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No Indian name in global literary critics list: Ganesh Devy

Ganesh Devy

Compared to an enormous amount of literature being produced, published and studied in the country, there is a no Indian critic being taught in various global schools of languages, says Ganesh Devy

Ganesh DevyNew Delhi: Compared to an enormous amount of literature being produced, published and studied in the country, there is a no Indian critic being taught in various global schools of languages, according to renowned scholar and linguist Ganesh Devy.

“India has the highest number of post-metric universities. It is the only country that has dedicated a maximum number of educational departments for linguistic studies. We are largest literature producing, publishing and studying country; yet no Indian critic is taught in global schools of languages,” he said.

Devy, said this today at a seminar on “Literary Criticism Today: Texts, Trends and Issues”, organised by Sahitya Kala Academy as part of its annual Festival of Letters.

Devy, who had won recognition in India and abroad for his work towards the preservation of linguistic variety, described literary criticism as a tool.

“It brings in perspective, theoretical apparatus and ways of understanding to the vast complexities of Indian literature,” Devy said.

Noted for bringing out a 50 volume survey of Indian languages recently, the scholar said he was disappointed at the state of Indian literary criticism.

“The state of literary criticism in India is not at par with the world. We need to walk a long distance. The challenge lies in encountering our own realities. There is an urgent need to dig up issues and bring them into the literary discourse,” he said.

Apart from literary criticism, other issues that found resonance at the event included the challenge of Indian literature to acknowledge the varied complexities of class, caste, gender and region.

Presenting a paper titled ‘Locating Global Patriarchy in Local Spaces’ at the seminar, Vellikkeel Raghavan, who teaches Comparative Literature at Central University of Kerala talked about bringing in rape narratives into the mainstream through the medium of theatre.

“I studied three plays that dealt with rape narratives; ‘Into Deep Slumbers’, ‘Demonic Land’ and ‘Shouldn’t Be Talking To Victims Alone’. The idea was to look at the post-rape situations and focus at the narratives by victims themselves.

“Isolated incidents of rape get more media and critical attention, especially when the political or religious other is involved. Nirbhaya, a testimonial play based on the Delhi gang rape by Yael Farber, a South African director-playwright is the latest addition to the dramatic narrative on rape at the international level,” Raghavan added.

Papers on the representation of Muslims in Indian literature and the critical issue of ‘who speaks for whom’ focusing on the subaltern narrative were also presented.

“We need to question our own hierarchical positions before we comment on the merit of critic. There is the absence of the interrogation of the self in the post-colonial literary criticism,” Y S Alone, from School of Arts, Jawaharlal Nehru University, who presented a paper on Dalit literature at the seminar, said.

PTI

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