Meet the first English fiction writer from Manipur’s Tangkhul community
New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): Literature remains the greatest tool of storytelling and indubitably India's northeast region has spawned many published writers in various genres. Joining the latest band of authors is Jim Wungramyao Kasom, hailing from Manipur's Ukhrul district. The eldest among the six siblings, Jim made his debut at the writers club with his first ever book 'Homecoming'. It is a collection of nineteen short stories, which was launched in New Delhi recently. These stories feature a partial historical fiction tale of the Northeast people India, particularly of the Naga tribe covering a historical span of 100 years from the advent of Christianity to present time, the arrival of Japanese soldiers during WWII, and among others untold stories of ordinary people caught up in political upheavals. "I grew with three of my grandmothers, my paternal grandma, her sister and my maternal grandma and they have a huge impact on me as I was growing up. I grew up in a small village, where there are just around 200 households and everyone knows each other by their names. So it is a very close-knit community where we emphasised a lot on storytelling and passing on the stories through oral tradition. And that practice of storytelling has inspired me to write the stories that are in these collections," Jim told ANI. A graduate in Zoology, Jim confessed that literature has always been close to his heart and he envied his friends who studied the subject. "The title Homecoming is part of the collections and these stories are so close to my heart that if I go back and read them, it feels like a homecoming to me...So it brings together the elements of a being a family and of a close-knit community where I belong to", added the young author. Writing gives this young author the freedom to travel without borders and create a space for his envisaged world. "The challenges I had faced were; I worked full-time as a photographer or as a storyteller. So I couldn't give too much of time in writing, so I am not a prolific writer in that sense since I write one or two stories a year. And also I am not financially secure to completely abandon my profession and start writing. And another challenge is, it is very hard to find publishers especially for the people of northeast and we don't have huge readers, being a small community," laments Jim. It is also worth noting that, his work has been published in many online literary magazines and journals like Narrative Magazine, Muse India, Reading Hour Magazine and Contemporary literary review among others. As photography and writings are two entities of storytelling, Jim hopes to continue to do both and pen down a novel in coming years. At the same time, to be unique and creative, Jim feels that one needs to be original and stick to the roots for inspiration.
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