Currencies of Exchange: A Case for Returning Home

Kohima: Kevisato Sanyu highlights the unique merits of returning to Nagaland, his home after 27 years of living in Australia

BY Kevisato Sanyu | Saturday, 22 July, 2022

Kevisato Sanyu with friend hiking through the Australian wilderness

I recently engaged in a thought-provoking discussion about my return home to Nagaland. I had characterised living aboard as a place where “there’s not much there for me.” I was speaking of my 27-year sojourn in Australia, and this description perplexed my friend, urging me to delve deeper into the remarkable advantages found in Nagaland that surpass the comforts found in developed nations like Australia. I recounted my personal journey and highlighted the unique merits of returning to Nagaland, where opportunities abound to shape its future, embrace cultural identity, and make meaningful contributions to the community. I am eternally grateful for the opportunities and the privileges provided by my time in Australia, however, I could not leave unanswered the quiet voice calling me home. Download Nagaland Tribune app on Google Play

As I departed from Australia, a long-established and highly developed nation, Nagaland revealed itself as a realm brimming with possibilities. Its nascent market and evolving identity offer a fertile landscape where individuals could carve out uncharted paths and shape the future. The absence of deeply entrenched contemporary systems frees us from constraints, empowering visionary minds to seize the moment and propel innovative ideas and initiatives forward. Here, the fluidity of the environment encourages exploration and emboldens us to pioneer transformative endeavours, redefining the trajectory of this vibrant region. Returning to Nagaland bestows upon me the power to assume a role in shaping our entrance into the Fourth Industrial Revolution while embracing and celebrating our rich cultural heritage.

The author with his family at his ancestral village of Khonoma

Historically, with an unwavering commitment to community development, we Nagas invested our time and energy in projects that elevated the collective, willingly exchanging personal aspirations for the invaluable sense of purpose derived from actively enhancing our village community. Each endeavour embarked upon served as a testament to our unwavering dedication, forging bonds of unity and paving a path towards a shared vision of progress. A demonstration of this philosophy can be witnessed in the Feast of Merit, practised by many Naga villages. Through our selfless contributions, we Nagas became architects of a harmonious village society where collective well-being took precedence over individual ambitions, creating a tapestry of shared achievements and a flourishing sense of belonging. A great opportunity lies before us to bring forth these time-tested approaches to society building into the 21st century. In the face of developed nations’ allure of material luxuries and abundant resources, returning to Nagaland requires a conscious decision to relinquish these opulent amenities in exchange for a profound connection to ancestral lands and spiritual roots. The intangible wealth we derive from a sense of belonging and cultural identity holds immeasurable value, providing me with a compass to align my skills and passions with work that directly impacts the lives of others. Here I began my mission of NagaEd. Within this realm of earnest connection, I discovered a purpose that transcended personal gain, contributing to the betterment of the community. The immeasurable satisfaction I derive from making a tangible difference in the lives of our fellow Nagas surpassed any material comforts that Australia could offer, fostering a strong sense of fulfilment and contentment that resonates within the core of my being. The decision to return to Nagaland necessitates a willingness to trade the cherished privileges of independence and freedom to explore new territories for the priceless currencies of time and family. Embracing this trade-off opens me to be embraced by family, witness cherished milestones, reciprocate the care and love my parents demonstrated, and nurture unbreakable bonds that bring immeasurable joy. The deep sense of fulfilment I gain from witnessing and being witnessed through triumphs, struggles, and sharing in everyday moments cannot be replicated elsewhere. It is within the embrace of family and the nurturing of these precious relationships that I discover a rich and lasting contentment, enriching my life and creating a tapestry of treasured memories that would resonate throughout generations.

Author with his family at their healing garden

Nagaland’s burgeoning market serves as a fertile ground for cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit, fueling a climate that fosters risk-taking and emboldens individuals to explore uncharted domains. In this landscape, where established enterprises are scarce, opportunities are abundant for new ventures to flourish. This environment not only encourages innovation and experimentation but also paves the way for the cultivation of homegrown enterprises that cater specifically to local challenges and community needs. In this fertile ground, I have discovered NagaEd, a budding startup that deploys digital education to our tribal and indigenous communities. With a dynamic marketplace awaiting creative solutions, enterprising minds in Nagaland can unleash their ingenuity, design sustainable business models, and make a tangible impact on the community. This ecosystem of entrepreneurial endeavours creates a vibrant and unique blend of diverse enterprises, revitalising the local economy and propelling Nagaland towards a future brimming with possibilities. In a world often driven by the relentless pursuit of material wealth and personal success, the decision to return to Nagaland required embracing alternative currencies of exchange. By prioritising our connection to the land, contributing to the community, pursuing purposeful endeavours, and nurturing meaningful relationships, I have uncovered a gratifying and authentic sense of home. I am thankful for the material comforts, security, career opportunities, and personal growth garnered during my time in Australia. However, they cannot compete with the intrinsic value derived from returning home. I urge those aboard to come home and celebrate the unique benefits of returning to Nagaland, where universal currencies intertwine with the intangible riches of culture, community, and belonging, forging a meaningful journey back to our roots.

Kevisato Sanyu 

About the Author

Hailing from Nagaland and raised in Australia, Kevisato embarked on a quest to seek an answer to the question “What is my contribution to my community?”. His professional trajectory initially led him to conservation, where he dedicated eight years to bolstering environmental legislation and policies for endangered species, wilderness expanses, and rainforests in his adopted homeland of Australia. Subsequently, Kevisato turned his attention to the realm of higher education, aligning with RMIT University – an eminent and sizable Australian institution. Tasked with anticipating the future of education, Kevisato concentrated on devising degree programmes for the forthcoming generations of scholars and labour force. His tenure at RMIT culminated at the Centre of Academic Quality and Excellence, where he fashioned a comprehensive academic quality appraisal mechanism for the 500+ degrees on offer, ensuring adherence to both national and international educational benchmarks. Recognising his tribal community’s aspiration for economic autonomy, Kevisato pursued a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation before re-establishing his roots in Nagaland. As an entrepreneur, he currently creates enterprises that generate wealth, stimulate employment, and introduce innovation to the local populace. At the helm of his latest venture, NagaEd, a digital education firm, Kevisato and his team supply digital learning materials tailored for tribal and indigenous communities. 

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NagaEd is a leading digital education company that provides learning and teaching solutions for students, teachers and institutions through modern and digitally enabled educational experience. We create a learning society where all Nagas are provided equal opportunity to access quality education resources.

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