‘Assamese & Naga friendship has stood the test of time’

Attendees of the first day of the two-day Nagaland Literature Festival, which began in Kohima on December 3 under the theme 'Writing Nagaland.' (Morung Photo)

Attendees of the first day of the two-day Nagaland Literature Festival, which began in Kohima on December 3 under the theme 'Writing Nagaland.' (Morung Photo)

3rd Nagaland Literature Festival Underway

Morung Express News
Kohima | December 3

According to Charles Chasie, the Assamese and the Nagas have “had an enduring friendship.” The author and independent researcher made the remark at the ‘Releasing Ceremony’ of a special issue of the Assamese Magazine ‘Swadesh Potobhumi’ on Nagaland in collaboration with the Kohima Sahitya Sabha as part of the 3rd Nagaland Literature Festival in Kohima. The two-day literature festival is being held under the theme, ‘Writing Nagaland.’

Despite differences, including the Merapani War, he said that people-to-people friendship has stood the test of time.” He recalled the Naga Goodwill delegation of 2001 facilitated by Assam. According to Chasie, it came at a time when the Naga people were facing a situation that could have escalated to an “existential issue” not long after the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in 1997.

Citing this as an instance of the great friendship the Assamese people have shown the Nagas in the hour of need, he said, “Their friendship was generous and across the board covering people from different walks of life who became involved.” “This is a reflection of the Assamese society. Human memory is often very short but I will always remain grateful and will keep telling what took place for as long as I live,” he said.

As the chief guest, Chasie also formally released the special issue of Swadesh Potobhumi.

Guest of honour, Dr Samudra Gupta Kashyap, Chancellor of Nagaland University, expressed his desire to serve the people of Nagaland by not only taking the university to new heights of academic excellence but also working for strengthening the Assam-Nagaland relationship. He announced an upcoming long-term youth exchange programme between NU and other universities in the Northeast. 

Dr HN Dutta, Guest Editor of the magazine read out a message from TN Mannen, Advisor for Law and Justice and Revenue. Mannen noted the age old shared historical and cultural legacy between the Assamese and Nagas. He called for building closer social, economic and political relationship between the two communities occupying a “geo-politically sensitive place like the Northeast region.”

On behalf of the Naga Scholars, Dr Vizovono Elizabeth, Scholar & Author termed the Assamese as the elder,” who have shown us the way. According to her, they have widened “our horizon and reminded us of the need to work together hand in hand and not to remain confined with tunnel visions.”

Earlier, in her opening remarks, Vishü Rita Krocha from Writers Collective described the Nagaland Literature Festival, 2023 as a celebration of diverse voices and writings that are essentially Naga.

She said that the primary objective has been to celebrate literature while creating awareness on how stories and narratives have shaped the ever evolving Naga society. Literary events may be essentially quiet, she remarked, “The ability of literature to reveal glimpses of ourselves in each other- to reveal our commonality and our humanity- will excite our imagination and further shape the future of literature in Nagaland.”

“It is time for us to narrate the Naga story in a more accessible manner”, she said, while stating that the Nagaland Literature Festival is a great leap in that direction.