Most of us know that Nagaland is called the Switzerland of East India, having 16 major tribes, each with its own language, tradition, and belief. This place has its share of wonder but still, it’s not a preferred mainland tourist destination for many Indians. Have you ever wondered why such a beautiful and culturally rich state is so secluded from India?
Communication serves as the global bridge, yet the language barrier in East India, particularly Nagaland, isolates it. Limited information renders Nagaland less appealing to tourists and clouds perceptions of its warmth. But Mad4India has for you a silent pioneer, a lady writer, who weaves a bridge through her words, connecting Naga and the nation with subtle grace.
Easterine Kire, a writer from Nagaland, weaves poetic scenes into an artistic gateway that opens straight to the Naga tribe and Nagaland. The soft-spoken author and poet, whose calm demeanor is too addictive, has written many stories about the hidden parts of Nagaland, her birthland. She unfolds the actuality of a culturally rich place through her writings.
Who is Easterine Kire?
Easterine Kire, born in Kohima, Nagaland, is a poet, short story writer, and novelist who completed her doctorate in English literature from the University of Pune. After completing her education, she was a professor at a university in Nagaland for 18 years. This professor was a passionate writer who later transformed her passion into a profession. Easterine Kire etched her name in contemporary literature with her powerful and evacuative art of story-telling.
Her prolific writings are deeply rooted in the Naga heritage and resonate with readers far and wide, as some of her bestsellers have made records worldwide. Currently living in Norway, she has deep cultural roots and continues to embrace the beauty of her birth land.
Considered one of the greatest literary voices of her region, she has written various books in English, including poems, short stories, and novels, which have made her a sensation all over the world. Some of the Easterine Kire poems and Easterine Kire novels in English became the first to be published by a writer from Nagaland, as most of them prefer using their regional language only.
Challenges in her journey to a successful writer
Hailing originally from Nagaland, Easterine Kire is now living in Norway. Her work of art is not only about storytelling; it also serves as a bridge between cultures, highlighting the diversity of indigenous traditions in Nagaland.
A clear depiction of her political writings was misunderstood by the local authorities, due to which she was forced to flee her home during the attacks and harassment in 2005. It was the biggest event in her life as for some initial years she had to live as a former guest writer of the Tromso city of refuge in Norway.
Even after the exile, she kept her spirit high and within one year of getting permanent residency, she wrote six books, two of which were published in 2006. Easterine Kire along with her hard work, created a home for her writings in the Norwegian Arctic as well. Through her narratives, she addresses issues such as identity, tradition, and change in a manner that resonates with readers from diverse backgrounds.
Famous books by Easterine Kire
1. When the River Sleeps (1994)
This is her debut novel and the first novel to be published by a Naga writer in English. It weaves a breathtaking narrative around the Naga warrior tradition, combining myth and history in a spell-binding tale. It was awarded the ‘Hindu Lit for Life Prize’ in 2016 and became one of the most famous books by Easterine Kire.
2. Mari (2004)
Mari is a wonderful collection of stories and poems that delve into the complexities of Naga society, highlighting the struggles of tribal women and their resilience. It is an Indian bestseller that has been translated into various languages to expand its readership.
3. Bitter Wormwood (2007)
It is a story written by Easterine Kire, tracing the story of one man’s life from 1937 to 2007. This unusual story takes its name from the herb bitter wormwood, which is traditionally believed to keep evil spirits away. It’s an exploration of Naga society’s encounter with Christianity and the inevitable cultural transformation that followed. It was also shortlisted for the Hindu Lit for life prize in 2013.
4. The Bitterest Day (2008)
This novel revolves around the backdrop of the Naga revolt and provides a rare glimpse into the lives of ordinary people caught in the turmoil.
5. A Naga village remembered (2012)
Being a non-fiction work, this book is an autobiographical account of Kire’s return to her ancestral village and her efforts to preserve the old traditions of her own tribal people.
Apart from these big achievements, she wrote many books, novels, and poems. She is also the first Naga writer to write books for children and in 2015, she launched her fifth children’s book, The Dancing Village. Her writing style has the ability to transport readers mentally to the Naga Hills. It evokes a strong sense of place and time, allowing them to experience the customs, rituals, and everyday life of the Naga people.
Easterine Kire is the master of the unadorned language that moves because of the power of its simplicity. The team of Mad4India is stunned by her masterpieces and wishes her luck for the future.
Feature Image – Facebook, Canva
If the story of the great writer Easterine Kire was an interesting read for you then do have a look at Sudha Murty Who Became The First Woman to Receive The Global Indian Award.
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