice of Nagaland’s Youth

Story of Samwell – The figurine of strength for Nagaland

Born in Nagaland, Samwell belonged to a simple family engaged in the pastures for 48 years. Samwell, the youngest one in the family, joined the Public College of Commerce for higher studies. Here, while studying accountancy he realized that beyond the farmlands of the state there is a whole new world to conquer. Soon after, he quit his studies to discover his areas of interest. In 2005, he joined an NGO – Youth Welfare, where he with his friend Chandu helped the youth in coming out from the cobwebs of drug addictions and HIV -Aids. This shift from self to society initiated his journey of self-introspection as he discovered his passion. In 2008, he joined another project as an in-charge of Social Marketing for social cause. Later, in 2010 Samwell and Chandu volunteered in the Young’s Club providing community services to the needy. Besides this, Samwell initiated various workshops, sports meet, youth meetings and forums which honed his leadership skills and earned him the position of Secretary in the Young Leaders Party.

Samwell participating in the UnManifesto Event in Assam
Samwell participating in the UnManifesto Event in Assam

Notwithstanding all this, Samwell felt directionless. His desire to address the needs of the common man required a road map. Soon, a clear route took shape as The Director of the Bosco University, Pondicherry, recommended his name for the UNMANIFESTO – which was a nationwide campaign initiated by CYC-PRAVAH and supported by UNFPA in the year 2014 and run for a period of 3 months in 2015. With the objective of engaging youth participation in the political process and bringing social inclusion and effectively involving government bodies for a change, this campaign ran across 20 states and Union Territories of the country. The UNMANIFESTO helped Samwell to connect with the youth and motivate them to come forward with their demands. “Nagaland is a very difficult state to deal with. The government hierarchy is full of corruption which creates enumerable barriers for people like us to come out and challenge the System”, said Samwell. The youth of the state is scared to come up with their own viewpoints. There have been times that Samwell and his team remained underground for months because their methodologies were not accepted by the Government.

Notwithstanding the resistance, he spoke to the youth leaders, common people, and politicians and brought out the charter of demands. In 2014, the 10+1 demands received tremendous response and the voice of the youth was heard nationwide. Samwell felt a new wind of change in his UNMANIFESTO journey when, despite of the resistance from the Government of Nagaland, the Deputy Commissioner of Police volunteered to help and support them. “With the help of the campaign, Our demands were taken into consideration but still they are in the pipeline. We really hope for a change soon”, Samwell validated

When asked about the biggest lesson learnt, Samwell smilingly said,” When I started this journey , I never thought that one day I will be the carrier of the voice of my Nagaland. This orbit has taught me perseverance and confidence. Through UNMANIFESTO i have emerged as a whole new figurine of integrity and strength. I learn everyday and still have a lot to do. Hope one day , my people of Nagaland will wake up to a morning of Freedom !”

Story by : Tanima Chakraborty | TOC

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