‘Though innovative, Dalit lit hardly studied abroad’
Nagpur: It is argued that Dalit literature, and its representation and re-evaluation of marginalized cultures has emerged as a significant development in Indian writing in the last three decades, but it has hardly been studied outside India though it is often highly innovative in form, narratives and use of language, said Nicole Thiara, a literary scholar from Nottingham Trent University, UK, on Thursday.
Thiara, however, said in no uncertain terms that “Dalit literature’s undeniable and colossal counter-hegemonic project and the resistant solidarity it both develops and invites drew me initially into this orbit”.
She was speaking at the inaugural function of a three-day International Interdisciplinary Conference on ‘Caste, gender and race: a politics of hegemony’ at Laxminarayan Institute of Technology.
The conference has been organized by Nagpur University’s department of English. Vice-chancellor SP Kane presided while clinical professor at New York University Rochelle Almeida was the chief guest. Convener Dharamdas Shende and organizing secretary Sanjay Palwekar were present.
In her keynote address on ‘Dalit literature and the concept of hegemony’, Thiara said an increasing number of literary works by Dalit authors has been translated into English and other European languages. She also shared snippets from her research work ‘Writing, analysing, translating Dalit literature’, the first of its kind interdisciplinary network outside India.
Almeida shared her views on the dilemmas of race, caste and gender among Britain’s Anglo-Indians. “The sense in which I use the term Anglo-Indian refers to children who were born in the Indian sub-continent of bi-racial parents, that is, parents who represent two different races Caucasian and Brown,” she said.
Kane said, “The keynote address was informative, illuminating and effective.”
At the outset, Shernavaz Buhariwala and Suresh Chandra Verma, former teachers at the department of English, were felicitated for exemplary work.
Two books, ‘Mapping caste and gender’, edited by Shende, Palwekar and Rashmi Tikku, and ‘Human rights and literature’, written by Palwekar, were released.
The meet was conducted by Baljeet Mudliar. Palwekar proposed a vote of thanks.
Top professors and researchers will deliver talks on Friday and Saturday.