Ukhrul Times’ Top 10 books of 2020

We would like to present the top 10 books for 2020. These books are not ranked in any particular order. We leave it to the reader to select their favourites and look forward to hearing from you.

Love. Lust. And Loyalty by Yuimi Vashum

Yuimi Vashum’s Love. Lust. And Loyalty is a profoundly personal, honest exploration of emotions, questions, and confusion one experiences and feels as a victim of child sexual abuse (CSA); without rancor or self-pity, the book mourns the loss of trust and innocence, sense of betrayal, the immense self-doubt and unimaginable trauma, the anger and fears that comes with it.

And yet, it is also about finding strength, healing and reclaiming oneself, and the ultimate triumph one finds in confronting and owning the fact of being sexually abused as a child; to transform from a victim to someone who possess the courage, resilience, and fortitude to choose to accept, to forgive as well, find closure and move on. And by doing that, the book is also about hope—the hope that permits one to embrace the future and walk the path of love.

₹ 299 at Amazon

 In the Shadows of Naga Insurgency by Jelle Wouters

In the Shadows of Naga Insurgency is a fine-grained critique of the Naga struggle for political redemption, the state’s response to it, and the social corollaries and carry-overs of protracted political conflict on everyday life. Offering an ethnographic under view, Jelle Wouters illustrates an ‘insurgency complex’ that reveals how embodied experiences of resistance and state aggression, violence and volatility, and struggle and suffering link together to shape social norms, animate local agitations, and complicate inter-personal and inter-tribal relations in expected and unexpected ways. The book locates the historical experiences and agency of the Naga people and relates these to ordinary villagers’ perceptions, actions, and moral reasoning vis-à-vis both the Naga Movement and the state and its lucrative resources. It thus presses us to rethink our views on tribalism, conflict and ceasefire, development, corruption, and democratic politics.

₹ 890 at Amazon

The Sea and I by Chirmi Shimray

The Sea and I is a coming-of-age contemporary fiction by Tangkhul writer Chirmi Shimray. Set in the city of dreams, Bombay, the novel is about conquering self-doubt, overcoming insecurities that life offers and emerging victorious in life. It is told from the first-person perspective of the protagonist, Afi, as she looks back on her life as a college student living in Bombay. Through Afi’s first-hand account readers see her transforming herself into a hopeful fierce person from a self-doubting diffident person that she used to be.

₹ 249 at Amazon

The Princess and the Political Agent by Binodini (translated by Somi Roy)

The Manipuri writer Binodini’s Sahitya Akademi Award-winning historical novel The Princess and the Political Agent tells the love story of her aunt Princess Sanatombi and Lt. Col. Henry P. Maxwell, the British representative in the subjugated Tibeto-Burman kingdom of Manipur. A poignant story of love and fealty, treachery and valour, it is set in the midst of the imperialist intrigues of the British Raj, the glory of kings, warring princes, clever queens and loyal retainers. Reviving front-page global headlines of the day, Binodini’s perspective is from the vanquished by love and war, and the humbling of a proud kingdom.

₹ 323 at Amazon

Crafting the Word edited by Thingnam Anjulika Samom

Manipur has a rich tradition of folk and oral narratives, as well as written texts dating from as early as in 8th Century AD. It was however only in the second half of the twentieth century that women began writing and publishing their works.  Today, women’s writing forms a vibrant part of Manipuri literature, and their voices are amplified through their coming together as an all-woman literary group. Put together in discussions and workshops by Thingnam Anjulika Samom, Crafting the Word captures a region steeped in conservative patriarchy and at the centre of an armed conflict. It is also a place, however, where women’s activism has been at the forefront of peace-making and where their contributions in informal commerce and trade hold together the economy of daily life.

₹ 300 at Zubaan

The Many that I am edited by Anungla Zoe Longkumer

A grandmother’s tattoos, the advent of Christianity, stories woven into fabrics, a tradition of orality, the imposition of a ‘new’ language, a history of war and conflict: all this and much more informs the writers and artists in this book. Filmmaker and writer Anungla Zoe Longkumer brings together here, for the first time, a remarkable set of stories, poems, first-person narratives and visuals that reflect the many facets of women’s writing in Nagaland.

Written in English, a language the Nagas — who had no tradition of written literature — made their own after the Church came to Nagaland, each piece speaks of women’s many journeys to reclaim their pasts and understand their complex present.

₹ 300 at Zubaan

Living Ghosts and Other Uncanny Stories by Chansa Makan

This incredible work meticulously deals with the fragility of indigenous folklores, histories, culture, social mores and its orality. It is a clarion call upon readers to wittily ‘decolonise’ their ‘colonised’ (by default) ‘minds’. There are glimpses of colonial satires and catnaps in passing as wry sense of humour to justify arguments by negation. Not to forget that the author here is unpacking certainly sensitive taboos to the public which in itself is a courageous endeavour but a prerequisite for a community that is swelling with newer ideas yet infested with identity crisis and injured with clash of worldviews.

₹ 249 at Amazon

Walking the Roadless Road by Easterine Kire

Walking the Roadless Road: Exploring the Tribes of Nagaland is a comprehensive history of the Naga tribes who live within the borders of Nagaland. Kire begins with an overview of migration narratives—both mythical and historical—of the various tribes, starting in the nineteenth century. She then delves deep into the origins of the Nagas, their early history as forest-dwellers, how the discrete Naga territories were formed, the written and unwritten history of the villages, the various struggles that have convulsed Naga society down the ages, as well as the sweeping changes that have transformed the community in the twenty first century.

₹ 502 at Amazon

Leaving the Land by Dolly Kikon and Bengt G. Karlsson

During the last decade, indigenous youth from Northeast India have migrated in large numbers to the main cities of metropolitan India to find work and study. This migration is facilitated by new work opportunities in the hospitality sector, mainly as service personnel in luxury hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and airlines. Prolonged armed conflicts, militarization, a stagnant economy, corrupt and ineffective governance structures, and the harsh conditions of subsistence agriculture in their home villages or small towns impel the youth to seek future prospects outside their home region. English language skills, a general cosmopolitan outlook as well as a non-Indian physical appearance have proven to be key assets in securing work within the new hospitality industry. Leaving the Land traces the migratory journeys of these youths and engage with their new lives in cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram.

₹ 499 at Amazon

 The Anglo-Kuki War, 1917-1919 by Jangkhomang Guite and Thongkholal Haokip

This book explores the Kuki uprising against the British during the World War I (1917-1919) in Northeast frontier of India. Based on archives extensive fieldwork, it looks at how the conflict affected the larger dynamics of the region within Asia, its relevance in world politics beyond the Great War.

₹ 1130 at Amazon 

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