A Terrible Matriarchy-A synopsis
“My Grandmother didn’t like me. I knew this when I was about four and a half.” These are the opening words spoken by Dieleno or Lieno, in short, the narrator and protagonist of Easterine Iralu’s ATerrible Matriarchy.
A Terrible Matriarchy is Delieno’s story set in the mid 60s Nagaland, specifically in Kohima. The literal translation of this Angami name means ‘little errand girl’. The story describes the life of Delieno from the age of five to twenty three. When she is five years she is sent off to live with her disciplinarian grandmother Vibano who wants to train her up to be a good naga wife and mother. According to the grandmother, girls don’t need ...view middle of the document...
, Dieleno is exceptionally strong willed who refuses to be defeated. Her grandmother may be credited for imbibing in Dieleno the accepted social etiquettes, duties and responsibilities expected of a woman by the society of her time, but is unable to break her spirit.
intelligent, hard working, coupled with her humanity and sense of social justice ,Dieleno grows up to be an admirable and accomplished young woman.This is best summed up in her mother’s tribute to her” I guess she (grandmother ) had grown up to believe that girls are weak and not as good as boys. We were all told that as children. But I know differently now. I am amazed at your strength sometimes, Lieno. The way you took over the household when Pete died. You were just eleven and half and yet you took over my role so naturally. In short, A Terrible Matriarchy is the story of the journey of a girl from childhood to womanhood.
It also gives us a view of three generations of Naga women, the grandmother, the mother and Lieno, whose intimately intertwined lives accentuate their generational differences amid times of rapid social change in Nagaland.
The grandmother who has lived her life serving the men folk of her clan continue to live a life of the typical traditional Angami Society and its belief that the purpose of a woman’s existence lies in giving birth, raising their children, men’s caregivers, consolers, preservers of social etiquette and upholders of of the community’s virtues.
In contrast to the dragonian grandmother, in Dielno’s mother we see a sensitive, understanding and long-suffering soul representing many Naga mothers....