Renowned academician, writer and cultural administrator Prof. Indra Nath Choudhuri, delivered the second Sujit Mukherjee Memorial Lecture on ‘The Idea of an Indian Literature’ at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) recently. Prof. Choudhuri in his lecture conceptualised and historicised Indian literature. He emphasised that the country’s literature should be seen in its pluralistic context or in the context of diversity because India is a multilingual country. 

 

“Indian literature is inclusive rather than logo-centric or exclusive. Unlike Western binary of unity and diversity India has cultural legacy of diversity leading to unity. Our literature has a rich potential because of its local, regional and pan-Indian identities,” he added. In his lecture, Choudhri highlighted the crucial regionality-universality; kshetra-deshi, marga-deshi issues in Indian literature. He also talked about the strong presence of orality in Indian Literature. 

Prof. Indra Nath Choudhuri

He said, “The glory of mainstream literature rests not by marginalising oral literature but by accepting orality as complementary.” He asserted how classical writers like Patanjali and Bharathamuni recognised the role of orality. The writer also spoke on the role of Bhakti Movement in Indian literature. For him Indian modernism is not separated from past and future but continuity of residual and emerging era unlike the western idea of modernism. 

 

During his lecture, Prof. Choudhuri raised a crucial question- “Is Indian Literature singular, pluralistic or mutually inclusive?” The speaker, Prof. Indra Nath Choudhuri is a well-known litterateur, has engaged in academics, administration and cultural diplomacy. He has taught at many universities in the country and abroad. He is currently the president of Comparative Literature Association of India (CLAI).