Relocating Bakhtin: Sopan

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Our own history has placed us in plenitudes of differences. We have to confront paradoxes, contradictions, discordant varieties, disruptions in linearity in our civil society. We swear by pluralism but never the less its manifestations both in public and private spaces even now remain elusive and enigmatic…Ideology is never rhetoric for those who submit themselves wilfully to the of the hegemonic officials positions. They employ all their skill in building up counter rhetoric against any semblance of ideology in the social or intellectual arena. For them, ideology is a grand narrative and should be obliterated with favourably disguise rhetoric.

…The Western hegemonic framework of knowledge industry has all along been casting its deep shadow over the third world intellectuals and the Bengali literary firmament in the Indian subcontinent is no exception. Particularly in the latest phase of total domination of cyber technology, all the socio-cultural spaces belonging to the margins of the margins are under threat of extinction. The other has to make its presence felt through reaffirmation of its identity, independence and relative sovereignty. It can be achieved by discovering a re-chiselling the alterities inspite of the western modes of thought in all spheres of contemporary life.

Our situatedness prompts us to develop the central notion of addressivity not only as an aesthetic and cultural paradigm, but as the key concept for understanding the multiple phenomena of existence. When the onslaught of the consumer society is at its worst, the task of situating Bakhtin in our historically different perspective has indeed become challenging. In the Indian sub-continent, the experience of the multiplicity of different languages, ethnic behaviour, discourses, priorities and symbolizing practices on the one hand and the disruptive, isolationist and non- conformist tendencies on the other has made dialogical understanding both inviting and perplexing…We are to privilege the marginal, decentred, the contingent and the unofficial. However, the over the whelming process of globalization has rendered all the aforesaid spaces complicated, hybridized and tentative. Then there is the phenomenon of multiculturalism which has redefined the notion of addressivity. It is, therefore, advisable to explore a new the key concepts like carnival, polyphony, heteroglossia, unfinalizability and simultaneity in the context of our experience.


As situatedness is constantly historicizing the task of the commentators and interpreters in the Indian sub-continent automatically calls for a reorientation of the thought process and recontextualization of disjunctive and differentiated experiences. During  the heydey of colonialism, western model of hegemonic modernism made inroads into the psyche of Indian people but could not wholely unsettle the feudal remnants of the civil society. Concomitantly paradoxical situations emerged and hybridized cultural paradigms gradually took shape which, in their turn, resulted in concoctions of the multicultural mix. With the advent of postmodernism mainly among the metropolitan elites, complications and confusions percolated to some extent even to the otherwise sensitive cultural activists. More particularly the Bengali intellectuals affiliated with displacement, diaspora, migration and the intense form of localization in various regions of the sub-continent had to grapple in the space between the aesthetic and the political. Their experience of responsiveness and answerability is characteristically different from that of other ethnic strata in the sub- continent.



(Extracts from Relocating Bakhtin: Sopan:Kolkata:  2014:  12-13, 15, 17-18, 21)

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