Search This Blog

Hues of life, beyond turmoil

Jahnavi Barua from Assam, Khasi writer Streamlet D. Kahar, Mizo writer Malsawmi Jacob, and Rita Krocha from Nagaland—all participants of the South India Writers’ Ensemble at Chengannur. Jahnavi Barua from Assam, Khasi writer Streamlet D. Kahar, Mizo writer Malsawmi Jacob, and Rita Krocha from Nagaland—all participants of the South India Writers’ Ensemble at Chengannur.

  • Writings from the North East are not just about conflicts

    The almost impenetrable iron curtain that has ostracised mainland India from its vibrant North Eastern (NE) region also ensconced it in a one-dimensional political enclosure of conflicts.
    To think that writers hailing from the NE only have political conflicts and insurgencies to talk about is being reactionary. “There’s the centrality of life, of human condition and interpersonal relations,” says fiction writer Jahnavi Barua, an Assamese writer based in Bengaluru.
    Ms. Barua insists that life in the region goes on unhindered amidst, or despite, the insurgency and the political turmoil it spawns.
    At the South India Writers’ Ensemble (SIWE) at Chengannur on Saturday, Malasawmi Jacob, author of arguably the third Mizo novel in English, puts it in perspective: “Regional writing in Manipuri and Assamese is tremendously rich; both these languages are older, richer and with a protracted history compared to ours. We, the people of the hills, have a fairly young tradition of writing. Our oral literatures and folk traditions have been there, though.” Mizoram’s written tradition is only 130 years old and the regional writers use the Roman script, Ms. Jacob, based in Bengaluru, tells The Hindu . Her novel, ‘Zorami: A Redemption Song,’ published in May this year, takes a dispassionate view of the Mizo insurgency, its aftermath, and the psychological impact on the people. Zorami is her seventh book.
    Bilingual Khasi writer Streamlet D. Kahar has her collection of poems, ‘Clouds of Emotions,’ translated into several Indian languages and Italian. Aware of the intrinsic oral tradition of the Khasi tribe and its matrilineal system, she says ‘Phawar,’ the traditional poetry of Khasis that is customarily sung in varied forms on occasions in life, has also assimilated contemporary modes of expression.
    Ms. Kahar has written English and Khasi poems, four dramas and a Khasi novel. Khasi language is studied at the PhD level at the North Eastern Hill University at Shillong, she says.
    Rita Krocha from Nagaland, too, writes stories and poems – her first collection was published with a foreword by author Ruskin Bond. She writes primarily on relationships, nature and environment, and thinks there is a lot of catching up that writers from Nagaland have to do.
    “The government extended a bit of support when they introduced a day-long lit fest as part of the Hornbill Festival. A whole new world of experiences opens up when writers from different regions of North East put pen to paper.