Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My New Critical Book is released....

Nation with Discriminations: Literary Voices from the Subalterns
ISBN 978-81-921254-5-9
 Worldwide Circulation through Authorspress Global Network. The book is also available online on flipkart, infibeam, alibris,  amazon, snapdeal,  ebay, Southasiabooks and so on
First Published in 2013 by GNOSIS, New Delhi-110  016
Exploitation and subordination are innate human tendencies. From times immemorial, there has been hegemony of power, culture and gender in the universe. Discriminatory treatment of a vast global population has been justified on the basis of caste and colour. In most parts of Asia and Africa, this is the root for discrimination. According to UNICEF and Human Rights Watch, caste discrimination affects an estimated 250 million people worldwide. Discrimination is the detrimental treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors toward groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. They have been treated just like third-grade citizens. This bias and discriminatory treatments towards Marginal and subaltern groups affect growth of individuals, society and Nation as well.
The term ‘subaltern’ is used in postcolonial theory. Some thinkers use it in a general sense, to refer to marginalized groups and the lower classes, a person rendered without agency by his or her social status. Others, such as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak use it in a more specific sense. She argues that:
“….subaltern is not just a classy word for oppressed, for Other, for somebody who's not getting a piece of the pie....In postcolonial terms, everything that has limited or no access to the cultural imperialism is subaltern- a space of difference. Now who would say that's just the oppressed? The working class is oppressed. It's not subaltern....Many people want to claim subalternity. They are the least interesting and the most dangerous. I mean, just by being a discriminated-against minority on the university campus, they don't need the word 'subaltern'...They should see what the mechanics of the discrimination are. They're within the hegemonic discourse wanting a piece of the pie and not being allowed, so let them speak, use the hegemonic discourse. They should not call themselves subaltern” (Spivak.1994).
Dalit Literature, Subaltern Literature or Marginal Literature are complex and controversial terms to explain. But commonly it may be called as ‘Literature of Oppressed’ as it is a literature of pain, suffering, agony and protest.  It has emerged as a thought provoking, ever widening branch of literature in recent days. It deals with the oppression, suffering, psychological turmoil, ambers to overcome the indignities, shed off the backwardness, encompassing the world canvass comprising of the human values of love, aspirations, fulfillment of human needs and appeal to be treated as human being.
The words dalit, subaltern and marginal though complex and different terms refer commonly to the people who are oppressed and discriminated  because of their caste, creed, culture, race, colour, gender or religion. So the literature dealing with such oppressed people should not be categorized as literature produced by those who belong to such category. It is not ‘castiest’ literature but human literature. It can be produced by anyone who believes in human values and dignities. This ‘Literature of Oppressed’ reflected the striving of such people to gain their self-respect, dignity as a human being. Even today in the 21st century they encounter the twin tragedy of social exclusion and violence. Even the most educated emit the venom of untouchability and treat them in a prejudiced way.
The question of subalterns made a host of literary scholars restless and compelled them to ponder over this. Many writers and scholars postulated their views in their own retrospective and tried to unearth the latent concept. This anthology Nation with Discrimination: Literary Voices from the Subalterns echoes this world ridden hegemony through the diverse intellectual and analytical studies of literature across the nation at the hands of multifaceted voices from the various colleges and universities.

The volume is an endeavour to bring before its readers the vast area that Dalit, Subaltern and Marginal Literature has traveled in its journey since beginning. The contributors seriously contemplated on the problems of the outcaste, downtrodden, enslaved and untouchables and urged to make them suitable equivalent with others so that they can join in mainstream of the socio-economic, cultural, modern and civilized society. The shackles of the social evils even in 21st century have not been broken. On paper we can remove untouchablity but the centuries old disgust is still practiced in the society. In order to remove all these shackles, the present intellectual and analytical studies of this literature across the nation at the hands of various colleges and universities scholars will surely help.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Book...

The present Anthology contains thirty critical papers and one interview dealing with the poems of Toru Dutt, Sarojini Naidu, Nissim Ezekiel, Kamala Das, A.K.Ramanujan, K.N.Daruwala, R.Parthasarthy , Jayant Mahapatra, Chitra Divakaruni, Sanjukta Dasgupta, Mamta Kalia, Eunice de Souza, Agha Shahid Ali,  D.C. Chambial, Syed Ameeruddin, Rajbanshi, lmtiaz Dharker, Dr. A.P. J Abdul Kalam and Dr. A. Padmanaban, Chitra Banerjee   Divakaruni, Shiv K. Kumar, Vikram Seth   and a few others, names both familiar and unfamiliar, writings both explored and unexplored, and in all fairness these papers reflect the perceptions, preferences, prejudices and evaluations of the respective scholars. A proper reading of these critical presentations makes this amply clear that the topics are quite diverse and comprehensive and the manner in which they have been considered brings out the authors’ point of view with dexterity and conviction. It is indeed highly pertinent to discuss contemporary Indo-English Poetry in terms of Ethics and Identity, for this kind of approach does bring out new areas of thought and exploration.
The problem of ‘identity’ in relation to the Indian writing in English has been debated upon for quite a long time now, and yet all this debate leaves something palpably wanting, for the concept of identity takes us straightway to our understanding of Indian Sensibility and of Indianness in Indo-English literature. It is true that this problem springs basically from the use of the so-called ‘alien’ language that is English, in Indian Literature. However, the matter is not as simple as it looks. We may dismiss the flippant charge that English is an ‘alien’ language by stating with due firmness that the erstwhile Colonial or Imperial language is by now one of the accepted Indian languages. Nevertheless, we have to probe deeper and discover the implications of Indian sensibility or Indianness as it finds expression in Indian writing in English. ‘identity’ ‘sensibility’ and ‘Indianness’ are very subtle ,elusive and comprehensive terms,   for they partake not merely of the vehicle of expression  but also of Ethnicity and community, culture, religion, philosophy, history , sociology and anthropology. It is in the light of these vast- ranging disciplines that we may at best try to understand and explain the connotative value of these terms, concepts or ideas. Along with the Indian identity and ethos reflected in Indo-English poetry,  few scholars responded to theme of identity crisis, alienation, rootlessness, existential longing of poets and so on. Such papers are also considered in present anthology.
The term ‘ethics’, as we find it in the title of the book, does have its own significance and meaningfulness. A casual or perfunctory approach to the problem of ethics would not serve our purpose. In a changed and changing world and society, ethics, like tradition, can never remain a static proposition, and naturally so it has to undergo suitable modifications or transformations from time to time. Once again, at this point we come to a continuum of historicity with alterations. What was ethical earlier is not so in the contemporary times and likewise what was unethical in the past has come to acquire new dimensions and perspectives. In the present age of globalization which may be defined also as a living manifestation of East-West encounter, ethical values and standards cannot and should not remain fixed. In the world of literature, whether in Indian writing in English or in regional literatures, these problems are bound to have their necessary impact on the literary creation of our authors, be they poets, novelists, playwrights, or the tellers of short stories. Contemporary Indo-English poetry, luckily enough, is a living and vibrant phenomenon, and an equally living and dynamic assessment of this particular kind of literary creation has been tried to be made in the papers collected, with due and prolonged consideration, in the present anthology.
Present book covers several writers and involves several minds. It is our firm and ardent belief that the readers of this book will enjoy and benefit from these essays, and the book itself will prove to be a substantial contribution to the study of contemporary Indian Poetry in English.