National Seminar cum Alumni Meet

deadline for submissions: 
October 9, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Dept of English, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India
contact email: 




Department of English


National Seminar on “English Studies in India: Changes and Challenges”


Alumni Meet Celebrating 100 years of the Department of English

17-18 November 2016



Maya Shanker Pandey

Professor and Head

Department of English

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221005


Established in 1916, Banaras Hindu University is one of the leading universities in the world and the largest residential university in Asia. The illustrious founder of this university, Bharat Ratna Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviyaji had firm belief in the holistic model of education and that vision made the University a unique “capital of knowledge” where the East meets the West. The Department of English is a true embodiment of this vision. The Department has grown rapidly since its inception in 1916 and has played a major role in the intellectual life of the country by promoting debates in literature, culture and arts.

This year, Banaras Hindu University completes hundred years of its existence, and so does the Department of English, which was established in the same year. To celebrate the centenary of the Department of English, a National Seminar on “English Studies in India: Changes and Challenges” and an Alumni Meet have been planned on 17-18 November, 2016. The event is planned as the culmination of this remarkable journey, and will bring together academics and its alumni – honours graduates, postgraduates and doctorates in English, as well as teachers, past and present.


National Seminar on “English Studies in India: Changes and Challenges”


English Studies in India was institutionalised by the English in the 19th century to strengthen their cultural hegemony, with a mission of educating and civilizing colonial subjects in the literature and thought of England. The ostensible motive behind this cultural transformation was administrative control with less resistance. The institutionalisation of English in India was used by the British to exercise colonial power and to produce Indians who were English in tastes, opinions, morals, and intellect. Postcolonial theoreticians like Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Philip G. Altbach, Gauri Vishwanathan and others have challenged the structures of cultural domination inherent in the language of educational discourse.

Over the period, we have adopted English as a legitimate language that expresses relevant and significant voices of the people across India that was not possible without what we refer to as the ‘foreign tongue’. We have also accepted English language as a form of literary expression in India. The fact, however, remains that colonial cultural influence operating through language could bring in its fold a tiny minority of socio-political elite and middle-class of the urban colonial administrative stronghold. It met with resistance from a sense of dignity and freedom expressed in vernacular languages. If the initial effort of appropriation legitimised itself in the name of writing/fighting back and paying back in the same coin, the postcolonial scenario made it synonymous with progress and development in an inescapable condition.

This seminar proposes to debate the issue of two centuries of the presence of English in India. It also seeks to answer the questions: How do we conceptualise its presence as the language of colonial domination and at the same time language of anti-colonial resistance? What is its effect on the native mind in its adaptations, since Indians themselves decided to retain English as a link language? What is the place and future of English Studies as a discipline? A comparative reach of English vis-à-vis the vernacular languages in terms of day to day communication, general readership and literary expressions speaks volumes for the cultural warfare waged by the neo-colonial progressive forces to cast the world in its own image.

The sub-themes of the seminar are as follows:

Colonialism, Neo-colonialism and English Studies

Translation and English Education

Regional Literature, Folk/Oral Traditions and Popular Culture

Norm(s), Knowledge and Disciplines

Ideology, Language and the Classroom

Mother tongue-Other tongue Debate


Proposals/abstracts (250-300words) are invited from teachers, independent scholars and research students on the topics mentioned above as well as on other issues pertinent to the topic under discussion, and should be mailed to the Convener at on or before 10 October 2016. Acceptance will be conveyed by 15 October 2016. Participation in the seminar is open to all.


Alumni Meet Commemorating 100 years of the Department of English


100 years is a long time in the history of an institution. It is a time for contemplation on diverse issues relating to the Department as well as the discipline. The Alumni Meet is envisaged as a celebration of the distinguished past that will go hand in hand with deliberations on new courses of action to meet the changing realities of the coming age. It is planned with the following aims:  

  • To establish a continuity between the alumni, past and present
  • To develop a corpus of funds that would facilitate various developmental activities in the Department
  • To facilitate expectations of intent/commitment from the alumni in terms of campus placements
  • To work out modalities for an Alumni Association that will help us to follow up on all these activities

Besides the formal academic component, the meet will be structured around interactive sessions in which there will be discussions on the ways in which we can carry forward the legacy of the Department. Cultural programmes will be presented by the current batch of students. We also plan to organise poetry recitation sessions, mono/group acting presentations, sharing memories/anecdotes onstage, and group walks to various landmarks within and outside the campus around which the memories of our student days are clustered.

We propose to compile a commemorative volume which will include write-ups about the Department, photographs of teachers, class/group photographs, reminiscences, profiles of/interviews with distinguished alumni, and relevant information about the history/activities of the department.

The meet is important in many ways. While on the one hand it is an opportunity for all of us who have been associated with the Department to give back, in various ways, to our alma mater; it is also an opportunity for re establishing bonds, rejuvenating friendships and an occasion to let the nostalgia and dreams of our student days take us back to those memorable days which we spent here.



The seminar and alumni meet will begin with the inaugural at 10 am on 17th November and conclude with the post-lunch valedictory session on 18th November. Participants are advised to make arrangements for their stay accordingly. Details of hotels and guest houses will be made available if needed.



November is pleasant in Varanasi. Daytime temperature ranges between 28˚C -32˚C and the temperature at night ranges between 13˚C-19˚C. Light woolen clothes are recommended.  



The University is well-connected by both air and rail. It is around 30 kms from the airport, 7 kms from Varanasi Junction and 20 kms from Mughal Sarai Junction. Pre-paid taxis/auto rickshaws/cabs are available at all these locations.



The registration fee for the Seminar and Alumni Meet is as follows:

International delegates                                    : USD 100

National Delegates                                          : Rs. 1200

Research Students                                          : Rs. 1000

Participants for the Alumni Meet only           : Rs. 1200

Registration will cover the event kit, lunch and tea on both the days. 

You are not required to register separately if you are attending both the events.

The registration fee should be sent via online transfer/NEFT/cash deposit only to ENGLISH STUDIES SEMINAR (a/c no. 36054730244), SBI BHU Branch (IFSC code: SBIN0000211)

Last date for registration: 10 November 2016

Please use the registration format given below:

Registration for Seminar/Alumni Meet/Both (please specify)


Address for Correspondence:

Institutional Affiliation:

Title of paper (if registering for the seminar):

UG/PG Batch / Year of award of PhD (if registering for Alumni Meet):

Payment Details

Amount (USD/INR):

Mode of Transfer:

Bank details:

Transaction ID and Date of transfer:

(Receipt of transaction to be attached)

Accompanying person/s if any:

(Accompanying persons/guests of delegates should register separately)




The following teachers may be contacted for further queries, if any:

Prof. K. M. Pandey      : +91-9450871426

Prof. Anita Singh        :+91-9451722121

Dr. B. Mahanta          : +91-9450235443

Dr. Arti Nirmal           : +91-9452195525

Dr. Rahul Chaturvedi    : +91-9919020500


We look forward to welcoming you all here!