Community Metaphors in india
Community Metaphors in India
The book Community Metaphors in India will be an attempt to read and understand the ways in which literary narratives represent the issues and concerns surrounding the lives of different communities in India. Indian literature in English, as well as regional literature in translation has represented the problems and challenges faced by the different communities of people living in different parts of the country in various genres of literature. There is much that needs to be narrated and articulated about the emerging nationality(s) in India and this can be best done when one reads the communities and their respective narratives. For example, the narratives offered by the oral literature of various communities which are unique in their own ways; the narratives of gender as they now try to negotiate the restrictive norms of performance; narratives of caste as the most visible forms of practising social hierarchy in urbanised India and many more can help one explore the history, tradition and culture of different communities in India and look into their identity question(s) from diverse perspectives. Studies conducted during the last decade reveal the new tendencies of defining community identities, which attempt to claim a distinctive space in pluralistic India and at most times are found challenging the old order of a complacent democratic national identity. Many indigenous communities are losing their abodes, facing displacement due to industrialisation, negotiating with natural disasters to save their lives and surviving under fear of violence; many individuals belonging to particular communities are still struggling to find a way for earning despite the Constitution guaranteeing them certain rights. Such challenges faced by the communities or individuals belonging to a certain community call for an immediate attention. The delusion of development in the name of an imaginary nation carries with it the angst of the millions whose suppressed voices directly endanger the future that they are forced to see and work for. This book would analyse the ways in which the project of nation building has left behind the agonising stories of the several communities and have ignored the myriad issues and concerns which affect their daily lives. Literature, as a part of humanities has the potential to allow one read and understand the ways in which possibilities of inclusion can be configured to address the identity questions of the communities. This book would try to explore the ways in which literature in India has depicted the challenges and issues faced by different communities in the available literary genres of poetry, short stories, novels, plays/drama, biographies, autobiographies, articles, and essays, oral literature and other relevant narratives or presentations as may be found relevant to the theme of the book.
Representation of a particular religious, gender, caste or ethnic community in literature always situates the community within a certain power relation of the represented and the representative. On the one hand, the narrative depictions portray the dark and grim realities of the lives of the people but on the other, they are mere objects of representation and hence, cannot escape the gaze of objectification. The latter kind of literary projections become a way of misrepresentation, which often end up in stereotyping the individuals as belonging to a particular community and hence, escape the required attention in the Indian polity. Stereotypical representations shut out all possibilities of looking at the innumerable problems that the different communities face in different parts of the country and negate their presences in the social and political spaces of a democracy. Literary narratives offer a wide scope to read, understand and reflect on the myriad issues and concerns that threaten their lives by making them vulnerable to exploitation. Literary depictions can be possible ways of engaging with the identity question of the communities which are now making conscious efforts to articulate their identity(s) and claim the space which was forever theirs.
This book would try to engage itself with the identity question of the myriad communities based on religion, caste, class and gender in India and attempt to offer a dialogue to the idea of a democracy and nationality at large. However, in doing so, the book would consciously examine and analyse if literary representations of the self/other widen the distance between the centre and the margin. Assertion of one’s identity is not only a claim for a political space but is also an expression of the trauma of victimisation under oppressive systems that legitimise social evils like murder, abuse, rape and ethnic conflict.
This volume would invite research articles based on the reading and analyses of literature and visual art forms which depict the contemporary issues and concerns affecting the lives of individuals who are born in certain communities, or who want to become a part of certain community in India. Such issues and concerns, as represented in literature and art may range from social exclusion, industrialisation and displacement, migration and livelihood, fight for political sovereignty, depletion of natural resources and their impact on the indigenous people, ethnic violence, armed conflict and abuse of women and children, representation of the self in the media and any other relevant concern that may be found depicted in narratives of literature and which is within the limitations of the proposed book.
Themes and sub-themes:
- Questions of representation in Indian English literature and regional literature in translation
- Climate refugees, depletion of natural resources and its impact on the indigenous people
- Impact of armed conflict on the lives of the communities of people inhabiting the insurgent areas
- Tradition, culture and community(s) formation
- Contestations of power structure by women and children
- Oral narratives and community identity(s)
- Digital archiving of community narratives
- Community narratives and the media
- Gender narratives and their expression in literature
- Religious and ethnic representations in literature
Any other relevant theme that may be found suitable for the edited volume is welcomed.
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- Abstract submission: September 10, 2022
- Full paper submission: November 20, 2022
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