"The book, as the title says, consists of a series of dialogues about the Ao Naga
world-view, their traditions, rituals and ethical norms, and their ideas of history and
objects of veneration. The dialogue took place in specially organized meetings and
participants were drawn from elders of the Ao Naga tribe, Ao Naga intellectuals and
scholars, a student and a visitor from outside.
The conversations that took place in these meetings were recorded and what appears in
the book is a very lightly edited version of the recorded conversations. The
philosophically interesting aspects of these conversations are the views expressed by
various participants on the human condition, the ethical grounding of human life, the
dividing line between life and death, and about their institutions for educating the young
and dispensing justice.
The book aims to achieve a twofold objective: (1) to secure an authentic articulation
of the traditional Ao world through a dialogue between different Ao voices (an aim pursued
very differently from the anthropologist's participant observation), and (2) clearing the
ground for the reflection of philosophical insights thrown up in the process of this
articulation. The insights will be obvious to the sympathetic and discerning reader; the
reflection is left to those who will read the book with serious philosophical interest.
Sujata Miri's paintings are an insightful addition to the dialogic explorations of the