13 April, 2021

Tales A Na-Phing Can Tell

A culture saturated with patriarchy, identities strapped in curfews and ceasefires—a Northeast anthology on women collates motifs and realities

Tales A Na-Phing Can Tell

It’s a powerful, telling image. Str­ands of milky thread squirt out from the breasts of a woman as she knits. Weaving perhaps her own weary tale, intertwined with the troubled histories of her land and people. This self-portrait by Kundo Yumnam on the last page of this anthology encapsulates the spirit of this Zubaan publication. It works at many levels, giving us insights into the daily conflicts and reconciliations that a woman negotiates within her many realms: her self, at home, at work and vis-a-vis the state.

Edited by Parismita Singh, the anthology collates diverse perspectives and positions, memories and motifs to convey the idea of women at work in the Northeast. Through visual and word for­mats, this aesthetic is explored thro­ugh stories, poems, essays and art works.

The book begins with an interesting visual: Zubeni Lotha’s untitled photograph of two women in combat uniform wearing hornbill headgear. What does it tell us? Of the polarities of traditions and marginalised, militarised lives? There are no easy answers when it comes...

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