Tag Archives: Teresa Rehman

How Teresa Rehman Writes of Conflict with Peace as the Agenda

Book Review by Nabina Das


Title: Bulletproof: A Journalist’s Notebook on Reporting Conflict

Author: Teresa Rehman

Publisher: Penguin Random House India, 2019

Conflict journalism is a term that evokes certain hard-hitting images in the head. These are mostly to do with the news coverage of militaristic activities, hyper-masculine behavior and code of conduct, and a breakdown of order in a state or society. And the immediate corollary that follows is that a male journalist must be at the helms writing about wars and skirmishes across countries and continents, an extraordinary brave and exclusive act. This nearly is a post-colonial post-truth — if one may use such jargon — even in the 21st century. The first thing that comes in the reader’s mind after reading Teresa Rehman’s Bulletproof is the sense of foreboding laced with hope and empathy. Unlike a lot of war or conflict journalists we have known and read, she shuns frills or any show of sensationalism. More than conflict, her focus is peace.

An award-winning journalist specializing in combat reporting from the Northeast and Kashmir, Rehman recounts in this book her dangerous forays in a matter of fact tone. The chapters are each devoted to major assignments she undertook as a fulltime journalist. The book starts with the meeting with Th. Muivah, the vastly charismatic leader of Naga liberation, chief of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah). It’s a fascinating account full of details one doesn’t see in run-of-the-mill reports on Naga insurgency from especially mainland India. Here one sees Muivah not simply as a militant Naga leader, but as a human being with a sense of humor, and “Uncle” to his followers.

With most accounts of conflict journalism being a male bastion that is also loud and demonstrative, Rehman writes in a remarkably balanced voice sans any overt dramatization. As a woman writing about experiences that normally would have any seasoned journalist all warped and twisted, her accounts flow with grace and human consideration. The reader also gets glimpses of places like Dimapur, its dingy hotels, the alleyways, and even of the accompanying driver or attendant (who apparently had no clue why Rehman was visiting Nagaland). Read more

Book review: The Mothers Of Manipur—Twelve Women Who Made History

By Namita Bhandare

At 10am on 15 July 2004, 12 angry women—some of them over 60—stood in front of the Kangla Fort in Imphal, stripped off their clothes and, shaking the gates, shouted: “Indian Army Rape Us. Eat our Flesh.” It was a protest unheard of before (or even after) anywhere in India and, certainly, in conservative Manipur. But the Meira Paibis, or women torchbearers of Manipur, had reason to be angry, so angry that they wanted to jolt the system. Another hunger strike or silent march was not good enough. They were responding to a new level of depravity of the army and wanted a new language of resistance.

The mothers of Manipur were using their bodies to protest against the sight of another body, that of 32-year-old Thangjam Manorama, a weaver, who had been found on 11 July, not far from her home where she had been picked up the previous night by troops of the 17th Assam Rifles, then stationed at the Kangla Fort. Read more

Source: Live Mint