The Centre for Comparative Literature (CCL) at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) organized a one-day Graduate Students Symposium on “Novel: Modern & Postmodern”. This symposium is of one the initiatives of CCL to train the graduate students’ for academic and scholarly debates and discussions. Through this students learn how to analysis things critically and build arguments. Prof. Tutun Mukharjee, the Director of CCL inaugurated the session this symposium in the Conference Hall, Dept. of Urdu, School of Humanities.
Twenty Four students from M.A first and final year presented their readings of different literary texts applying the Modernism and Post–Modernism theory followed by discussions. These students explored different maternities and aspects of post–modernism in their selected novels from India (Malayalam, Bangla, Mizoram, Assamese, and Tamil), Arabic and Russian.
The first paper was read by Mr. Thirupathi, on Bama’s Sangatti which is a Tamil classical text of Dalit literature translated by Lakshami Holstrom. He tries to explore how the issues of Dalit women and culture are depicted in this novel.
The second paper was presented by Aritraa Saha on Chokher Bali of Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore being the artist of Bengali renaissance transcended boundaries of gender, culture and tradition. In the novel the protagonist Binodini has been pictured as a bold woman who is a widow most interestingly she is convent educated. Apart from thematic concerns of Tagore, Aritra tries to see him as a modern writer where he applied modern techniques of novel writings such as fragmentations, close endings, omniscient narration etc.
Lakshimi KTP presented her paper on Desert Shadow by a Malayalam novelist Anand. She tries to see the post–modern themes in this novel like displacement/Diaspora. Interestingly this paper brought the issue of internal Diaspora i.e. Malayalis in other parts of India.
Ondrilla Dutta, presented the paper on Tagore’s Gora. In this she tries to see different themes like Humanism, nationalism – cum – universalism, sectarianism and depiction of modern women.
Reema K presented her paper on Manju by M.T. Vasudevan Nair, the only novel by female protagonist. In her paper she looks at the elements of modernism.
Swetha Narayanan brought Saraswati Amma, one of the earliest women writers not only from India but also from the world. She stands unique because the depiction of sensibilities of third wave feminism like androgyny, sexual freedom, gender equality, question of chastity or purity through her novel Premabhajanam (Darling).
Mohammad Shah came up with the idea of nationalism and how Vaikkom Muhammad Bahsheer presented in his novel Mathilukal (Walls) through autobiographical narration.
Student from the North–East have come up with their reading of North–East Literature. Ms. Omi looks at the modernity in the Mizoram Literature and another student reads Makum, an Assamese novel by Rita Chadhuri as a piece of modernism because of the sense of disintegration, alienation, identity crisis, a breaking down of community etc.
Three Yemani students presented their papers on Arabic Literature. Jameel tries to see the aspects of modernity in Arabic Literature through a study of Al Sarab(Mirage), an Arabic novel by Egyptian Nobel Laureate Nuguib Mahfouz. Ms. Naval analyzed a novel named I Am Alive by the Arabic writer Layla Baalbaki. It talks about Arabic renaissance, the characters and the plot is modern. Hatim explores the issue of a Palestinian through the novel of Men in the Sun by Ghassan Kanafani.
Anne Stopova writes on the Russian novel The Master of Margarita by Mikkail Bulgakov. Anne sees the aspects of Russian renaissance through this novel. Das Perfume, a protagonist, himself has been the subject of irony. There is magic realism, a celebration of fragmentation. Paradigm change in the idea of the knowledge hence features of post modernism.
In a nutshell, the Graduate Students Symposium on “Novel: Modern & Postmodern” was a success where students come up with fascinating ideas. Prof. Tutun Mukherjee advised the graduate students to modify their papers accordingly so that she can try to bring it out as proceedings of this event.
Report by Swetha and Aritraa