Thrust Area Identified: Documentation and Translation of Oral and Folk Literature of West Bengal with reference to Tribal and Dalit Literary Works
In the year 2008-09 the University Grants Commission accepted as one of its five-year Special Assistance Programmes (SAP), our department’s proposal for conducting in-depth research on the Documentation and Translation of the Oral and Folk materials of the Tribal and Dalit communities of West Bengal. Our department qualifies as a Department of Research Support (DRS). This award is recognition of the unique contribution of various indigenous communities of West Bengal to the cultural paradigms that have contributed substantially to the indigenous cultural matrix of the Indian subcontinent. Currently we are into the first phase of the programme (2009-2014) with Professor Sankar Prasad Singha as the Coordinator and Dr. Indranil Acharya as the Deputy Coordinator.
While initiating research work in the identified thrust area of Phase-I, spanning several centuries of oral and folk literary productions, the items of interest addressing indigenous cultural heritage, colonial and postcolonial literary history of exploitation and resistance, tribal and dalit identities and acculturation vis-à-vis dominant cultural ethos, that are directly allied to the thrust area will be given special emphasis.
Plan of Research Programme:
- To study the nature of representation of the dalits in the regional language literature;
- To collect songs, stories, folklore, myths and legends prevalent among the indigenous societies and document them;
- To translate their orature and myths into English and publish them for greater cultural visibility;
- To organize seminars/symposia/conferences regularly for generating awareness among the students, researchers and interested faculty members.
- To organize field trips for the abovementioned purpose and use the information for systematic archiving;
- To invite acclaimed scholars as resource persons to address students, researchers, teachers and others for dissemination of knowledge and proper understanding of various pertinent issues;
- To form an interdisciplinary forum for mutual sharing of knowledge and benefiting from collective wisdom on tribal and Dalit affairs.
There will be a specific attempt to document and translate the texts produced by writers who are Dalit by birth, not the famous non-Dalit writers writing about Dalit life. We look forward to providing viable indigenous research materials for national and international scholars who take active interest in this area. In this way we hope to create a knowledge base that would be socially relevant and intellectually satisfying.