Translating the Traveled Culture: an Analysis of Tamarind City: Where Modern India Began by Bishwanath Ghosh

Arpana Venu

Department of English, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amrita University, Coimbatore. Email:

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.08

Received September 27, 2017; Revised December 11, 2017; Accepted December 30, 2017; Published February 04, 2018.


Travel writing, often reflects the culture of the traveled land through the cultural lens of the traveler. This article attempts to analyze how cultural translation operates in a travelogue. The analysis is based on Bishwanth Ghosh’s Tamarind City: Where Modern India Began, an account of his experience as an outsider in the city of Madras. One of the primary reasons for selecting this particular text is that not many authors have extensively written about Madras (Chennai), one of the oldest cities of India. The travelogue unlike others that are mostly records of passing travels is different in a way that it documents the transformation of a city on account of the author’s stay there for almost a decade. The well acclaimed travel critic Mary Campell has elaborated on the major concerns of the traveler, while encountering a foreign culture.  . It therefore represents not only the changing times, but also the intra-cultural transformations along with the socio-political and demographic changes, that happened in a city with a long history.

Keywords: Cultural translation, travelogue, Madras city.

Deconstructing Culture/Violence in Distant Star and By Night in Chile

Mandeep Boro

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Ettimadai Email:

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.07

Received September 27, 2017; Revised December 11, 2017; Accepted December 30, 2017; Published February 04, 2018.


In Roberto Bolaño’s Distant Star (1996), Carlos Wieder embarks on a journey to change the landscape of Chilean literature. Yet it is through physical torture, murder, violence and photographic exhibitions of mutilated dead bodies that he seeks to bring in the literary transformation. He is a poet but also a professional serial killer. Funded by dictatorial regime his poetic acts include writing macabre verses with smokes of airplane in the sky. In another novella By Night in Chile (2000) by the same author, intellectuals organize tertulias to discuss philosophy, politics, poetry, art while the military junta torture people in the basement of the same building. Thus, culture and violence overlap in these texts and they lead to the problematic core of our understanding/conceptualization of literary culture as the stories told in these narratives put the literary institutions in crisis mode and blur the line between what is called culture and violence. This paper explores these issues and argues that the Bolañian novels by narrating such stories surpass the limits of the law, transgress, devalue the traditional notion of literature and completely strip it off its aura by enmeshing arts and violence together. They thus deconstruct the popular myths related to literary culture.

Keywords: Roberto Bolaño, literature, culture, violence.

Entwining the Omenala and Samskara: an Indo-Nigerian Ethnographic Study of Buchi Emecheta’s Fiction

A. Karthika Unnithan1 & Harini Jayaraman2

1Research Scholar, Department of English, Amrita School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India. Email:

2Professor, Department of English, Amrita School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.06

Received September 27, 2017; Revised December 11, 2017; Accepted December 30, 2017; Published February 04, 2018.


Omenala is the Igbo word for the traditional religious practices and cultural beliefs of the Igbo people of southern Nigeria whereas Samskara is the Indian word for the cultural and traditional customs of India. The chosen topic for the study is the writings of a Nigerian author, Buchi Emecheta, since her novels reflect her Igbo heritage and represent Nigeria, more specifically Igbo society and who has also lived in her own indigenous culture and in London as well. The task at hand is an attempt at conducting an ethnographic study on the indigenous Igbo culture as seen in a few select novels of the author, simultaneously comparing it with the cultural features of India. The study also attempts to discuss the presence of cross-cultural practices as seen in the contemporary Nigerian society. The scope of study is restricted to only three of her works viz., Joys of Motherhood, Bride Price, and The Slave Girl. The basis of arguments in the study has been taken from Katherine Fishburn’s interactive reading that demands reading across cultures and also reading our own selves. She, in her book Reading Buchi Emecheta: Cross-cultural conversations, mentions that to initiate a cross-cultural conversation with a novel, involves a give-and-take, “where I question it, and it questions me.” (Pref.X). Fishburn further points out that “Though it is possible that we may never fully understand these alien practices, we may learn more of ourselves from our very inability to understand” (xiii). Based on this, a cultural study of Nigeria is taken upon in this paper while looking through the eyes of an Indian reader constantly comparing one with the other.

Keywords:  Cultural-study, ethnographic-reading, Igbos, translation, Nigerian writings, amalgamation.

Revisiting Ethno-nationalism: A Study of Nihal De Silva’s The Road from Elephant Pass

Bibhuti Mary Kachhap1 & Aju Aravind2

1Research Scholar, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (ISM), Dhanbad 826004, Jharkhand, India. Email:

2Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (ISM), Dhanbad 826004, Jharkhand, India. Email:

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.05

Received September 27, 2017; Revised December 11, 2017; Accepted December 30, 2017; Published February 04, 2018.


Sri Lanka in the last decade witnessed a catastrophe of incidents that blurred the lines of nationalism. The two ethnic communities of Sri Lanka the Sinhalese and the Tamils suffered differences that later transformed into a Civil War (1983-2009). The post-independence era brought out ‘nationalism’ within the country but turned ethnic in a short course of time. Therefore the theme of ethno-nationalism is prevalent in Sri Lankan English literature. Literature of the War also produced biased and chaotic pictures of the event. Ethno-nationalism possessed the island and left it bruised and dismantled to which we find evidences in texts. Sri Lanka had not imagined a twenty six year long War therefore its aftermath left the country to figure out the dilemma yet to be produced. This paper will focus on the subject of ethno-nationalism in selected Sri Lankan fictions. Its aim will be to objectify the ethno-nationalist war (Civil War) through the theories of nationalism and ethno-nationalism in the fictions. The term ‘revisiting’ here emphasizes the actions of people who had shown nationalistic fervor during the War and how the author has (re)presented it in fiction. As literature in particular fiction (here) has been gestated and created to enlighten how ethno-nationalism is perceived in Sri Lankan fictions and in particular Nihal De Silva’s novel The Road from Elephant Pass. It highlights the dual aspects of ethnicity through its protagonists who is a Tamil and Sinhalese respectively, their love story which compel them to dissolve the line of animosity.

Keywords: Ethno-nationalism, Tamil, Sinhalese, war and nationalism.

Reconsidering Performativity, Performance and Imagination: A Possibility in Erasing the Difference

Tapaswi H M

Doctoral research scholar, Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities (MCPH), MAHE. ORCID: 0000-0002-6867-6088. Email:

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.04

Received October 30, 2017; Revised January 26, 2018; Accepted January 30, 2018; Published February 04, 2018.


The overarching history of the term ‘performativity’ seems to have undergone variety of meaning starting from linguistic studies to gender. This variation in meaning, however, seems to differentiate the term ‘performativity’ from the other term which has the same root word, i.e. ‘performance’. The association between ‘performativity’ and ‘performance’ doesn’t seem to be studied extensively with reference to theatre. This article tries to examine the possible connection between these two terms and the role of imagination in the process of connecting these two terms. Taking into the account the idea of transformation of actor into a character and the role of imagination this article examines the subtleties of performance and performativity. The article discusses this connection with the help of an example from the mid-sixteenth century.

 Keywords: Performativity, performance, imagination, gender, actor, audience.

Using Untranslatable Dictions as a Literary Device

Rajendran Sankaravelayuthan

Centre for Excellence in Computational Engineering and Networking (CEN), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. Email:

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.03

Received September 27, 2017; Revised December 11, 2017; Accepted December 30, 2017; Published February 04, 2018.


This paper intends to analyse the writings of Indian novelists and find out how they make use of untranslatable dictions as a literacy device.  Indian writers often choose Indian situations or Indian themes while resorting to create a literary piece in English. One can find Indianism in the writings of all the Indian English authors.  We come across many novelist of early period as well as the present period choose a theme familiar to them by place, culture and acquaintance and build their characters and stories so that the stamp of Indianism is imprinted in their writings. While going through the writings of Indian authors, of early period such as R. K. Narayan, Ahmad Ali , Raja Rao and Mulk Raj Anand  and the present day Arundathi Roy, Anita Nair, Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bagat, Sudeep Nagarkar and others, we can observe that they codify English to suit their intention of narrating stories with Indianism. They resort to a unique deviation at all the levels of language structure such as discourse level, syntactic level, lexical level, morphological level and phonological level. Code mixing is the major strategy they adopt. They make use of untranslatable dictions to present before their readers an Indian menu to consume. The outcome of their efforts becomes artificial or artificially code mixed. The language spoken by their characters may not exist in the real world. So they make a distinction between the textual world and real world. The textual world allows the use of artificial English loaded with cultural terms or untranslatable items.

Keywords: Indianism, untranslatability, code mixing, lexical deviation, morphological deviation, syntactic deviation, discourse deviation, phonological deviation, cultural translation

Literature (Now) Contains Graphic Language: Adaptation, Visualization and Transmedia Texts

Pramod K. Nayar

Professor, Department of English, University of Hyderabad, India.

ORCID: 0000-0003-2317-6570. Email:

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.02

Received December 15, 2017; Revised January 26, 2018; Accepted January 30, 2018; Published February 04, 2018.


Literary influence is now visible in the form of a graphic visualization, whether as a graphic novel or, as this essay demonstrates in computer-generated visual data around texts and textual relations. All of these are adaptations of the literary text. I first argue that the ‘graphing’ of the source/original – if we retain old-world categories such as ‘original’ – text into visual language renders literary texts into our most recognizable interface: the screen with its icons. This ‘iconization in graphic adaptation is a mirroring and a ghostification. In the second part of the essay I argue that textual criticism is an instance of adaptation because the critical texts are produced from and about literary texts.  Today, this process utilizes the graphic language and representational modes of the digital medium and is therefore transmedial. Maps of literary influence, built through software, graphic visualizations of literary texts. In the third section, the essay argues that the work of criticism in the digital age gestures at the contexts and processes outside the task and textual frame, and to signs and symbols within it. In transmedia metareferencing is a form of adaptation because it takes material from various media to compose the cultural history of the text in the form of whatever is laid out on the screen. In the final section, the essay proposes a poetics of transmedia adaptation and graphic visualization.

Keywords: Graphic Language, transmedia adaptation, graphic visualization, metareferencing, graphic language.

Editorial: Interrogating Cultural Translation

Hari M G

Assistant Professor, Department of English and Humanities, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, India. Email:

Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.01

‘Cultural translation’, a much debated and contested topic in Postcolonial studies as well as in Translation studies, in a way, is symptomatic of the postmodern problematisation of cultural identities. Translation Studies has reached a critical juncture where the attempt to ‘translate a culture’, invariably, leads to arguments on the appropriation involved in any type of discourse. Rather, when we discuss the accuracy of cultural representation through translation, it becomes an opening to contest the cultural appropriation that has been taken for granted in discourses in general.  Similarly, in postcolonial studies, ‘cultural translation’ has garnered academic attention since the publication of Homi K Bhabha’s essay “How Newness Enters the World: Postmodern space, postcolonial times and the trials of cultural translation” wherein he stresses the ‘translational’ nature of postcolonial discourse and identity construction. Both these perspectives can be placed within a broader postmodern/post structural approach of doubting certainties and being radically open to the ‘other’. In this sense, ‘cultural translation’ is an umbrella term which signifies the ‘in-between’ state of the cultural transactions of our times, across genres and disciplines. The nuanced thought on conceptualising culture is also significant for the fact that it is a counter-narrative to the institutionalised ‘othering’ which has gone to ridiculous levels in this post-truth age of digital media and social networking sites. It is in this context that the international conference on “Interrogating Cultural Translation: Literature and Fine Arts in Translation” organised by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in association with Caesurae Collective, placed ‘cultural translation’ within an interdisciplinary framework and thus, facilitated the discussion of the topic touching upon its varied implications.


  • Number 1 (General Issue & Leonard Cohen & Bob Dylan)
  • Number 2 (Technocracy, War and Walls in Art and Literature)
  • Number 3 (General Issue)
  • Number 4 (General Issue)
  • Number 1 (Interdisciplinary Relationship between Science and Art)
  • Number 2 (Contemporary Poetry in English)
  • Number 3 (Hierarchical Economy)
  • Number 4 (Open Issue)
  • Number 1 (Special Issue on Visual Arts)
  • Number 2 (New Literatures in English)
  • Number 3 (Bicentennial of Mexican Independence)
  • Number 4 (Rabindranath Tagore, 150 Years)

A Review of Literature and World Cinema, edited by Itishri Sarangi

 Hardcover: 134 pages

Publisher: Authorspress; 1st Edition 2017;  Language: English; ISBN- 978-93-5207-447-1; Price: Rs. 600/-

Reviewed by

Dr. Sandip Kumar Mishra Email:

  Volume 9, Number 4, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n4.r03

Anand Neelakanthan, the writer of Bahubaali, released the book Literature and World Cinema, edited by Itishri Sarangi in the Kalinga Literary Festival, 2017 at Mayfair Convention. The book is an anthology of critical articles written by different contributors on popular literature translated into films. According to the editor, the new book is an attempt to rediscover global cinema based on the literary pieces which later turned to movies. In the preface, Dr. Sarangi writes, “World cinema is no more Hollywood centric. Rather it has moved beyond its geographical area. Bollywood and Hindi film industry are loved by the audience worldwide.  The book speaks about the role of Literature and its contribution to cinema, a popular culture” (Sarangi, 2017). The cinematic representations of the popular novels revive the works and get critically acclaimed by the people who watch them. The movies are easier understood by the audience than the novels and stories. The scriptwriters get attracted to the popular literary pieces for the theme of the movies and the directors are prone to literary texts if they find any cinematic potentiality in literature. It is their professionalism too, which makes famous literary text become successful movies. The book is an attempt to rediscover some eternal texts translated into films.

The present book taken for review has ten distinctive chapters. In the Chapter “Meeting Jim: A Film in the Making” Dr. Chittaranjan Mishra portrays the journey of a man transcending boundaries to unite people and create bonds. The film is about Jim, who for more than four decades has been hosting dinners at his Parisian articles providing opportunities for people from various countries and walks of life to connect with each other. The paper traces Jim’s cultural connections with people and speculates the dimensions of their representations on the basis of the ideas the filmmakers are trying at.

Dr. Gourhari Behera and Mr. Chayan Dutta in the article “Of Children, Witches and the Problematic of Succession: Justine Kurzel’s Macbeth” discuss the legacy of demystifying the works of the literary giant, William Shakespeare. Kruzel’s cinematic adaptation makes the play more relevant to its contemporary audience in the sense that it tries to answer many of the perplexing questions that have hounded Shakespeare’s readers and audience since centuries.

Chapter III is written by Dr. Sonal Srivastava entitled “Aesthetics & Semiotics of Film Language”. It discusses cinema as a powerful medium of expression to a silent audience. The chapter focuses on the fact that films form a connection between the verbal language and the real world, encouraging an establishment of connections. But a film, unlike language, can act without any convention by falling back easily to the real world with the help of natural signs and with all its arbitrariness.

The article in chapter IV is written by Mr. Akaitab Mukherjee named “Rituparno Ghosh’s Antarmahal: Auteurist Adaptation and Authorial Suicide”. It lucidly presents the film adaptation of Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay’s short story Protima (1937). Rituparno Ghosh’s film adaptation Antarmahal (Views of an Inner Chamber, 2005) is based on a popular play by Bandyopadhyay, an eminent Bengali novelist and short story writer. The short story deals with the landlord family where the bohemian landlord tortures on his wife and the issue of domestic violence has been expanded in Ghosh’s film. Ghosh’s appreciation distances itself from Bandyopadhyay’s text and tries to imagine the world of women in landlord family in late 19th century. The article explicates that Antarmahal seems like, to use Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan’s term, “authorial suicide” of Bandyopadhyay.

The article “Literature Adapted into Film: An Ecocritical Analysis of Chander Pahar (The Mountain of the Moon)” by S. Mishra, offers an ecocritical approach to the film adaptation of Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s novel. Bibhutibhushan’s forte is his portrayal of the man in the midst of nature. The article seeks to delve deep into Chander Pahar to find out Ecocritical implications in the film based on the original adventure novel by the great nature novelist.

In the Chapter VI, “Movies: An Effective Tool to Interpret Soft Skills” Mitashree Tripathy and the editor herself link usability of soft skills in the film medium” and interprets how movies contribute significantly in perceiving soft skills. The sole purpose of good movies is not only to entertain but also to teach and educate. The study shows how soft skills through movies enable students, employees in multifarious sectors and even the non-professionals to acknowledge the diverse aspects of soft skills and their weight to reintegrate successful business ventures and interpersonal relationships.

Chapter VII is a study by Ms. Reethi P entitled “Trapping the Marginalised: Reading the movie Ottal”. It discusses cinema as the most popular genre to communicate ideas and feelings in the most proficient manner. The paper discusses the movie Ottal keeping side by side the Russian short story Vanka by Anton Chekov. The objective of the paper is to connect and read the movie Ottal as a narrative of the subaltern in a natural background- where nature itself is marginalized. Ottal, the trap narrates the story of human beings trapped in the complex web of life. The marginalized gets trapped in the web and becomes nameless.

Chapter VIII “Absurdist Flow in Cinema and Art” written by Ms. Bhagyalaxmi Das and the editor Dr. Sarangi discusses the depiction of the ‘absurd’ in world cinema taking into focus, Extremely Loud and Incredibly, one of the finest examples of Absurdist cinema. The war left devastating consequences and propounded the vision that life is meaningless and every human action is absurd worthless. Giant, Albert Camus, the French philosopher coined the term ‘Absurd’ and formulated a new school of thought known as ‘Absurdism’. Artists portrayed this meaninglessness through abstract representations in their works. Cinema is the most popular and powerful medium to present the ‘Absurd’ in its myriad shades as expressed in the paper.

In the Chapter IX “Adaptation: Healthy Process for Intellectual Growth of Film Industry” Ms. Surabhi Yadav talks about adaptations in Bollywood films. While the practice of adaptation is termed as cheating, Yadav’s paper peels out the accusations and outlines the positivity in being inspired by great works. Adaptation is often confused with stealing but according to her, there is nothing wrong in getting inspired by someone’s work and then producing something new with the local flavour that is an original piece of one’s own creativity.

The final chapter “A journey from Eerie to Effervescent” by Ms. Minushree Patnaik in collaboration with the editor Dr. Sarangi, gives essence to the film adaptation of the literary works of black women writers and showcases films as a powerful medium of demonstrating such atrocities. The writers of this chapter have explored the movies like Beloved, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Color Purple to give essence to the literary works of black women writers and voice to the voiceless Afro-Americans.

To conclude, the book is an excellent collection of literature as translated into world cinema. It is not fixed to a concrete boundary of a particular area. It explores the movies without frontiers and tries to analyze culture, people, and way of life and opens a pathway to understanding globalization. The new book offers an extensive appreciation of the literary classics to shape the concept of film studies from the critical approach. The articles in the book give focus to the parallel cinema, the absurdist flow in film, the subaltern, the ecocritical approach, the soft skills, the black literature etc. The readers will get varied flavour of literary taste within the short compass of a single book.



Authorspress. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

I., Sarangi (Ed.). (n.d.). Literature and World Cinema. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

Literature and Cinema. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

Sarangi, I. (Ed.). (2017). Literature and World Cinema. New Delhi: Authors Press.


Dr. Sandip Kumar Mishra is an Assistant Teacher of a Govt. Aided High School in West Bengal. His doctoral thesis explores the ecocritical praxis of Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s select novels. He has already presented papers in two National and two International Conferences held in Vidyasagar University, St. Paul’s Cathedral Mission College, Maharshi Markandeswar University, and Berhampur University respectively. His articles have been published in books and international journals listed by UGC.

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Google Plus