EXCERPTS FROM THE FOREWORD
" One is awestruck when confronted with the possibility of over 200 tribes – each with their own stories to tell. The Seven Sisters, with their eclectic mix of colors and cultures, could easily hold their own in the list of ‘Places to visit before you die’. Counting the regions’ number of languages and dialects alone is comparable to counting the strands of wool on a sheep. So much is the variety that two sub-tribes of the same tribe cannot understand each other’s dialects.
In the absence of written history, the tribal communities have kept alive their traditions and beliefs through weaving. There was a time when every piece of cloth told a story and every number of cowrie was symbolic. Although, nowadays, these have been reserved for festivals and special occasions, the immense love and pride these people hold for their each of their traditional costume is reflected every time they speak about it.
An awkward mix of western clothing of the youngsters and semi-traditional clothing of the elderly can often be seen in the streets. On close scrutiny, it is found that the young ones are quite fashion forward. However, since everybody knows what jeans and shirt look like, this book deals with a minute faction of the clothing, that have been woven with stories and legends of the tribes. They show that although modern lifestyles have dawned in their society, they have not stopped weaving the designs which they learnt before the sunset of their bygone days.
These costumes are heirlooms passed down from generation to generation with the hope that one day the tribes of North East India will have carved a respectable niche in the world for their steadfast love for everything that makes them who they are."
- Anindita Dutta