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Submission Guidelines postScriptum: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Literary Studies ISSN: 2456-7507 is a bi-annual journal, published in the months of January …

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Publisher: Dr Sushanta Bhattacharyya, Associate Professor & Head of the Department of Political Science, Sarat Centenary College <https://sccollegednk.ac.in>, Dhaniakhali, Sub-Division: …

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Volume I Number i & ii (January & July 2016) Volume II Number i & ii (January & July 2017) …

Current Issue (July 2018)

Volume III Number ii

 

The Overpopulation Apocalypse and Anthropocentric Bioterrorism in Dan Brown’s Inferno

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Samrat Laskar <samlas0@gmail.com>, Government General Degree College at Kaliganj, Nadia

Abstract

In this age of Anthropocene, overpopulation has long been identified as one of the major source of environmental problems. In spite of some necessary measures taken both nationally and globally, it still continues to threaten the environmental equilibrium of the world. Overpopulation not only offers serious challenge to the existence of non-humans and natural world, it also threatens the existence of humans to such an extent that apocalypse motif has often been invoked to discuss this emergent crisis. This issue has been taken up in Dan Brown’s ecothriller Inferno (2013). In this thriller, through the character of Bertrand Zobrist, a fanatic scientific genius, Brown anticipates a not-so-distant future when the world will collapse due to overpopulation. Zobrist, a transhumanist, releases a preventive vector virus which would enforce random sterility on one-third of the world population. The paper probes into the reason behind Zobrist’s bioterrorism and the ethicality, or the lack of it, entailed in his entire approach. It also shows that unlike the advocates of Deep Ecology, Zobrist’s concern is ultimately anthropocentric as he cannot think beyond human concern while engaging in the act of bioterrorism.

Keywords anthropocene, apocalypse, overpopulation, bioterrorism, anthropocentrism

 

 

A Study of the Pictorial Nama Traditions in the Medieval Period with Special Reference to the Hamza Nāma: From Orality to Audio-Visuality through Trans-mediality

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Ankita Dutta <ankitadutta.206@gmail.com>, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar

Abstract

This paper is an attempt to look at how the Hamza nāma fits within the model of trans mediality from one literary form to another that is the oral, from oral to the illustrated manuscript version and finally its compilation into the printed form. It will start with an attempt to go through the historical background of the various nāmas present before the Hamza project was commissioned and how the new model of an audio visual medium is coming up through this project. After this it will move on to a detailed discussion of the Hamza nāma itself and finally conclude with the connectivity between orality, painting and writing and how these three different genres fit in and give rise to an entire new form of amalgamated product of audio-visual and textuality.

Keywords Hamza nāma, Trans-mediality, Nāmas, Medieval Period, Orality, Audio-visuality

 

 

The Satirical Caricatures of Gaganendranath Tagore

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Anavisha Banerjee <anavisha.banerjee@gmail.com>, Bharati College, University of Delhi

Abstract

Gaganendranath Tagore is known as the first cartoonist in early twentieth century colonial India. Although his artistic talent ranges from being a landscape artist to a cubist painter, he is best known for his caricatures which were given the status of a work of art rather than be simply seen as illustrations in magazines. The article analyses his satirical sketches from different volumes of his work. The main focus is to look at the satirical representations of middle and upper class Bengali women, bhadramahila and anglicized Bengali men, babus, within the colonial context. The article will trace the growth of Bengal art and subsequently the colonial influence on art. The impact of the British and Oriental exponents become an important ground in exploring the growth of a new style of art. The rise of nationalist sentiment and Swadeshi movement’s role in the revival of the status of Bengal art was an essential feature of the nineteenth and the early twentieth century. The above issues will form an important base is underlining the growth of Gaganendranath’s as an artist and the themes for his caricatures. The use of bilingual titles will become an important aspect in analyzing his liberal mindedness as an artist.

Keywords caricature, satirical, anglicized, bhadramahila, babu, colonial

 

 

A Study of Offside: Clashes between Feminine Desire and Social Imposition

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Debleena Ghosh <debleena05@gmail.com>, Independent Researcher

Abstract

There are some constructed stereotypical notions about the Middle-Eastern countries and it has always been a tendency of the West to project the Middle East in terms of negative archetypes. But each of these Middle Eastern counties has been enriched by their own culture and art. And the cinema of Iran has validated this fact. In the age of Transnational cinema Iranian film has been able to secure a place in the global precincts not only because of the content of the film but also because of the unique cinematography, acting techniques and the acting skills of the actors.  One of the pioneer figures in the realm of Iranian cinema is Jafar Panahi. As a Post-Revolutionary realist filmmaker, Panahi has brought to the fore the images of the Iranian society by using his unique skill of cinematography. Each of his films has a deeper meaning hidden under the veneer of its superficial presentation. And Offside, one of his much acclaimed films, does not fail to bear this characteristic. Under the garb of a comedy, Offside highlights how gender discrimination is still at work in Iran. It is this gender discrimination which leads to the banality of women in watching football sitting in the same stadium with men. The study proposes to explore in detail how Panahi has used his artwork as a tool to raise questions against the prejudiced norms that separate women from men.

Keywords Offside, Jafar Panahi, marginalization, imposition, resistance

 

 

Representational Politics in Bollywood Sports Movies of the 21st Century: Empowering Women through Counter Cinema

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Antara Mukherjee <antaramukherje@gmail.com>, Government Girls’ General Degree College, Kolkata

Abstract

In its bid to map out the portrayal of women in sports films in mainstream Bollywood, the paper would initially highlight the shifting paradigm of Hindi Film Industry post-liberalisation. As a by-product of this, one could also discern a marked change in the representation of women characters on screen. The paper wishes to concentrate on such representations in 21st century sports movies. In movies where the crux of the narrative rests on either a sport or a sporting event, as in Lagaan, Stumped, Jannat, Kai Po Che, Patiala House, M.S. Dhoni etc, women characters, even at the turn of the century, are ideologically constructed through dominant male gaze. Rather than independent individuals, they become mere signs that can be analysed as structure, code and convention. The paper would proceed next to take into account two movies centring around women athletes – Chak de India and Dangal – to puncture the pompous assertion of women power as depicted in them. The situation worsens here, for the female subjects are made to bear the burden of a male lack in order to provide the male subjects with the illusion of wholeness and unity. More than the feelings of women athletes, the directors tell stories of injured male egos which need to be nourished by feminine care and sacrifice. In this sense, they bask in the reflected glories of their male partners. Thus these representations are extremely gendered with little scope for women empowerment. The scenario, however, is not completely bleak, for there are male filmmakers interested to walk a divergent way, to tell their stories from the perspectives of women athletes. The paper would conclude with two such counter-cinemas – Dil Bole Hadippa and Mary Kom – that challenge the workings of power relations operative in other sports movies in Bollywood and give attention to feminist issues and views. The road, at times, is bumpy, for Dil Bole Hadippa didn’t do brisk business; yet box-office success of Mary Kom and Priyanka Chopa wining National Award for the film point to the capacities of women athletes in Bollywood movies to look ahead of male strategies of subjugations and curve out a niche for themselves on individual merits.

Keywords Laura Mulvey, Kaja Silverman, Bollywood sports movies, post liberal, masquerade, counter cinema

 

 

Bharat Nirman and the Aestheticization of Politics

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Harshit Nigam <hnigam256@gmail.com>, Independent Researcher

Abstract

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), popularly addressed as Mahatma strove hard to blur out the dialectics of the ‘personal’ (private) and the ‘political’ (public). Tridip Suhrud in Rediscovering Gandhi has argued that a divide between the ‘political’ and the ‘spiritual’ has been the hallmark of the entire academic scrutiny on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. However, the ‘personal’ and the ‘political’ nuances of Gandhi have not been acknowledged within the Bombay Filmdom until the late 1990s. Gandhi was accorded a saintly status after independence and it became a formidable task to animate him on to the celluloid screen. Contrary to this, there has been an instantaneous enticement towards Gandhi in the ‘multiplex era’ which simultaneously coincides with the leadership of United Progressive Alliance and its endorsement of ‘Bharat-Nirman’ agenda. This paper will attempt to examine the ideologies behind the recent hype on Gandhi both as a ‘subject’ and ‘pedagogue’ in Bombay Cinema, and the possible nexus between mainstream politics and the cinematic imagination. More specifically, by carrying out a socio-political study of a set of select films, this paper would assert that an attempt has been made through the celluloid to aestheticize Gandhi which not only obliterate the ground realities of the Indian socio-democratic structure, rather more significantly do a disservice to Gandhi himself who was in favor of maintaining a ‘dialogical’ attitude towards the ‘self’ as well as with the ‘others’.

Keywords UPA, nation-building, democracy, multiplexes, dialogic

 

 

A ‘Space’ of One’s Own: Exploring the Language of Resistance in Select Poems of Meena Kandasamy

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Suranjana Bhadra <bhamun@gmail.com>, MUC Women’s College, Burdwan

Abstract

Contemporary women poets in India have re-radicalized the commonplace poetical conventions in order to subvert prevalent power structures. The self-representation of the cultural ‘other’ in poetry dissolves the feeling of being an ‘outsider’ as they venture to move beyond boundaries, beyond fixities. The process of creating a potent voice translates the ‘contact zone’ into the production of meaning. The two places, the ‘I’ and the ‘You’ get mobilized in the passage through a ‘Third Space’, a fusion of the horizons through self-representation. This dynamic outcome of the ‘war of position’ in the fluid, ambiguous and indeterminate spaces makes the structure of meanings polysemic.

With the attempt to create a space of one’s own Meena Kandasamy threatens the conspiracy of subjugation and silence by speaking with her body and recreating her own myths.  Her works exemplify the resistance to the regimes of the normal that makes them ‘queer’. This paper explores the revolutionary language of poetry of the women poets that breaks out of a hetero normative matrix. Kandasamy asserts that “This tongue allows me to resist, rape, to rescue my dreams”. Such an assertion from the ‘angry young woman’ not only suggest the barren, painful lives of women, but also reveal the combined violence of colloquial, slang and mutilated words to shock the readers. The militant language signifies the feminine body, the exuberance and genuine emotions, free from all artificial restraints.

Keywords space, distruptive, body, language, poetic

 

 

Reading Literary Justice through Intertextuality in Ismat Chughtai’s Lihaf Trial

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Piya Srinivasan <piyasrinivasan@gmail.com>, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship of law and literature through an intertextual reading of Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai’s biographical essay Un Byaahtaonke naam (In the Name of Those Brides). The essay is based on the obscenity trial for her short story Lihaf, where she was tried alongside fellow writer Saadat Hasan Manto for his story Bu. The trial branded her as a writer of obscenity in literary memory. The author in this paper explores how law becomes a tool of oppression through a feminist reading of women’s experiences that resists their violent interpellation by law as insubordinate subjects. The essay presents an ethnographic account of her experience of law’s violence by mapping the feminine self in court and turning an irreverent gaze on law through literature’s meaning-making practices. Using three texts, the paper traces how Chughtai problematizes the gendered parameters of obscenity within literature and creates a dialogical universe in her writing that challenges the monological consciousness of Manto’s Bu. In tracing this journey of feminist subjectivity, the paper argues that Chughtai makes an internal critique of not just law but also of her friend Manto. Using these instances, the paper demonstrates how the essay produces new textualities that supersedes law’s regulatory nature and becomes a way of reading its limits, presenting a commentary on censorship itself. The paper argues that her critical reflexivity provides insights into law’s exclusions and maps an intellectual space in which to challenge its phallocentric vision. The essay becomes the blueprint for a feminist vision of literary justice, illuminating literary truths that fill what law does not accommodate.

 

Keywords Urdu writers, Ismat Chughtai, literary trials, law, censorship, intertextuality, literary justice, gender

 

 

Arun Kolatkar’s Jejuri: A Conflict between Myth and Reality, Faith and Scepticism

DOI

Amar Dutta <amardutta34@gmail.com>, Sarat Centenary College, Dhaniakhali

Abstract

Myth and mythical association with different gods and goddesses play a significant role in Indian English literature. Arun Kolatkar’s Jejuri is a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize winning collection of poems about a pilgrim place of the same name in Maharashtra and mythical stories associated with the local god Khandoba. Kolatkar tries to exploit the age old theme of a religious pilgrimage through his poetic persona, Monahar, who is a modern urban sceptic. To him Jejuri does not appear to be a spiritual place or a sacred place of worshipping God. Rather it is a barren, desolated and ruined place. This paper aims to analyze the conflict between the mythical association of the place and the god Khandoba and the socio-cultural and economic reality of the place; between the blind faith of the local people and the pilgrims who visit there and the sceptic attitude of an urban tourist with an objective eye and rational mind.

Keywords pilgrimage, faith, scepticism, myth, conflict

 

 

Mapping the Urban Space: Representation of Mumbai in Dattani’s The Big Fat City

DOI

Sreeja Konar <mallicksreeja@gmail.com>, The University of Burdwan

Abstract

Sahitya Akademi award winning only Indian English dramatist Mahesh Dattani’s latest drama The Big Fat City (2014) is considered to be the first black comedy in Indian theatre as in this text the dramatist has sarcastically portrayed the stylized lives of the city dwellers and their involvement in socialization. Thus the textual fabric of The Big Fat City captures the ever-moving ever-whirling spirit of Mumbai, the city of action where life never stops. People who come into this city with aspirations and who go back from here with shattered longings all want not only to have a big bite of it but also to connect with its ‘nerves’. The ‘big fat city’ is not void or lifeless but the gap of reciprocity renders it with barrenness. Taking cue from social critics I, in this article, am going to depict how Mumbai is presented in three dimensions – a mirror, a mirage and a magnet which reflects the people’s lives, eludes the dreams of its people and attracts people respectively. Thus the city becomes a character and influences the lives of its inhabitants incessantly.

Keywords Dattani, Mumbai, city, urban

 

 

Examining the Politics of Female Identity and Ethnicity in Ngugi Wa Thiong’O

DOI

Paulomi Sharma <sharmapaulomi@yahoo.com>, Jadavpur University

Abstract

The primary purpose of this paper is to attempt an ethno-gendered study of women as portrayed in two neo-colonial novels of Ngugi wa ThiongÓ. Both Petals of Blood (1977) and Devil on the Cross (1980) are socially located in post-independent Kenya; a society grappling with problems of its new-found freedom such as consumerism, and the conflicts of oppositional binaries like indigeneity vs. modernity. Caught in the maelstrom of such a mechanically male-oriented structure is the African woman who strives to carve a niche for herself in an urbanized society, while being entangled in the perpetual dilemma of retaining her past heritage. Ngugi has always been vocal about natives losing their self-esteem as a result of Western conditioning. And here he envisions a nation which shall strive to reconstruct itself by juxtaposing the fragments of its ancestral glory instead of replacing the norms of imperialism with that of hegemonic neo-colonialism. Adding a feminist dimension to this nationalist discourse, by foregrounding two women in central roles, further problematizes the newly liberated nation’s endeavour to hold on to its indigenous roots and still coping with the drawbacks of cosmopolitanism devouring its unique ethnicity.

The paper will be developed with Third-world and postcolonial feminist approaches, triggered by the aim to examine how does the neo-colonial woman assert her individual agency in a world where the perpetrators are her own black native companions and not the white colonial masters anymore.

Keywords African women, identity, ethnicity, feminist agency, woman question

 

 

Re-negotiating the Western: A Study of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian

DOI

Rohan Hassan <rohanhassan@gmail.com>, Aliah University, Kolkata

Abstract

A curiously distinctive American product, Western is a genre of fiction which has enjoyed considerable popularity in and outside its birth place. Often considered as a prime example of popular culture, the Western nevertheless has withstood the test of time and continues to capture the imagination of both creative artists as well as the readers. The Western characters and tropes are instantly recognizable often owing to their steadfast loyalty to their generic preoccupations. Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian with its specific geographical setting, its historical time frame and its direct allusion to some culture specific myths of the frontier, naturally demands its own rank amidst the canon of the Western. A truly consummate artist as McCarthy, however, does not just stop at simply subscribing to the essential tropes of the Western while writing his novel. What he does instead is alongside evoking the recognizable patterns of the Western, he provides a covert critique or rigorous revision of them which in turn provides his readers with a much more complex albeit rewardingly insightful reading experience. This paper provides a brief anatomy of the basic narrative structures of a Western novel and tries to analyze how McCarthy in Blood Meridian attempts to re-negotiate with them.

Keywords Western, frontier, violence, Manifest Destiny, history

 

 

Ecocritical Perspectives in Select Novels of Toni Morrison

DOI

Maniklal Bhanja <maniklal.bhanja@gmail.com>, Tezpur College, Assam

Stella Thomas <stellakuderikal@gmail.com>, Don Bosco College, Manipur

Abstract

An Ecocritical approach demands not just a scientific envisioning of the environment but also a Psychological, Sociological, Religious and Historical analysis of nature and its manifestations in the work at hand. Morrison weaves all of these strands together to produce a narrative history of African Americans a history largely ignored by white society. For Morrison nature is extricating link with religion. All of her writings show the connection between the Biblical Garden of Eden, plagues and natural Catastrophe. The relationship between nature and religion in the novels will help to illuminate her proposals for societal healing from historical wounds. In her first novel The Bluest Eye the connection between nature and racial hatred can be seen very clearly. The Novel Sula is shown the women are nurturing, creative, and destructive powers, powers that at times reach almost godlike proportion. Morrison shows that the combination of mother and God leads to disaster, ‘Mother’ being a feminine force that traditionally represents creation birthing and nurturing, while ‘God’ embodies the masculine acts of violence and destruction.The words of Lao Tzu is apt here, ‘We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable’. African Americans continue to demonstrate Africa’s enduring power, its flexibility and vitality. Toni Morrison’s novel gives the readers great potential for healing and growth. Teachers serve a vital role in teaching students how to be the participatory readers necessary for Morrison’s novels. When they do participate actively, students discover that Morrison’s novels are healing texts-for black students who experience noble representation and for white students who are provided the opportunity to expand their understanding. In Sula, Morrison subdues the hostile environments destructive potential by giving her protagonist the power to leave it. In her novels, the values of a unity are the measuring stick for an Individual’s behaviour. Morrison’s corpus of work presents African Spirituality with its accompanying ideas of duties, emphasis on nature, representation of ancestor communication, and the importance of unity responsibility –core elements of spirituality and the backbone of African culture. Africans derived the idea of the natural world as a primary dwelling for the divine. Under the canopy of the natural world, one has access to God and to the source of one’s ancient properties. Morrison’s ecocritical work demonstrates her belief in the interconnectedness of nature, religion and African American identity. Without such an understanding, her works seem to tell a disjointed story of disappointment and destruction; and when we read ecocritically, it offers hope for creating a better future.

 

Keywords spirituality, interconnectedness, canopy, scientific, environment

 

 

Reconstruction of a Nation: British Attempts at Cross-Cutting Researches in Colonial India

DOI

Soumya Goswamy <nupurgoswamy@gmail.com>, Chandernagore College

Abstract

The interdisciplinary approaches to scholarly writings have become quite common today in any discipline. However, visualization of the components not as independent areas of knowledge but as parts of a unified whole are essential while doing this. All these concerns though extremely important, may become irrelevant in comparison to a much bigger and broader consideration that underlies all scholarly endeavours. It is the question of the intention and purpose behind any research activity. Why is a project undertaken and who are the stakeholders in it? In order to find an answer we need look into the circumstances and contexts that contribute to such understandings and also make use of hindsight for tracing and evaluating such development. This paper proposes to use this advantage of hindsight to visit and understand how this very notion of progress was being perceived by the British in India and what efforts were being taken to comprehend the alien native society through their attempts at writing the history of the conquered land.

Keywords history, reconstruction, colonialism, imperialism, society, culture, civilisation

 

 

A Discourse on Nāṭya (Indian Drama): Origin, Development and Technicalities

DOI

Gargi Bhattacharya <visva2003@gmail.com>, Visva-Bharati

Abstract

ya’ has achieved the prestigious rank of Veda in Indian civilization. The term ‘ya’ in Indian tradition signifies the mimic representation of particular characters or situations. Origin of this performance-based art can be traced back in the ancient socio-cultural activities. Rituals, festivals, dance etc. are identified as the basic sources of Indian drama that have also helped to evolve it. Different pedagogies regarding the origin and development of Indian drama are discussed in the first part of the paper, while the later part is dedicated to explore the theatrical representation of ancient Indian drama as told in the ancient scriptures like Bharata’s yaśāstra. The technicalities like ‘abhinaya’, dialogue, plot, stage, make-up, properties that are the essential issues to transform any literary texts to theatre are the key focus of this paper. Apart from the entertainment factor, the legacy of Indian ‘ya’ has a unique appeal beyond the limitation of social division and conveys a message of harmony as one of the strongest mediums for mass education.

 

Keywords yaśāstra, nāya, aka, rūpaka, abhinaya

 

Book Review

 

 

Theatre Theory and Performance: A Critical Interrogation

Siddhartha Biswas 

DOI

Review by

Abin Chakraborty <abin_chakraborty@yahoo.co.in>, Chandernagore College

 

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