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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library

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‘Figurations of India’s Northeast: Cultures, histories, worldviews’ 19-20 February, 2015.

on
‘Figurations of India’s Northeast: Cultures, histories, worldviews’

in association with
Dr. Manjeet Baruah,
Northeast India Studies Programme,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
and
Dr. Rakhee Kalita Moral,
Former Fellow, NMML and
Cotton College State University,
Guwahati, Assam.

Concept Note:

The conference is organised to commemorate the birth centenary of Maheswar Neog (1915 – 1995), a pioneering scholar from Assam. Maheswar Neog’s works have remained foundational in the study of cultural and historical processes of Assam. He is especially remembered for his works on pre-colonial culture of Assam, while himself belonging to a critical period in the history of post-Independence India. Between the 1940s and 1970s, his scholarship was part of the wider intellectual discourses of Indian de-colonisation. His works include studies on literature and literary history, music, performance and aesthetics. He was also one of the leading scholars on neo-Vaishnava philosophy in Assam and its 15th century saint-reformer Sankaradeva. Writing mostly in Assamese, his contributions, especially during the period between 1940s and 1970s, are widely considered path breaking.

The conference is organised around themes which were central to Maheswar Neog’s works. However, the themes are used as window to understand processes and developments wider than what Neog himself had worked on. For example, questions of writing literary history and the challenges therein, aesthetics and ideas of community, the relation between ideology and religion and its impact, and cultural geography and the issue of folk region are some of the broad themes which the conference focuses on. The speakers are from different disciplines and areas of work, such as History, Literature, Translation, Gender Studies, Philosophy, Sociology and Political Studies.

Through these themes, the conference hopes to explore the diverse and complex nature of Northeast India. Through the themes, the conference also aims to examine the processes of knowledge production on Northeast India. The conference would end with a panel discussion on recent research trends on Northeast India, and possible areas of study which could prove crucial in the coming times.

Programme Schedule:                 Thursday, 19 February 2015

9.00 a.m. – 9.05 a.m.
Welcome address:
Prof. Mahesh Rangarajan,
NMML.
9.05 a.m. – 9.15 a.m.
Introduction:
Dr. Manjeet Baruah,
Northeast India Studies Programme,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Session 1 ‘Maheswar Neog and his Times’
9.15 a.m. – 11.15 a.m.
Chair and Keynote: Prof. Pradip Acharya,
Formerly at Cotton College (State University),
Guwahati, Assam.
‘No Withdrawal of God: The enduring legacy of Maheswar Neog’
Speaker: Dr. Bibhash Choudhury,
Gauhati University, Guwahati.
‘Map-maker of Assamese Modernity: Maheswar Neog and his critical vision’
11.15 a.m.-11.30 a.m. Tea/Coffee
Session 2 ‘Writing Literary History’
11.30 a.m.- 1.00 p.m.
Chair: Prof. Margaret Zama,
Mizoram Central University,
Mizoram.
Speaker: Prof. Esther Syiem,
Northeastern Hill University,
Shillong, Meghalaya.
‘Writing Literary History: The “Oral Resistant”

Dr. K. B. Veio Pou,
Shahid Bhagat Singh College,
University of Delhi, Delhi.
‘Literary Traditions of India’s Northeast: Focus on writings in English’
1.00 p.m. - 2.00 p.m. Lunch
Session 3 ‘Ideology, Religion and Society’
2.00 p.m. – 3.30 p.m.
Chair: Prof. Tiplut Nongbri,
Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi.
Speakers: Dr. Joy L. K. Pachuau,
Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi.
‘Post-insurgency blues: The Mizo insurgency (1966-1986) and the politics of remembering’

Dr. Khuraijam Bijoykumar Singh,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
‘Evolution of Religion and Politics of Integration and Isolation in Manipur’
3.30 p.m. Tea/Coffee
                                                                          Friday, 20 February 2015
Session 4 ‘Cultural Geographies and Folk Regions’
9.30 a.m.-11.00 a.m.
Chair: Dr. Rakhee Kalita Moral,
Former Fellow, NMML and Cotton College State University,
Guwahati, Assam,
Speaker: Dr. G. Amarjit Sharma,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
‘Cosmos and Indigenous in the Political Life of the Meiteis’

Dr. Swargajyoti Gohain,
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
‘Cultural Geographies of Belonging in the Eastern Himalayas’
11.00 a.m.- 11.15 a.m. Tea/Coffee
Session 5 ‘Aesthetics and the Idea of Community’
11.15 a.m. – 12.45 p.m.
Chair: Dr. Bibhash Choudhury,
Gauhati University, Guwahati.
Speakers: Ms. Mamang Dai,
Poet and Writer, Itanagar,
Arunachal Pradesh.
‘Aesthetics and the Idea of Community: A sense of place’

Prof. Bhagat Oinam,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
‘Idea of Beauty: Perspectives from Northeast India’
12.45 p.m. – 2.00 p.m. Lunch
Session 6                      Round Table
‘New Knowledge on Northeast India’
 2.00 p.m. – 3.30 p.m.
Chair: Prof. Margaret Zama,
Mizoram Central University, Mizoram.
Speakers: Dr. Rakhee Kalita Moral,
Former Fellow, NMML and Cotton College State University,
Guwahati, Assam,

Ms. Mamang Dai,
Poet and Writer, Itanagar,
Arunachal Pradesh,

Ms. Lovitoli Jimo,
Ambedkar University, Delhi.
3.30 p.m. – 3.35 p.m. Vote of Thanks
3.35 p.m. Tea/Coffee
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