The Thumb Print Magazine series of ” Conversations” being held in different parts of the country on ” Media and Northeast India” was held in Shillong in collaboration with the Creative Arts, Literature and Music Festival ( CALM ) Festival of Shillong on the 8th May 2013. The CALM Festival is the annual festival of Sahaki society in Shillong.
This was the second in the series of ” Conversations” which The Thumb Print organizes to discover diligently the mainstream media response to the North East as well as to bust the myth of some steretypes associated with the Northeastern region- portrayed as a ‘ dark ‘ region, and only a repository of insensate violence.
The participants were: Jerry Pinto, Chirodeep Choudhury, Banteilang Rumnong, Dominic Wankhar, Mitra Phukan, Teresa Rehman and Ananya S Guha. Sambha Lamarr the President of the Sahaki society introduced the participants and welcomed them. The discussion which was held on the eve of the three-day CALM Festival in a way was the prelude to the main events beginning on May 9.
The discussion focused on the sense of aliention of the region, the need for more dialogue and understanding between the so called ‘ mainstream’ and the Northeast Region. Noted poet and novelist Jerry Pinto felt that there was a pronounced ignorance of the region in the ‘ mainland’, but he also felt that the same was true in the reverse order, quoting examples of his students from Mumbai and the North East India’.
However, Jerry Pinto felt the people of the Northeast must preempt matters, take their confidence into their own hands, prove to the rest of the country their abilities in matters related to their creativity and ownership of it, and not ‘ wait ‘ for things to happen and be dependent on the rest of the country. Teresa Rehman spoke on the aliention which the people of the region felt, owing mainly to a misrepresented idiom of the region.
The discussion then veered to matters of xenophobia, and the mingling of real and imagined fear of the indigenous peoples of the region. Most of the speakers spoke on the idea of marginalization of the region, in terms of a misconstrued understanding of the region, characterized by a gross ignorance of the geography of the region.
It was felt that to obviate misconceptions of the region, the people of the region must tell and write their ‘ stories’ emphasizing on their rich folk and oral trations. Only then will sensibilities of the region be upturned.
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