Mapping the environmentalism in the āṃcalik India
Gautam Chakrabarti (Freie Universität Berlin)
Paper short abstract:
The presentation will discuss, in the context of contemporary socio-political debates on ecology in India and using a few contemporary texts from Hindi, Urdu and Bengali literature, how subaltern voices speak about the pressing environmental problems to and on behalf of their neighborhood.
Paper long abstract:
South Asia is often viewed as one of the regions that, having developed its environmentalism belatedly, is showing little or almost no commitment to the cause of ecologically sustainable future, at least on the level of central and local decision-makers. Yet, in India, the work of social activists, academics and local heroes fighting for better environment is known to many. The presentation will use the context of contemporary socio-political debates on ecology in order to discuss, basing on the examples from contemporary vernacular (Hindi, Urdu, Bengali) literature, the way many subaltern voices speak about the pressing environmental problems to and on behalf of the people from his own neighborhood. Environmentally-engaged literature often emerges from the peripheral regions - the tribal parts of Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, the hills of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Some village- and small-town communities seem to be maintaining particularly strong connections to their land and nature. Collections of stories set in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand by S.K.Phull, S.R.Harnot, Shekhar Joshi, collections of poetry by Mohan Sahil, Vinod Kumar Shukla, Uday Prakash, novels by Mahashweta Devi provide an insight into the present-day environmental philosophy and ecological concerns of India's ām ādmī and the local policy-makers.
Arts of the political in contemporary South Asian literature and film