Touted as an island of peace in the otherwise ‘troubled’ Northeast periphery of India, Mizoram has nonetheless had a turbulent past. The traumatic experiences of this not-so-distant past have often been brushed aside or silenced. But no matter how deep this silence, it cannot drown the sounds of airplanes bombing entire villages out of existence. Nor can it hide within its darkness the cries of people uprooted from their hearth and home who were then resettled in contained environments.
With the passage of time people may want to forget why an earlier generation was forced to take up arms in a land where the hills seem capable of instilling only calm. But literature does not allow us this luxury of escape from the traumas of our past. It forces us to face our history so that we may be able to turn towards our future, healed. And this healing process has started, with so many scholars and writers rediscovering, revisiting those troubled years, trying to make sense of the traumatic past.
In our Tin Trunk this issue, the Northeast Review presents a small selection of this literature from this Rambuai, the troubled land. We are grateful to have Margaret Zama’s comprehensive overview. An extract from Malswami Jacob’s novel takes us back into that world. Roluahpuia’s research brings us the narrative of a woman rebel. And our selection of poetry tells us about all the rest: the pathos and the pain, the remembering and the forgetting, the living and the letting go.
In our regular section, Roderick Chalmer’s memoirs also take us back into the past – a different kind of past though – and one remembered with affection, not pain. Chalmers, who owned a tea estate in Assam before retiring to London, writes about growing up a tea planter. Sanjoy Barbora reviews Dhruba Hazarika’s Sons of Brahma. We have an excerpt from Aditya Sudarshan’s novel The Persecution of Madhav Tripathi. We also hope that the poems by Saskia Priftis and Somak Ghoshal are well received by our readers.