`Language is a link between people'
TNN 4 November 2009, 09:22pm IST
ALLAHABAD: The Dalit Resource Centre (DRC) of G B Pant Social Science
Institute organised a two-day brain storming workshop on `Cultural
resources and forging a democratic order: Marginalised groups in
northern India' on November 3-4.
In his inaugural speech on the first day of the workshop, Allahabad
University vice-chancellor Prof Rajen Harshe said, "Languages link
people. When we think about culture, we do not pay attention to
language. The way language is spoken is the way you understand
Mentioning a Marathi magazine, he stated that young boys were asked to
define water. "While for the lad in Mumbai, water came from the
fridge, it was something different for the Dalit boy in Marathwada.
For him it was something for which they had to travel a long distance
and traverse through a different path. The meaning and language
differed for both,'' V-C said.
He called upon the need to relook into the traditions of sage poets.
He mentioned Tukaram and two other poets. Dwelling on the dialectics
of appearances versus reality, he quoted a sage poet of Maharashtra,
who pointed out that "though the sugarcane might be crooked, there is
no such crookedness in its sweet juice. We do not think about the
history of ideas. We need to think on the realms of culture.''
Prof Bishnu Mohapatra, a political scientist and poet, in his address
said that in the 1990s secularists and liberalists felt that a society
cannot be interpreted merely on the basis of law or the constitution.
There are many elements in the marginalised traditions, which can
provide resources and be used to reshape our society.
He called upon the need for reinterpreting Bhakti to create a new
sense of power. He stated that the 15th century was creating grounds
for vernacular modernity. "I am uncomfortable with the generic term
Bhakti,'' said Prof Mohapatra. Recounting the tradition of the Bhakti
sage-poets, he said that there are marked differences in the Bhakti
traditions of Maharashtra, Bengal, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, etc. In every
region there is something unique. The language is very contemporary.
Badri Narayan, project director, DRC, said this project would trace
the socio-cultural roots of Dalit politics. The resources to be drawn
from are heterogeneous popular sects, French Revolution, the Indian
Constitution and the American protective policies along with French
policies. What is the language of people or Dalit discourse vis-a-vis
the language of governance? The modern and traditional often
interchange their meanings.
Director of the institute, Pradeep Bhargava dwelt on rights of Dalit
politics in UP. He said the advent of Mayawati is an interesting
Administrative officer of the institute Bhaskar Mazumder proposed the
vote of thanks.
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