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    The Network of Women

    I am Wekoweu Tsuhah (Akole) and I belong to the Chakhesang tribe of Nagaland. I am a women’s rights activist and a development practitioner, an advocate for gender equality, social and environmental justice. While growing up, I experienced fear and rage as I lived through armed conflict, alcoholism, domestic violence, poverty and these shaped the person I am today. I am passionate about working with people, women in particular; but it is only after I started working with a women’s rights organization – NEN, the North-East Network, did I truly realize and recognize these social injustices.

    Comparing Leiden and Amarapura (Myanmar): Handloom weaving

    There are many old buildings and records in Leiden. Weaving was the main economy in the 17th century and the city was known for its quality. But now there are only about 15 weavers. They weave using eight looms. Weavers, though few in numbers, keep the practice alive through different ways – efforts of the volunteers, group meeting, preservation of buildings like Weaver’s House, Museum De Lakenhal, publication in weaving magazines etc.

    Phool Waalon ki Sair: The Flower Seller's Festival

    Phool Walon Ki Sair meaning "procession of the florists" is an annual celebration by the flowers sellers of Delhi. It is a three-day festival, generally held just after the rainy season in the region of Mehrauli. The grand procession that followed Mirza Jahangir’s return in 1812 witnessed the flower sellers of the city bringing floral chadar (sheets) and pankha (fan) as offerings. This became an annual event, with a large fair and a series of cultural performances held near Shamsi Talab.

    Trades of a town: Dal mill

    Suresh Godani (70), a resident of Pipariya, Madhya Pradesh, talks about the changing town-scape vis-à-vis the changes in local agricultural economy. A translated excerpt from our recorded conversation: 

     Brainstorming the impact of urban life: Classroom discussions

    In the class, I asked my students that “how does the increasing degree of urbanization change the next generation’s view on localized cultural identity? And how should we as anthropologists collaborate with the community?”

    In the class, I discussed on the concept of urban life and then I asked the students to think about the ways in which they all could engage with Taungthaman Village to understand the impact of urban life.

    Celebrating Identity: Muharram

    A procession of Tazias and street performers greet you while walking through the main market road, in Mehrauli, on the day of Muharram. The procession is organized by Auliya Masjid and Bakhtiyar Kaki Dargah situated in the neighbourhood.

    Tattoos and Patriarchy

    For the Konyaks, tattoos are associated with traditional customs and culture which have their own distinct origin and significance and are called Huhtu or tatu in their language. The word ta means body, tu means to prick and ‘huh’ means ‘thorn’, which translates to pricking the body with thorns. The word huhtu is more commonly used among the Konyak Nagas over tatu.

    Indigo as Pedagogy

    Starting 2012, the TNUA Centre for Traditional Arts (CTA) initiated a series of field courses, including indigenous boat making, bark cloth making, banana fiber crafts, ritual parades etc.; the course of ‘Natural Dyeing’ was one of them. These courses aimed to bring students out of the classroom to learn from the soil and different people who give life to traditional arts, and to learn how traditional arts are related to the society and their generation. The 2013 course of ‘Natural Dyeing’, conducted with many partners, was divided into three main stages.

    Konbaung Dynasty and Luntaya Acheik

    Luntaya acheik originated in Konbaung dynasty (1752-1885) and could be worn only by kings and queens. If this new fabric was presented respectfully to the king and queen, a prize would be awarded to the giver. Commoners were not allowed to wear a new one but it could worn the king’s hand-me-downs which is awarded to the outstanding person in the service of the king.

    Taungthaman Bo Bo gyi: Strangers be aware

    This oral narrative was collected by the students exploring the word concept - belief

    “There are many beliefs that are linked with Taunghtaman lake and Taunghtaman Bo Bo gyi, our guardian spirit. I was told by my grandparents and we also believe that strangers who visit U Pein bridge should not shower in Taunghtaman lake because the bather will take the place of the one who died before him/her.

    According to another belief, if someone misuses the word ‘kyar/tiger’ (an animal which killed the guardian spirit) and then visits the lake... that person dies.

    Taungthaman Bo Bo gyi: the guardian spirit

    This oral narrative was collected by the students exploring the word concept - belief

    In U Pein Bridge, our group interviewed a second-year law student from Yadanabon University which is located near U Pein Bridge. She shared a story which she had learnt from her grandparents:

    “We believe that Taungthaman Bo Bo gyi is the guardian spirit of the village. Now there is a pole erected in the middle of the Bridge to mark his death. It is known as Thet-pyauk-taing .

    Luntaya acheik: The making of Myanmar's traditional dress

    In the first figure, the governors of Myanmar are being awarded the cloth as a mark of honour. Luntaya acheik was the sacred cloth of the ancient Myanmar royals. But under the colonial rule everyone could wear this acheik.

    To know the preferences of the people of Myanmar better, the governemnt conducted a survey after which the acheik became the national costume.

    Thet-pyauk-taing: The memorial pole

    This oral narrative was collected by the students exploring the word concept - belief. 

    The guardian spirit was once an ordinary man. One day, while he was crossing the strem, he was bit by a tiger or kyar and died. The villagers erected a teak wood pole as a memorial to him and named it Thet-pyauk-taing. And from then on he became Taungthaman Bo Bo Gyi, the guardian spirit.

    Naga Women's Freedom

    Field of Baby's Breath

    I wish I could wear 
    a pretty Pale Pink
    ankle-length Calico dress
    with frills, flounces and lace,
    break out of the mould
    abandon the stereotypes
    and get into my working clothes

    Our brothers are a war
    Our land is awash with blood
    Our rice fields need tending
    Our children caring
    Our sick healing
    Our streets cleaning
    Our enterprises running
    Our home fires burning

    Rise Naga Women

    This song "Rise, Naga Woman" composed by Theyiesinuo Keditsu, music by Khyochano TCK and Topeni as soloist,  was chosen as the winner for the ‘State Theme Song for Women’ and was released by the State Resource Centre for Women (SRCW) under the aegis of the Nagaland State Social Welfare Board (NSSWB) during a program organised to observe the International Day for the elimination of violence against women.

    The song speaks to Naga women and asks them to spread their wings and rise up against discrimination and inspire all of Nagaland and take them to a glorious future.

    Weaving luntaya acheik: The making of Myanmar traditional dress

    The Saunders Weaving and Vocational Institute accepts trainees on per year/per month basis. There are regular as well as other vocational training options. In case a local organisation wants to set up a training school, then it can get in touch with the Institute. The educational qualification requirements of the Institute are limited to matriculation, middle and primary school levels. The trainees must be single and under 25 years of age. The numbers of trainees accepted vary between 5-50 depending on the course.

    Fish selling in Leiden and Elmina Market

    On my visit to the Leiden Market, I witnessed a scene where the fish sellers were singing in unison with each other. There was a man and woman selling and singing, while scraping herrings. But in my home country, Ghana, the fishermen sing when pulling the nets of fishes out of the water whilst the women await and take the fish away to sell at market like the Elmina fish market. The women are the one that sell and the atmosphere is mostly of chaos.

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