A Book ‘Folktales Of The Konyak Nagas’ Released In Kohima - Eastern Mirror
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A book ‘Folktales of the Konyak Nagas’ released in Kohima

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: May 28, 2022 10:10 pm
Folktales of the Konyak Nagas Copy scaled
E Echu Konyak (holding the book) along with S Phangnon Konyak and others during the release of ‘Folktales of the Konyak Nagas’ in Kohima on Saturday.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, May 28 (EMN): A book ‘Folktales of the Konyak Nagas,’ which is a collection of Konyak folklores with illustrations, and authored by E Echu Konyak was released in Kohima by the Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, S Phangnon Konyak on Saturday.

As a child growing up in the village (Jakphang), Echu was fascinated by folktales and stories that were told among his friends’ circles whenever they sat together over a campfire. Right there and then, he conceived the idea to document the fast-disappearing folklores. With the passing of time, he went on to pursue higher studies and moved out of the village and adopted a city life but the “burden” to write it, as he described, was always there.

Echu, who is currently pursuing MTh at UTC in Bangalore, was said to have started writing his debut book some 15 years ago when he was in college. Years later, when he sat to materialise his debut book, he could not recollect some of the stories that were told since childhood. Last year, he went for in-depth research, where he interacted with and interviewed people from village to village in Mon district for the final outcome of his book. He hoped that readers would be enriched by reading the book. 

Further sharing his experiences, Echu said that during his research work, he realised there were only a few books written about Nagas and that too by outsiders. It dawned on him when he had to depend on books written by outsiders about Nagas and Konyaks in particular. He, therefore, felt an urgent need to do proper documents on available resources.

‘Our ancestors have passed on to us our rich culture and tradition. Now, it is our responsibility as a new generation to follow their steps and keep their culture alive,’ he said, adding that the book was to celebrate and preserve the customs and traditions passed down by ancestors.

While pointing out the differences of perspectives between the ‘insiders and outsiders,’ MP S Phangnon Konyak encouraged the locals to write about their own stories, especially for the future generation.

“If that is not done, what will we give to our future generation?” she asked and urged all to give a collective effort.

Publisher and chief editor of Heritage Publishing House, Dr. Lanusangla Tzudir, said that writing is a responsibility and stressed on the urgent need to document oral storytelling.

“If efforts are not made now to document them, others (outsiders) will continue to write about it. Unless we ourselves tell our stories, it will not be represented in the way we deserve,” Dr. Tzudir said.

“For Nagas, writing about us begins with others writing about us. But an insider’s perspective is very important. We need to write to be understood, speak (through writing) to be heard, and read to grow’. In this generation where our roots are fast disappearing, if we do not take care of our stories, we will be in deep trouble,” she warned.

Independent researcher and freelance editor, Dr. Vizovono Elizabeth, remarked that the book depicts a world of its own. She said the stories transport readers to the times when the animal, man and spirit live in close proximity. It consisted of 28 oral tales that contained ancient wisdom.

Relaying the author’s words, she said that many stories could not be included in the book because there were no elders present to confirm them in some villages.

“If we don’t document them now, we will lose our culture and identity,” she said. She further observed the book as a “delightful read.”

The book was illustrated by Arien Jamir and Alee Sophia.

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: May 28, 2022 10:10:33 pm
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