Sunday, March 29, 2009

Factual Errors on North East India's discourse

The colonial ethnographers and Christian missionaries were the earliest scholars who represented tribal culture with their European terms and pronunciations. Numerous literatures on tribal cultural history were produced by colonial ethnographers and Christian Missionaries like A.Z Makenzie, JH Hutton, J.Shakepear, N.E Parry, J.H Mills, J.M Lloyd, J.H Lorrain. Habitually, colonial and missionary’ terms/terminologies were ethnocentric in nature.

In recent period, some scholars (trained indigenous) feel the burden of these ethnocentric terms and various efforts have been made on the decolonization of these local names/ terminologies.In case of Mizoram, colonial names have been changed - Lusei, instead of Lushai, Maras instead of Lakher and Aizawl instead of Aijal. However, in many of the recent discourses (including official discourse) made by non locals both at the national and international levels are extremely ignorant on local language/terminologies. The capital of Mizoram, Aizawl is misspelt as Aizwal in news papers, academic discourses and even at airports. There has been repeated failure to run a correction, even after being asked.

This is also evident in the academic field. For instance, one of the most popular referee’s journals of Modern Asian Studies in 1987 writes “The Negroids, who came from south and south-west China, are the present Nagas of Nagaland.” (B. P. Singh; North-East India: Demography, Culture and Identity Crisis, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2. (1987), pp. 257-282.) Surprisingly, the editorial boards (including some Indian professor) has failed to notice that the Naga tribes belong to the mongoloid group of Tibeto-Burman. No correction was made even in the continuous issues. Such an ignorance has for a long time dominated the North East discourse scenario which damages image of the people and their culture. Naga Students’ Federation (not the insurgency groups) who had forbidden a non-Naga to write on Naga history without their prior approval clearly indicates how people contested against such academic imperialism. (Prabhakara, 2003).

it would be nice to hear your responses regarding this issue. What we can do to make it better for accurate representation? etc...


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My School Days

Many children in Mizoram do not have the opportunity to go to good schools. I was one of those kids. The school I attended was located in a small village called S.Vanlaiphai in the Hnahthial district of south Mizoram. As you see, lack of proper infrastructure is obviously visible, but i think it has opened many doors for me in my career. I'm fortunate enough to be able to continue my studies while most of my classmates were not able to do so.

I miss my school days sometimes. I had a lots of fun and also bad experiences at the same time. I can clearly recollect two unforgettable incidents. The first incident was “school naupang bal berah” min thlang kha a ni”. I felt really ashamed. The whole class laughed at me, including my best friend. I guess its hard to imagine that a boy of that age could feel shame.

Pahnihna chu - Mizorama kan MLA Pakhat ( a thi tawh a, a hming sawi lo mai ang) in kan school hi a rawn tlawh dawn a, kan lo inbuatsaih nasa hle a. Chal mawm hlarh in tel rimtui kan inchulh a, kan in khuih pial ve zan a. A rawn thleng a, class room chhungah thaw dep depin kan lo thu ve a, min en vang vang a, ka pa hming min zawt a. Ka pu “Pa ka nei lo” tiin ka chhang a. “Pa nei lovin, i piang thei dawn em ni” tiin an thuihruai te nen chuan an nui ta chiam a. Vawikhat mah khatiang khan min chhang mai mai tawh suh min ti zui bawk. Ka chhang duhdah emaw a ti a, mahse a tisual chiang khawp mai. Eng boruak nge ka kaltlang reng a hre lo. I don't think that he showed much concern for me. So far, this was the worst insult that had ever occurred in my whole life.

Earlier, I was a bit shy to talk about my academic background. Sometimes I felt uncomfortable when I compare my background with others. Some friends often tell me that they did their schooling in Monfort or other prestigious schools in Mizoram or outside Mizoram. I always thought that I could have done better if I had attended good schools in my younger days.

Recently I’ve started realizing that merely a good background doesn't make good people. There are times when I excel and do much better in academics or in any other field than compared to those friends. I do achieve many things beyond my dreams. I never thought I would reach this point. I Thank God for all his blessings. God always knows what is best for me. Now, I no longer hesitate to talk about wonderful experiences that i had during my school days. I will always cherish those experiences for the rest of my life.

Education is not just about getting degrees, but it is a continuous process of learning. If you don't grow or if your progress is slow, one day some people (poor backgrounds) will do better than you. If you have a good background, why don't you try harder? Else you might end up being referred to as “an empty drum that only makes loud noises.”

(Notes: These photos are kind of the story of my life. Each photo has a great memory attached to it.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lush Green Meadow

I am really honoured that one of my photographs was selected and published in Smart photography magazine. (please see image.No.3)

Photo caption: Lush Green Meadow
Location: S.Vanlaiphai, Mizoram
Camera: Cannon EOS 1000D