Arts and Entertainment
First edition of Nagaland Literature Festival 2021 commences
Kohima, Dec. 3 (EMN): The erroneous interpretations of Naga culture and misconstrued past can be corrected when Nagas ‘write themselves’ and about their history, observed Easterine Kire, notable author and poet from Nagaland.
She was addressing the inaugural function of the first edition of Nagaland Literature Festival 2021 organised by Writers Collective at RCEMPA on Friday.
Speaking on the theme of the festival “Through the looking glass: Traversing the past, present, and future’, Kire said: “We are the present, umbilically connected to our past, and at this present time, we are respectfully learning to draw from the lessons of our past in order to hopefully engender a more understanding future.”
She observed that Nagas are ‘writing themselves and rewriting their history’ through “Naga-centric lens to chronicle and set right our very misunderstood and misinterpreted past”.
“Writing ourselves is very important because it is a movement towards our psychological, intellectual, and emotional sovereignty. As we write ourselves, we are interrogating, resisting, and blasting stereotypical versions of our people and cultures that gave way as far back as our first contact with the western world,” she pointed out.
Kire stated that “colonial stereotyping paved the way for Indian administrators and mainstream media to construct a Naga identity very far from the truth”.
“We are grateful for the early writings on us but admit they were done from a flawed perspective. Still, we are grateful for the historical information they collected on us,” she added.
‘As writers, it is our job to correct erroneous interpretations of our cultures and we do that by writing ourselves,’ she said.
“Cultural theft has taken place over several years by non-Naga scholars where Nagas intellectual property and the cultural property was stolen. The consequence of which, the thieves dictate our culture to our children because they claim to be the experts having stolen our property.
“We can resist the consequences by writing ourselves, translating ourselves, and putting back value into what was devalued. And then we can bequeath our retrieved property to the future – to unborn Nagas,” she continued.
Consul General of Germany, Kolkata, Manfred Auster said that all the elements and aspects that the literature festival can address are inspiring. It can contribute to a lot of things including that of outsiders, who come to know more about Naga society in the past, present, and future, he said while encouraging possible cultural exchanges in the future.
He later inaugurated a Book Corner, Art Exhibition, and Stalls.
Key highlights of the event included a panel discussion on ‘literature and politics’ by various authors, ‘poetry from the hills’, ‘cry of the war’, and the signing of books.