In the remote Naga hills , beyond the capital city of Kohima, stands the beautiful and historic village of Khonoma. Traditionally a site of resistance, having pushed back British rule in the region from the 1830s to 1880, Khonoma continues to be a space striving towards safeguarding the rights of women while strengthening Naga unity through organisations like the Khonoma Women Union, in whose honour this obelisk stands marking its 25 years in 2013.
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The photograph, taken in the 1970s, shows Mohammad Anwar, an old time resident of Mehrauli, posing in front of the old Phasi Ghar in Mehrauli, Delhi. Today in place of this old structure stands the Jain temple named Ahinsa Sthal.
Spaces in the neighbourhood of Mehrauli , Delhi, have changed drastically over the years. However, there are many streets and localities in the neighbourhood that are still remembered, by name, for the kind of people who lived or did business there. One such example is Doodh waali gali. The interviewee, an old time resident of the neighbourhood, describes in the audio how the street came to be known as doodh waali gali because of the doodh and halwai shops that once populated that street.
A farmer threshes his harvested crop in the village of Paliya Pipariya, Madhya Pradesh. In the age of combine harvesters, small scale farmers still rely on traditional methods such as bullock treading (seen in the picture) for threshing of crops, followed by winnowing. A common practice in many parts of the world, this particular method involves a herd of cattle tied to a wooden pole, made to tread in circles on the threshing floor where the dried crop is spread out.
Pipariya Railway Station in district Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, India was primarily established as the railhead for the Military Cantonment town of Pachmarhi. The present excerpt narrates the politics of everyday spaces at the station in the initial days. The excerpt has been translated from Hindi (Text: Pipariya, 2000 by Narayandas Maurya). The picture is only for representation purposes.
Story from an Intercommunity Dialogue on Rice Cultures and Cultivation
Ag lainai, the ritual of cutting the first fruits of paddy
Bakhri - I
When the day came to be, Kohima was resplendent in sunshine. It was January 10, 2018, the first Naga Day. At the Kohima Local Ground, Khuochiezie, music played from the early morning hours.In the surrounding market area, people hummed the tunes as they set up shop. Some planned to go to the ground, some planned to watch from their terraces—everyone had heard this one thing, Nagas from everywhere were coming together.
Bhagat Singh Library and Cultural Centre (1983-1990) was an initiative of a grassroot organisation called Kishore Bharti in Pipariya, Madhya Pradesh. The Library/Centre focused on creating social awareness through reading, writing and community based activities. While the library started as a space for all the sections, a need was soon felt to add a separate slot to encourage women readers. In the following excerpt, Rekha Vyohaar, a resident of Pipariya, shed light on how the setup was significant to the women at the local level:
The different varieties of rice are differentiated on the basis of their qualities, nutrition, features, and taste. Though there are many varieties of rice, based on my interview, Paw San still takes the first place. The rice shop owners that I talked to said that Paw San is the best seller althoug its 'price is a little high'. Mostly, people from the middle class consume it. But Shwe Bo, Zi Yar and many others are moslty used by the Hta Min Sai, the restaurants, because of their low price and suitability for their business.
Each time when Hin Lad Nai villagers work on their farmland – either alone or with their friends and families, they usually practice the ceremony called ‘Hliang-Phi Jaothi’. In Hliang-Phi Jaothi they offer some of their food to the guardian spirit or ‘Phi Jaothi’ before having lunch. In practicing the ceremony, they first prepare some food on banana leaves, they pray and call on Phi Jaothi to eat the food. The eldest man from each household does this this process. He holds the rice pack (made from banana leaves), and lays it on stump before squatting down and praying.
Pati Preecha Siri is regarded as a very respectful elder among the villagers of Hin Lad Nai community. He was honoured by the United Nations, on April 10th 2012, at Istanbul, Turkey, with the “Forest Hero Award” for the the whole community's work in protecting and preserving the forest. There were only five people selected to receive the award from 47 people and 30 countries around the world, and Pati Preecha was the one selected from Asia.
“The tea and snack joints at Mangalwara Chowk have always been very integral to the town of Pipariya. During the 1950’s and 60’s, there were two very popular joints here. One of them was called ‘Bharat Hotel’ and belonged to a Sindhi fellow. Sindhis came to this town after partition and set up small scale confectionary shops. The other one was run by Mr. Shyam Jaiswal. These joints were the hubs of all the political and social gossip in the town.
This is a choir from the Chedema Baptist Church singing on the occassion of the 69th Naga Plebiscite Day.
It talks of a creator, Christ in heaven, who be praised and who blesses the congregation to stay together as one.
The Naga nation is that one holy congregation which seeks to remain as one, together in its mission to spread the word of God.
A Google map representation of the town of Pipariya situated in Madhya Pradesh, India. The map is marked with 25 local neighbourhoods (names in Hindi script Devnagri) that were an often-recurring reference point in the oral narratives recorded with the residents of the town. Highlighting the politics of everyday spaces, the map can be considered a visual marker of a settlement where some places are more or less relevant than others.
Suman Bai Goojar is a resident of Puraani Basti, one of the oldest settlements in the town of Pipariya, Madhya Pradesh. Hailing from the semi-nomadic pastoral Goojar community, hers is a narrative where fields are connected to pastures and communities to spaces. A snippet from our recorded conversation:
Pitha is the common name used in Assam for rice cake. The Boro pitha is traditionally prepared during the harvest festival. In earlier times indigenous varieties of rice were used for making pitha. Each household has its own way of making pitha/ rice cakes and it is generally women who engage in such activities. Now-a-days with indigenous rice varieties slowly disappearing, hybrid rice varieties are used for making pitha; and pitha is no longer related with festivities alone.
Luntaya acheik means the silk thread woven in the method of acheik into the wavy rope pattern through the use of a hundred small shuttle looms. This acheik can be woven in silk only.
Residents of si-tai-kou (the Mouth of Theater, 戲台口) carrying their earth god to rally in the settlement.
The Earth Gods' Parade (夜弄土地公) is held on Lantern festival (元宵節), the 15th of the first month in Lunar New Year in Shezih region, Taipei City. The region has a long tradition with earth gods' parade and lantern watching on Lantern festival.
Rembrandt Bridge (Rembrandtbrug) was built in 1983 as a replica of a 17th-century bridge that was in the same place. The bridge was rebuilt in color white. However, according to archive research from Heritage and Environment of Leiden (Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken), the original bridge design in 1768 was in English red with black. The research did not please some of the local residents. Friends of Rembrandt Bridge (Vrienden van de Rembrandtbrug) made petitions against the change of color and stuck the "Liever wit dan dit (Better white that this)" over the trial color.