Jungle Nama and the Power of the Oral: Lores, Legends and Climate Memory

In Conversation - Amitav Ghosh and Sukrita Paul
14 July, Friday, 6.00 pm
KNMA Saket

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*Registration for this talk is mandatory. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis

They say when you retell a legend or listen to one, new voices come to it to haunt and change the narrative. The exhibition ‘Very Small Feelings’ relies on storytelling, power of the spoken word, and how a story travels and changes from ear to ear, one body to another. It treats oral as a vast resource holding together the folk and the indigenous cultural expressions and way of life.

In the exhibition, Amitav Ghosh’s Jungle Nama expands into a spatial installation with contributions from Salman Toor and Ali Sethi, as an urgent story of our times. Within the story, the rhyme and meter of speaking out the words has a spell-like effect of invoking the guardian of the forest, Bon Bibi. In this conversation led by Sukrita Paul, Amitav Ghosh will speak on different oralities, and the allegorical aspects of lores and legends, and the climate stories, memories, ecological escapades hidden in them and the relationship of people with their environments.

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He is the author of two books of non-fiction, a collection of essays and ten novels. His books have won many prizes and he holds four honorary doctorates. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages and he has served on the Jury of the Locarno and Venice film festivals. In 2018 he became the first English-language writer to receive India’s highest literary honor, the Jnanpith Award. His most recent publication is Jungle Nama, an adaptation of a legend from the Sundarban, with artwork by Salman Toor.

Sukrita Paul Kumar, former Fellow of Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, held the prestigious Aruna Asaf Ali Chair at Delhi University. An honorary faculty at Corfu, Greece, she was an invited resident poet at the prestigious International Writing Programme at Iowa, USA. Her most recent collections of poems, are Salt & Pepper (Selected Poems), Vanishing Words and Dream Catcher. Her poems have been translated into many Indian and foreign languages, the latest is the book of her poems translated into Italian, published by Besa Muci, Rome. Her critical books include Narrating Partition, The New Story and Conversations on Modernism. She has co-edited many books, including Speaking for Herself: Asian Women’s Writings (Penguin). An Honorary Fellow at HK Baptist University, Hong Kong, she has published many translations and has held exhibitions of her paintings. Currently she is series co-editor of “Writer in Context” volumes being published by Routledge UK and South Asia. She is the Guest Editor of Indian Literature, a journal published by Sahitya Akademi, India.



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