Indraprastha College for Women and Shakespeare Society of India organized an international seminar on “Revisiting Shakespeare in Indian Literature and Culture” from March 7 to 9, 2013.The exhaustive 3-day seminar witnessed illustrious personalities putting in dynamic efforts to pull strands of Shakespearean fibres out of the embroidered cushion of History for the world to see. A tribute to that man’s plain genius.
The first day of the seminar saw Paper Reading sessions by august people like Prof. Ganesh Deshpande, formerly, JNU on “Classical, Vernacular, the Abhijata and the like;” Prof. Shormishtha Panja, Delhi University, on “To Confine the Illimitable: Visual and Verbal Narratives in Two Bengali Retellings of Shakespeare.” While on one hand, there was collation of Tagore and Shakespeare, on the other hand, Prof. Sarbani Chaudhury, University of Kalyani, narrated “Macbeth to Mobarak: A Coming of the Age Journey.” In the parallel sessions, scholarly papers like “Hamlet, Tuglaq and Machiavelli: The Discourse of Sovereignty”, “Shakespeare Outside England: A Case of Odia Translation of Hamlet”, “Parsi Shakespeare” among others were read to saturate the air with literary fundamentals. The day closed with plays by Sri Venkateswara College “Homlette” and Indraprastha College “Lear’s Daughters.”
Day two opened with the paper presentation by Prof. Claire Cochrane, University of Worchester, UK, followed by Prof. Jyostna Singh’s, Michigan State University, paper titled “Local and Global Indian Shakespeare. Subsequently, Mr. Andrew Dickson, The Guardian, and Ms. Thea Buckley helped trace Shakespearean roots of today’s Indian culture. The following parallel sessions concluded with the Screening of BBC Arts Documentary “Felicity Kendal’s Indian Shakespeare Quest.”
If an outsider were to claim that Shakespearean reference had been extracted completely from the context of Indian Culture in the first two days, they could not be more wrong. Day three, the incoming of brains only increasing by minute, start the ball rolling with the paper reading by Prof. Jatin Nayak, Utkal University, on a future without Shakespeare. More papers were read, more depths were explored. There were cunning moves to resurrect the legend, so that the present generation could see him. Ms. Preti Taneja, Royal Holloway, University of London presented paper titled “Does Shakespeare’s Text Even Matter?” This was followed by a panel discussion: The Directors’ Shakespeare; the National School of Drama members aptly constituted the panel. Consequently with yet another round of session the seminar came to an end, subtly proving the omnipresence of William Shakespeare in the World, especially Indian Literature.
As Elizabeth Barrett Browning put it:
There Shakespeare, on whose forehead climb,
The crown o’ the world; oh, eyes sublime
With Tears and laughter for all time……