Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
cordially invites you to a Conference

at 9.00 a.m. on Friday-Saturday, 7-8 March 2014
in the Seminar Room, First Floor, Library Building

Vernaculars Underground:
  Histories, politics, aesthetics’

in association with
Brinda Bose
 Prasanta Chakravarty,
Marg Humanities and University of Delhi, Delhi

Concept Note:

Is it possible to create something of a larger platform for humanities studies by stepping outside of academia to think about it more rigorously, clearly, reflexively? Can we think about arts and literature through ways and means that are calm and raw, capricious and angry, and yet deeply analytical and sensual? Can we ponder and underline afresh the visceral and expansive political core that the humanities bequeath us along with an edgy sense of aesthetics, in these times of grandstanding, networking and spinning fashions? Is it at all possible to talk about literary movements in times of globalization, or are people who are passionate about the humanities destined to remain independent, sectarian and fractious? There are remainders and reminders around us. We just choose not to see them. Or we may be unaware of them, but certain people do exist in our part of the world—those who have been able to keep out of circuits of power and influence and be invested in local causes and commitments, and given their lives to full blooded love of literature. Not naively, but sometimes with a detached zeal, and sometimes with a sense
of immediacy and urgency. They have paid a price for their convictions. Our academia and our festivals have been successfully able to keep them out of important venues and podiums. Political parties have been mostly wary of their ways and methods. They have sometimes been persecuted and ostracised. Often they have lived strange lives—suspended. But indomitable souls that they are, they have been able to channel their endless energy into creative pursuits, in ventures hitherto un-thought of. Their silent commitment to the humanities is easily revealed when they wield pens to create poems touched by magic, when they talk and walk, when they come together to write a collective manifesto. They still believe in humour and tragedy. They meet personal and social conflict and antagonism headlong. They detest civility. They affirm life, above all. Therefore we shall shun all forms of goodness. And eschew the podium and arc-light culture on March 7th and 8th at the NMML. We shall expend our energies instead on thrashing out some difficult questions about the world of little magazines, blogs and other minimal literary practices in contemporary South Asia. And drawing upon those debates, try and find entry points into larger questions of and about the humanities. We will have two days of literary and political adda —on the very nature and idea of underground literature in India and its prospects.
We hope to provide a platform where we can exchange notes and tactics for future directions in the humanities, where we can have a serious give and take about our craft and job, but by looking outside of institutionalized academia for our concerns. We shall de-academize academia as we know it and as most of us practice it. We shall have editors, writers and bloggers from Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Assam, Kerala, Delhi and Bangladesh at ‘Vernaculars Underground: Histories, Politics, Aesthetics’  on March 7 and 8, 2014.

Programme Schedule:                              Friday, 7 March 2014

9.00 a.m. – 9.05 a.m.

Handover of the ‘PAHAL’ Archive to NMML sent by Mr. Gyanranjan, Editor of Pahal, to NMML, facilitated by MargHumanities’

9.05 a.m.- 9.15 a.m.
Opening Remarks:
Prasanta Chakravarty
Brinda Bose,
MargHumanities, University of Delhi, Delhi

9.15 a.m.- 11.00 a.m.

Session I:

Chair and Discussant:

Himanshu Pandya,
Academic, Writer (Hindi),

Anil Yadav,
Journalist, Writer,  
Sinews of the Political in the Hindi Underground’

Ashok Pande,
 Editor, Writer, Kabadkhana blog (Hindi),
Haldwani, Uttaranchal
‘The Simple Joys of Rag-Picking’

11.00 a.m.-11.15 a.m.
Tea and Coffee

11.15 a.m.–1.00 p.m.

                                          Session II:

Chair and Discussant:

Jitendra Kumar,
Freelance Journalist (Hindi),
New Delhi


Amit Sengupta,
 Journalist, Academic, IIMC,
New Delhi
‘Parallel Cinema of the Media Industry:
The difficult and stimulating narrative of small is beautiful’

Shawon Akand
Artist, Activist  (Bengali and English),
‘Beyond the Colonial Hangover:
Alternative art and politics in Bangladesh’

1.00 p.m.– 2.00 pm.


2.00 pm.- 4.00 p.m.
Session III:

Chair and Discussant:

Rajarshi Dasgupta,
Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi

Anil Acharya
Editor, Writer, Anustup (Bengali),
‘The Dynamics of Change in Bengali Periodicals’

Devabrata Sharma
Editor, Academic (Assamese),
‘Vernaculars versus Vernaculars:
Assamese, Bengali and tribal languages

Avik  Banerjee
Editor, Proprietor, Dhyanbindu (Bengali),
‘Like a Spider’s Web’

Saturday, March 8, 2014

9.00 a.m. -10.40 a.m.
Session IV

Chair and Discussant:
Anil Yadav,
Journalist, Writer,  

Probodh Parikh,
Writer  (Gujarati and English), and Faculty,
Whistling Woods, Mumbai
Literature as Politics:
Little magazines in post-Gandhi Gujarat

Satish Kalsekar,
Poet and Editor (Marathi),
Raigad, Maharashtra
Marathi Little Magazines and the Dalit Question’
10.40 a.m. -11.00 a.m.
Tea and Coffee

11.00 a.m. – 12.45 p.m.
Session V

Chair and Discussant:                       
Mihir Pandya,
Writer, Editor, Blogger (Hindi),
New Delhi

Editor, Writer (Malayalam),
‘Calls from Posterity:
Voices of little magazines addressing the future

Moushumi Bhowmik,
Singer, Song writer, Music Researcher,
‘Lessons in Listening:
The story of The Travelling Archive’

12.45 p.m.– 1.45 p.m.

1.45p.m. – 3.30 p.m.
Session VI

Chair and Discussant:     

New Delhi

Giriraj Kiradoo
Writer, Editor, Academic (Hindi/English/Rajasthani), Lakshmangarh, Rajasthan
‘The Art of Self-deception in the Real Estate of Colonizing Angels’

Varun Grover,
Lyricist, Lead Writer, Jay Hind (Hindi),
‘Undo Your Buckles (‘Andubaksai’ in Kanpur)’
3.30 p.m. – 3.45 p.m.
Tea and Coffee

3.45 p.m.- 4.30 p.m.
Closing Discussion

Pallav, Reyazul Haque, Himanshu Pandya, Rajarshi Dasgupta, Avik Banerjee

Vote of Thanks

PAHAL (meaning ‘a beginning’ in Hindi) is one of the most influential literary magazines in Hindi that has seen uninterrupted publication since the early 1970s. Published from Jabalpur by Mr. Gyanranjan, noted Hindi novelist and short-story writer, the magazine publishes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, critique and essays concentrating on issues of contemporary interest. Although the publication does not have a declared periodicity, three to four issues are normally brought out every year. Over nearly 35 years of publication, 85 issues have been published.

PAHAL has never been archived as a complete collection in its 35 years of existence. MargHumanities is delighted to facilitate the handover of the PAHAL collection by Mr. Gyanranjan, its editor, to the Director of the NMML for a home in its library.


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