Migrant Literature Culture and Society: A Discourse on Homeland and Destination
3rd – 4th of January, 2016
G.B.Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad
In collaboration with Center for Law and Society,
Gujarat National Law University
Supported by “The Tata Trusts, Mumbai”
Venue:Gujarat National Law University
Attalika Avenue, Knowledge Corridor, Koba
Gandhinagar – 382007 (Gujarat), INDIA
About the Programme
G.B. Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad is organizing a cultural meet “Lokdhwani: Migrant Literature Culture and Society: A Discourse on Homeland and Destination” on the 3rd and 4th January, 2016under the project ‘Migration and Cultural Traditions of Bhojpuri Region: A Research and Documentation Programme’ supported by The Tata Trusts, Mumbai. The programme aims to document and analyze the metaphors of migration evolved over the years in the context of migrant labourers of Gujarat.
This programme also endeavours to document the discourse of migration and narratives of migrant workers of Ahmedabad. The output of the meet would be documented as a rich reservoir of fading and less known cultural forms of Bhojpuri. As a pre-designed output to tangibly empower the rural Bhojpuri cultural performers, singers and composers, we in this discourse also aim to create awareness amongst them on the issue of growing plagiarism and their right to their intellectual property. Eminent academicians working on Migration and culture, litterateurs, folk singers, rural poets (kavijee), folk theatre artists and folk story tellers will be invited in the programme. An interaction between the prominent established singers and theatre persons will also take place in this meet.
It is a truism that migrants all over the world take with them their cultural baggage which includes songs, stories, art, paintings and so on when they leave their homelands. Migrant literature involves the intricate subject matter of migration, culture and traditions of the migrant’s root and its dynamism in the destination point. Acknowledging the fact that the cultural repertoire helps the migrants to purge themselves of the pain of separation and continue with the mundane drudgery of everyday life in their destination points, the study of the discourse of migration literature gains importance.
Theoretical representation of the ambiguous and complex realities has been reflected in the creative and imaginative literatures. These indistinct realities in the context of migration reflect complex human feelings and understandings that a new locale poses before them. The varying gradations of levels of ambivalence, of plurality, and of dynamism of identities are reflected. Migration, movement and human restlessness have come to play an increasingly significant role in relation to basic socio-cultural foundations and have had a remarkable effect on literature (as a particular cultural production) as well. Literature of migration is the manifestation of this impact. It is thus, significant from the restoration of the indigenous culture and its varied forms that deforms, change and die with time and space. Also, the de-modified neo-cultural forms have become so popular that they have replaced the non-commercial pure indigenous culture and its root forms that have either become extinct or are on verge of extinction. Thus, there is urgent need to document such rare genres that may reflect the relic historicity of the Bhojpuri culture and its traditions preserved for future generations.
Migration gives birth to metaphors and culture in its process. Metaphors like Bidesia in migration literature depict the folk cultural tradition that developed around the theme of separation and encompasses folk forms like Bidesia theatre, folk songs, motifs and wall paintings depicting parrots with letter in their beaks to represent the theme of migration, within its fold. This repertoire of cultural forms is still alive in the folk memory and popular culture of Bhojpuri people though the form has changed with the new technological developments and the onset of modernity. The consequential dynamism of multiculturalism and multilingualism of migration results with contact between different cultural and linguistic groups that contribute to an increased need to develop symbolic expressions of identities and to the formation of identities that are hybrid and complex. Thus, migration, movement and human restlessness have come to play an increasingly significant role in relation to basic socio-cultural foundations and have had a remarkable effect on literature (as a particular cultural production) as well.
Thematic sessions of the programme are as follows:
The two days discourse will be conducted in collaboration with the Center for Law and Society, Gujarat National Law University, Gujarat, culminating with the final session of cultural performances at a migrant hamlet, Saraspur, Ahmedabad.
- Welcome speech
- Introducing the theme
- Inaugural address
- Chair’s Remarks
Session I: Social Communities and Migration: A ‘Baatcheet’ in Destination
In this session we aim to document the history of migration from Bhojpuri belt and understand the genesis of migration literature and culture. Eminent sociologists, economists and other academicians shall speak on the theme. This discourse will help in broadening our horizon of study transcending with inputs from academicians and literatures with expertise on this issue.
Session II: Literary and Cultural Reflection of Migrant’s Life
Acknowledging the fact that the cultural repertoire helps the migrants to purge themselves of the pain of separation and continue with the mundane drudgery of everyday life in their destination points we in this session try to understand the perception of migrating communities, their dependence and perception about their own culture through a medium of dialogue. We in course of our discussion on migration literature we try to understand the dynamics of migration and culture. The central idea of this session is that the migrant themselves will speak their issues on this platform. Rural poets, migrant folk singers who are now based in destination cities like Mumbai etc. will enlighten he audience with their own experiences. Rural based performers and poets will also be invited.
Day one Post Lunch
Session III: Expressions of their Own- Kavya Paath
In pursuance of our endeavour to understand the versatility and changing forms of Bhojpuri folk forms and its presentation we in this session incorporate poem recitals, ‘Kavya Path’ by our identified rural poets and other eminent poets as well. These performances will encircle around our core theme of migration and consequent emotional Bhaavs both amongst the alienated labourer at destination and also amongst the remnant population in the homelands. Kavya Path by Hindi folk poets Rajesh Joshi, Naval Shukla, Anil Mishra, Tarkeshwar Mishr ‘Rahi’ Kishor Kabra, Sultan Ahmed and
Gujarati folk poets Kanji Bhai Patel, Harish Mangalam, Dilip Jhaberi, Dalpat Chauhan, Nirav Patel, Jiledar Singh, Jaidev Shukla, Daksha Patel.
Session I: Traditional Culture and Intellectual Property Rights
As reflected from our ongoing project on Migration and Culture, we conclude that the rich repertoire of cultural forms is still alive in the folk memory and popular culture of Bhojpuri people. But the winds of commercialization and consumerism have widely affected their forms and use. Also, the de-modified neo-cultural forms have become so popular that they have replaced the non-commercial pure indigenous culture and its root forms that have either become extinct or are on the verge of extinction. Thus, there is an urgent need to document such rare genres that may reflect the relic historicity of the Bhojpuri culture and its traditions preserved for future generations.
Banking on the expertise of our host collaborating Institute (GNLU) we use this occasion to also create awareness amongst our rural poets, folk composers, singers and performers who are mostly ignorant or unaware of the growing practice of plagiarism. Extending on our community centric enrichment approach we try to reach out to the participant Bhojpuri performers who are still away from commercialization to patent their tunes, compositions and performances. Our expert host team shall enrich the deliberations in this session.
Session II: Cultural Interface and Folk Performances
Planned as a post-lunch interface programme, we in this session will reach to the migrant hamlet of Saraspur, township of Naroda in Ahmedabad situated at a distance of about 20.7 km from the programme venue, Gujarat National Law University. Saraspur has been known for migrant influx from Bihar, UP, Rajasthan for lucrative employment in textile mills. With our thrust to incorporate migrant families in our programme, we planned this outreach programme. These performances aim to instill amongst the migrant community a sense of pride and belonging for their native culture and its traditions.