Relationality, Resistance and Mimicry: Towards an Alternate Discourse of Violence and Victimhood from the North East of India

Ridhima Tewari1 & Pragnya Parimita Chayani2

1Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Dharwad. ORCID: 0000-0003-3073-4948. Email:

2Ph.D. Scholar, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Dharwad. ORCID: 0000-0002-2406-2674. Email:

Volume 11, Number 1, 2019 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v11n1.04


The present paper seeks to complicate and contribute to the discourse around human rights (HR), specifically the violence inflicted, and the radical reconstructing of victimhood, by employing literary narratives from North-East of India. Such an attempt at broadening perspectives on HR is undertaken with the aid of Judith Butler’s analysis of relational nature of the self, as well as the reconceptualizing of mimesis in feminist and postcolonial thought (as discussed by Rey Chow and others). While Butler focuses on mourning and its transformative potential from narcissism to the outside/other, emphasizing on the primacy of the body, Rey Chow shows how theorists such as Luce Irigaray and Homi Bhabha have revived mimesis, employing it as mimicry for subversive purposes.  This paper utilizes literary responses from the North-East of India- poems written in the backdrop of military violence in these states- for arriving at an alternate set of responses to violence. Such responses question the very ontology of human rights- why some humans matter less, why some lives are always already neglected- while investigating the projection of sacrifice, victimhood, and the resistance that the mimic-victim provides from within the framework of subordination.

Keywords: Human Rights, Violence, Relationality, Mimicry, Resistance