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Selfing the Home: Quest for Indigenous Entity, Metaphors of the Self and the Other in A. K. Ramanujan’s Poetry

Kankana Bhowmick

Bongaigaon College, Assam

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/bp.v1n1.13

Abstract

This paper intends to analyze the celebrated poems of A. K. Ramanujan in the light of the figurative approach taken by the poet to represent the Self and the Other from a multidimensional point of view. The poems are skillful observations and perceptions of Indian milieu by him as an Indian expatriate in America. His poems bear the idea that physical separation from his motherland with its precious familial, cultural and traditional values kept him tied to his indigenous roots. His unforgettable poems throw light on his beliefs and philosophies which were influenced by the native air that brought to him all ideologies, morals, myths, legends and even superstitions. Regarded as works of unequal genius, the poems reverberate in the minds of the readers. To be brief, the achieved sense of the Other as an expatriate and the inborn identity of the Self deeply rooted in the soil of his motherland inspire the poet to form refined expressions and a poetic vision which generate the idea how self and society can be related to each other through the networks of home and family.

 Keywords:  Self-Other, Expatriate, Myths, Alienation, National allegory, Collective unconscious, Archetypes

The poems of A. K. Ramanujan identify him as a distinguished Indian English poet in whom the inevitable bond with the motherland, legacy to the home and family, its culture are intermingled to inspire the fusion of philosophical and ethical values of his native culture and the detached outlook of Western thoughts. His poetry is born out of the dialectical interplay between his experience both in America and India on the one hand, and that between his sense of own self and its vitality on the other. As a citizen confronting an alien culture when working and living in U.S, he had imbibed many of its attributes as well. He was exposed to a lifestyle which was urbane, to a mindset which was liberal and to a culture which was not only alien but radical and unconventional unlike its traditional Indian counterpart. The tenets of diverse cultures enabled Ramanujan to rise above and appreciate each. As he looks back staying away from his own land, he remembers and shares personal experiences of family life and home. Most of his poems published in the volumes “The Striders” (1966), “Relations” (1971) and “Second Sight” (1986) echo the sense of belongingness as he reminisces his experience with family as a metaphor for the varied but influential ties between past, present and future.

Ramanujan was drawn to the home, and the family it consists of, as he strongly believed in the family that helps a person to imbibe values and culture. The bond of love and familial ties, as portrayed in his poems, do not merely reveal his inner self through a nostalgic journey down memory lane carrying an awareness of the typical Indian family with its huge web of relationships but also bring a sense of alienation. This realization makes him to turn back to his childhood experiences, relate anecdotes and consequently it becomes a source of continuity with an older idea. The reality of being away pulls him back to the present from where his view of the distant past becomes more vivid, more transparent relating to the values like morality, religion and ethics taught in the premises of a Hindu Brahmin family. The poem “Extended Family” in “Second Sight” expresses how the poet can stretch his lineage backward to grandfather and forward to no specific point in future. His identification of the self includes not merely the family past and timeless memory that offers an insight backward in time or into an origin that has no appropriate moment of beginning, but at the same time, it engages a speculation of an unknown future, awaiting unmoulded in its time. Like his unborn grandson, he says, he ‘looks up at himself’. The poet’s idea of family and the rooted self in it derive from the conception of a vastly extended and nebulously curled web that he enjoins on an indefinite, indefinable time stretch. His quest for the Self submerged in the traditional and cultural values rousing from Indian legacy helps him in purging the uncanny feeling of alienation that gives him the transcended entity as the Other.

Ramanujan’s “Hindoo Poems” are remarkable representations to study how the poet deals with the themes of Hindu culture. His three renown Hindu poems: “The Hindoo: He reads his GITA and is calm at all events”, “The Hindoo: he doesn’t Hurt a Fly or a Spider either” and “The HINDOO: the only risk” are the reflections of his Hindu consciousness. The impossible ideal of accepting both good and evil, joy and sorrow in an equal spirit is well expressed in the poem “The Hindoo: He reads his GITA and is calm at all events”. In this poem, the poet’s attitude is not to satirize Hinduism or the sacred scriptures but rather those Hindus who know the content of the scriptures, as Ramanujan’s early domestic culture taught him, but miss its spirit. The religious values he has imbibed through the introduction to the holy scriptures and rituals, stir a rational mind in him rather than a typical orthodox conception of a Hindu Brahmin mindset. He finds his objective correlative in the family and it’s religious and traditional practices around him and then shapes his experiences into poems that become neat vignettes on family relationships, transmitted values of religious or traditional practices as well as the well-knitted frame of Indian society. An important fact put to the forth by his poems is the comprehensive knowledge of Indian mythology and folklore. His other self consisting of experiences as an expatriate did not paralyze his native instinct. His native self finds expression when he describes the worship and reverence of the animals including serpents in Indian culture, as they are considered to be the symbol and ornament of lord Shiva..Full Text PDF

Being Chhota Bheem in School: Implications for Education

Sonia Ghalian

Manipal Center for Philosophy and Humanities, India

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/bp.v1n1.12

Abstract

The thesis of this paper explores two notions of childhood, one that pervades school pedagogy and curriculum, and the other which we encounter in the larger popular media. In the contemporary context, a certain notion of childhood is central to school education. In other words, pedagogical practices and curriculum in school education carry within them a pervasive notion of childhood. This perception of childhood gets transmitted and manifested both at the classroom level and other tacit contexts through ideas such as discipline, hierarchy, punishments, and moral values among others. A notion of childhood is also communicated to children through family relationships and practices. However, a dominant and conscious sense of childhood is communicated to children through popular media like literature, television and films. The representation of childhood in these mediums also carries within it a sense of gender and moral values. This paper discusses implications of this phenomenon of learning in the context of curriculum reforms in school education.

Keywords: Construction of Childhood, School Pedagogy, Visual Media, Children’s Film

Notion of Childhood in School Pedagogy and Curriculum

While defining the nature of power in modern societies, Foucault (1979) highlights how the establishment of modern day institutes such as mental asylum and prisons play a central role in shaping experience and defining identities in line with dominant discourses. The school as one among those fundamental modern institutes can also be looked at in this light, as that which operates within an implicit power dynamics. According to Foucault, the features of discipline are of primary importance in the establishment of schooling as a part of ‘moral orthopedics’ of society at large (Foucault 1980). In his analysis, Foucault illustrates the manner in which mandatory schooling is instrumental in controlling children both at a physical level and mental level. Thus, in lieu of Foucault’s analysis of the implicit power dynamics in schools, the convention of defining what it is to be a child is of particular relevance within the field of education which moderates relationships between teachers and students.

The school as an institution is both formed on, and as well as indicates, structures of significance, legitimacy and domination (Giddens 1984), which provides children with a way of looking at themselves and the world. Popularly established the fundamental site of learning, the school provides a sequence of learning and experience to children that shape their world-views. In other words, it teaches children literacy as well as life skills. A child at school is taught how to read and write and attain knowledge of subjects like mathematics, science, history, geography, and English among others through the designed curriculum and pedagogy. The curriculum in a broader sense comprises manifold activities within the classroom such as reading and writing, as well as tacit learning manifesting outside the classroom room beyond the margins in spaces like playgrounds, assemblies and so on. Overall, the school links the quest for knowledge and development through a mode of instruction provided by teachers to students (Devine 2000, Gudmundsdottir 1996).

This discourse of pedagogy, that teaches children these knowledge skills, also carries within it, a certain notion about childhood itself. There is a very explicit division of child and adult in the architectural space of the school, which is further compartmentalized according to age, gender and ability. There is a strict concept of surveillance present in the school environment that is implemented through a structured timetable, examinations, timings and so on. Along with this formal structure, the space of the school carries a specific notion of childhood itself that then gets facilitated through various rules and their regulation. This formal structure of school pedagogy allows the pervasive notions of childhood to become part of the child’s understanding of the world. Thus one can see that there is a certain sense of childhood that is projected onto schools that seem to mold the child for the better or in terms of what is thought to be desirable. Studies done by scholars (Pollard 1985, Darmanin 1995) indicate similar notions that are present in teachers’ relationship with children, based on the discourses of productivity and positive social behavior.

A notion of childhood is implicitly and explicitly transmitted through various ways such as rules, discipline, gender, hierarchy, respect to elders, and seriousness and so on. For example, children at school are asked to put finger on their lips to maintain silence. This gesture of keeping silence carries an implicit understanding of discipline. Breaking the rule of maintaining silence leads to punishment. Thus, this idea of punishment in school itself carries a notion about how children and childhood is perceived and molded. A mischievous child is often seen as someone who is different from the rest of the class and needs to be disciplined. Thus the concept of discipline carries within it a concept of punishment (Foucault 1980). A child is made to stand outside class if he/she is found misbehaving in class. Here the space outside the classroom becomes a marker of punishment that teaches the child what is the right thing to do and what is not.

Some schools also have a detention hour that signifies spending time alone as a form of punishment for breaking the rule. Here isolation from one’s peers has an implicit message that tells a child to not to act differently from the rest if one does not want to be alone. Nonconforming to the rules and methods of the school leads to punishment and isolation. Another manner in which children who break the rules are punished is by being told to stand on the bench. This image of a child standing with his hands up on inanimate object like a bench, to some extent reduces the child to that inanimate thing itself. This again implies that if a child does not behave according the rules, he will be nothing more than a bench.

In a large number of schools children are told to make separate lines for girls and boys while assembling for any form of activity. This bifurcation of girls and boys creates gendered spaces through which children learn of notions such as gender and sexuality. Children are also taught to be moral beings who do not hurt others, respect their elders and to not indulge in habits like stealing, bullying and so on. Language in which children are spoken to is based on moral values such as love thy neighbor, sharing is caring, speak the truth, a friend in need is a friend in deed and many more. All these moral values are not only a part of the pedagogical lessons taught to children, but also are a part of daily discourse of interaction between children and teachers. The signs of showing respect for the teacher are to stand up and wish her when she enters the class, not to engage in conversation while the teacher is speaking etc. Through such gestures a child is taught to be respectful towards elders. The crucial point to note from all the above examples is that, these are the ways in which the notion of childhood and perception of a child is constructed in school education.

Most of the attitude towards a child in school is based on the ‘needs’ discourse (Foucault 1980), aimed to develop certain attributes and values in a child. Indeed, age, class and gender mediate this construction of childhood and its acceptance and resistance. All the above examples indicate a notion of childhood that pervades the school space and its pedagogical practices. Thus, the values that children learn at school, suggest a particular kind of image of what it is to be a child, both implicitly and explicitly. This notion of childhood at school is based on value added component of education and how it contributes to the overall cognitive and psychological development of children.

While Rousseau (1969) believed education of children could improve and conserve ‘natural goodness’ of human beings, education of children spread through publishing of books especially made for children with an aim to teach the values and norms of the society. Some researchers have indicated that the children’s cultural products like books, along with the other forms of print and electronic media (television, magazine images), play an important role in offering visual images to children, which provides them with cultural information about themselves, others and their relationship with society (Spitz 1999, Yeoman 1999). Hurley argues “self-image in children is shaped in some degree by exposure to images found in written texts, illustrations, and films” (2005, 221)…Full Text PDF

Multiculturalism and the Indian Tradition

M. Rajagopalachary & K. Damodar Rao

Kakatiya University, Warangal (Telangana), India

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/bp.v1n1.11


 

In order to save mankind we have to learn to live together in concord in spite of traditional differences of religion, civilization, nationality, class and race.

                                                                                                         —Arnold Toynbee

Whence this vitality that overcomes destruction and death? Whence this wisdom that reconciles opposite truths? The story of India’s culture unravels the secret of that vitality and that wisdom. It is a story of unity and synthesis, of reconciliation and development, of a perfect fusion of old traditions and new values.

                                                                                                           —Humayun Kabir

The only thing that truly links every Indian today is a knowledge, first hand and constant, of diversity.

                                                                                                                            — Pico Iyer

Indian democracy has survived for more than five decades despite ominous predictions to the contrary, and Indian tradition has survived over five millennia despite periodic setbacks and recent challenges. Its social diversity and cultural pluralism have proved to be its strengths, in fact, its structural principles. Added to these, its stability and continuity have made it truly ‘functional’ at every level, social-political-cultural. India’s experience of living together with different religious faiths, of accommodating diverse ethnic groups and languages might not have the linguistic denomination of multiculturalism but the fact remains that India happened to be one of the first few countries to have celebrated cultural pluralism as a way of living.  The markers with which it came to be characterized are many including ‘unity in diversity,’ ‘cultural pluralism,’ ‘living together separately,’ ‘religious neutrality,’ ‘honeycomb,’  ‘syncretistic,’ and the recent ‘multiculturalism’, and ‘hybridity.’

Microaggression and Diversity: Tracing Indonesian University Students’ Attitudes toward Pluralism through Metaphorical Creative Expressions

Andreas Akun  & Wiwik Andreani

Bina Nusantara University, Indonesia

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/bp.v1n1.10


Abstract

This is a library study of university students’ instant poems about their attitudes toward pluralism in Indonesia. The goals of the study are to identify the tones of the poems and then trace the microaggressive attitudes toward pluralism through the metaphorical expressions found in the poems. The study of the poems has revealed that microaggressions may take diverse unrealized forms, such as seeing difference as wrong or sinful, considering the “rainbow” of diversity as piteous, viewing intermingled mixtures of different backgrounds with ambiguous attitudes, the impossibility of having a real sense of “we” belonging, fictiveness of superior ethnicity and both sides of microaggression, disempowering diversities with too many differences,   merely teaching and telling of diversity without modeling, surfacing of microaggressive domination, and questioning the fiction of authentic ethnicity. All issues have been proven to be the new faces of modern and subtle racism and chauvinism with their growing underground power to reject diversity.

Key Words: Pluralism, microaggression, metaphor, attitude, poetry

INTRODUCTION

Our previous study of five university students of English Department in Jakarta and surrounding has shown prospectively positive result, where out of 153 sampling participants, most of them (65%) have positive attitude toward pluralism issue in Indonesia. Only a small number of them (16%) who have negative attitude and 19% of them are neutral or ambiguous (Akun & Andreani, 2015). However, the everyday reality still shows us that problems of pluralism in this country keep emerging where intolerance and prejudice of other groups with different backgrounds keep surfacing at the same time. The latest issue—without forgetting the most tragic 1998 racial tension or 1965 political riot—is the Tolikara incident where a number of Christian people were reported to ban Muslims from praying and celebrating Idul Fitri at the end of the fasting month.

            Based on this background, it is challenging to delve into the root of the problems, resting in the reasons why people have negative or ambiguous attitudes toward pluralism reality. Thus, this study centers around the problems of negative attitudes, and more specifically portrays the micro-aggression as captured both directly and indirectly in the students’ creative and poetic expressions. The study will be limited to 111 English Department students from three universities i.e. Bina Nusantara University Jakarta (53 participants, private university, non-ideological), University of Indonesia Depok (38 participants, state university), and Maranatha Christian University Bandung (20 participants, private university, under a certain religious ideology). Specifically, the study will be focused on the negative and ambiguous/neutral attitudes from the students to trace their everyday experience in dealing with pluralism issues. The three universities have sufficiently represented diverse backgrounds for the students to reflect diversity experiences.

DIVERSITY AND MICROAGGRESSION

To better understand of people’s attitude toward pluralism, indirect spontaneous expressions may help in a significant way as it gives a deeper look into the root of the surfacing diversity realities. Probing the tones and metaphorical expressions can be one option worth consideration for this purpose, and this study attempts to show the possible findings among the young intellectuals. The concepts of diversity, micro-aggression, and tone in poetry are on the first place provided to examine the issue of pluralism—one fundamental issue raised from the beginning of this country establishment until today.

Diversity, simply defined, is “the quality of being different…derived from ‘diverse’ meaning differing from one another, or simply composed of distinct elements or qualities”(Parvis, 2013: 13). The key word is ‘difference’ as something absolute and the essence of discussing diversity to date is to keep learning how to accept these differences to live harmoniously among others as social beings. There are many types of diversity such as “culture, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, age, ability, language, weight, style, idea, income, orientation, geographic location, and many more aspects which make people unique” (p. 15). The diversity discussed in this study covers race, ethnicity, religion, culture, and social class. The issues are explored through the negative and pessimistic responses depicted in the students’ poems. We assume that this dark side discussion—as opposed to the positive responses—may provide a more comprehensive look of the matter and may help finding the best attitudes to be strengthened especially through diversity education.

The attitudes toward pluralism is not always direct and observable, and the experience of marginalizing and being marginalized in the plural society when number counts is also subtle and even consciously unintended. In everyday life, the negative attitudes addressed to the minority by the majority and vice versa may result in microaggressive attitudes when they subtly happen beyond awareness or consciousness of both sides. Specifically, according to Sue (2010) these negative attitudes are characterized by “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional , that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual-orientation, and religious slights and insults to the target person or group” (p. 5). Most of the time the perpetrators are unintentional or unaware of their involvement in committing the microagrgessions, and that is why attention to this matter needs more effort to make everyone aware of the deeds. Further, Sue (2010) has focus more on microaggressions in everyday life covering race, gender, and sexual orientation. He has divided racial microaggression into three: individual racism, institutional racism, and cultural racism. Firstly, individual racism is “overt, conscious, and deliberate individual acts intended to harm, place at a disadvantage, or discriminate against racial minorities. Serving Black patrons last, using racial epithets, preventing a White son or daughter from dating or marrying a person of color, or not showing clients of color housing in affluent White neighborhoods are all examples” (p. 7). It is obvious that this type of racism is more individual or personal developing out of this smaller scope of individual dynamics including hate crimes at their extreme ends…Full Text PDF

Significance of Female Encounters in the Paintings of F. N. Souza

Mandakini Sharma, Ila Gupta & P. N. Jha

IIT Roorkee, India

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/bp.v1n1.09


Abstract:

Women and painting are coupled with each other from the dawn of the art throughout the world. In Indian painting, women have frequently been depicted from the ancient era till today. In this context, their beauty and physical charm are more preferred than any significant values. In modern Indian painting, Amrita Sher-Gill is probably the first Indian female artist, who contributed some significant themes in respect of womanhood during 19th century.  Then, many prominent artists portrayed woman in various forms but Francis Newton Souza has represented them in a strange but powerful manner. His paintings played an indispensable role to give Indian art a new direction and to enhance its true realm in respect of ‘modern’. He has done thousands of sketches and paintings on woman in naked and semi-naked condition but his approach is very singular than that of others.  Beauty and noble attitude of woman are entirely avoided by him and only the vicious and distorted figures are depicted. Thus, the paper aims at discussing the symbolic significance of female figures in some of Souza’s paintings. The discussion will be based on some critical approaches for seeking various dimensions regarding the nude female depictions and erotica with their strange facial composition. The female paintings of Souza are representatives of the erotic and sensual manifestation with their stark nudity. At the same time they also possess the ironical statements and satire on the society and create an apprehension in the viewers.

Keywords: Francis Newton Souza, female body, painting, Indian art, nudity.

 Introduction

The enigma and charm of woman has always remained the most depicted thing in art from the very dawn of history. This phenomenon has also been considered the most contradictory aspect throughout the world. The primary evidences of art practices have been found in the cave temples of many countries including India, where prehistoric people had contributed a lot to express their thoughts on the wall of caves through painting. Those paintings are particularly related to their lifestyle and surroundings and woman has been depicted in a fewer scenes when compared to man. This bias of representation may be true or may not be true because almost all paintings have been made with geometrical or linear forms and it is very difficult to guess the gender of those figures.

            After the advent of Indus valley civilization, woman’s portrayal has been done frequently and it continued. In this long voyage of painting, Indian art has been influenced and patronized by various people of different countries and religions. This concept of patronization or courtship has been broken during the 19th century after the arrival of company style, when artists got various platforms to learn art practices and to expose their creativity. In this list of precursors of modern painting the most prominent are Ravi Verma, Amrita Sher-Gill, Abnindranath Tagore, Yamini Roy, who came up with some new ideas and techniques during the 19th century.

            During the 20th century, the art of representation has suddenly changed its course and meaning due to a group of artists in Bombay. They were called ‘the Progressives’, (Progressive Artistic Group), and Francis Newton Souza had been considered the founder of PAG. The major members of this group were, M.F. Hussain, F. N. Souza, Saiyad Haider Raja, K. H. Aara, and V. S. Gaitondey. This group has been considered the backbone of modern Indian paintings because each artist of this group has contributed a lot to give Indian art a new direction and make it more authentic.    The art of Francis Newton Souza has always attracted numerous connoisseurs either for appreciation or for critical evaluation of a world of distorted figures with evil faces. This very configuration of devil-like creatures is the most prominent aspect in the paintings of Souza including woman. The portrayal of woman in his paintings has been mostly done with huge genitals and vicious smile in naked and semi-naked condition, which somehow indicates some gender politics in respect of woman. Thus, in this paper some paintings of Souza have been critically observed to frame out the symbolic significance of woman depiction in his paintings.

            Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002) was born in Goa, a Portuguese state of India in a middle class family and his father died when he was very young. During his school days, he was expelled from the school for drawing some naked graffiti in the school toilet. While at Sir J. J. School of art in Bombay for his art education he was suspended in 1945 for supporting Quit India Movement. Later in 1947 he had founded Bombay Progressive Artistic Group (PAG) along with a few other artists, which gave art a new direction. The main artists of the group were M. F. Husain, Sayad Haider Raja, and K. H. Aara, F. N. Souza, S. K. Bakre.

            The main objective of this group was to synthesize the Indigenous art traditions with the modern European and American art movements by drawing the basic inspiration from the ancient Indian art traditions. The main agenda of the group was to give Indian art a modernistic approach, but their basics were highly influenced by the indigenous sculpture and painting. This modernistic approach has been derived through various Western and European art styles but the spirit of this has remained entirely Indian. The first exhibition of this group was organized in 1949 in Baroda and in Bombay, where, the group gained large scale attention. Their manifesto was very fascinating and was clubbed with a number of aspects including Indian primitive and folk style, temple erotica, and western ‘isms’. The ‘absolute freedom for content and technique’ is the only preferred aspect because they were not bound by any art movement or school but their representations were channelized through the ‘laws of aesthetic order, plastic coordination and color composition’ (Souza, 1994). They are considered as harbingers of truly modern and vigorous Indian art. Later, Mohan Samant, Vasudeo S. Gaitonde and Krishen Khanna joined the group in 1950s and there are numerous artists, who got inspired by the progressive module of PAG.

            Therefore, the group has led its followers on the zenith of individualistic styles of representations. Souza had left India during 1949 and went to live in London. He has gained name and fame nationally and internationally through his unique style of depiction. He has done numerous nude paintings of women throughout his career and usually portrayed them in sensuousness and erotic terms. He generally gave preference to heavy body structure with huge sexual organs and strange faces. He is not only inspired by erotic temple imagery of Khajuraho but also had some influences of western modern artists including Titian and Eduart Manet, Henri Matisse, Picasso, Goya and many more…Full Text PDF

In the Name of Religion: Sexuality and Taboo in Salman Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown

Marcel Ebliylu Nyanchi

St. Peter Chanel Marist Major Seminary, Cameroon

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/bp.v1n1.08


 Abstract

This paper examines socio-cultural and political interpretations of rape, love and sex in Shalimar the Clown to assess whether taboos on these practices in Kashmir are based on cultural and religious laws or are attempts by fundamentalists to re-colonize existing cultural and religious jurisprudences. I interrogate the orchestration of sexual violence through extremist Islamic doctrines like ‘Sharia,’ ‘Hudood’ and ‘Zina’ Ordinances, and ‘Honour Killing’ arguing that religious criminality transcends geopolitical and philosophical spaces. Through taboos on rape, love and sex, Rushdie satirizes the byzantine passion governing the quest for ecstasy in men, and its resultant effects of frigidity in women. Furthermore, the novel valorizes female sexual virility, because fundamentalist superstructures ironically groom sexually weak men, thereby impeding social conviviality. By satirizing taboos on domestic and social metamorphoses, Rushdie interrogates the place of fundamentalist ideology within contemporary world geopolitics. His valorisation of love and sex, suggest that they constitute immutable foundations on which societies should be founded.

Keywords: Religion, sexuality, violence, virility, taboos, geopolitics, fundamentalism.

Female Playwrights and the Theatre in India: Challenges and Perspectives

Indu Pandey

University of Delhi, India

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/bp.v1n1.07


 Playwriting is a mixture of site, history, representation and audiences within the context of ideology. It tries to establish relationship between the reader and the text. “Playwriting, which is an intricate and complex interweave with site, history, representation and audience as well as conventions of realism, narrative and stage practice, emerges as a crucial arena of exploration for contemporary feminism, providing insights into the politics of writing and the possible basis for a feminist theory of reception”(Forte, 1996, p. 19).

The ‘fact of power’ accounts for much of the lack of appreciation of women’s texts; until there is an appreciable change in power structure, it is unlikely that women’s fictional accounts of their lives lying in drawing rooms, the parlour, the nursery, the kitchen, the laundry will have the force to induce masculine jouissance (1996, p. 28). Men’s traditional disregard for women’s writing and women’s mode of existence is caused due to the reality of male power.

The Origin of Theatre in the Princely State of Tripura

Somdev Banik

Tripura University, India

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/bp.v1n1.06


 Abstract

The Kings and princes of Tripura during the 18th and19th centuries were keen enthusiasts of art and literature. Bengali literary and artistic traditions deeply impacted the royal cultural taste, and Agartala emerged as a parallel centre of literary and cultural activities beyond Kolkata. Through royal patronage, theatre grew as a form of private entertainment. With independence, with the influx of migrants, newer groups grew rapidly bringing in new issues and styles. Theatre in Tripura finally took the form of a cultural movement during the sixties. This paper traces the growth of theatre in Tripura, which was essentially Bengali in language and spirit, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries till Independence.

Keywords: palace drama, royal patronage, theatre practice, stage

The Sahrdaya’s Space in Kavalam’s Kallurutti

Visak V. S.

University of Kerala,Trivandrum

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/bp.v1n1.05


Abstract

The article discusses the space of Sahrdaya in Kavalam Narayana Panikkar’s famous production Kallurutti. The play is noted for its experimentalism and thanathu aspects, which insists that we should not forget our traditional performing arts as they are rich in classical, traditional and indigenous values.  The article looks into the relation between written text and performance text, the changes the written text undergoes in the production of a play and the argument whether the written text or the performance text is important.  In Sopanam (Kavalam’s theatre) the written text undergoes continuous improvisations and changes.  In the rehearsal camp the author and the director sit together and make changes in the text in order to make it appealing to the spectator.  The article also discusses the results of these productions and the effect it created after such improvisations. All these things are analyzed by collecting the opinions from general audience, esteemed spectators including the writer, director, actors and the artists of Sopanam.  The methodology I used includes direct interaction with the persons associated with the productions and interviews. 

The Kirtan of Resistance and a Divided Bengal: A Study of the Matuya Community

Sujay Thakur

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/bp.v1n1.04


This research paper aims at examining ways in which Hari Chand Thakur (1811-1877), steered the low-caste Namasudras in the late nineteenth-century towards a distinctive social identity. It will also focus on how Hari Chand brought almost the whole Namasudra community under one Matua sect with the help of his simple namgans of Lord Hari – which, infused with social messages, bequeathed the caste subaltern a voice of dissent through devotional membership. But one hardly finds mention of Hari Chand’s kirtan and its attendant social regenerative agenda in studies of this form of cultural performance. Through my intervention in this field, I shall discuss the politics behind underplaying the contribution of Hari Chand Thakur’s cultural initiatives in popular and political discourse on social reformation in late nineteenth/ early twentieth century Bengal. To substantiate the argument this article takes the theoretical framework of John Rawl’s  A Theory of Justice. Since then many political philosophers and theorists have increasingly been concerned with the issue of ethno-cultural diversity within the ambit of secular state(s). That whether justice can happen at all when state’s decision is binding over that of an individual or sects. Some have argued that liberalism has neglected the importance of culture and ethnicity in politics of secularism. The difference-blind model of unitary citizenship that had been favoured by liberals was challenged by the emergence, both in theory and practice, of the recognition of minority sects’ rights and of a model of differentiated or plural citizenship that the Left government of West Bengal tended to espouse. On the other hand the govt of Bangladesh went more into religion based citizenship than just a fair Republic. The fact that this community departed from Faridpur, and other places in Bangladesh is a testament of the intolerance even after their philanthropy for the lower-caste Hindus of that country. Slowly and steadily the matuya community had to shift to the safety of West Bengal in order to survive. Kent Greenawalt measures such establishment of religion as an adverse affect on the standing of citizens, giving a lesser standing to people who do not embrace the officially supported religion(s) and makes these individuals feel like “outsiders”