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Memory, Culture and The Being of India
Masterclass by G N Devy
February 2, 2022 | Wednesday | 6:30 pm
When a Language Dies
The Story of a People’s Language Movement
The Census of India had listed 1652 ‘Mother Tongues’ in its 1961 language report. In 1971, this number was brought down to just 108. Where did the remaining 1455 mother tongues disappear? This lecture will present the story of the epic search for those ‘silence’ languages and the people’s movement which emerged out of the search. It will present the changing profile of India’s language diversity and the need for preservation of the diversity for safeguarding our federal structure.
February 4, 2022 | Friday | 6:30 pm
When a Culture Dies
The Adivasis and the Denotified Tribes of India
Indians belong either to castes or to tribes. What makes the tribal people tribal or adivasis? What have been there cultural traditions, their thought patterns and their philosophy of life? What led to some of them getting branded as ‘criminal tribes’? What is the future of the culture of the Adivasis in the 21st century world? This lecture will present views of the speaker based on his experience of creating the Adivasi academy at Tejgadh and a global network of the indigenous peoples. The lecture will offer a perspective on the rapidly disappearing continent of culture that the indigenous of the world inhabit.
February 6, 2022 | Sunday | 6:30 pm
When Memory Dies
or Why the People’s Report on Indian Civilisation ?
Has the artificial memory already taken a complete possession of the human memory? Have Indians altogether forgotten from where they arrived here? Where does one locate the beginning of India as a civilisation? Does it originate in the Vedas? Does it go back to the Indus civilisation? Was there a civilisation before the Indian mythos emerged? What was India when the Holocene began 12000 years before our time? Why is there politics being constructed around the question of India’s origin? This lecture will discuss the need for a People’s Report on Indian civilisation and the efforts being made towards preparing such a report.
February 8, 2022 | Tuesday | 6:30 pm
The Wheel of Time and India’s Sense of History
MAHABHARATA : The Epic and the Nation
The Ramayana and the Mahabharata have exerted immense influence on the life and thought of Indians. If the Ramayana is a ‘unitary’ saga, the Mahabahrata is a ‘federal epic’. Its impact has remained as deep now as it was two thousand years. Who actually composed it? Why did the epic allow people to weave in it ?
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Ganesh N Devy
G. N. Devy, a thinker and a public intellectual, initiated and led the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, covering over 700 languages with a team of nearly 3000 volunteers. The PLSI resulted in the publication of 91 titles, divided in 50 volumes in English, Hindi and several Indian languages, bringing to notice some 35000 printed pages of valuable data on the language diversity of India.
Devy initiated a series of international conferences of the indigenous communities from all continents resulting in 12 published volumes of perspectives of the indigenous on culture, ecology and politics.
Currently, he is engaged in producing a People’s Report on Indian civilisation and its history of the last 12000 years with the help of a large international collective of scholars in Human Genetics, Archaeology, Linguistics and Anthropologists.
Devy describes himself as a cultural activist. He writes in three languages—Marathi, Gujarati and English. His first book in English, After Amnesia (1992) received the Sahitya Akademi Award, which he returned in protest after the assassination of Dr. M. M. Kalburgi.
He has been an institution builder and a Professor of Literature. He has received many awards and honours including Padmashri, the Linguapax Award and the Prince Clause Award. He writes in Marathi,Gujarati and English and has to his credit 99 books written or edited by him.
His recent publications include, Being Adivasi (co-edited, Penguin, 2021) and Mahabharata-the Epic and the Nation (Aleph, 2022).