Monday, March 8, 2010

MELUS Internatiional Conference Keynote Address by Mukesh Williams, March 26, 2010

Contemporary Issues: Literature and Culture since 1980
The poetry sessions were the highlight of the second day of the 10th International Conference on ‘Contemporary Issues: Literature and Culture since 1980’ and the first Chandigarh Lit Fest currently underway at Panjab University.The Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu segment had award winning poets like T N Raaz, Yojana Rawat , Roshan Sharma, B D Kalia, Rupa Saba, Taaran Gujral, Santosh Dhiman and Atul Vir Arora share their thoughts on life and living.The English poetry session included Nirupama Dutt, Kailash Ahluwalia, Balpreet Kaur, Lalita Jangwan, Aradhana Sharma, Saurabh Gupta and Devashsish. Nature, relationships and pain formed the leitmotif of the verses shared by the authors with an appreciative audience, striking a responsive chord in many a heart.The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Mukesh Williams, Soka University, Tokyo on the theme ‘The American Gulliver and World System - Cooperation and Consensus’. Focusing on the issue of dominance, Prof. Williams spoke of the bipolarity that exists in the world today because of globalization on the one hand and religion on the other. “A cosmopolitan consciousness is in conflict with ideology today”, he said. The multiple technical sessions were chaired by intellectuals from North Carolina Central University (USA), Soka University (Tokyo), University of Michigan (USA), Visvabharati Univesity, Shantiniketan, Jammu University, Lucknow University and Panjab University. Paper presentations ranged from critical perspectives of Dalit Literature to representation of contemporary reality in award winning novels. An interesting and topical presentation was on the depiction of homosexuality in the film Dostana. Another was on the presentation of terrorism in Indian visual media. Many papers took up the issues of identity and conflict in world literature and the negotiation of transition that is embodied in this conflict. Still others spoke of the culture of consumerism and the political dichotomies as reflected in a multiethnic literary landscape.The final day of the Conference will see some award winning novelists behind the lectern - Shashi Deshpande, Padma Shri and Sahitya Akademi awardee for her novel, The Long Silence; Mamta Kalia, Director, Bhartiya Bhasha Parishad and award winning author of 'Beghar' and over 25 other books; Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and Founder Director of the Jaipur Literature Festival; Manjula Padmanabhan, playwright, journalist, comic strip writer and children's book author - just to name a few. Noted litterateurs like V. Mehndiratta and Indu Bali will also be participating in the proceedings.

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