Soibam Haripriya


Subversion / Sub-version

This monsoon issue of Yendai examines ways of imagining contestations. The idea of taking up subversion as the theme of Yendai had come up on earlier occasions and unfortunately addressing it seems to be topical given the circumstances we currently find ourselves in. Even as we agree on the theme, our approach and ways of understanding subversion differ. We approach it through two ways. First, we see sub-version as acts and practices that challenge the status quo. Second, related to the former, are the ways in which such practices become productive of new manifestations and cultures that may ironically become hegemonic in themselves and invite subversion. Acts of subversions calls for imagining new aesthetics and sensibilities through the questioning of hierarchical practices of hegemonic cultural domination. The present issue is devoted to the possibility of capturing resisting narratives that emerge in such contested fault lines. Subversions are attempts to check the deliberate acts of forgetting put in place through singular meta-narratives and violent repressions of truth. The metaphor of a palimpsest encapsulates the idea of subversion/sub-versions with the hope of reading meaning in acts of over writing and re-writing in the scrolls of time. It is used to explore the many layered existence of a cultural form and not solely the act of writing. In this edition of Yendai, we bring four poems, two visual works, two short stories and four essays on this theme.

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The Emas, the Reader and the Prelude

Teresa Rehman, The Mothers of Manipur, Zubaan, 2017, Rs 325, pp. 153

The cover of the book depicting the naked emas, is quite illustrative of what it will discuss. The nude protest as the critical event marked as an exemplary moment is so familiar a reading. What lies behind that image are human lives. The book is premised on the many different aspects of discussions, negotiations and the differences vís-a-vís the mode of protest that the women’s collectives decide to take up. The book unsettles the belief of some, that feminism is a linear trajectory of one brave / radical moment to the other – one nupilan (which means women’s war in Manipuri) to the other as if a linear trajectory, but rather it is accumulative of a series of anxieties, insomnias, and negotiations. The preface sets out the premise of the book.

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