The Centre for Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad (UoH) has organized a lecture on “Narratives In The 21st Century” by Prof. Rukmini Bhaya Nair (HSS, IITD) on, November 9, 2013, at Lecture Hall of the School Of Humanities.


Prof. Rukmini Bhaya Nair from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IITD) is on a visit to Hyderabad and has been to the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad on 8th November, 2013. She spoke on “Classrooms and Chat Rooms: Education and Evolution of English in the 21st Century” and interacted with the students at the Department of English Literature. On 9th November Prof. Rukmini Bhaya Nair was at University of Hyderabad where the 17th Annual Conference of the Indian Political Economy Association is being hosted by the School of Economics, UoH. There she spoke on “The Media, The Man and The Message: A Case Study of Political Discourse and Body Language in 21st Century India” focusing Mr. Narendra Modi’s body language and gestures.

The Centre for Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, UoH is celebrating its 25th year. On the account of this celebration the Centre arranged an interactive session with the students. Prof. RukminiBhaya started with a brief note on “Narrative”. Quoting from Daniel Dennett, the cognitive theorist, who states that “narratives are like the constructing the nests to birds”. Dennett also asserts that there is no single culture that does not have narrative. Narratives are part of human beings; either they are literate or illiterate. Further, narrative helps us to comprehend the constitution of culture and human self. She has also talked about what constitute narrative and how does a reader infer meaning and so on. Being a creative writer she has pointed out the universal elements of narrative i.e. Abstract, Orientation, Complicating, Evaluation, Resolution and Coda. Further she has brought into light the distinction between the postmodern fiction and the earlier narratives. Hence her talk has brought out various dimensions of narrative and storytelling. Later at the end of the session she has read a few of her poems such as Computer and The Third Eye. A small exhibition of her novel was also arranged.

RukminiBhaya Nair is a senior professor of Linguistics and English at the IIT, Delhi. She received her PhD from University of Cambridge and has since taught at various universities ranging from Singapore to Stanford. Her academic books include Poetry in a Time of Terror (OUP, 2009), Narrative Gravity: Conversation, Cognition, Culture (Routledge, 2003), Lying on the Postcolonial Couch (Oxford and Minnesota University Presses, 2002); Translation, Text and Theory: the Paradigm of India (ed., Sage, USA, 2002) and Technobrat: Culture in a Cybernetic Classroom (Harper Collins, India, 1997). Nair is also editor of Biblio, a leading Indian review journal, and on the editorial board of several international, peer-reviewed journals. She has published over 80 academic articles, writes widely in the national papers and journals and a regular contributor to Australian Radio and BBC.


In 2013, Prof. Nair has published her first novel, Mad Girl’s Love Song, which explores, amongst other themes, Indians’ complex and continuing love-hate relationship with the English language. Nair also has published three volumes of poetry: The Hyoid Bone, The Ayodhya Cantos and Yellow Hibiscus (Penguin India, 1992, 1999, 2004) and her poems have been widely anthologized as well as translated into many languages.  Nair has been the recipient of several awards including the J. N. Tata Scholarship, the Hornby and Charles Wallace Awards, the Dorothy Leet Grant etc. In 2006, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Antwerp for her contributions to the fields of linguistics and literary theory and was chosen as a Fellow of the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). In 2010-12 Nair was also awarded the prestigious two-year Senior Fellowship at the NMML .


By Abu Saleh, Ph.D Scholar in CCL, UoH