'Culture of Peace' - a literary festival celebrating northeast literature held in Delhi

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

By Chandrakala Choudhury New Delhi [India] Dec.14 (ANI): 'Culture of Peace' - a literary festival celebrating the diverse and vivid cultures of northeast through writing, music, theatre, film and media, was recently held here. Organised under the initiative of 'Zubaan', an independent feminist publishing house, in collaboration with the Heinrich Boll Foundation and Sasakawa Peace Foundation, the festival aimed at bringing pertinent issues concerning the region to the forefront. Contribution to the Indian literature by eminent writers from the northeastern region like Mitra Phukan, Bhabananda Deka, Dhruba Hazarika and Temsula Ao has been immense. Distinguished writers, novelist, poets, journalists and academicians from all across the region gathered at the festival to share their opinions and discuss about the literature. "Literature is a powerful force, especially in the northeast, to counteract the negativity in the region and, especially to counteract the labelling under which the area has lived. People always tend to identify the region with violence with political conflicts, which is very sad. These are all labels given to us and we are not happy with it. What we can do through writing and what we are trying to do through writing is to throw off the labels and write out of the box," Easterine Kire residing in Norway, a Novelist from Nagaland told ANI. Students and professionals from all walks of life shared their viewpoints and interacted with panellists during the festival. Panellists also took up the issue of ethnic violence among different communities of the region during a session at the event. Bhagat Oinam, Chairperson of Centre for Media Studies and Concurrent Faculty at North East India Studies Programme, JNU, said "The whole discourse has been about act of violence followed by a counteract of violence and there seems be an unending chain of violence either it is from the state or civil society groups or even from the insurgent organisations." "These have been going on quite too long and perhaps there is a need to come out of it; not that you completely ignore the state of violence, but dealing with this violence with a different medium altogether is very necessary. And, creative writing is one way to address the issue and reach out to others with a positive note that perhaps this is what we ought not to do," he added. Besides these, issues like protests, role of social media in mobilising and in campaigning were also discussed at the meet. Dolly Kikon, an anthropologist, said, "When we look at the region at the moment, we know about the blockade that's ongoing on in Manipur, and the case of Irom Sharmila. She will be taking part in the election. But one thing that I strongly feel, as an anthropologist and also as a person who is concern and engaged with the India: I think all of us needs to know that she is a human being and she needs to move on. She has been the symbol of protest, and I think she did what she had to do on her part. Now, it depends on us to know that this is an ongoing process and we should wish her well in her new endeavours." Moreover, the evening bought to life an amazing musical poetry recitation by Easterine Kire and Jazz Tri that left the audience spellbound. Poetry recitals by poetess Soibam Haripriya from Manipur and poets Nitoo Das and Dibyajyoti Sarmah from Assam also stole the show. A panel discussion on rich heritage of clothes, fabrics, fashion, and tourism of the northeast brought together young designers, professor and writer on one platform who shared their views. Young Manipur-based designer Richana Khumanthem, who strives to bring the textiles of northeast India and Manipur to the forefront, was one of the panellists. The festival ended on a high note, showing solidarity and hope. It also celebrated the spirit of northeastern women and showcased their strength and resilience despite the conflict. (ANI)