Indranil Acharya, Indranil Acharya, Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, India
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In an article titled “A Crisis of Culture” published in The Hindu (May 07, 2006), T. M. Krishna observes:
We are in a modern world, don’t we need to modernise everything? What’s modernisation? Have the arts not always moved with the times? Do we sing or dance the way it was done 200 years ago? Don’t we experiment with all our artistic traditions? Don’t we address contemporary issues through dance? Don’t we package our music differently today? (2)1
The crux of this paper is to raise similar issues with regard to the popular folk dance form of Eastern India- Chhau. The Chhau of Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand has been included in the UNESCO list of Intangible Heritage. The western perception on this essentially folk art form has been quite problematic. There is a constant attempt by the western researchers to categorize Chhau as a classical dance form and the ostensible reason behind it has been the royal involvement in terms of performance and choreography particularly in Seraikella and Mayurbhanj. However, the purely folk origin of the Purulia Chhau of West Bengal is left out of the ambit of discussion. But it has not been taken into consideration that after the independence and the abolition of monarchy in various Indian states, this paradigm of nobility controlling the art form of Chhau has been done away with. Instead, various state governments and their agencies have undertaken a string of democratic measures to preserve and promote this rich indigenous art form. This paper attempts to confront and counter the traditional readings of the western scholars with regard to this folk dance form. The recalcitrant approach to search for a “pure” form as Chhau is incorrectly projected as a classical dance form. There is a sardonic reaction at any deviation from the so-called “purity” of form as sheer exhibitionism with regard to the western audience and a downright rejection of political patronage as an ignoble way of promoting tourism industry. Such misconceived criticisms are taken up for discussion in this paper. With first-hand knowledge of the ground reality and close interaction with the folk artistes, the paper aims to correct the western approach to standardize an essentially fluid and vibrant art form that imbibes the best of western influences and blends it impeccably with the indigenous tradition to produce an organic unity of impression. The paper begins with an outline of this dance form.
Ayusman Chakraborty, Jadavpur University, India
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Tipu Sultan was the ruler of the native state of Mysore. His fierce opposition to British rule in India earned him unrivalled notoriety in England. Colonial writings usually portray him as a cruel tyrant who tortured Indians and Englishmen alike. This article studies the representation of Tipu Sultan in three nineteenth century English novels – The Surgeon’s Daughter by Sir Walter Scott, Tippoo Sultaun: A Tale of the Mysore Wars by Captain Meadows Taylor, and The Tiger of Mysore by G. A. Henty . In these works, Tipu is painted in an extremely unfavourable light. Arguing that the politics of imperialism influences such representations, this article tries to show how the depiction of Tipu as a monstrous villain served to justify British rule in India. These novels seem to suggest that the British deserve credit for rescuing Indians from such egregious villain. The article also focuses on politicization of Tipu’s dead body. Colonial art and literature constantly return to the scene where Tipu’s body is discovered by his enemies. This article argues that colonial imagination converts Tipu’s corpse to a ‘grisly trophy’ which becomes a sign of British triumph over Oriental despotism.
Abin Chakraborty, University of Calcutta, India
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Rabindranath Tagore’s much discussed opposition to nationalism has often been seen as a source of consternating confusion which not only invoked the ire of many contemporary nationalists who interpreted his vision as one of helpless inaction as well as by certain contemporary critics who have considered Nationalism to be a disorienting product of “impassioned myth-making” which falls within the tradition of English liberalism. This paper seeks to analyse Nationalism, as well as other related texts, in a different light, by comparing Tagore’s assessment of ‘Nation’ and Nationalism in the West’, with both the Communist Manifesto, as well as Lenin’s Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism in order to reveal how Tagore’s explorations constitute a sustained and scathing critique of capitalism, as manifested through the European bourgeois nation-state which is also relevant for this present age of U.S. imperialism and its consequences as many of the crises unfolding around us were presaged by Tagore’s unheeded caveats. The paper also suggests that whatever post-imperial vision we may imagine for our future, they must always be based on those values that Tagore championed throughout his life and which have often been dismissed as sentimental naivety.
José Enrique Covarrubias
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, USA
Volume 2, Number 3, 2010 I Download PDF Version
2010 is a significant year in Mexico since it is the centennial of the 1910 Revolution and the bicentennial of the 1810 Revolution for independence.[i] Next year will also be historic since it will mark the bicentennial of the publication of Alexander von Humboldt’s highly influential 1811 study about Mexico, Ensayo político sobre el reino de la Nueva España. One of the novel features of this article is that it examines the ties between Humboldt’s famous 1811 work and Mexico’s Revolutions of 1810 and 1910. While Humboldt’s impact has been stressed for the independence era, it has been entirely unnoticed for the 1910 Revolution. By showing Humboldt’s enduring influence, this essay will demonstrate an important connection between the two Revolutions that has been overlooked. While Humboldt remained prominent throughout, the discourse about him varied significantly in the 1810 and 1910 Revolutions. Additionally, this essay will suggest that Humboldt’s influence during the age of the 1810 Revolution was more complex and varied than conventional wisdom—which emphasizes his contribution to the idea of Mexico as a land of vast natural abundance—acknowledges.[ii]
Amit Shankar Saha, Calcutta University, West Bengal, India
The essay takes a holistic view of the word “exile” to encompass a range of displaced existence. It illustrates through John Simpson’s The Oxford Book of Exile the various forms of exiles. The essay then goes on to show that diasporic Indian writing is in some sense also a part of exile literature. By exemplifying writers both from the old Indian diaspora of indentured labourers and the modern Indian diaspora of IT technocrats, it shows that despite peculiarities there is an inherent exilic state in all dislocated lives whether it be voluntary or involuntary migration. More importantly, a broad survey of the contributions of the second generation of the modern Indian diaspora in the field of Indian writing in English depict certain shift in concerns in comparison to the previous generation and thereby it widens the field of exile literature.