Roluah Puia, “Nationalism in the Vernacular: State, Tribes, and Politics of Peace in Northeast India” (Cambridge UP, 2023)

Roluah Puia’s book Nationalism in the Vernacular: State, Tribes, and Politics of Peace in Northeast India (Cambridge UP, 2023) illuminates our understanding of the relationship between orality and nationalist politics. In doing so, it provides a new angle to the understanding of nationalism by looking at the popular support and participation of ordinary people in the construction of Mizo nationalism, in short, the vernacularisation of nationalism. 

Nationalism in the Vernacular examines this process of vernacularisation at two levels, the first concerns the process of creating a vernacular language to express nationalist ideas and second, the irrepressibility of the oral against state’s violent response to the nationalist movement. Drawing from multiple sources, the book through the rich oral narratives, archival materials, including government and media reports shows how Mizos have remained active agents in asserting and claiming their rights to defining ideas of nationalism in their own terms by making it distinctively Mizo.

Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on Indigenous Religion and Christianity at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India.

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