Issue Editor’s Note
Root and being are inextricably linked. What are roots but another name for home, for the ultimate destination that one leaves only to return? And what is rootlessness but another state of homelessness, exile and prolonged yearning? These coterminous conditions can also spawn zealous, self-proclaimed protectors and a corresponding number of homeless ‘strangers’. Cultural movement is to roots what migration is to rootlessness. Or is it that simple? If we consider roots as also having to do with (shared) values, how do we draw the line between claims for indigenous rights and the ethical necessity of acknowledging contemporary tragedies surrounding the gentrification of spaces and identity? Read more
— Loiya Leima Oinam
The Burden of Names
As part of the requirements for a course that I service, I once assigned my students to write essays on their names. I got more than what I bargained for. The breadth of the names and what they mean; the depth of descriptions of varied naming privileges and ceremonies gave me a window to the richness of differences...
Known for his sauciness in the locality, Modhumangol one day turned up and asked for Baba. I called out Baba. He came out of the Yumjao in his typical slow paced stride. “Taada”, addressed Baba to Modhumangol, as the latter was slightly older than him. “Get your Yumjao cleaned up. This afternoon some people from the television are coming for video recording”...
On Belonging and Home
Towards the closing scene of Fiddler on the Roof, as Tevye, Golde and their two daughters were preparing to leave, evicted from Anatevka, Golde is seen sweeping their house. When Tevye asked her what she’s doing his sharp tongued wife, Golde, replied, agitated, “I don’t want to leave a dirty house!”...
Imphal Express Bus
I feel the coldness on my back. I shudder a little. As the chill of the rainy morning seeps into my skin I automatically move closer to him. My body touches his backside in perfect alignment from head to toe. There is barely any part of my body which doesn’t touch his. My left hand lies across his soft and warm belly. I always crave for this part of his body; soft, smooth and somehow always inviting. I might have gotten used to putting my hand there, for some time now, when we sleep together. But I seem to be pressing into him slightly tighter than usual today...
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...
Cover art: Blind Willow by Korou Khundrakpam