India’s northeastern region is a complex melange of languages, cultures and literary traditions. We are aware that a category like “northeastern literature” does not exist. Neither do we want to create any new cognate category that tries to collapse distinctions between different literary traditions. However, we want the Northeast Review to be a common ground for thinking and talking critically about literatures and cultural productions from this region.
Are there any common elements or patterns that can be explored, defined or analysed in the diverse literatures of the region?
Could such convergences be the ground for new conversations both about literature and society?
How do writers from the region view themselves as part of a continuing chain?
How do they contend with the “new” and the unprecedented?
What about the unique styles of particular authors themselves?
How can literatures from the Northeast be analyzed through a global or cosmopolitan lens?
How can the Northeast itself be imagined as a cosmopolitan place?
Can literature, and cultural representation at large, function as a form of counter-memory?
Can they reveal hidden or unacknowledged realities from the past?
Moreover, how do such works envision possible futures?
We realize that these questions are “large” ones and that there are no easy answers to them. However, we think that such interrogations are urgent ones for the current period.Caught in between the violence perpetuated by the apparatuses of the state and the assault on alternative possibilities of imagining modes of mutual coexistence by recurring bouts of ethnic and identitarian strife, we ask whether cultural production can function as a possible ground for initiating new conversations.
Ours is not a naïve idealistic belief in the power or potential of literature and culture. But we do believe that literature and cultural discourse enables the recalibration of blocked visions and the reinvigoration of stalled, lost or effaced conversations. Most importantly, they critique and allow us to move beyond the blockade of the imagination imposed by continuing cycles of violence and shrill identitarian rhetoric. Literature and cultural production help us imagine possible futures, and possess the potential to liberate us from the tyranny of cruel presents.
But although we intend the Northeast Review to be primarily a showcase of original creative writing from the Northeast of India, we also focus on literature(s)from its immediate geo-political neighbourhood and beyond.