Call for Papers: Indian Folk in the Post-Modern Era: Non-Publication, Non-Translation and Literary Theft

Jean Francois Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979) defines post-modern as “Incredulity towards meta-narratives” and “any grand theory” by preferring “small narratives” as they are full of many layered stories. Accordingly, the folk of country, state or area is/are small narrative(s) which need attention and contains several new stories. Daniel Heath Justice’s Why Indigenous Literature Matters (2018) adds that indigenous literary works are important because they change people’s lives. The folk of country, state or area is small narratives which need attention and contains several new stories.

Folk of a country is one of the oldest recognition of its culture, tradition, norms and social life. It has its own type of literature which is not promoted to its fullest as compared to the contemporary literature of other states in English and Hindi. However, it does not apply to all states of India as the folk culture of states having their language in the 8th Schedule enjoyed reputation but some like Haryanvi and Bhojpuri folk are struggling to make a name and fame.

Despite being vivid and rich folk literature of Haryana, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Goa, Pondicherry, and North East, it is not given due representation in the academic world due to lack of publication and translation. Still, there is a ray of hope. Some fifty years ago, the academic world was unknown of Sangam Literature but then came AK Ramanujan who changed the scenario by introducing its English translation to the larger readership. Folk writers of regional languages, like Sangam literature, too deserve a translator to expose them to the realm of world writings.

The folk has a social, cultural, moral, and philosophical implication upon people and remains the source of entertainment since the days of yore. Haryana’s Kauravi folk is extremely popular and received attention at least in three National Award Winning movies Laado (2000), Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008), Dada Lakhmi (2022) and also in Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (2013), Laal Rang (2016) and many others. However, such pride is faded because Haryana is one of those states where the folk theatre of one poet is stolen and published by the name of another poet. Such an unacademic act is termed Chaapkataiyya (tr., the literary heist) by Rajendar Badgujar in his book with the same title and explained in detail in Kashyap Deepak’s article “Can Valmiki Become a Poet? (2022) published in Contemporary Voice of Dalit, a branch of Sage Journals.

Both explains how did this happen? One of the biggest problems of folk writing is its non-publication and secondly, it is not translated into English or other languages. Due to these two problems, literature lost its credibility as well as readership. In Haryana, several folk writers died without publishing their works. As a result, their works are published by the name of other poets.

To avoid such tasks, two things are needed: first publication of works, and second, translation into other languages, especially English to gain more readerships. Kashyap Deepak attempted to fill the lacuna of translation by publishing an English translation of seven kissas (poetic plays) of Dayachand Mayna under the title Dayachand Mayna: Kauravi Theatre, Literary Heist and Seven Poetic Plays (2023).

Bihar’s Bhikhari Thakur, Hira Dom, and Rameshwar Singh Kashyap too are facing the same problem of publication and translation as Haryana’s folk writers. However, in one condition, they are better as their works are not published by the name of other writers and even not sing by the name of other singers. The second good thing for Bhojpuri writers is that there is a special department called Bhojpuri Addhyana Kendra (Tr, Bhojpuri Study Center) at Benaras Hindu University and it recently published a special volume on the achievements of Bhikhari Thakur (edited by Shriprakash Shukal). Haryana too is not far behind as it proposed Pt Lakhmi Chand Cultural University in Sonipat. Yet, many more things are needed to spread the name of folk writers in English via translation.

Rajender Badgujar in Haryana and Santosh Patel in Bihar are doing their best to raise the status of their respective language yet there is less representation of these folk in English. Having orientation towards the representation of folk in English.

Invite articles for folk writing on the below themes, but not restricted to:

  • Folk of States
  • Myth and society
  • Translation in English
  • Language and masses
  • Gender, Society and Reform
  • Role of Chaapkataiyyas
  • Chaapkat in Movies and Cinema
  • Religion and Caste System
  • Nationalism, War, Army and Folk
  • Stage, Singers and Artists
  • Oral form, Non-Publication and Astute Editors
  • The decline of Folk in the OTT Ea
  • Dying traditions

Length and Structure

Invite abstract of 300 words by the end of Sep 30, 2023 on email

Expected Publisher: We are expected to publish by Atlantic Publisher

Author’s Bio

Kashyap Deepak serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Motihari, Bihar. Here, he supervises the PhD theses, MPhil and MA Dissertations in addition to teaching graduate, post-graduate, and PhD courses. Four research scholars are currently pursuing their PhDs under his guidance and, one scholar received an MPhil and three received Master’s degrees.

Deepak holds MPhil and PhD degrees from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. He discusses the Progressive Writers’ Association and how Mulk Raj Anand was a member of itin MPhil, Idea of ‘Progress’ in Mulk Raj Anand (2015). He brought back the best-selling but long-forgotten novelist of the 1940s and 1950s in PhD, DF Karaka: The Study of a Neglected Indian English Author (2020). The book Art for Life: Conversations for the Progressive Writers’ Movement (2021) by Prof. Maia Ramnath was the subject of his work as a Research Assistant (RA, 2015–16) at Penn State University (PSU), USA. Deepak’s recently published book is Bijay Kant Debey’s The Ferryman, The Dark Daughter and Other Poems (Authospress, 2022), and Dayachand Mayna: Kauravi Theatre, Literary Heist and Seven Poetic Plays (Kalamkar, 2023: translated from Haryanavi into English). His forthcoming book is Indian Folk in the Post-Modern Era: Non-Publication, Non-Translation and Literary Theft (proposed). Currently, he is translating Bihar’s folk writer Bhikari Thakur from Bhojpuri language to English. He has published book chapters and peer-reviewed articles with index journals like Indian Historical Review (Sage), Contemporary Voice of Dalits (Sage), Summerhill (IIAS Shimla) and others. He has presented more than a dozen papers at national and international conferences held at University of the Fraser Valley (Canada), JNU, IIT Roorkee, Allahabad University, Meerut University, Nav Nalanda Mahavihar, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vishwanath, Amity University, Dr Harisingh Gour University, Mahatma Gandhi Central University and others.

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