Accepted paper:

Creating Alternative Discourses: The Konyak Naga Experience


Kanchan Mukhopadhyay (Anthrological Survey of India)

Paper short abstract:

The ethnographies and anthropological texts influenced the self-image of the Konyaks to a large extent. In recent times the Konyaks of India and of Myanmar are trying to rediscover their heritage by building institutions and by creating alternative discourses. The multiple discourses allow better appreciation of the alternatives.

Paper long abstract:

The collective memories of the Konyaks have partly been occupied by ethnographies and anthropological texts written during colonial and post-colonial years; they have been subjected to the stereotypical images of the naked savage head-hunters. The people learnt to treat some elements of their past with a hint of embarrassment and public discourse on those topics was mutually avoided by them. In more recent times the Konyaks on both sides of Indo-Myanmar border are trying to rediscover their social and cultural heritage by enquiring into the subjects themselves and creating institutions which are supposed to collect information and disseminate the same within and outside the culture group. This exercise offers a chance to look into the issues of subjectivity and objectivity from several perspectives. Both kinds of discourses, one presented by the supposedly impassionate chroniclers from distant places and disparate cultures and the other by different sections of the people themselves, are found to adopt their respective ideological stance. Combining both it can be possible to make better sense of one another.

panel G07
Tribal situation in India's North-east: emerging issues and ongoing anthropological attention