“We were there, we are here and we will be there”: First ever All India Tribal Women Writers’ Meet (Ranchi, 7- 8 Sept 2017) – Jharkhand

Tribal societies are going through a transition phase and identity of tribals is being rediscovered through literary writings.

Acclaimed writer and professor of North East Hill University, Shillong, Streamlet Dkhar, was addressing a room full of 35 women authors at the inaugural session of a first-ever all-India tribal women writers’ meet at a Ranchi hotel on Thursday.

The two-day meet in being organised by Sahitya Akademi in association with Jharkhandi Bhasha Sahitya Sanskriti Akhra to commemorate the birth centenary of Alice Ekka, the country’s first acclaimed woman tribal writer.

“Tribals are currently reeling under the influence of urbanisation. Still we are trying to preserve our culture through our writings, even when many of us do not speak the language,” said Dkhar.

On being asked to comment on the recent ban of The Adivasi Will Not Dance, a book by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, Dkhar said banning a book was not a solution. “Let the audience decide whether they want to accept a book or not,” she added.

Hum the, hum hain aur hum rahenge (we were there, we are here and we will be there),” said Vandna Tete, general secretary of Akhra, while emphasising on the existence of tribals over ages.

Devendra Kumar Devesh of Sahitya Akademi said, “It’s high time we recognise the contributions of tribal women in Indian literature.” […]

“Irrespective of differences in lifestyle, all tribals possess an unconditional love for nature,” said tribal scholar writer K. Vasamalli, who came all the way from Tamil Nadu.

“We are really feeling comfortable to share our views here and am glad to be a part of the meet,” said Krairi Mog Choudhury of Tripura. […]

Source: “City platform for tribal women writers” by Achintya Ganguly, The Telegraph, Jharkhand, September 8, 2017
Address: https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170908/jsp/jharkhand/story_171464.jsp
Date Visited: Mon Sep 11 2017 16:27:54 GMT+0200 (CEST)

This Literary Meet was organized by Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, with assistance from Jharkhandi Bhasha Sahitya Sanskriti Akhra, Ranchi.  

A Resolution (attached) was passed at the same Literary Meet condemning the writings of Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar for damaging the dignity of tribal women but also condemning the ban imposed by the Jharkhand govt because it went against the writer’s “freedom of expression”. Please read the Resolution in detail, where the nature of “freedom of expression” is also explained. 

Source (text and photos): Dr Ivy Imogene Hansdak, Dept of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi – 110025 (by email 11 September 2017)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Read the inaugural Speech by Dr. Ivy Hansdak: “Is tribal identity relevant in today’s world?” delivered during the conference titled “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” | Conference report >>

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The Johar Journal
The Johar Journal (द जोहार जर्नल ) is an online open-access, peer-reviewed, biannual journal on Adivasi, tribal and indigenous issues with particular focus on tribal literatures in translation.
https://joharjournal.org >>
Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia
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“We cannot let our culture and society stop” – Ivy Imogene Hansdak, Editor-in-Chief

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