IJTRD

of 3

Please download to get full document.

View again

All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
PDF
3 pages
0 downs
2 views
Share
Description
Temsula Ao is a renowned poet, writer and ethnographer whose writings abound with images and themes drawn from Naga folk culture. As the representational voice of her people, she imbues in her poetry, the unheard and unrepresented voices and
Tags
Transcript
  Special Issue Published in International Journal of Trend in Research and Development (IJTRD), ISSN: 2394-9333, www.ijtrd.com   International Conference on Active vs Reactive Texts: Literature, Language, Criticism, Theory and Translation (ICART-17) organized by Department of English, N.G.M. College, Pollachi, 4 th  and 5 th  Aug 2017 343 | Page   Ecocentric and Mythopoeic Facets in Temsula Ao‟s Poem, Stone People from Lungterok Dr. Narasingaram Jayashree Assistant Professor of English, PSGR Krishnammal College for Women, Coimbatore, India    Abstract: Temsula Ao is a renowned poet, writer and ethnographer whose writings abound with images and themes drawn from  Naga folk culture. As the representational voice of her people, she imbues in her poetry, the unheard and unrepresented voices and interests of her people and of her land. Her poem, Stone People from Lungterok is based an interesting myth as it deals with the creation myth of the Aos. The poem draws on the rich traditional imagery of an assemblage of stones that mark the sites which are associated with the srcins of the ancients.A note at the end of the poem reveals that Lungterok in Naga means six stones. According to the Aos, their forefathers emerged out of the earth from a place named Lungterok, comprising of six people- three men and three women. The poet explicates a wonderful image of her ancestors.Throughout the poem, Ao asserts the concept of ecocentricism. Ecocriticism lays emphasis on nature- centeredness as opposed to human- centeredness, or anthropocentric system of values. Mythopoeiameans myth- making and has come to be accepted as a popular literature and film genre of myth- like fictional narratives. This poem is much more than that because it is the belief embedded in the custom and tradition of the  Naga people. Hence the poem provides an ecocritical and mythical rendering of the poet.  Keywords:  Naga Folk Culture, Imagery, Ecocentricism, Ecocriticism, Anthropocentric, Mythopoeia Temsula Ao is a renowned poet, writer and ethnographer and a retired professor of English from the North Eastern Hill University and whose cultural roots take its srcin in Nagaland. A major literary voice of the north-east, she has strived to empower the cultural richness of her land. She has worked to bring to the fore the myths, rituals, folktales, traditions and beliefs which she researched and recorded. Her writings abound with images and themes drawn from Naga folk culture. As the representational voice of her people, she imbues in her poetry, the unheard and unrepresented voices and interests of her people and of her land. Her poem, Stone People from Lungterok   has been taken up for analysis. It is an interesting myth as it deals with the creation myth of the Aos. Stone People from Lungterok draws on the rich traditional imagery of an assemblage of stones that mark the sites which are associated with the srcins of the ancients. The image that these stones conjure is of the great Stone Henge, the monolithic structure in England. A note at the end of the poem reveals that Lungterok in Naga means six stones. According to the Aos, their forefathers emerged out of the earth from a place named Lungterok, comprising of six people- three men and three women. The  poet explicates a wonderful image of her ancestors. She believes that they possessed especial skills for survival and had implicit knowledge of the secrets and wisdom of nature. Added to this, they were conversant with many creatures and worshipped the natural and the supernatural. In short, they were completely attuned to nature. Nature and man were inseparable and an integral  part of each other, rather, man cannot survive without nature. The stones and the stone people are reminiscent of Three Rock Poems  by Le Guin wherein he portrays rocks as existing in time and place in a different way. They are the very foundations for everything and are under everything. He drives home the  point that rock is at the core, the mecca or the nexus. He harps on this idea in the poem,  Mount St. Helens Omphalos  wherein he says, “O mountain there is no other where you stand the center is” (170). In the usage of the word Omphalos , Le Guin emphasises that it is the center or navel of the earth, and is also connected to the religious center. Ao‟s  poem begins simply with the word Lungterok, at once evoking a sense of curiosity as to what it might represent. Just the name of a place being mentioned at the beginning, certainly connotes the importance and cultural depths that word enjoys in Naga culture. The poet then elaborates that it is the place where their ancestors or, “. . . the progenitors And forebears Of the stone-people ”   were born. They are addressed as “stone people”. It is not a mere belief, these stones are infused with life and are elevated to the rank of people, as if they are still living, in the cultural consciousness of the Nagas. Further, these people, these mysterious ones, “ Were born Out of the womb Of the earth”. The imagery here is a very powerful one- the people being born from the womb of the earth- from nature herself. Ao repeatedly uses the term, “stone people”, as if to emphasise their greatness - their immoraltality- and elevates them to the level of Gods, the ones who were responsible for their very existence and the care- takers of the generations to come. Each time they are mentioned, their uniqueness, skill and power is brought to the fore with an aura of mysticism.The next aspect of “stone people” is  briefed with a clever poetical device- the use of oxymoronic adjectives a s in, “The poetic and politic  Barbaric and balladic ”. Poetic generally means having an imaginative or sensitively emotional style of expression and politic denotes diplomacy and tact. In this context it is used to bring out the two contrasting elements, one pertaining to the intellect and the other, to the heart. So to say that these people were a merry conglomeration of these two facets. The other oxymoronic adjective, barbaric and  Special Issue Published in International Journal of Trend in Research and Development (IJTRD), ISSN: 2394-9333, www.ijtrd.com   International Conference on Active vs Reactive Texts: Literature, Language, Criticism, Theory and Translation (ICART-17) organized by Department of English, N.G.M. College, Pollachi, 4 th  and 5 th  Aug 2017 344 | Page    balladic, traces the evolutionary process of these people from crudity to refinement, from the barbaric, heathen and savage state to impassioned, ardent, incandescent beings. It is these very people who charted the course of civilisation, for they were the “ Finders of water And fighters for fire ”, they were the ones to create ripples of innovation. Ao terms these people as, “ The polyglots, Knowledgeable In birds' language And animal discourse ”, only to describe further about the wide diversity and fine attunement with nature which these stone people possessed. These “stone people”  are also The students, Who learnt from ants The art of carving Heads of enemies As trophies Of war. The poet elaborates more on the primitivity of these people, again in a very poetic way, so as to not arouse any repulsion, to bring out their valiant, dauntless, gallant and war- like spirit, that preserving heads as trophies becomes an artistic activity and according to the poet, even their ferocity becomes a refined skill. Ao brings to light yet another aspect of the stone people as, The romantics Who believed The sun can sulk The moon can hide And the stars are not stars But pure souls Watching over bereaved hearts. This point validates the fact that they are imbibed with extraordinary skills, not only for survival, but that they have an abundance of knowledge about the secrets and wisdom of nature and a plentitude of other creatures who worshipped nature and the supernatural.They award emotional status to these elements of nature. It is here as it is throughout the poem, that Ao asserts the concept of ecocentricism. Ecocriticism lays emphasis on nature- centeredness as opposed to human- centeredness, or anthropocentric system of values. Ecocriticism focuses on ecological reality and concentrates on the ecological status of all organisms, thereby comprehending the Ecosphere as a Being that transcends in importance even a single species. She is proud that they were in perfect harmony, tranquility and coherence with nature. Ao aptly charts out the rustic professions of these stone people- they were potters, weavers, planters, growers, hunters, carvers and made merry by rendering songs. Apart from these constructive activities, they were “takers of head” too, unable to suppress their primitive warrior instinct. They were also, “ Gentle lovers and savage heroes, Builders of homes and destroyers of villages ”  This vindicates the fact that these sons and daughters of the earth were moved by passions and were subject to violent emotions. The poet yet again asserts the point that nature was every thing for these stone people- their survival, their existence, their god, in short, their very breath. They had profound knowledge about the soul- those mysteries that still challenge the scientific enquiry of modern humans. They believed in the sanctity and the unassailable quality of nature: The worshippers Of unknown, unseen Spirits Of trees and forests, Of stones and rivers, Believers of soul And its varied forms, Its sojourn here And passage across the water Into the hereafter. This poem can be interpreted as a means employed by the poet to locate and reviveher lost identity. This is vital, especially in times when cultures seem to lose their grounds of existenceand turn into objects of fetish and simultaneously to instil asense of pride in thetraditions of her community. The poet makes a reference here tothe martial tradition ofhead hunting that was  Special Issue Published in International Journal of Trend in Research and Development (IJTRD), ISSN: 2394-9333, www.ijtrd.com   International Conference on Active vs Reactive Texts: Literature, Language, Criticism, Theory and Translation (ICART-17) organized by Department of English, N.G.M. College, Pollachi, 4 th  and 5 th  Aug 2017 345 | Page   famous once in the Ao Naga culture. As described inNagalandby Verrier Elwin, “The p ractice of head hunting is based on a belief in a soul matter or vitalessence of great power, which resides in the human head” (11).While the poet maintainsa ton e of certainty about her faith in her traditions, it ends on a sceptical notereflecting poet‟s ambivalence: “Was the birth adult when the stone  broke? / or are thestone-people yet t o come of age?” Mythopoeia is a word coined by JRR Tolkien, a mythology scholar and fantasy author. The word itself means myth- making and has come to be accepted as a popular literature and film genre of myth- like fictional narratives. This poem is much more than that because it is the belief embedded in the custom and tradition of the Naga people. Hence the poem provides an ecocritical and mythical rendering of the poet. The poetry of the North- east is an orchestration of narratives in the form of songs, folklores, myths and delicate story telling that wishes to break the barriers of being pushed into oblivion. Oral tradition is a means of transmitting the culture, tradition and beliefs of a community from generation to generation. Temsula Ao, a strong voice of the  North- east, through this and other poems, makes an earnest attempt to revive the invaluable myths and bring to the periphery the inestimable and priceless Naga oral tradition thereby ushering a renaissance of ancient values, lost identity and cultural roots. Works cited    [1]   Ao, Temsula. Songs that Tell.  Calcutta: Writers Workshop, 1988. [2]   Songs from Here and There.  Shillong: NEHU Publications, 2003. [3]   Bate, Jonathan. “Foreword”.  The Green Studies Reader  . Laurence Coupe. Ed. Reprint. London [4]   and New York: Routledge, 2004,167-171. [5]   Brawley, Chris. Nature and Numinous in Mythopoeic Fantasy Literature. Macfarland and Company, Inc., Publishers. Jefferson, North Carolina, 2014. [6]   Daruwalla. Keki N. The Hindu. „Poetry and the Northeast: Foraging for a destiny‟ Sunday, Nov 07, 2004, http://www.hindu.com/lr/2004/11/07/stories/2004110700350500.htm [7]   Wikipedia.
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks