After years of marginalisation in the realm of the societal and the political and being relegated to the periphery of the national imagination, the North East of India has suddenly spewed a renewed interest for the Indian mainland and mainstream media. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the Indian Government's Look East policy to strengthen its status as a regional superpower amongst the nations of South East Asia and the fact that it was succeeded by the Act East policy of the Modi Government only highlights the sudden realisation that the North East cannot be kept ostracised any longer. It has generated a renewed interest in the fields of national tourism and also in the arena of literary publication, the latter having been so long dominated by the publishing industry of the metropoles of the Indian heartland.
Much like Jammu and Kashmir, the North East states of India have been embroiled in insurgencies, violent protests, a constant conflict with the Indian State resulting in a paralysis of society and loss of lives on a scale very rarely matched by anywhere in India. Amit Rahul Baishya in his definitive study of North East Indian Literature draws on the work of Achille Mbembe who uses the idea of the " Deathworld" to talk about societies that have been caught in the grips of ethnic clashes and insurgencies whereby they have descended to the level of "Necroworlds" as the human populace survive like the living dead. This leads us further to question the idea of the nation as an "Imagined community" as put forward by Benedict Anderson as cracks and fissures are exposed in the sacrosanct idea of the monolithic national whole.
The chequered history of the North East India carries within it an awareness that the centres of power in Delhi have been nothing but a continuation of the colonial legacy. Even the directional metaphor, the North East, is an heirloom handed down by the British who used that term to denote the geographical coordinates as a frontier region and sadly it has continued long after the British have left. The discontent has led to armed conflict and a vicious cycle of violence with counter insurgency, extra judicial killings and physical and psychological torture by the Indian Army punctuating the daily lives of the seven states that make up this geographical landmass. It has lasted decades, with one insurgent unit, replaced by the other, with demands ranging from eviction of the Bengali Muslim settlers in Assam, a demand for separate statehood on the basis of ethnic and tribal lines in Manipur and the Naga call for independence from the Indian State.
This volume of critical essays on the North East looks to bring into focus voices from the North East in Literature in English, Popular Culture and media. Articles could look into the following areas for interrogation and critical questioning but this doesn't mean by any stretch of the imagination that other areas of critical enquiry pertaining to the larger scheme of the book will not be welcome.
· The Problematics of the term North East Indian Literature and whether this moniker could be applied any more. If not, what other alternatives could we come up with.
· The politics of exclusion of writers from the North East from the mainstream metropole dominated publishing industry for a considerable number of years and the politics behind its renewed interest in literature emerging from the said region.
· The racial profiling and stereotyping of people from the North East in films, music videos and other wings of Popular Culture.
· The changes in the sensibility/ focus in North East literature and society with the threat and rise of Hindutva and the RSS in the last decade and a half.
· The notion of identity and negotiating the mainstream India's "Gaze"
· Ecological concerns in the fiction/ poetry emerging from the North East.
· Feminist readings and critique of Patriarchy.
· The status of oral narratives/ literature and orality as a mode that is fast vanishing in a society that now gives precedence to the literary and the written.
The papers should be within the range of 4000 to 6000 words,( including References and the Works Cited List) written in MS WORD (.doc/.docx) with Times New Roman, font size 12, margins of 1’’ on all sides and in accordance with MLA Stylesheet, 7TH Edition. Citations should be parenthetic. Avoid footnotes. Add endnotes, if unavoidable. Block quotes should be indented 1”. Suggestive templates can be sent on request.
Each paper should be accompanied by an abstract of 250 words with five keywords, a declaration of originality and a short bio-note of 50-100 words.
Authors will be responsible for necessary copyright permissions, if any.
Dates: Complete Papers, along with an abstract and 5/6 keywords should be mailed on the following e-mail id latest by the 30th of June, 2022.
Sayan Aich Bhowmik