Wednesday, September 2, 2009


We, at the Department of English, MS University, are doing a very interesting and probably unique academic experiment under the aegis of the UGC DRS SAP-I project. Our Dept is granted this project to research the ` Identarian Movements in the Western India in the period 1960 to 2000' by the University Grants Commision. This year we started a translation project called `Retrieving the Sixties: Culture in Gujarati Periodicals in English Translation'. The most interesting part of this project is that around 60-70 undergraduate and postgraduate students of English literature in our Dept are translating articles from Gujarati periodicals which had appeared in the decade of the sixties. The articles range from ones on literary subjects and problems of working women to tatooes, and our students were excited and happy about the idea. The students will work with teachers to finalize their work and we hope to publish it in future.The first stage of the project was the Translation Workshop we had on 29 Aug and it was great fun. The bright idea was Deeptha's and probably what we have on our hands is unique as far as the Dept of Englishes go. The Depts of English are notorious for their lack of direct engagement with immediate cultural environment ( some even complain that they are apathetic towards ANY cultural environment). We seek to remedy it by having teachers and students engaging actively with Gujarati culture.
The Sixties was a culturally exciting decade for many cultures across the globe. Think of the Vietnam War, the Hippies, the Chinese aggression and linguistic formation of the states in India. It was also the moment of Little Magazine Movements of varied sorts.This decade was also momentous in Gujarat. Various issues and debates of this significant phase of Gujarati cultural history are reflected in various periodicals. We felt it is important for the present generation of students to reconnect and reengage with the multiple currents that shaped Gujarati culture of this decade in order to understand some of the key issues of our own time. Translation of articles, which appeared in the sixties, can be a stimulating mode of retrieval and negotiation for the present generation of Gujarati youngsters.
In the post-Globalized world, it is imperative how we `read' the history of twentieth century to understand ourselves. In this light, I think the project becomes a very interesting one.

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