Last week, at ACJ they had organized an evening interaction with Sudeep Chakravarti, the author of Red Sun: Travels in a Naxalite Country and Highway 39: Journeys through a Fractured Land. In early romance, when Sudha was traveling day and night in the Bombay trains, a few years ago, Red Sun kept him company and found him strange friends who shared the bogey. When on holidays or short escapades when my pockets are full enough for a pitcher of beer every week, I’d be in Bombay or Goa with him. Bits of the book, that’s all I have managed to read in five years. It’s expansive. What I knew of the Northeast states, Tibet, Kashmir, or Sri Lanka was from mainly from my friends from these places at college, parent’s friends, or work friends. The idea what is a home gets invariably altered. The AFSPA; the Assamese going ‘home’; Operation Bluebird; Liberalization, Privatization, and Corporatisation; the corruption; the Media; the history textbooks; they all say a very grim story. But from her own confusions that reflects a generation from Nagaland, Vibi spoke before the discussion. As soon as she had finished, I hurriedly jotted down, ‘must speak to her at the end of the evening’. I knew it was something Chaikadai could definitely create the space for. But, we are not a newspaper, magazine, or anything so concrete. After maintaining Koodankulam Speaks, this became a small editorial project for me. With the help of Sudeep Chakravarti, Vibi Yhokha and Nityanand Jayaraman, I have compiled a small set of reading and links that will help further the discussion. Though, the small nooks and corners of this as in Tamil I might call it is ‘nachu vela’ (courtesy Sukumar, Aakur, referring to sitting and cutting glass pieces one by one by hand for the kattaikuthu kreedam decorations).
Linking things. Changing it blue. Making sure everything opens in a new window. But, everything put aside, it has been a very good process for me to spend the week reading and collating. Now, that we know this is possible and have learnt many more keyboard shortcuts, we should be able to publish good comprehensive posts.
by Vibi Yhokha
“The single story creates stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story….Stories matter, many stories matter, stories have been used to dispossess and to malign but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize, stories can break the dignity of a people but stories can also repair that broken dignity…..”
– Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi, The Danger of a Single Story
People, especially mainland Indians, have only a single story of Nagaland. No, in fact they have different single stories. They associate the Nagas with headhunting, Hornbill festival, Rock music, fashion and yes, Conflict. Nagaland the land of myths, where life is one long festival but is also a place where life is one long, long war….
But there is so much more to Nagaland than just conflict, music…
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