Ms. Malsawmi Jacob, writer of the first Mizo novel in English, visited the University on 24th October 2016. Along with a brief history of Mizoram, she also shared her experiences of writing the novel and provided useful insights on other issues like translation and multicultural identity. For Ms. Malsawmi, writing embodies contradictory aspects. It provides opportunity to play with ideas but at the same time it can be an excruciatingly painful activity.
The second part of Ms. Jacob’s talk consisted of the socio-cultural and political history of Mizoram which forms the context of her novel Zorami. She highlighted the elaborate process of Mizoram’s transformation from a place of wilderness to a culturally rich civilized state. Ruminating on the mainstream India’s perception of the North-East, she clarified that it is not a homogeneous unified group as it is usually though to be. Even within Mizoram there are multiple tribes with different traditions of their own.
The third part of Ms. Malsawmi’s talk focused on the novel itself. Zorami explores the social and psychological impact of the various conflicts facing Mizoram today. The protagonist, named Zorami, is the personification of Mizoram. The narrative is non-linear. This lack of order has been used to express a society which has fallen into chaos. Ms. Malsawmi also read out a few excerpts from her novel.
The talk was followed by an interactive session in which the writer answered various questions that were posited.