Janice Pariat


In 1987, Shillong, the small hill-station town that I come from in the far northeast of India, played backdrop to swift and violent ‘ethnic’ conflicts between the local Khasis and ‘dkhars’ (the Khasi word for ‘outsider’). The designation ‘dkhar’ implies the drawing of borders of purity in terms of bloodline and lineage. This fiction piece is about the relationship between two unlikely friends – Suleiman, a Muslim tailor fond of flying kites and Banri, a Khasi youth with a penchant for betting. The story gives voice to alternative conceptions of belonging and being indigenous to a place, and to the peripheral expressions of the awkwardness of purity.

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