New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) Eminent Manipuri poet Robin S Ngangom believes it is wrong to typecast the poets from North East as unduly obsessed with the poetry of “politics” and “brutality”. Also Read - Ahead of Christmas, Top US Scientist Fauci Warns of 'Surge Upon Surge' in COVID-19 Cases
Ngangom, who writes in English and Meitei, says some poets have moved beyond merely recording the events of insurgency. Also Read - Night Curfew Till End of The Year, Cap on Social Ceremonies Guests: Is This State Bracing For Fresh Lockdown?
“There is often this charge made that the poets of North East are unduly obsessed with the poetry of politics and brutality. Also Read - Three Million Travellers, 172K Daily COVID-19 Cases: US' Wild Thanksgiving Week is Here
“But few fine poets have moved beyond merely recording events and have internalised the complex conflict between themselves and the social environment,” Ngangom said during the inaugural session of North-East and Northern Writers’ Meet.
He said the poets in Manipur often have to take the risk of writing as a witness to the political violence in the region.
“To be a very tenacious witness to the agonising and recurrent political violence without sensationalising it, is also a risk the poets have to often take. It will be a mistake to typecast them on the basis of these themes alone.
“When the reality becomes oppressive poets in Manipur seek refuge in irony, parody and satire which is often directed at themselves,” he said.
Ngangom believes that North East remains largely “misunderstood” and is “singled out” as India’s insurgent heartland.
“North East is not a homogeneous province. We have a very slender historical and geographical link to the rest of India.
It remains little known and perhaps largely misunderstood. It has been singled out as India’s insurgent heartland.
“Any introduction to the poetry of North East must address these two important questions that are major constituents of the region,” he said.
According to him, the writer from the North East region differs from his counterparts in a significant way.
“The uniqueness of the North East poetry comes from the consequence of the contemporary events. The writer from the region differs from his counterpart in the mainland in a very significant way,” Ngangom said.
For him, the impact of white missionaries has been “double-edged” for several tribes, as its influence let them deny their own literature.
“With advent of white missionaries from Wales and America it was only natural that the majority of tribes will adopt same kind of literature. Its influence has been exclusively Christian in contrast to the regional languages.
“The literary legacy of these missionaries can be double-edged. While on one hand they gifted literature to several tribes, they also made them deny the existence of their own literature. That is why the poetry of some of the hill tribes even today is seen to be singing hymns and non-existent daffodils in the Wales,” he said.
The session organised at the “Festival of Letters” event by Sahitya Akademi, focuses on the ignored works from the seven states and their contribution to Indian literature.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.