2.3. Madhu Kankaria’s Khule Gagan Ke Lāl Sitāre: Jain and Naxalite Consciousness and Reconciliations

ÚSTAV JIŽNÍ A CENTRÁLNÍ ASIE SRDEČNĚ ZVE VŠECHNY ZÁJEMCE NA PŘEDNÁŠKU

Madhu Kankaria’s Khule Gagan Ke Lāl Sitāre:

Jain and Naxalite Consciousness and Reconciliations

kterou prosloví Dr. Rahul Bjørn Parson, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Colorado Boulder

Pátek 2.3.2018 ve 14:10, místnost 427

Madhu Kankaria’s novelistic debut, Khule Gagan ke Lāl Sitāre (Red Stars in the Open Sky, 2000), was published at a time when West Bengal had been under Left Front rule for nearly a quarter of a century. The historical origins of this nearly unopposed tenure form the context for the novel. Calcutta and West Bengal politics of the 1960s and 1970s had a profound impact on Kankaria’s generation of Hindi writers in Calcutta. Alka Saraogi and Prabha Khetan also take up themes of radical political formations in their work (Koī Bāt Nahīṃ [2004] and Tālā Bandī  [1991] respectively). Kankaria’s narrative, however, is a sustained and intense engagement with the Naxalbari legacy from the perspective of a young Marwari Jain woman during her college years at Presidency College, Calcutta. In the late 1960s and 1970s Presidency College was the vanguard of urban radicalism and student politics. Naxalbari provided a radicalized student body with a focal point closer to home than Vietnam.This was the era of slogans on campus such as: āmār nām, tomār nām, Vietnam, and āmār bāri, tomār bāri, Naxalbari.  The elite space of Presidency makes the encounter and love relationship between a Marwari Jain and a Bhadralok Bengali possible and revolutionary. For the Jain protagonist these red hotred-hot days are the formative years of her political and philosophical consciousness. She is the first woman in her family to attend the university; the college setting allows her to experience love and student militancy, which challenges the way she sees her family’s practices and beliefs. Yet this shifting perception is not unidirectional, her inadvertent engagement with Jain philosophy begins to color the narrative’s representation of seemingly antithetical formations to Jainism, namely, such as armed struggle.  revolutionary violence.

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