By Zeba Rehman:
My name is Zeba Rahman. I am from Dimapur, Nagaland currently pursuing my graduate degree in Education. Last year, I got to represent my state at the National Youth Parliament in New Delhi. Everyone present was there to speak about a Happy, Healthy Earth, a cause which is very close to my heart.
Even as a young person, I couldn’t tolerate people throwing garbage or tiny bits of plastic papers anywhere but into a dustbin. If the need of the hour is to make planet Earth safe and healthy for the coming generations to live in, then, to achieve that, I want to do everything in my capacity. My Youth Club in Dimapur organises cleanliness drives, awareness campaigns, charity work, and also visits remote areas nearby to talk to residents about good health and hygiene. And I can proudly say that, with every passing day, we make good progress, and witness real change in our area. Changes such as proper use of dustbins, hygienic home surroundings, use of eco-friendly products by minimising the use of plastics can be witnessed in our area. But we do need more active support from young people. After all, change happens when youth imbibe habits in their daily lives that are healthy for our planet.
In school, we were all taught not to be selfish, and to think about the people around us. But by the time I was in Grade 6, I saw less and less of that. I wanted things to change, but I was never really that “smart, confident, extrovert” kid. At the time, I didn’t have many friends and I was always lost in my own world. My teachers, who had failed to understand that every kid is different, never made any effort to understand the individual qualities of students like me.
Things changed when I enrolled in a boarding school the following year. There, I found myself to be myself. I made good friends and had an encouraging warden who would assign us tasks and made sure to praise us for every little bit of progress we made. My confidence grew. One year later, I shifted to an Air Force school, where there were many extracurricular activities. I even managed to conquer my stage fright! It was the year that I joined the National Cadet Corps. As a cadet, until Grade 12, I became bold, disciplined, active, and patriotic. The NCC taught me about teamwork and management. My confidence grew even more!
Then, I joined college and the National Service Scheme. Woah! It was so different from the NCC, but it helped me understand many of India’s ground realities. In the process, I participated in lots of campaigns and activities. To name a few:
And that’s when a professor (and my NSS guide) encouraged me to take part in District Youth Parliament that was held in September 2018. For my exceptional performance, I was selected for the National Youth Parliament (NYP). Participating at the NYP boosted my confidence levels and I was amazed to have got the opportunity to meet the most kindred people.
I listened to each and every Parliamentarian about what they have got say. I realised that every one of us there was voicing out our own viewpoints on how to implement our ideas to make this planet a better place to live in. We represented the voice of so many people and yes, it was a moment to be proud of. We all had to make an impact with the solutions we presented. I was enthralled to see every individual being confident to voice out every possible solution by thinking out of the box.
The NYP made me realise that a single individual can make a vast difference. All we need to do is treat the problems around us as our own so that we can produce fruitful solutions.
Today, I tutor kids between the ages of six and 15, giving my whole to help them grow as people. I function as both a teacher and a psychologist to them, so I can help them with challenges like fighting an inferiority complex. I encourage them to think out of the box by helping them to voice out their opinions without being fearful of what others might think. Sometimes, a silly idea can change the perspective of how we see the world, and, in this way, a new, innovative idea can be born. I give most of my time to moulding young minds because they are the torch bearers of tomorrow. And if we are successful in leading them to the right path, then we as teachers have lived up to our profession.
Things have changed so much, I’ve come quite a long way from being that quiet kid in Grade 6! If I could go back in time, I would have told younger myself to be confident, to speak up, and to be open to emotions. I’d tell myself “Don’t be afraid of anyone when you know you are right, and, most importantly, accept that you are different. You are one of a kind!”.
This is the message I pass on to my young students too, so as to open up their minds, encourage selfless service, and to make them believe that nothing is impossible when you believe in yourself, accept yourself, develop the courage and passion to be able to cross all of life’s hurdles to achieve your goals.
About the author:
Zeba Rahman is pursuing her bachelor’s in education from Pranabananda Women’s College, Dimapur, Nagaland. She is also a home tutor, entrepreneur, social worker. She is an enthusiastic, fun-loving, adventurous, approachable individual and if you are to visit Dimapur during winters you’ll see her putting up stalls of home-baked cakes and cookies. She has a message for those who have not visited North East India, that “you must pay a visit especially to the beautiful state Nagaland and you won’t regret the decision”.