The two day National Seminar held by Centre of Comparative Literature on the topic ‘Exploring self: Autobiography in Indian Context’, saw the felicitation of the famous subaltern writer and Dalit Feminist, Ms. Faustina aka Bama. The inaugural ceremony held on the 15th September, was presided by Professor Appa Rao Podile, Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University.

The two day seminar, supported by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), explores the autobiographies written by the Indian literary canon. Bama, who is a well-known native feminist writer noted, “Dalit women autobiographies are not just about the self but about the community as well.” Mentioning this and sharing other experiences she faced as a Dalit Christian, she kick started the day’s paper presentations that revolved around Dalit women and sexuality. A total of 11 papers were presented on day one.

The sessions were insightful to the trends seen in autobiographical accounts. “Women unconsciously censor their own autobiographies as their experiences are not seen as one with outwardly expression,” said Professor C Mrunalini who spoke during the plenary session.

The national seminar extends to 16th September, when papers on other topics like, Gender plurality, Public self and politics, Celebrities and self and Socio Cultural issues will be presented.

At the end of Bama’s Keynote she emphasized the need to analyse Dalit literature closely. “A man is reduced to his immediate identity,” she said pointing how autobiographies were insightful in knowing the lives of the discriminated.

By Donita Jose,
Department of Communication