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    19 Books By Northeast Indian Authors That Are So Good, You'll Be Adding Them To Your Reading List ASAP

    Diversify the books you read.

    How inclusive is India's mainstream literary culture? Time and again, it has overlooked the wealth of literature produced in the Northeast region and has ignored the existence of the rich literary tradition of the Northeast. It is only very recent that literature from the Northeast has even reached the rest of India. At a time when we all speak of inclusivity, it is absolutely necessary to stop the othering of the region in mainstream culture as well.

    Here are a few books to help you get started with building an inclusive bookshelf and educating and understanding the complex issues that mire the diverse region of the Northeast. This list comprises a mixture of fiction and non-fiction books by Northeast Indian authors and it is, by no means, exhaustive.

    1. The Legends Of Pensam by Mamang Dai

    2. The Many That I Am: Writings From Nagaland by Anungla Zoe Longkumer

    3. Around The Hearth: Khasi Legends by Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih


    What it's about: In this book, Nongkynrih has collected Khasi folk tales that were handed down orally through generations, from village raconteurs to that of the community, and grandparents to parents to children. The stories include purinam (fairy tales), puriskam (fables), khana pharshi (parables), khana pateng (legends), and true stories that have gradually slipped into the hearts of one and all.

    You can buy it here.

    4. Bitter Wormwood by Easterine Kire

    Zubaan Books

    What it’s about: Bitter Wormwood, as Easterine Kire states in the introduction, is about ordinary people whose lives were completely shaken by the freedom struggle. It portrays the violence and impact of the Naga freedom struggle from Indian dominance on the lives of common men and women in Nagaland. This is done through the protagonist's — Moselie's — experiences.

    You can buy it here.

    5. The Collector's Wife by Mitra Phukan

    6. WARI: A Collection Of Manipuri Short Stories by Linthoi Chanu

    Notion Press

    What it's about: Wari is a collection of eight stories that introduces the readers to the folklore, beliefs, culture, arts, and cuisine of Manipur. Each of the eight stories is unique and distinct and explores various themes ranging from ancient beliefs of black magic, idol worship and local deities, the impact of the Japanese Army infiltration during World War II, drug abuse, and superstitions.

    You can buy it here.

    7. These Hills Called Home: Stories From A War Zone by Temsula Ao

    8. The King's Harvest by Chetan Raj Shrestha

    9. How To Tell The Story Of An Insurgency by Aruni Kashyap

    HarperCollins India

    What it's about: The stories in this collection give a gritty account of experiences of living in the shadow of insurgency. In this book, Aruni Kashyap has compiled stories that are originally written in English, Bodo, and Assamese. It highlights ethnic clashes between communities and includes the experiences of the tribal communities, minorities, and other settler communities — thus giving the subaltern a voice. Through the tales in the book, Kashyap attempts to foreground the human experiences of living in a region riddled with conflict.

    You can buy it here.

    10. India Against Itself by Sanjib Baruah

    Motilal UK Books of India

    What it's about: This is a thoroughly researched book that provides an in-depth analysis of the complex issues that confront the state of Assam and other Northeastern states. Baruah explains the cultural politics of language, militant sub-nationalism, Pan-Indianism, how the precolonial Ahom kingdom came to be called Assam under the British rule, how insurgency in Assam has roots in the history of Assamese sub-nationalism, and so much more.

    You can buy it here.

    11. Zorami: A Redemption Song by Malsawmi Jacob

    12. The Nine Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat

    13. The Desire Of Roots by Robin S Ngangom

    14. Struggling In A Time Warp by Hiren Gohain

    Bhabani Books

    What it's about: This book by Hiren Gohain is a selection of essays (written by him) and has been published in various different journals, including The Economic and Political Weekly. It also consists of a number of addresses delivered in various institutions such as Jawaharlal Nehru University. The book covers nearly half a century of the Northeast's history, society, and politics and sheds light on various endemic and critical issues causing unrest in the region.

    You can buy it here.

    15. The Moth-Eaten Howdah Of The Tusker by Indira Goswami


    What it's about: This novel narrates the story of Giribala, a young widow from an Assamese Brahmin family, and shows the plight of the widows and the revolt of Giribala. It also illustrates how the traditional authority is threatened as the feudal system gets disintegrated post the independence of India.

    You can buy it here.

    16. Being Mizo: Identity And Belonging In Northeast India by Joy L. K. Pachuau

    Oxford University Press

    What it's about: This historical anthropology book by Joy L.K. Pachuau is mainly about identity-shaping and identity-making and gives the readers an insight into how colonialism, Christianity, and identity politics played a role in the construction of the Mizo identity. It traces the history in the making of the selfhood of Mizos, and how they constitute and understand themselves.

    You can buy it here.

    17. A Bowstring Winter by Dhruba Hazarika


    What it's about: Told in three parts and divided according to the cold winter months of November, December, and January, Dhruba Hazarika's novel revolves around John Dkhar whose life takes a turn when he meets and befriends James Kharlukhi, Jennifer D'Santos, Charlie, and Dor Kharkongor. It is a tale of friendship, betrayal, divided loyalties, and revenge. It also gives an insight into the infamous game of teer — an archery-based game, which is extremely popular in Shillong and other parts of Meghalaya.

    You can buy it here.

    18. Strangers Of The Mist by Sanjoy Hazarika

    19. Undertow by Jahnavi Barua