Dimapur, March 17: The Naga Scholars’ Association (NSA) organized a book discussion on ‘Constructing the Divine: Religion and world view of a Naga tribe in the North East India’ in School of International Studies (SIS), JNU, New Delhi on March 15.
Senganglu Thaimei, faculty of English in Miranda House started with a critical question on the absence of the dominant ‘ethnic-nationalism narrative’ in the book and why the book covered only the religion per se.
Dr G Kanato Chophy, author, agreed that he has clearly focused on two religious movements, which are Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism. He stated that he intentionally did not add the political and ethno-nationalism aspects as he plans to come up with another book which would cover those aspects.
On question of weaving the different stories in one single tread in his book, Dr Kanato admitted that he acquired his storytelling skills from the ethnographic training he had received. He pointed out that there is a big difference between the western understanding and the approach of our forefathers, to which he substantiated his argument by giving evidence of animism and tokenism, which inspired him to bring out his own ‘new conceptual category to understand his own people’.
On the questions of insiders and outsiders and the advantages and disadvantages he faced for being ‘an insider’, he humbly admitted that, as an insider researcher he “doesn’t have the front-row seat of understanding social reality” and pointed out that indigenous scholars make mistake and tend to dismiss great work done by outsiders.
The session was chaired by Prof. Joy Pachuau, a well known social scientist, presently working in Centre for Historical Studies, JNU. She appreciated the author’s work and the “interdisciplinary” approach of the NSA activities.
(Page News Service)