A Naga Odyssey

Visier’s Long Way Home

Monash University Publishing
Visier Meyasetsu Sanyü, Richard Broome
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An updated edition of this remarkable story, with a new postscript.

Visier Meyasetsu Sanyü, his family and fellow villagers of Khonoma, fled for their lives to the jungles of Nagaland in 1956. He and his family survived privations and starvation for over two years, though many others did not. Visier emerged from the jungle aged eight and into a turbulent world altered by Western influence, civil war and colonial oppression. He found refuge from war in Australia where, over two decades, he faced the loss of home and tradition, and found healing and a second home. This powerful story tracks Visier’s fascinating journey from indigenous religion to Christianity, from village school to a professorship, and from small town life to appearances before the United Nations. His kaleidoscopic sixty-year odyssey to find peace, tranquillity, and forgiveness for others, is vividly told against the rich tapestry of the Naga quest to be free.

A Naga Odyssey is also a particularly Australian story — of the challenges of a refugee family encountering everyday racism but also local compassion, and of displacement from family and the cultural alienation that comes with exile. It is also universalist in its empathy with the plight of Indigenous peoples in terms of loss of land, culture, independence and sovereignty: “all Indigenous people share a tremendous grief, sadness and anger, that something has been taken away from them”’. — Victorian Historical Journal

‘Out of great suffering comes fulfilment, as Visier’s remarkable story so dramatically illustrates.’ — Initiatives of Change news

‘For anyone who wants to know about Nagas and their history this book is invaluable.’ — Sunday Herald

‘So eloquent is Sanyü’s description that a reader almost feels migrated to a world that never belonged and would never belong to her or him. The book is an odyssey of events and experiences.’— Shillong Times

‘Part autobiography, part history of Nagaland and its tribes, traditions and culture, A Naga Odyssey will appeal to readers interested in accounts of personal struggle and achievement, colonialism and integration, civil war and resistance.’ — Books+Publishing

Contributor Bio

Visier Meyasetsu Sanyü is an Elder of the Meyasetsu clan of the Angami tribe, Khonoma, Nagaland. He has a Bachelor of Theology, Whitley College, University of Divinity; a PhD in History; and was the inaugural Head of the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Nagaland. He has addressed many forums across the world, including the United Nations. He is a member of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation, Adviser to Naga Global Forum, President of Peace Initiatives in North-east India (PINE) and formerly International Elder of Initiatives of Change headquartered in Caux, Switzerland.

Richard Broome AM is Emeritus Professor of History at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and the author of twenty books, including three on Indigenous Australians, notably Aboriginal Australians 5th edition (2019). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, a Fellow and President of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Melbourne, and life member of the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria.

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