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Easterine, Kethoser bag Naga literature award

Easterine, Kethoser bag Naga literature award
Neiphiu Rio along with Kethoser (Aniu) Kevichüsa, KET members and others. (NP)
Correspondent Kohima, APR 9 (NPN) | Publish Date: 4/9/2019 12:38:06 PM IST

Kohima Educational Trust (UK) and Kohima Education Society (Nagaland) awarded the first Gordon Graham Prize for Naga Literature (GGPNL) to Easterine Kire and Kethoser (Aniu) Kevichüsa at Hotel Vivor, Kohima here on Tuesday.

Kire won the award for her novel (fiction category) “When the River sleeps” and Kevichüsa for his book (non-fiction) – “Forgiveness and Politics.”
Both received Rs. Rs 100,000 cash each along with a certificates. The award was handed over to them by chief minister, Neiphiu Rio and CEO, Kohima Educational Trust (KET) UK, Sylvia May. 
The award was given to recognize and reward the knowledge keepers and idea givers in Naga society and to encourage and promote reading and writing within the Naga community.
Rio congratulated both the winners and said that they deserved the award. He also lauded the Kohima Educational Society for the noble initiative in instituting the award in memory of Gordon Graham, on the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Kohima. He opined that the award would be a role model for the youngsters.
Rio also encouraged the youth to inculcate reading habit and said that the initiative of awarding promising Naga authors would help promote the young promising writers in the state. 
He reminded that the most successful people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, etc find time to read books even though they have the busiest schedules.
Highlighting the life of Gordon Graham, Rio said Gordon fought the battle of Kohima as a young captain of the “Queen’s own Cameron Highlanders” in the British 2nd division under General Grover and his act of bravery won two military crosses in the Burma campaign. 
Gordon after retiring from the Army, took up journalism and authored books including the famous book “The trees are All young on Garrison hill” which had accounts of the events of the battle of Kohima, Rio said.
CEO, Kohima Educational Trust (KET) UK, Sylvia May in her speech said the award was instituted to encourage budding Naga writers to write and build confidence, and also to recognise and reward the knowledge keepers and idea givers of the Naga society. 
May, who is the daughter of late Gordon Graham, founder and president of the Kohima Educational Trust said his father himself was a writer in his entire life. 
 “For him (Gordon) the written word was everything. Everything he wrote would be mulled over, thought about, drafted, re-written, until it was perfect. He weighed every single word and searched for the one that could replace the five currently being used,” she said. 
She further said that the idea of the literary award was conceived four years ago, when Gordon and Charles Chasie had a long communications (written conversations) for over a year about the award.  
Even at the age of 95, her father was determined to keep his brain functioning and the only way to do that was to think about new ideas and discuss them and communicate about them. 
However, Gordon died in 2015. He visited Kohima three times, his first was in 1944 to fight the battle of Kohima, May added. The memory lay dormant for many years but in 2004, on the 60th Anniversary of the battle, Gordon and several other fellow veterans founded The Kohima Educational Trust, a trust designed to help and assist with educational needs for young Nagas, she said. 
President Kohima educational Society (KES) Charles Chasie in his address said Gordon Graham prize for the Naga literature has been the result of long deliberations. He said Gordon was very keen to promote better understanding and unity within Naga society, wanted to bring out a glossary of the Naga languages so that Naga tribes could at least learn the most common words and phrases in each other’s languages and communication. 
Chairman KES, P. Ngully in his welcome address said KET and KES have been actively involved in the promotion of education for the Naga children through the annual scholarship award. The programme was compeered by Sophy Lasuh, special presentation of Naga traditional musical instrument by D. Atso Chasie. Dr. Akum Longchari spoke on behalf of judges.

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