Lecture by Deepika Kashyap "Understanding Nyishi Folklore in the Age of Internet" at the Estonian National Museum on December 3rd, 2019
Deepika Kashyap (PhD student, Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu) will give a lecture "Understanding Nyishi Folklore in the Age of Internet" at Estonian National Museum (World Film Hall, A-entrance) on December 3 rd at 18:00.
The lecture is in English. Free entrance.
Nyishi is the largest ethnic group in Arunachal Pradesh. It has been believed that they are the descendant of the great ancestor Abotani. The term ‘Nishi’ or ‘Nyishi’ is an ancient Indigenous word. It has been derived from two words, i.e., ‘Nyi’ or ‘Nyia’ and ‘Shi’ or ‘Shing.’ The word ‘nyi’ means ‘Human,’ descendants of Aathu/Aatoh Nyia, the son of the Aabhu/Abho Thanyi, while ‘shi’ or ‘shing’ means ‘Being.’ Accordingly, Nyishi stands for ‘Human Being.’ The Nyishi believed that the entire universe is divided into three worlds, i.e., earth, heaven, and netherworld. Sachang (Earth) is a dwelling place for living creatures including man, animal, and plant; Nyedo (Sky) is the abode of Gods and Goddesses, and other celestial bodies, while Weyi/Nel Nyoku is a place meant for the life after death. There is also an imaginary world called Talang Nyoku, which lies between heaven and earth. Nyishi people believe in many legends and folk tales related to their culture and tradition. The story of “Tai Bida and Mithun” is the most popular folk tale which floats around the Nyishi world. Rituals are the important aspects in their everyday life. They have ritual related to the creation, agricultural, immediate healing, treatment, and medication, inflicting opponent, purification and reconciliation, the death of human, omen, oath, and ordeals, peace, prosperity, and protection. Also, the jokes and proverbs are the important aspects of Nyishi folklore.
Through the internet and online communication tools (Facebook, YouTube, Google App- Nyishi World App) Nyishi people are taking the initiative to save and spread their culture and identity in the society. It has been evident that the folk from Nyishi community are actively participating in online mode, through their Facebook page they are affirming their culture and identity. They are updating the Nyishi folktale, legend, story, custom, and tradition on their Facebook page, and attracting people from both inside and outside world. The online selves of Nyishi people are related to offline contexts where the individual or a group of people perform in real life. The online Nyishi community is just an extension of offline context, i.e., Nyder Namlo which is working toward the protection of Nyishi language and propagating Nyishi identity and culture offline. The concept of identity and culture is now closely associated with the interface between technology and society. The computerized society has changed the meaning of knowledge and truth. It is having a radical effect on identity and culture. The gender paradigm is also changing due to the widespread use and accessibility of the internet. This research is going to critically engage with the reception of internet and folklore in the Nyishi community, and the interface between the social paradigm and the internet. Through the text, context, and texture this research is going to validate the technique of internet in folklore. It is interesting to see the technique used by both online and offline community to create and circulate the culture and identity.