Thursday, January 12, 2017


Seminar on Modernity in Indian Literature

Kannada Language Chair
Centre of Indian Languages, SLL&CS, JNU
Kuvempu Bhasha Bharathi Pradhikara, Bangalore
Jointly organize a three-day National Seminar on
Modernity in post-independence Indian Literature
January 19, 20, and 21, 2017
Venue: Committee room No. 131, Centre of Indian Languages-II,  SLL&CS, JNU

Modernity as a concept is shaped in opposition to tradition.   However, the term ‘modern’ has a long history and was used for the first time in the late 5th century in order to distinguish from the ‘present’. There after the meaning and the function of the concept has changed in reference to time, space, persons and communities. In India, modernism as an artistic or literary movement is closely associated with the various developments of 20th century. The colonial period has drastically changed the cultural and aesthetic views of Indian writers.
In Kannada, Gopalakrishna Adiga, one of the greatest practitioners of modernist tradition started a new literary movement in the late fifties, which was later called Navya sahithya by critics, existed for over 25 years.  Adiga and his contemporaries like U R Ananthamurthy, P. Lankesh, AK Ramanujan, BC Ramachandra Sharma, Yashavantha Chittala, Shanthinatha Desai and others evolved a "stylized" form of literature influenced heavily by Western writers such as Eliot, Kafka, Camus, Samuel Becket and others. Their poetry was devoid of meter and rhyme. They chose to write about man's innermost feelings, and about relationship between man and woman. Their writings often echoed despair, boredom, monotony, helplessness of human beings. Many of them were strong critics of Nehruvian politics.
However, the experience of modernity is not confined to Kannada alone. We are not very sure how the phenomenon of modernity is recreated in other Indian languages. We assume that there must be lots of similarity and difference in different Indian language. As we know, some of the Indian writers of fifties and sixties felt betrayed by the post Indian independence developments, some were worried about the movement of the civilized world into a bloody conflict. Many considered that the democratic institutions are not reliable means to achieve the desired goals of individuals and society; therefore, they looked within themselves to discover the answers. Few writers felt that ‘The Generation is lost’.
This three days seminar intends to find out how Indian writers during post-independence period conceived the concept of modernism and responded to it through their creative and critical writings. As we know, it was not monolithic and one-dimensional. Some opposed the tradition, some tried to appropriate it and few radicalized the very consciousness of modernity. It was truly a multifaceted phenomenon which evoked multiple responses in different linguistic and cultural contexts. The seminar intends to document the whole range of responses to modernity by discussing the creative and discursive writings of different languages of India.

Schedule of the seminar:

Two papers, one on creative (fictional) writings and the other is on non-fictional writings, will be presented in the following Indian Languages-

Day 1: January 19, 2017
11. OO-12.30:                         Inaugural Session
Inauguration:             Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar, Vice Chancellor
Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi

Chief Guest:                Prof. Rekha V. Rajan, Dean, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, JNU
Key Note address:     Prof. HS Shivaprakash, Eminent poet, New Delhi
Presided by:               Prof. Chandrashekhar Kambara, Vice President, Sahithya Akademi, New Delhi

12.30-01.30: Lunch break

01.30- 03.00:               Modernity in Kannada Literature
Paper 1:                       Prof. Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi, Mysore University, Karnataka
Paper 2:                      Prof Rajendra Chenni, Kuvempu University, Karnataka

03-03.15: Tea break

03.15-04.30:                Modernity in Malayalam Literature
Paper 1:                       Prof. Udaya Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Paper 2:                       Prof. P. Krishnan Unni, Delhi University, Delhi

Day 2: January 20, 2017

10.00 – 11.30:             Modernity in Tamil Literature

Paper-1:                      Dr. N. Dr. N. Chandra Segaran / Manivannan Murugesan, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Paper 2:                       Mr. Jagadeesan, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
11.30- 01.00:               Modernity in Telugu Literature
Paper 1:                       Dr. E Muralidhara Rao, Venkateshwara College, New Delhi
Paper 2:                       Prof.  B Venkateshwaralu , Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 
01.00-01.45: Lunch Break
01.45-3.15                   Modernity in Hindi Literature
Paper 1:                       Dr. Raman P. Sinha, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Paper 2:                       Dr. Ganapat Teli, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi
03.15 -03.30 Tea break
03.30 – 05.00: Modernity in Urdu Literature
Paper 1:                       Prof. S M Anwar Alam , Jawaharla Nehru University, New Delhi
Paper 2:                      Prof. Prof. Mohd. Zaman Azurdah, Kashmir University, Shrinagar
Day 3:  January 21, 2017

10.00-11.15:                Modernity in Punjabi Literature

Paper 1:                       Prof. RaviderSingh, Dyal Singh College, New Delhi
Paper 2:                       Prof. Gurupal Sandhu, Punjab University, Chandigarh

11.15-11.30: Tea Break

11.30-01.00:                Modernity in Bangla Literature

Paper 1:                       Prof. Ms Paramita Chakraborty, Delhi University, Delhi
Paper 2:                       Ms. Suranjana Ray , Delhi University, Delhi

01.00-01.45: Lunch Break

01.45-03.15:                Modernity in Odia and Marathi literature:
Paper 1:                       Prof. Nandini Sahu, Indiara Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
Paper 2:                       Prof. P C Pattanaik. Delhi University, Delhi

03.15- 03.45:               Modernity in Marathi Literature

Paper 1:                       Dr. Kamalakar Bhat, Pune

03.45-04.00- Tea Break
04.00-05.00: Concluding Remarks by Ashok Vajpeyi, Eminent writer, New Delhi

Organizers of the seminar:

Kuvempu Bhasha Bharathi, is an Institution established by the Govt. of Karnataka under the auspices of Dept. Kannada and Culture. Kuvempu Bhasha Bharathi which was earlier known as Translation Academi, aims to create meaningful dialogues between different languages in India, through translation, publications, workshops, writers exchange programme and so on.  Recently the institution has published the translations of Will Durant’s (5volumes) Collected Writings of Ambedakar (12volumes). So far, the institution has nearly published more than 200 books on fiction, short stories, discursive writings, travelogues, lexicons, glossaries, and annotated editions, books related to Science, Law, and Medicine from different languages of India. Bhasha Bharathi intends to initiate meaningful dialogues between the languages of India, which live, flourish side by side, but have turned out be total strangers to each other for a long time. It periodically conducts national, regional workshops to deliberate on different issues and has published the proceedings in the book form. The compilation of the papers presented in the seminar is published in the book form (both in Kannada and English) and the books are released on the first day of the seminar.  

Kannada Language Chair is the latest chair installed at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) with the financial help of Govt. of Karnataka under the auspices of Dept. Kannada and Culture. It is part of Centre of Indian Languages (CIL) and is situated in the School of Languages, Literature and Culture Studies, JNU, New Delhi. The Chair started functioning from October, 2015 and it intends to represent Karnataka, its languages and cultures, in all its multilingual and plural identities.
The Chair in its short history has organized a grand ‘Yakshagana’ performance on the occasion of its inception; a cultural programme on ‘Folk Dances of Karnataka’ and a National Seminar on Saint Poet Kanakadasa. The Chair has been represented at various conferences including an international workshop on ‘Disability in the Indian Short Story’
The Kannada Language Chair has set a library of its own at the ‘School of Languages’ library and housed around 10,000 books. The books range from Ancient/Medieval/Modern literature to folklore, criticism, translations etc. There is also a translation project that aims to translate classical Kannada texts into English. The ninth-century Kannada work Kavirājamārgaṁ by Śrīvijaya has been translated as ‘The Way of the King of Poets’ and will be released shortly.
The current seminar on ‘Modernity in Post-Independence Indian Literature’ is another of the objectives of the Chair in establishing and spreading the awareness of Kannada language, literature and cultural heritage. The idea of this conference is to bring together a pool of papers in various languages from different regions of India and develop a pan Indian perspective on ‘Modernity’ in Indian Literature. The Chair realizes the privileges of being placed at a University like JNU and emphasizes on the importance of joint collaborations with other academics and institutions.