With a purpose to provide a creative platform for the ‘voice’ of Naga women writers to be heard and acknowledged by people globally, a daylong interactive workshop –cum- seminar for writers on “Naga Stories of Everyday Life as Seen Through the Eyes of Women”, sponsored by NEZCC, Dimapur, was held at IMC Lobby, Dimapur, Saturday.
Encouraging the participants to give ‘voice’ to the many issues that were prevailing in the Naga society through exploring creativity and creative writings, NEZCC director, Hekali Zhimomi, urged the participants to fill the void which was present in Nagaland as far as literary work was concerned.
Congratulating Holiday Abode for Writers and Artists (HAWA), for organizing the workshop cum seminar, Hekali expressed hope that more such similar workshop would be organized not only in Nagaland but also in regional level in order to encourage women writers to find themselves a place even in national and international arena.
21 participants including Hekali Zhimomi, renowned Naga women academicians, writers, social workers and journalists of the state were part of the workshop-cum -seminar, picked and invited to participate.
Being gifted and literarily versed but some of them relatively unknown, the participants were given an assignment three weeks prior to the workshop to write a short story which was context based and creative non-fiction in nature where they were later assisted by the resource persons---Susan Waten, a columnist in different local dailies of the state and also the founder director of HAWA, Dimapur, and Buno Iralu, who holds a Doctorate of Ministry in pastoral care and counseling, and is presently a lecturer at Shalom Bible Seminary, Sechu, Kohima, presented a paper each on “A Philosophical and Spiritual Approach to Literary Art and the making of Literary Artist” and “Musings, Hunches, Ideas and Writing” respectively.
Each of the participants who attended the workshop narrated some gist of the pre-written short story in order to open the floor for meaningful interaction and exploration of the short story’s scope towards a larger readership for which the ambience was set for informal, interactive and comfortable in order to enable each of the participants to emote and express their ideas freely.
For the participants, they were expected to do a little ‘finishing touches’ after the seminar by rewriting, expanding, modifying and editing their stories with the fresh new inputs they receive from the resource persons after which the stories would undergo a final editing before they were ready to be published in a book of short stories written by Naga women.
Highlighting about the short stories, Susan Waten said Naga stories centered around different plots and themes including family life, insurgency movement and its effect on individual’s lives, personal struggles and achievements, social problems and youth culture, outstanding Naga personalities, about innate talents, the educational system and its benefits or any other area of concerned.
She also said that the stories were based on reality pertaining to real persons in real-life situations for which creative techniques were applied to protect the identity (s) of the protagonist if one desired while also avoiding the tone being ‘preachy’ or moralistic but has depth, empathy, social significances or even ‘irony’ which made for a wide readership, going beyond small socio-cultural and religious boundaries in making genuine connections with human beings.
Besides creating platform for women writers, the object of the workshop was also to revive and promote the art of story telling in Naga culture from a woman’s perspective, to collect and compile contemporary stories pertaining to Naga life in book form for future references and also to let the participants share their ideas and gain valuable insights for personal growth and expansion through meaningful interchange with women of similar gifting, experience and interests.
It may be pertinent to mention that HAWA is a platform for writers, poets, journalists, research scholars, intellectuals, philosophers, thinkers and mystics; for painters, sculptors, ceramicists, photographers, designers, architects, musicians, singers, dancers, stage performers and theatre artistes, for people in film and TV arts, for just about anybody pursuing creative and aesthetic endeavours either as amateurs or professionals or even for individuals seeking artistic self expression in the closet.