Tribal Mizo Poetry: Resignification through Identitarian Performance

Rohit Phutela


With the unprecedented eruptions in the posthumanistic narratives, the
consistencies and stabilities attached to the phenomenon called knowledge or the
questions of epistemology comprising the knowledge of the world and its legitimacy
have been undermined by the ontological inquiries concerning the existence of the
worlds itself. This shift from the epistemic to ontological is boiled down in the
contraction glocal which problemetizes the fixity of existence and opens the doors for
a discursive reading of the monolithic narratives. Such non-elite and provincial
narratives which purport to be the only extant repositories of culture and history, find
their teleology and definitions in danger of being subsumed by the grand narratives of
progress and globalization. Though you don’t have to be a skeptic to announce that
culture as a phenomenon stands problematized today yet the fiefdom of culture and
diversity would make one think otherwise i.e. the one who rallies for the reification of
myths and legends inscribed in a particular collective imaginary through culture
muesealism or preservation, is a prude purist who is an oddity in this emerging regime
of production and capitalism. Needless to say, culture needs to be salvaged from its
one dimensional interpretation mediated by temporality and spatiality. It requires to
be measured in terms of cultural genealogy which is in a state of flux and reinvents
itself in every epoch, complicating time and space as opposed to its overdetermined
suggestions confined to historical consciousness. The subjects of this global regime
culture’s must then become, like Hannah Arendt’s figure of refugee, “the paradigm of
historical consciousness.” (Agamben 6) History and culture then must not be
relinquished as the temporalities and moments of past which have met with a discursive
death due to the fickle epistemes and the newly found projects of modernity and
postmodernity. History is to be seen in the light of ‘history in the making’ and culture
as ‘cultural reincarnation’ which shall replace the biopolitical (where all the human
abilities, the bios is invested in the projects of production) with historical and ethicocultural
moment aiming to rehumanize the dehumanized. Tribals in India with the
recently acquired cursed tag of Gramscian subalterns are facing the crisis of history
and culture whereby the narrative of glocal, otherwise deified in the progressive culture,
is subsuming the Humanist local with its post- and anti-humanist narrative wherein
only the resources for more and more production for the capitalist economies matter
and not the rudiments of humanity and the attached empathy, innocence and



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