A two day National Seminar on ‘Discoursing the Shifts of the Naga society in North-East India’ was organized by the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP) in collaboration with the Naga Research Scholars Forum, University of Hyderabad (UoH) from 14th to 15th October, 2016. It was partially funded by the UPE II of the University of Hyderabad.
The inaugural function was graced by Prof. B. Sanjay, Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad as the Chief Guest. In his speech, he felicitated the Naga Research Scholars’ Forum for their initiative in bringing about a platform for the young scholars to engage and disseminate ideas. He called the initiative ‘timely’. Dean of School of Social Sciences, Prof K. K Misra, who chaired the session, stated that the seminar is very appropriate as it covered wide relevant themes. The Keynote Address was delivered by Dr. Veio Pou on ‘Engaging the Dominant Narratives in the Naga Society’. Dr. Pou, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Delhi University is the author of ‘Literary Cultures of India’s North East: Naga Writings in English’ In his power packed key note address, Dr. Pou asserts that unprecedented changes had come about in the last six-seven decades in the Naga society. He deeply lamented that the Nagas have failed to garner a cognitive mind to the impact of such changes and understand its agents. Besides the various damages, according to him had been chiefly the damage on the understanding of one’s own traditional and cultural institutions. Therefore, he strongly stressed on the need to demystify some of the dominant narratives as a way to reclaim the dignity of one’s cultural identity. Finally, he pointed out the need to know the inherent ideological strains operational in the society and accordingly corrective measures must be taken up to counter such narratives.
The Coordinator of the Seminar Dr. Ajailiu Niumai, Associate Professor, CSSEIP, UoH emphasized on the purpose of the seminar which was to engage the young scholars and share ideas and current research works. She also pointed out the need to look at the society critically. Mr. Riku Khutso, Ph.D Candidate, Department of History, UoH spoke on the concept and the scope of the seminar by underlying the need to identify new methodological frameworks and perspectives to understand shifts in the Naga society of North East India.
The Naga Research Scholars Forum had stated that considering the context of the multiple shifts that has taken place in the society, one is intrigued by the need to thrust for a comprehensive and critical understanding of the Naga society in the contemporary times. To do that, one of the main objectives of the seminar had been to engage academic endeavors from different disciplines which concerns past, present and future of the Nagas. ‘Discoursing the shifts’ was taken to employ new perspectives to understand the dynamics and the nature that has driven these shifts, and also locate the current debates around these divergences and convergences in the Naga society.
Thus, the seminar dwelt on different critical sub-themes starting with Traditional Knowledge Systems and Shifts which was chaired by Dr. Ajailiu Niumai; then Christianity Education and Culture, chaired by Dr. Venusa Tinyi, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy; Shifts in the Economic Domain, chaired by Dr. Rani Ratna Prabha, Assistant Professor CSSEIP; Colonial Occupations and Shifts, chaired by Mr. Limakumba Walling, Assistant Professor, School of Economics; Literature, Identity and Shifts, Chaired by Dr. Graious Temsen, Associate Professor, Centre for Applied Linguistics; and finally, Contemporary Discourses chaired by Dr. Kham Khan Suan Hausing, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science. There were all together 18 delegates and three in absentia papers. The delegates have come from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi University, Christ University and University of Hyderabad.
The Valedictory session was graced by Prof Sudhir Jacob, retd. Professor of Department of Political Science and chaired by Dr. G. Nagaraju, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad. Throughout his speech, he cherished his long association with the North-East region, and in particular the Nagas. He pointed out that the Nagas need to deconstruct the baggage of colonization and westernization and reconstruct the society based on their rich indigenous culture and traditions. While challenging the young people to remember their roots and stressed the need to visit villages and document the oral resources before it vanishes. The vote of thanks was proposed by Mr Amihe Swu, PhD candidate, Department of English, after which the seminar was formally closed.
Compiled by Riku Khutso,
Ph.D Research Scholar, Department of History