Gender and patriarchy takes centre stage at Arunachal LitFest

[ Amar Sangno ]
ITANAGAR, Nov 29: Gender inequality and patriarchy in tribal society were dominant themes on the second day of Arunachal LitFest here at Dorjee Khandu Convention Centre in Thursday.
The poetry session chaired by Srutimala Daura of Assam saw budding poet Tolum Chumchum courageously presenting a poem on menstruation and pain that a woman has to endure.
Chumchum’s poem was an attempt to break the taboo that surrounds the subject in a patriarchal society like Arunachal which often sidetracks issues related to women.
Poet and author Subi Taba’s verse was a strong statement on misogyny and gender inequality in a male dominated tribal society where women’s voices are often ignored.
Artist cum director Tai Tugung’s verses from his play ‘Lapya’ was a social commentary on forced marriage and how women were subjected to atrocities and captivity.
Tugung’s poem reflected the emotions of women who had undergone such atrocities.
Joysing Tokbi in Karbi and Lily R Jomoh in Hindi shared their poems on maternal love.
Nilim Kumar’s poem on salt was satirical attempt to describe how important salt is to the human kind. He compared salt to tears.
The fading beauty of Pasighat was described by Ponung Ering’s in ‘Forgotten Land” which she said was a response to her friend’s question about the town .
Senior journalist and poet Ranjit Sinha read his creations ‘Jonomor yari’ and ‘Tei aairi ebakau’ in Bishnupriya Manipuri language. The poem ‘Jonomor yari’ portrays the wretchedness of the oppressed people.
Jahnavi Gogoi, a promising Assamese writer read her short story ‘gan gua noi khan kotha kua paharbur”, based on the traditional tribal life of Arunachal Pradesh connecting Daria Hill of Itanagar and a poem named ‘Satru’ the enemy.
Attending the panel discussion on the topic ‘Is regional necessarily marginal’ Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo dismissed the notion of regional writer.
“Literature and language are never marginalized, we marginalize it according to our own convenience” Mauzo said.
The session was chaired by veteran journalist Mark Tully.
Acclaimed writer from Assam Dhruba Hazarika opined that to do away with regional marginalization, refined and effective translation is need of the hour.
Hazarika pointed out that strong translation would bridge mainstream and regional writers.
Urvashi Butalia, the publisher of Zubaan said that in so many ways literatures are being marginalized, and her publishing house, a feminist house has been working towards giving focus to the North Eastern part of India and Jammu and Kashmir.
She further shared the challenges a publisher has to face while citing her publication on Kashmir.
In such situations, she said that regional writers are more vulnerable than mainstream writers as they are easily targeted.
Publisher Ravi Singh while divulging heavy censorship on publishing houses across India said that government, irrespective of which party is governing should encourage the publishers to publish.
The other subject of the day was ‘Trends in Literature of the North East’ chaired by Dr. Rita Choudhury.
N. Kiran from Manipur, Dr. Arindam Sharma and Bhaskar Dutta Baruah from Assam and Y.D Thongchi were part of the panel.
Summing up the session Dr.Choudhury said that North East literature is equally a part of mainstream literature. There is some kind of escapism from realities but it is going through important phase of transition and we need to explore the local folk and oral traditions, she said.
Dr.Choudhury said that due to development in communication, regional literature is merging with mainstream literature with its unique identity.
Another session was chaired by Y. D Thongchi on the topic: My Writing, My World with panelists Kastubmoni Saikia, Gyati Ampi, T.T. Lepcha and Dr. Joram Yalam Nabam.
Gyati Ampi who is the youngest writer participating in the festival shared her journey to become a writer and read out a poem written by her.
Noted author and professor at Rajiv Gandhi University Dr. Joram Yalam Nabam spoke about her journey as a writer and shared excerpts of her books ” Jungali Phool, Tani Movement and Sakchi Hai Pipal”.
T.T. Lepcha from Sikkim spoke about his works in documentation and compilation of rich culture and languages of Sikkim.
Session on Short Story was chaired by Batem Pertin, Director Research.
Dr. Jamuna Bini Tadar, Jahnvi Gogoi, Manika Devi, Ajit Singnar from Assam and R.N .Kholey shared their work.
Publisher Ravi Singh chaired the last session of the day- Crossing the barriers: Taking Regional Literatures to the Readers. The panelist were Mitra Phukan, Dr. Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, Dr. Abhishek Kumar Yadav and Bompi Riba. The Panelist discussed widely on whether barriers or boundaries really exist or not and their limits besides discussing on impact of social media.
Former Chief of the Indian Army General JJ Singh, his wife Anupama Singh, MLA Mutchu Mithi, Secretary Youth Affairs Dani Salu also attended the second day of the festival. ( with input from DIPRO)