Grisham Ritu - Summer, Issue No. 109 (May-Jun 2023)

Literature of the Northeast

Vibrant culture of the Northeast. Credit – Youtube, Northeast Horizon

‘Literature from Northeast India’ could defy a single definition as the region is very diversified in its cultural mores, with the confluence of several ethnic groups. The phrase mostly refers to English writing though there is a significant body of literary works in many languages of the region, notably Assamese and Meitei. Due to its unique historical and political location, the region’s literature differs from other Indian writings. The last decade has seen a significant rise in the interest in the writings from the region after several writers gained national and international recognition, with Jnanpith awardees, Dr Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya and Dr Indira Goswami being the most prominent. This special feature curated by Prof. Bibhash Choudhury comprises important critical essays, prose pieces, poetry and an interview with Mamang Dai, the most notable voice from Arunachal Pradesh. It offers a refreshing view of the literary culture of the region today.
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“I think there is a lot of raw material still waiting to be found, not by others, but even by our own people. Characters often get lost and earlier explorers, missionaries and so many others are still lurking around the corners. If we go and explore, I think there is a lot of room for new fiction and new ideas.” - Mamang Dai. (Interview, FEATURE)


“All classes of people in a nation leave an indelible mark of age-old practices and usage, habits and customs, as also of thought and imagination, in the folk tales. Therefore, … (as a) prerequisite necessary to trace out the unwritten history of the national life of man, folklore is also essential for the purpose.”  - Lakshminath Bezbaroa quoted by Archana Deka in her article. (FEATURE)


Modern interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita often conflate the causally deterministic Vedic interpretation of karma with Krishna’s Satkaryavada epistemology centered meta-ethic, which produces contradictory interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita. (Ravi Teja Yelamanchili: Analysing the Bhagavad Gita through the lens of Causal Theories) (LITERARY SECTION)


The first socio-political lens through which we can treat Water! is economic freedom and emancipation. (Ayush Pancholy: Play of Fate and Free Will – An Analysis of Komal Swaminathan’s Water!)  (LITERARY SECTION)


Rashi, with her bold and modish lifestyle and the interest she evokes in the boys, leaves her hostel mates in awe, some even wanting to emulate her, till she gets into serious trouble with the college management. Read what happens to her in Medha Dwivedi’s ‘Noodle Strap’. This is among the 7 delightful stories in the section. (FICTION)


Elderly Vijayamma was living alone and leading an active life in social service, when her son and daughter-in-law scheme to shift her to a home-for-the-aged and transfer the ancestral property to their names. They even put their daughter to persuade the old lady. But what happens? To find out read Chaturvedi Divi’s ‘Flower Vase’. This is among the 7 delightful stories in the section.  (FICTION)


M.Mohankumar’s poems bring with them a nostalgia for the past and in the same breath puts a spotlight on the patriarchal notions that exist outside and within.  (POETRY)

Bibekananda Choudhury’s translation of Assamese poems gives us a glimpse of an idyllic lifestyle that is slowly getting eroded by the modern world; the poems take us back to a space that is protected and preserved from the present times.  (POETRY)


Annapurna Sharma reviews The Wait and Other Stories by Damodar Mauzo, and opines that the book presents a plethora of images of the rich and diverse culture of the Konkani people. The genesis and the journey of these stories seem to be deeply rooted in the Konkani ethnicity and way of life.  (BOOK REVIEWS)


In her review of In the Domain of White Heron by Raghavendra Patil, Sapna Dogra praises it as a collection of superbly crafted and engrossing six stories. The stories were skilfully translated and the adept narrations of the feelings and predicaments of rural South Indian men and women is deeply engrossing.  (BOOK REVIEWS)


This Issue of Muse India is sponsored by Sri Satish Verma, the Patron of Muse India.

Past Issues

Issue:108:Muse India Haikai Special 2023

Issue:107:Feature: Poetry Fervour

Issue:106:FEATURE: Regional Folktales of India

Issue:105:Relationships Unbound: Works of Jayanta Mahapatra

Issue:104:These Claustrophobic Spaces

Issue:103:Ethics & Politics of Cultural Memory

Issue:102:Fiction Bonus

Issue:101:Bhakti Literature in Telugu FOLKSY LYRICS