A joint project of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and Zubaan Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Since 2016, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) and Zubaan Publishers Pvt. Ltd. (the sister organization of Zubaan Trust) have organised Fragrance of Peace, an extensive cultural and literary programme in India’s Northeast. Fragrance of Peace aims to bring together writers, artists, journalists from the Northeast to more places in ‘mainland’ India and support conversations between writers within the region.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
This project started with the objective to build networks and nurture solidarities through dialogue, literary exchange and peace-building within the Northeast region. It also aims to build a platform for artists, writers, journalists and researchers from the region to discuss, ideate and work on their regional specificities, and support these conversations by participating in literature festivals, book fairs and cultural events in different locations across India. Dedicated panels in popular literature festivals have brought together established writers from the Northeast, as well as younger researchers working on diverse topics that open up the imagination of the region beyond the lens of violence.
In our effort to connect writers from the Northeast with existing and developing discussions on knowledge production across the nation, we have organized panels in major literary and cultural festivals in Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc.
The Fragrance of Peace Project also encourages publishing books of women and marginalised identities from/on the region. We have commissioned anthologies by local women writers on fiction, non-fiction, translations, etc. – Centrepiece: New Writing and Art from Northeast India (2017), Crafting the Word: Writings from Manipur (2019) and The Many That I Am: Writings from Nagaland (2019) – and continue to work on publishing more writings from the Northeast.
The project also extends support to young writers and researchers from the region by establishing small research grants. The Zubaan–Sasakawa Peace Foundation Grant for Young Researchers in North-East India is given to young scholars from the eight northeastern Indian states and neighbouring areas. This research grant, in its second year in 2019, aims to encourage young writers and researchers to contribute to the diversification of knowledge production. Focusing on gender in Northeast India, the grant hopes to build a body of knowledge through research papers/essays/oral histories set against the broad framework of women’s multiple histories.
As part of the research grant programme, Zubaan also organizes a writing methodology workshop attended by the grantees and jury, mentors and established writers, journalists, etc. to cover methodological issues, feminist ethics of research and writing, challenges of writing in conflict areas, etc. These workshops also encourage cross-learnings and open up a space for writers and researchers for further engagement and support throughout the grant period.