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Posts from the ‘Issue 1/ Beyond Mumbai, 2012’ Category

Content: Poetics and politics of the ‘everyday’: Engaging with India’s northeast (Issue 53)

Content: Poetics and politics of the ‘everyday’: Engaging with India’s northeast (Issue 53)

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Contributors

Contributors

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Guest-Editorial: Negotiations with the ‘everyday’ in India’s Northeast

By Bhumika R and Suranjana Choudhury
Our attempt in this issue of Café Dissensus has been to explore the layered nature of everyday as articulated through literary and cultural narratives from Northeast India. Specifically, we have tried exploring various understandings of the everyday and its articulations across literary and cultural narratives from Northeast India.

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“Multipartner Mud Dances”: The Uneventful Entanglement of Humans and Animals in Two Assamese Poems

By Amit R. Baishya
The two poetic texts I will be considering are Hafiz Ahmed’s “Murgi Jobai” (The Fowl Slaughter) and Anupama Basumatary’s “Saamuk” (Snail). What unites these two poems are not simply seemingly uneventful and ordinary acts of speciesist violence (the moments before the slaughter of chickens, eating a snail), but also ethical reflections on violence, killability, bodily vulnerability and contingent moments of relationality between human and animal.

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Indigenous Cultures of the North Eastern Region of India: Revival and Preservation

By Esther Syiem
In effect, the mystiques of memory in its many dimensions fed the steady stream of material life in these communities to help them bridge the terrestrial and transcendental, the historic and the ahistoric, establishing connections with the spiritual universe embodied in the bush and jungle outside, and indicating boundaries: tangible ones and those intangible, that of the spirit world.

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Popular Music Subculture and the Northeast Youth

By KB Veio Pou
Most people from other parts of India often ask me how it is that most young people from Northeast know how to play at least one musical instrument, especially guitar, apart from singing mellifluously. I don’t really have an answer for that but music is pretty much ingrained in the culture. Perhaps, musics flow in our veins!

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All Khasi Women Need Representation

By Laiamon Naomi Nengnong
More often than not, writers who write about Meghalaya, or about the Khasi society only glorify or romanticize the picturesque beauty of this place (which is undeniable), and the system of lineage that exists here. As a Khasi and a woman, however, I cannot help but opine that there is a lot that is being neglected in such narratives. These narratives can be seen as consisting of one side of the story.

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Memories of Songs: Words Lost and Found

By Lalremtluangi
An instant gush of childhood memories – early morning walks and cute sketches of landscapes – poured over me with a wave of fleeting nostalgia. She gestured me to sit on a bench near her bed and said in a mellow voice, “Every morning I stare outside this window fishing for long lost memories in those seas of clouds.” 

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Queering the Everyday: North East India and its Queer experiences

By Lede E Miki Pohshna
Focusing on the tragic aspect of their everyday is a disservice to the queer people and also to the actuality of their complex existence. Queer experience is not homogenous, fixed and one-dimensional. Their everyday life is also redolent with acts of falling in love, first heartbreak, and most importantly the ability to accept who they are when it comes to their sexuality.

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A Day in Barkhola: Memory, History and the Fading Everyday in India’s Northeast

By Rongili Biswas
During the 1940s, Hemango Biswas was actively involved in the leftist cultural revival in Cachar. His closest companion there was Irawat Singh who was another legend himself. Irawat singlehandedly organized and consolidated leftist political movements in Cachar, especially among Cachar’s Manipuri settlements and tea-garden workers. He was a remarkable orator, dancer, singer, organizer, sportsman and cultural activist.

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Promises of the Kwai: Discovering voices that sing

By Sebanti Chatterjee
On several occasions, after my scheduled interviews with musicians, researchers and heads of various organizations, I recall how I was served Kwai alongside tea and sometimes after food. Kwai has been my medium of engaging with my field; it has served as an entry point for me to be aware of the people, landscape and of course the choral practices.

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The Danger of a Single Story: Northeast India

By Z.D. Lalhmangaihzauva
The reality was that this man and his generation lived their lives outside the confines of the grand narrative of Indian history that can be broadly categorised into pre-independence and post-independence. Secluded in the hilly region of what is now India’s northeast, they raised their families, toiled in their jhums, hunt in the jungles, weaved their clothes, and sang their songs, oblivious to the concept of nationality, Indianness or independence. 

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Five Poems by Ananya S. Guha

By Ananya S Guha
Every night they rattled rooftops
and in Gauhati their mournful cawing
nibbled at my dreams
Earthly wonder, theirs was a raiment
of dark dark even as the moon winced 
to lessen a bit of the black 
and merge them with dark nights.

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Short Story: Caring

By Gankhu Sumnyan
But over the slow day, my optimism began to wane. The kitten took in less and less of the solution. Instead of feeding, it wanted to be cradled, clambering onto my palm every time I'd put it down in the can. When forced to lie down, it gave out complaining cries.

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An excerpt from a forthcoming novel, ‘Funeral Nights’

By Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih
Liaw was only a daily-wage labourer but was well-known throughout the locality because of his excessive fondness for praying before mealtimes, especially whenever there was a big audience. However, he was not a religious person in the conventional sense and did not even go to church.

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Three Poems by Lalnunsanga Ralte

By Lalnunsanga Ralte
For the young men though,
There was no escape.
They were lined up,
Hung upside down
And whipped like dogs.

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Two Poems by Nabina Das

By Nabina Das
the eyes
have trained in complete darkness in secret sojourns
and then came home with Radha's hair
in Krishna's loin

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Four Poems by Namrata Pathak

By Namrata Pathak
The teacups slant sideways
on the mahogany table,
unsteady
like grandmother's memoirs 
of the partition.

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Two Poems by Rimi Nath

By Rimi Nath
Uzanbazar and Brahmaputra narrate the age old tales
Of hatred and bloodshed
They recount tales of people who claim to love them
But fail to love one another.

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Poem: Laitumkhrah

By Robin S Ngangom
No one looks at dark memorials
standing through lonely rain, their heads
trusting the sky’s emaciated shoulders,
no one will stop to look at the dead.

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Short Story: Sunset in the Hills

By Shikhandin
Her granddaughter-in-law was quietly wiping her own eyes. Her grandson's face was set in that men-don’t-cry grimace she remembered so well. The car jerked forward. The sun slipped out of the sky, pulling down the light with it. And then she couldn't see them anymore.

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Poem: Alu Pitika

By Sumana Roy
The plane kept circling the airport
like a monarch waiting for the throne.
Inside my eye was my mother’s hand –
mashed potatoes dried on it, from waiting.
It was news of home.

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Photo-Essay: Archery and its Aesthetics in Meghalaya

By Anand Sachin
Archery has been a favourite past-time for the Khasi tribe in Meghalaya. In the past, each village sent its best archers to the neighbouring village for a friendly competition called U Thingiong U Thingsaw. Then there were competitions that were held on festive days, while also in the memory of Meghalaya’s freedom fighters.

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Re-imagining working women: Glimpses from Northeast India

By Pfokrelo Kapesa
The general understanding of working women is so limited that only a tiny fraction is represented in our immediate perception of working women. This photo essay is an attempt at broadening the image and visuals of working women in Northeast India.

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“I will have my bread”: The waning significance of spirituality in the hills of eastern Himalayas

By Supromit Maiti
Shokpo Sherab Gyatso, a Mongolian astrologer is said to have built another monastery in 1850, which attracts your attention as you take the Hill Cart Road to Darjeeling. Once you stop at ‘Samten Choeling’, also known as Ghum Monastery, the number of tourists flocking the lawn would astonish you along with the visible absence of the locals.

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