Top Stories

Ngathingkhui Jagoi’s “Grandma’s Treasure – I: The Hornbill Dance” released

Jagoi Book release

DIMAPUR, NOVEMBER 13: Grandma’s Treasure – I: The Hornbill Dance, penned by senior journalist and occasional filmmaker Ngathingkhui Jagoi was released on Saturday by Advisor to the Chief Minister of Nagaland, Abu Metha in a gathering of friends, colleagues, and family members here at DBIDL, Don Bosco School, Dimapur.

Metha, speaking at the launch, lauded the author for taking up the challenge in documenting the folk stories told to him by his Grandma and stated that Naga society must be thankful to people like Jagoi for writing the stories that will stay forever, while hoping that more Naga writers will come forward and tell the stories of “thousand of Grandmas for the millions of our future children”, which would become history books of the future. He called this the responsibility of the present generation.
He said that he has always encouraged public servants posted in the far flung corners of the State to interact with the local populace, the old folks and bring out the stories and added that the stories are important for the future generations to know from where they came, their cultures, and be proud of them.
He said that for long Nagas have been known for wrong reasons like insurgency, violence, but it is time for Nagas to be known for good things like art, sports, science, education and more.
On the occasion he also expressed his desire to learn more about the publisher of the book, Heritage Publishing House (HPH), its journey, struggles, and way ahead and assured personal support and Government intervention if needed. We are in this together, he stated.
The author, narrating a brief back story of the book, stated that the book is a result of the bedtime stories that he pestered for from his Grandma J Makatunla every night without which he would not let her retire. Further, the stories came from old womenfolk who, he along with other children, would help to shoo away fowls from eating the paddy spread on bamboo mais dried in the sun and in return would corner them to tell stories. Also, it includes stories told on rainy days by the hearth inside the house by the elders.
Jagoi said that though he started documenting the stories in Tangkhul language initially, but the absurdity and lack of historical validity made him abandon the work, till he was persuaded by one of his uncles to complete it and this time he wrote the stories in English. According to him, the book was completed in 2006, containing 22 stories, and he approached the National Book Trust of India with it, consequently striking a deal with 12% royalty share. However, later the publisher sought Jagoi to remove the “killings (headhunting) and gory narration” which he couldn’t and the deal was dismissed. More than a decade later, in 2018, by the insistence of his uncle again, he reconsidered the book and subsequently the book was published with HPH as the publisher.

Dr Lanusangla Tzudir, Proprietor of HPH, delivering the publisher’s note, said that there is a need for Nagas to take ownership of the Naga stories and not remain just a subject in the minds of the outsiders. According to her, if Nagas don’t tell the stories, others will. She, however, called it an irony that the stories are being told in a language of others and this tells that Nagas have come a long way.
The book, priced at Rs 300, contains 12 short stories and is first of a series of the books.
(Page News Service)