Date(s) - 24/03/2022
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Relocating Punjabi Literary Tradition in its Geo-Cultural and Civilisational Context
Relocating Punjabi Literary Tradition in its Geo-Cultural and Civilisational Context.The origin and development of Punjabi language, literature and culture is primarily
connected with Punjab, a geographic region located in the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent. Also referred to as Sapta-Sindhu, this geographic region is considered to be the cradle
of Indic Civilization, which is one of the most ancient and continuing civilisations of the world. This civilization is basically a Dharma-centric and knowledge oriented civilization. Here, the word dharma stands for a universal moral order operating in the cosmos. It has given rise to four major dharma traditions, namely, Sanatan Dharma, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. The ideas of a permanent, self-dependent, ever present, ultimate reality (Brahman = ब्रह्म), impermanent, ever changing, phenomenal world (Jagat = जगत) and the living beings inhabiting this phenomenal world (Jiva = जीव) are the core concepts constructing the world view of this civilization. Positing a fundamental unity of Jiva and Brahman, it presents a philosophy of life (Advaita) in which realisation of the ultimate reality (Moksha = मोक्ष) is the core concern of all beings. This philosophy of life structures man’s relationship with cosmos, nature and human beings in a harmonious manner.
The knowledge traditions of this civilization have, largely, been instrumental in constructing the world outlook and way of life for the inhabitants of this land. From a literary perspective, this civilization and culture has been a perennial source of inspiration for Indian literary writings. Unfortunately, due to various reasons, the significance of this underlying civilisational and cultural identity of Indian literary traditions, has not been adequately recognised. Consequently, there is an urgent need for re-contextualising and relocating our literary traditions in a proper perspective. Punjabi literary tradition is no exception. The objective of this research project is to undertake an in-depth study of Punjabi literary tradition and relocate it in its geo-cultural and civilisational context. There are several reasons for this contextual relocation:
1. Recent developments in the field of Cultural Studies have greatly emphasised the importance of geo-cultural space for the study and understanding of all human activities and practices. The literary tradition is, obviously, one of the mostsignificant areas of this cultural practice.
2. In the contemporary era of ‘clash of civilisations’, torn by religious fundamentalism, global terrorism and cultural conflicts, there is an emergence of search for civilisational and cultural identity in human communities.
3. The colonial education policy had deliberately marginalised our civilization and culture along with its knowledge traditions by imposing its language and culture, in order to perpetuate its rule. Unfortunately, even after independence, this policy is still continuing, with its unjustified emphasis on English language and imposed superiority of western knowledge.
For this purpose, a study of the core factors and elements of Punjab’s civilisational identity (which actually represents the identity of one of the oldest living civilisations called Indus-Saraswati civilization) is essential. As we know, Punjab is the geographical region which has provided the space for evolution of this civilization. When we trace the history and identity of this region, it is important to move from present to past, in other words from present Punjab to Sapt-Sindhu. In the light of the origin and development of Punjab’s civilisational and cultural identity, we hope to discuss and relocate Punjabi literary tradition in its proper geo-cultural and civilisational context.