Different regions of what now constitutes India came under the British rule, no doubt; but, they were also either hegemonized by or were hegemonic towards, other internecine cultures. With the advent of colonial modernity came one of the major new ideologies, that of linguistic (Modern Indian Languages) nationalism in line with European (Modern European Languages) nationalism. It is not as if, for nearly four centuries, these languages and their cultures had not mutated under diverse social and political pressures: Pali (Buddhism), Perso-Arabic (Mughal /Islam). But communities inhabiting ever-changing kingdoms and sultanates are not known to have made much of their linguistic identities, and they were somewhat polyglot. But, linguistic identities, along with those of others, hardened under the impact of European colonialism. The nascent forms of linguistic nationalism in India fought their own local battles, but, in time, these were quickly turned into identitarian modes of resistance in the face of newer, pan-Indian anti-colonial struggles. Even so, the stamp of European grids were never gotten rid of, giving rise to the idea of a ‘national’ literature, Bangla, Kashmiri, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Odia etc. Simultaneously, radical revisions and inventions following the impact of English education brought in a whole range of new modes of cultural expressions into each of the Indian languages. The past was both repudiated and reinvented; the modern and foreign were welcomed but domesticated.
Against this backdrop, primary and perhaps radical questions must be posed concerning sahitya / literature and literary traditions as the primary metaphoric place where tradition, collective memory, and identity take shape in their different Indian languages in terms of a sense of belonging to a collective multilingual place / space. What does it mean to be Indians? What has literature, and the literary, nay, cultural tradition to do with this? Indians speak and write different languages, and yet in the same language they have different cultures all merging into one multi-lateral, differential identity. Is it possible to retrace those processes from the early nineteenth century onward?
These are urgent issues needing to be posed as the very basis of any idea of Indian political unity in respect of all national, linguistic, cultural differences of all the linguistic “states” involved, or to be involved in these important processes. There are linguistic and cultural differences marked as borderlines between national traditions and identities, yet those borderlines seem often blurred so that distinctions are not always easily made. On the other hand, the historically stratified Indian literary production, the Indian tradition, shows that there are common emblems, symbols, genres, modes of writing, themes which must be considered as belonging to a whole, to one literary tradition expressing itself in different languages.
THEMES AND ISSUES
A limited number of participants will be invited for the seminar. We especially encourage young scholars to apply. Those interested in participating should send an abstract (500 words maximum) of the proposed paper along with their C.V. to the following Email ID:
A limited number of participants will be invited for the Seminar. Those interested in participating should send (preferably by email) an abstract (500-700 words) of the proposed paper along with their C.V. to:
The last date for submission of abstract (500-700 words) is 22 January, 2017. The Institute intends to send Invitation letters to selected participants by 07 February, 2017 . It is the policy of the Institute to publish the paper not proceedings of the seminars it organizes. Hence, all invited participants will be expected to submit complete papers (English or Hindi), hitherto unpublished and original, with citations in place, along with a reference section, to the Academic Resource Officer, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla – 171005 by 15 March, 2017. Style sheet for the submission of papers may be downloaded from the IIAS website http://www.iias.org/ content/shss.
IIAS, Shimla, will be glad to extend its hospitality during the seminar period and is willing to reimburse, if required, rail or air travel expenses from the place of current residence in India, or the port of arrival in India, and back.
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