This compilation of photographs is from two separate projects based in Northeast India. The first project was a year-long study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women in Assam and Nagaland, conducted by the Centre for Northeast Studies and Policy Research in 2009-10, supported by the Heinrich Boll Stiftung. The photographs were shot across three districts of Assam (Kokrajhar, Dhemaji, Sibsagar) and three districts of Nagaland (Peren, Kohima, Tuensang), during the making of a documentary film, titled 'A Measure of Impunity', in which I served as Assistant Director.
The second project involves testimonies of women survivors of armed and gun violence in the state of Assam and Manipur, conducted by the Control Arms Foundation of India and Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network. We collected testimonies from Tinsukia district in Assam and seven districts of Manipur.
These photographs attempt to portray testimonies of women who have been affected by various forms of armed violence across Nagaland, Manipur and Assam. Various ideologies have given birth to insurgent violence in Northeast India, which have been based on a common demand for sovereignty, which has been responded by state military action. Decades of long conflict has seen women lose their sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, and live in an atmosphere of constant fear, which has left an indelible imprint in their lives.
The women shared their powerful and gripping testimonies, across space and time, yet the pain and suffering in their heart, their resilience with which they have lived with their stories, remains the same. The collective trauma and profound resilience of these women over the decades of conflict is the band which connects these photographs.