Morung Express News
Guwahati | December 11
What are the different ways of telling a story? What if we attempt these tellings through poetry and portraits, textile art or hashtag poetry tapped into a smartphone?
With these ideas tucked under the arm, Zubaan, a feminist publishing house based in New Delhi, released a book titled ‘Centrepiece: New Writing and Art from Northeast India’ in Guwahati on December 10. The book is a collection of essays and art works put together by editor and artist Parismita Singh.
The publication was supported by the Heinrich BÖll Stiftung India and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
Zubaan’s Meghna Singh affirmed the commitment of the publishing house towards providing a platform to unrepresented voices from the Northeastern states.
During a program held at CBCNEI’s Mission Compound on Sunday, Parismita Singh, who also constructed a piece for the book, brought together a panel of a few contributors in a discussion by way of launching the book.
The volume, said Singh, is a mix of art, poetry, photography, essays, fiction, textiles around the theme of ‘work.’ Particularly focusing on the work of women in the region and its neighbourhood, the anthology seeks to re-define the contested term ‘Northeast’— “can the Northeast exist in spirit beyond the confines of geography and representation?” wonders Singh in her introduction to the book.
Speaking as one of the panelists, writer and academic, Dolly Kikon, spoke of the events, through the winter of 2016-17, that led up to her piece in the book titled, ‘Women at Work: the Gender, Culture and Customary Law Debate in Nagaland.’
Kikon noted how the toil and labour of her mother, and all mothers in Naga society, are “glorified as intrinsic qualities of Naga society” but never translate to power that brings them to the decision making table. Her essay engages with patriarchy and resistance in Naga society through the debate on 33 percent reservation of women in urban municipal bodies in Nagaland.
Photographer Zubeni Lotha, another panelist at the discussion, explored the stories and inspirations behind some of her projects—how do subject and object perceive each other in the making of a photograph?
Poet Soibam Haripriya read out some of her poems, stirring in their observation. How does life get in the way of the female artist’s vocation? “There is a half written poem. There is a bawling baby on the bed,” writes Haripriya.
Aheli Moitra, a journalist working with The Morung Express, read out a part of her essay titled ‘Naga Naki? Travelling with a Caravan on a Journey of Common Hope.’
Other contributors to the anthology include Minam Apang, Alyen Leeachum Foning, Gertrude Lamare, Rini Barman, Nitoo Das, Thingnam Anjulika Samom, Ayangbe Mannen, Aungmakhai Chak, Jaqueline Zote, Meena Laishram, Prashansa Gurung, Mona Zote, Nabina Das, Mamang Dai, Sanatombi Ningombam, Kundo Yumna, Shreya Debi and Bilseng R Marak.
With 240 pages published in hardback and priced at Rs. 800, the book can be purchased online at