Nagaland Literature Festival 2023 Underway In Kohima - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland Literature Festival 2023 underway in Kohima

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Dec 03, 2023 11:17 pm
Nagaland Literature Festival 2023
Participants along with the guests during the Nagaland Literature Festival 2023 at Capital Convention Centre in Kohima on Sunday (EM images)

KOHIMA — Writers and scholars from Assam and Nagaland reaffirmed the long-standing friendship between the two states at the two-day Nagaland Literature Festival 2023 on the theme ‘Writing Nagaland,’ which began on Sunday at Capital Convention Centre, Kohima.

To mark the opening of the third edition of the Nagaland Literature Festival, Assamese Magazine- Swadesh Potobhumi, a special edition on Nagaland in collaboration with the Kohima Sahitya Sabha, was released.

Independent researcher and author, Charles Chasie, and Dr. Samudra Gupta Kashyap, chancellor of Nagaland University, and others released “Swadesh Potobhumi special issue on Nagaland.”

It was informed that the magazine was dedicated to the age-old relationship between Nagaland and Assam with contributions from authors and writers from both Nagaland and Assam. All articles in the magazine are expected to be translated into English in the days to come.

Chasie said the Assamese people, as a whole, have always been very good to the Naga people and both had an enduring friendship. Despite the differences between the two, people-to-people friendship has stood the test of time, which was precious.

He went on to cite his first-hand experience of the friendship between the two states during a time when the Ceasefire Agreement between NSCN-IM and GOI was extended to cover all the Naga inhabited areas in 2001. He recounted the time when things got heated up in the neighbouring states of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

“The regional and national media were all filled with indignations against the Nagas. The overall fear was that a Naga Agreement may change the boundaries of the States. Thus the Nagas found themselves in danger of being completely encircled by unfriendly neighbours,” Chase said.

“Back then, as part of the Naga goodwill delegation from Nagaland, the team went to Assam to carry forward the decisions of reconciliation with the neighbouring communities as there could be no Naga solution in isolation,” he added.

He narrated the team was ‘welcomed’ and was hosted by its counterpart state of Assam.

He stated that Assamese people had shown ‘great friendship’ to the Nagas in the hour of need.

“Their friendship was generous and across the board covering people from different walks of life who became involved. This is a reflection of Assamese society,” he added.

Dr. Samudra Gupta Kashyap, who is from Assam, said it was not only an opportunity and challenge for him to take the academics of Nagaland to a greater height but also to work to strengthen the relationship between the people of Assam and Nagaland. He suggested a possible youth exchange programme for students from the universities in the Northeast for a better understanding of one another.

Adding that the two states had a long relationship since time immemorial, he pointed out the fact that Nagaland and Assam are ‘inseparable’ neighbours. He further stated that there are similarities in cultures and languages between the two communities.

Poet, writer and journalist, Vishu Rita Krocha, said the primary objective of the Nagaland Literature Festival was to promote and celebrate literature and to further create awareness of how stories and narratives have shaped the ever-evolving Naga society. She believed that it was time for them to narrate the Naga story in a more accessible manner and she is confident that this festival is a great leap in that direction.

Speaking about the background of the festival, she stated that it was in 2019, when four of them namely Avinuo Kire, Agnes Tepa, Adenuo Shirat Luikham and herself called ‘Writers Collective Kohima’ fell in love with the written word and came together with the shared vision of promoting literature from the state.

She added that the circle expanded to eight members with an additional four members.

Dr. HN Dutta, guest editor of Swadesh Patabhumi; Robin Bhuyan, chief editor of Swadesh Potobhumi; Dr. Vizovono Elizabeth, scholar and author of Chandan Changmai; president of Kohima Sahitya Sabha also spoke at the event.

On the second day, conversations on topics including ‘Nagaland in the diasporic imagination’ and ‘folklore and indigenous fantasy’ would be explored.

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Dec 03, 2023 11:17:26 pm
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