The Role of Antigone in Manipur, NE India

In the last 50 years, Antigone has often been mobilized in fights against tyranny. In Manipur, a state in India’s Northeast, demands for self-determination, labeled "insurgency" by the Indian government, have grown in number and in violence, and the Indian Army is a forceful military presence. Citizens have been shot in the street, young men have been picked up for "interrogation" and tortured, and women have been raped and killed by the Army. There have been many translations and adaptations of Antigone in Manipur — including one in which Creon wore the Indian flag as his headgear. Assistant Professor of Theater Erin Mee describes how, in these productions, Antigone is about the conflict between regional autonomy and national stability. These productions have been used to articulate and celebrate regional culture, and to establish a regional identity that is distinct from, if not in opposition to, the national identity and culture imposed on Manipur’s citizens by the Indian government. As such, they mount both a cultural and political resistance to the national government.