Storytelling is central to human experience. It is the core of human experience that can turn a moment of interaction turn into life long memories. Storytelling helps people to recognise their purpose through personal narratives. It strengthens the meaning of life and allows different people, culture, religion and background to connect with others from other places and times. Naga people are closely familiar to the truth that storytelling is knotted with any culture and it strengthens values in any culture.
Human beings are narrative creations. The basic narrative activity through the ability of storytelling is where the human imagination takes the shapes of life, sense and perspective. The expression of thinking with stories is a primary tool of truth telling, one that is much needed for transformation on all the fronts. Narrative- the alternative way of thinking is not deception or contamination free but it does not discourage truth-tellers to speak, more than ever all through the times of conflict, disunity and disorder.
The art and practice of storytelling is an integral part of the Naga people. Memories of listening to folktales and engaging in conversations over the kitchen fire and attaining education through the medium of narrations in the place of learning have been the point of acquiring values and principles in every Naga culture. Storytelling served the purpose of helping people understand the experience of social structure, religious conviction, institutional customs and other aspects that led the community in live and grow in order and in integrity. Thus, in many ways, storytelling is truth telling about the people.
In the context of the present times, Nagas are in deep need of stories that will shine light on the questions and issues that are constantly challenging the past, present and future of the Naga people. Without storytelling and truth telling, Naga people might not see moments beyond the descries of disunity in Naga society; the clarion calls to all to come together for the greater cause of Naga people by setting aside all divisions and polarization; the lament of not finding a way forward collectively; the perpetual negotiations for honourable and inclusive settlement; the rising unemployment and corruption, so on and forth.
Undoubtedly, there is no one universal truth and no particular truth can become the people’s truth. In the process of the storytelling, the truth need not be suitable to the entire world; however, it can be one that gives a voice to the people in the subject. When people’s truth is left out, the functioning of the human society becomes chaotic, the identity becomes vague impressions and the greatest irony is that, truth itself gets lost in the transitions of time, power and control.
Today, Naga people need the Naga voice to speak the truth, not of the tribal hohos, civil societies, government, churches, political organsiations and others because they are already grappling with too many questions and issues.
Given the monumental task to restore and reconcile the uniqueness of the Naga people, the Naga stories of resilience, determination, truthfulness and courage need to be retold all over again. The inheritances of lived values, observed knowledge, language and culture which weaves the Naga truth have to be passed down to the future generations with the dream to bring forth a new imagination. Naga society needs storytelling that can reshape the minds, connect the broken worlds, recreate a race that uphold values and belief, and transcend beyond the disunity and distrust.
Adapted from a previous editorial titled ‘Storytelling of the truth’ published on August 12, 2021 issue of The Morung Express.
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