Dimapur, Jan. 24 (EMN): Naga Scholars’ Association (NSA), in collaboration with Bibliophile South Asia, organised a programme for release of a book titled ‘Flame on a hill: A collection of stories’ authored by Shelmi Sankhil on January 23. The book was released by Dr. Lorho S Pfoze, sitting Lok Sabha MP from Outer Constituency, Manipur.
Speaking at the programme, the author stated that the book is a collection of stories clubbed into three categories basing on specific moments in the history of the Lamkang people. Starting with the historical event of the third century common era, when a Lamkang village was razed to the ground by Leiya Punsiba, the then king of the Moirang kingdom, the historical arc of the stories in this category included later encounters with the unified kingdom of Manipur (1570 CE), the British in the early nineteenth century, and the Japanese during World War 2, an update from NSA stated.
The author also stated that “These stories, written in the mould of historical fiction, should not be read as ‘pure’ history, for they are imaginative reconstructions of actual events. Nevertheless, their historical relevance should not be dismissed as ‘fiction’ either.”
The second category, according to the author, consisted of set of stories that is categorised as memoir as some of them recounted his encounters with military excesses in Manipur at a given time, while the others recounted notable experiences of select individuals that were narrated to a living audience.
The third category consisted of short stories which are entirely fictional in both their conception and treatment. They are topical and intended to generate healthy dialogue on some aspects of culture and tradition, the statement read adding the story form provides opportunity for an ‘objective’ and harmless evaluation of certain issues that afflict contemporary Lamkang culture.
The event was moderated by Senganglu Thaimei, assistant professor of English, Miranda House, while speeches were also delivered by Dr. Pfoze and Ashok Butani, the publisher.
It stated that NSA president Dr. Zuchamo Yanthan, in his welcome note, emphasised the importance of the book for understanding one of the least understood Naga communities in Manipur. He also congratulated the author for writing a book that would not only introduce the historical experiences of the Lamkang people, but also of the Chandel Naga tribes as a whole.
The event concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by Dr. KK Loung Nathan.