The diary arrived addressed to me, bearing a message:
We live forever through our stories. Tell ours.
And so began the author’s journey into the life and legends of the Naga – a forgotten people living in the far north-east of India, struggling to survive in the modern world.
Nagaland is the story of Augustine and of the Naga people. With sensitively poetic prose, Doherty deftly draws the reader into worlds of parallel realities. The love story, desperate and damned, destined for tragedy; forged and upheld against the wishes of family and the dictates of culture, with a backdrop of violence and reprisals amidst the brutality of communal conflict. Alongside this is the telling of Augustine’s childhood story, growing up in the beautiful mountain state of Nagaland where the traditional way of life, loyalties and beliefs collide with modern imperatives that, for many, lead inexorably to poverty, dislocation, drug addiction, disease and despair.
Seamlessly woven through each story, Naga legends and myths connect these disparate worlds, the source of profound insights that are simultaneously confronting and transcendent. Poignant and profound, the reader is left with a yearning nostalgia for a past where eternal truths prevailed, to be gleaned from ancient fables and sages; where a people lived in communities richly endowed with cultural and spiritual certainties, and were valued members of large family and tribal networks. Except, of course, if you choose not to follow the rules…
Praise for Ben Doherty and Nagaland:
“Delightfully engrossing page-turner that provides a fascinating insight into Nagaland, its rich tapestry of legends, history and culture. Ben Doherty’s intimate understanding of the Naga people is evident in the flair and passion of his writing. A riveting and poignant read.”
– Nim Gholkar, author
“With echoes of Rushdie annd Garcia Marquez, Nagaland takes the reader on a lyrical exploration of person and place. This enchanting work of fiction explores a lesser known corner of India through the protagonists’ gripping and wondrous journey, while revealing Doherty as a writer with serious talent.”
– Nick McKenzie, The Age
“I have come across some extraordinary real life stories of inspiration, love, and tragedy with my travels in India as a journalist. But NAGALAND is exceptional. Ben’s skilful storytelling engages emotionally in the life of an amazing man, his defiance for the sake of love, and his devotion to place and to culture. In my opinion, it is a must read.”
– Som Patidar, journalist
“Ben Doherty has found a universal Romeo and Juliet love story in one of the remotest and least-known arts of the world, and tells it beautifully.”
– Hamish McDonald, world editor, The Saturday Paper and author of Demokrasi: Democracy in Indonesia and The Polyester Prince: The Rise of Dirubhai Ambani