Kohima: Inaholi Asumi, a 33-year-old nurse from Zunheboto in Nagaland, on Thursday made her debut as an author with the release of her book Akupu: The Bridge, a Flower, a collection of 45 poems.
The book was launched by Joshua Sumi, former deputy speaker of Nagaland Legislative Assembly, in the presence of author Asumi’s family and friends.
During the launch of the book in Kohima, Asumi said that the word ‘Akupu’ in Sumi Naga dialect is used to mean both a bridge and a flower. She shared that the title of her book hints that “words bridge void” creating impressions, providing meaning and giving sense of the world and experiences.
According to her, the second meaning of the title implies a “flower” which is used as a metaphor of a person blossoming into a person they are meant to be.
As she made her debut, Asumi humbly said that the occasion is a “remarkable feat” for her as it marks a beginning into writing. Assumi holds a Master’s degree in nursing with honours in psychiatry and is currently working as a staff nurse at Zunheboto. Reading and writing have been a part of her since childhood.
Akupu has been published by PenThrill Publication House. Addressing the launch, publisher Rita Krocha said “Something about the title was so fascinating that it already prompted me to publish the book even before reading through its contents. And of course, the latter did not disappoint.”
She shared how the past year up until now has been extremely difficult as the pandemic has affected almost every aspect—even for book publications. “Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve rarely had any physical book launches or participated in any literary events, which also means that book sales have especially suffered with businesses closed for many months altogether,” she said.
Krocha recalled how the pandemic happened at a time she thought it was finally picking up some pace with book publishing. With the pandemic, she said there is a realisation that there are opportunities to grow and expand the literary circle.
As she pondered on how publishing in a small state like Nagaland could survive the pandemic when iconic bookstores across the world were also been affected, she said that the opening of new book-related ventures in Kohima amidst the pandemic gave her so much hope. “It made me think, maybe, after all, we will make it through,” she said.
For her, the silver lining in these dark times is that now people are writing more than ever, she said, judging from the number of manuscripts that she has been receiving following the pandemic.
At the formal ceremony, Dr Theyiesinuo Keditsu and Rovi Chasie, both of whom are writers, gave commentaries for the book.
According to Keditsu, the launch of Inatoli Asumi’s book Akupu is a new emerging movement in Nagaland as it questions the “canon of literature” as the author presents a “decolonising motive” through her writings.
She analysed that the English usage in the book is “vernacular” and as a reader, it is as though one hears a Naga girl speaking. Keditsu said that such a thing is “revolutionary”. Further, she added that the author’s unique usage of the English language in her own term’s is “refreshing”.
Keditsu also evaluated on how the author used her knowledge about nursing and psychiatry to express emotions and being able to portray the landscape between a sense of feeling right and wrong.
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Meanwhile, Rovi Chasie commented that the poems in the book are “sincere”, sometimes being “intensely emotional” and sometimes “calm”, even with “dark moments” in the book. She revealed that the book gives a “blossom” feeling after going through hard times.
Saying that the author is one of the “rarest”, Chasie hoped that the young author will continue to bring out more books in the further.
Joshua Sumi, who launched the book, said it is intriguing how the author who is a healthcare worker by profession has written a collection of poems which is something completely different from what he expected.
With a sense that the book will be a literature piece which transcends time, he expressed hope for more Nagas to write and contribute to the Naga literature. Adding that knowledge and wisdom are the real wealth, he extended his blessings to the author with the hope that more works are produced even in the future.
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