Cultures of Peace: A potpourri from Northeast

North East Map
New Delhi, Jan 16: The national capital will play host to a unique two-day festival of the northeast from Friday featuring music, film screenings, readings and discussions highlighting the literature, culture, politics and food of the region.

"Cultures of Peace: Festival of the North-East", organised by Zubaan in collaboration with Heinrich Boll Foundation and Khublei, is being dedicated to late Assamese writer Indira Goswami (1942-2011) and Manipuri crusader Irom Sharmila.

"We have a great line up of participants, performers and musicians for the two days. We are releasing three books too. These include two novels by Indira Goswami - her last book 'The Bronze Sword of Thengphakhri Tehsildar' and one of her early novels called 'The Blue-necked God'. We are also releasing a memoir written by Sabita Goswami, the first woman reporter from the northeast," says Preeti Gill, editor at Zubaan.

Zubaan will pay tribute to one of Assam's foremost writers and peace campaigners Goswami by releasing her last novel. Set in late 19th century Assam, "The Bronze Sword of Tengphakhri Tehsildar" is the heroic tale of a Bodo freedom fighter who was, arguably, the first woman revenue collector in British India.

The opening day will have a session on "The North East Identity - Then and Now" in which seasoned journalists like Sanjoy Hazarika and Patricia Mukhim will participate.

The evening will see performances by Rida Gatphoh and The Musical Folks of Shillong and Rewben Mashangva and Group from Manipur.

Musician-designer Gatphoh lives between Shillong and Mumbai and along with her group shares "open-minded stories" and attempts an "intimate exploration designed to reveal natural communication of music and art, highlighting a specific form of nature as a subject of celebration and inquiry".

Mashangva is a folk musician known for reviving musical tradition of the Tangkhul community of Manipur and use of traditional musical instruments in his songs. He is known as the Bob Dylan of the Nagas.

The recent spate of ethnic violence in Assam will be the topic of discussion of the opening seminar on Saturday. The other states of the region will also feature in various discussions like "Tracing the Tribal- Non-Tribal divide in Meghalaya and other states", "My Story: These Hills called Home", "The Other Side of Silence: A conversation on Mizoram" and "Film Culture and Censorship in Manipur".

Zubaan founder Urvashi Butalia will moderate a session on women's voices, women's rights and writings called "A Room of One's Own". An interesting discussion called "Eating Women Telling Tales" will have the participants talking about Naga food in Delhi.

The closing night will see Xatriya dance performance by Anwesa Mahanta. There will also be two photography exhibitions titled "Archives from Mizoram" and "Portraits from the Northeast".


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