27 February, 2021

Terhuomia Of Kohima

Two women, two generations. They sing of Nagaland—immutable and in constant flux.

Terhuomia Of Kohima

Hou, the Nagas! Not the Kumbh variety, but the real McCoy from the simplified collective—for everyone’s con­­ven­ience—called the Nor­th­east. This is tricky terr­itory; this Nagaland, this incontrovertible paradox for plain plains-folks. But for once, let’s peek beyond that panoptic view, that visceral, evocative portrait of a land filled with headhunters, dog-eaters, masked insurgents, and all that which fires popular imagination outside the rolling hills, valleys, streams, lush paddies and village mor­ungs, those bachelor longhouses. And discover a Naga­land, more preci­sely Kohima, through the eyes of Kho­­nuo and Kevinou—an Angami mother and daughter—growing up in two tumultuous times that define the place.

That’s Easterine Kire’s A Respectable Woman—set in her dearest Kohima, a township bombed-out in World War II transitioning to a modern city, offering education, electricity and boo­tlegged rum. Her latest work—equal parts fiction, history and a...

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