First graphic non-fiction book by Naga author launched
Dimapur, Dec. 12 (EMN): A book titled ‘1872,’ a graphic non-fiction,’ written by Talilula and illustrated by Tetsong, was launched on Monday at Dimapur Ao Baptist Arogo (DABA), Duncan Basti.
Publisher of PenThrill Publication House, Vishü Rita Krocha, in her note, said 1872 was the first graphic non-fiction by a Naga author to be published from Nagaland.
Krocha, in the note recalled, that PenThrill went ahead without knowing the risk involved or the challenges ahead since the book was a first of its kind for the publication house.
“1872 is one of those books that involved a much bigger investment than the rest of the books that we commonly publish and in that sense, it meant taking chances, but right from the start of the process, I was convinced that this is a very important book not just for PenThrill but also for Nagaland as a whole,” she said.
She placed on record that the launching of the book is a significant milestone for PenThrill to venture into something that has never been done before in Naga society.
While acknowledging the painstaking work from the author as well as the illustrator who did a marvellous job with the illustrations and brilliantly captured the story of the advent of Christianity in Nagaland, Krocha expressed hope that the book would do exceedingly well as it book is “a must-have for every Naga home in every sense of the word.”
She said the book would be a great contribution to Naga Literature and sow the seed for many more creative pursuits of storytelling by blending writing and illustrations.
The author, Talilula, stated that the book was a graphic exploration of the preliminary encounters of Naga people with American missionaries and Assamese evangelists between 1870 and 1872.
“With the looming presence of colonisation, past and present, local names and narratives are often absent or not prioritised in mainstream literature and discourse of the history of Christianity among the Nagas. It explains why there is more information available on Edward Winter Clark and Mary Mead than on Süpongmeren Tzüdir, Godhula Brown or the warriors and Tatars of Molungkimong who were also key players involved in bringing Christianity to the Nagas,” Talilu said.
This, she said, was one of the limitations she encountered during the process of writing the graphic narrative.
Another limitation, she shared, was on images as there was little information and images of Süpongmeren Tzüdir and Godhula Brown and the illustrator Tetsong had to sketch them based on two grainy images in which their facile features were barely recognisable.
The book, she said, has no target age group as every age is interested in graphic illustration.
Professor of Society, Christian Ethics & contextual theology, Oriental Theological Seminary, Dr. Panger Kechu, the special guest of the book launch, said “1872 book serves as a model for the Nagas and loved how the voice of the local and the indigenous has been centred. The agency, the voice of the native becomes so clear and comes to life and this work makes it very different from the current literature that we see.”
He observed that usually indigenous form of storytelling is multiple in the sense that it allows for a lot of contradiction and contestation but, at the same time the story, he said, is told in a way that all go along together without much conflict.
“What we need today is to revive and reclaim indigenous modes of storytelling rather than modern forms of homogenising, patronising storytelling,” Kechu added.