December 27, 2015

Call for Papers : (E)razed Chapters: Remembering the Tales of Mourning Carnage ’84

Call for Papers

(E)razed Chapters:
Remembering the Tales of Mourning
Carnage ’84

Editor: Ishmeet Kaur

In 1984, the capital city Delhi along with some other major cities nation-wide, like Bokaro and Kanpur witnessed four days of violence against the Sikh populations residing in them. The carnage was a consequence of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. The situation in Delhi and in many places across India was no less than a civil war as Sikhs were being identified and killed by the mob. Post violence, anger towards the Sikh community was visible as the assassinators were the Sikh bodyguards, but thousands of those who were killed during the violence have not received legal justice till date.
The historical analysis reveals the political strategies by the governing party that led to uncontrollable and undesirable militant activities prevalent during early 80’s in Punjab and how this was converted into a communal discourse that led to the black listing of the Sikh Community. Historical similarity is visible in the communal tension during 1947 and that in 1984. The victims of ’84, who had witness ’47 could relate very closely to events of ’47 during ’84.
Thirty-one years down the line, it becomes important to voice the experiences of the victims. The main focus of the study is to address concerns of the present generations and the impact of the carnage on their life. Every human being has a right to live a decent living. Unfortunately, the impact of the events of a day pushed the Sikh community into corners as an “othered” minority. A visit to Tilak Vihar widow’s colony brings to fore the everyday struggle of the new generations, issues of rehabilitation, unemployment, drug addiction and criminal tendencies which is an outcome of the traumatic impact of the psyche of the victims and their families.
The three decades following ’84 Carnage, have been years of silence regarding the event. Very few writers, critics, poets and dramatists have written on the subject. 1947 partition also witnessed similar silence regarding the violence but for a decade. In the following years, 1960 onwards witnessed a never-ending flow of writings, renderings, discussions, representations and various forms of expressions through TV serials, films, creative writing and academic research. On the other hand, 1984 carnage has met a distinct muting on the subject, may be due to political involvement or because of the gruesome nature of violence.
Institutionally, at all fronts, be it legal, political, religious or social, the subject has met little representation but huge censorship and deliberated muting. On the legal front, thousands of cases have been lying pending in the Indian courts for all these years. Not a single victim has been given any justice.
It becomes important to revisit such incidences so that they don’t get repeated again to people of any community what so ever. Such incidences are shameful blots on the nation and its people but the impact extends universally to all human beings. Thus, the silences need to be broken and common concern for human rights be voiced.

Aim and Objective:

The objective of the project is to prepare an anthology of writings related to the ’84 pogrom. Some works (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and journalistic writings) are available, they are not sufficient. The project shall anthologize works already available in English, regional languages and translation in English, and invite new writings in several genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, and autobiography and life-narratives) by writers, critics and victims of the violence.
The novelty of the anthology will be that there would be a section on life –narratives where oral histories of the victims shall be transcribed after being recorded having visited the Widows colony in Tilak Vihar, New Delhi. Also, a section on photographs would be included. These photographs shall be those which are already available and also new photos of the present condition of the widow’s colonies. Moreover, duly acknowledged news items related to the coverage of the event published in regional languages and in newspapers of different countries shall be included.
The project aims to study in detail the historical, political and literary aspects around Carnage ’84. Ironically, with the changing times, the dynamics of the aforesaid structure has undergone immense transformation. The community has felt threatened and suffered at the hands of its own people and from the ones to whom they provided security in the past. Moreover, there is a sense of utter betrayal since there was a complete breakdown of machinery and institutional structure.

Contributions may be submitted on any of the following sub-themes related to Carnage’84
i. Censorship and Deliberated Muting
ii. Narrating Violence
iii. Humiliation: Violence, Looting and Rape
iv. Contested Bodies and Psychic Influences
v. Recording the Silences
vi. Fear Psychosis and the Scare
vii. Identity-Markers and the Ma(r)king
viii. Democracy and Minority Rights
ix. Legal Justice and Majority Impact
x. Revisiting the Experience of Trauma
xi. The Survivor’s Guilt
xii. Recovering from the Trauma: Memory and Amnesia
xiii. After-Experience: Returning and Recovering
xiv. Overcoming and Hope
xv. Rewriting the Past: Significance and Limitations
xvi. Testimonials and Documentation: Formal Evidence v/s Real Experiences
xvii. Reviving the History: Revisiting Partition through the Carnage
xviii. Archiving the Records: Relevance, Importance and Limitations
xix. Media and Depiction of Violence
xx. Cinematic (mis)representation of the Violence and Trauma
Contributions may be submitted in form of prose, poetry, short stories, plays, life-narrative, interviews, oral-histories, any other experimental/creative forms of writing the experience. (Word limit may vary)
Critical papers may be limited to 5000 words.
Visual and Graphic representations may be photographs or scanned paintings, duly acknowledged.
Translations in English may be submitted along with the permission of the writer or publisher with the full papers. Details of original source may be provided with the abstract. The original source shall be printed along with the Translation.
Newspaper Coverage: News items published preferably in regional languages translated into English may be retrieved from archives (older newspapers) and may be submitted for reprinting. Contributions from News items related to the event published in archived newspapers abroad (in different countries) may be submitted. These submissions should acknowledge the source.
Contributions may be emailed to projectcarnage84@gmail.com
Important Dates:
Submission of Abstracts (500 words) : 1st Feb, 2016
Acceptance of Abstracts : 15th March, 2016
Submission of Final Papers/ Contributions : 1st Sept, 2016
Expected month of publication of the anthology : Dec, 2017

Note: The anthology is an outcome of a project supported by Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar.
Bio-note of the Editor:
Dr Ishmeet Kaur is an Assistant Professor of English in the Centre for English Studies at Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar. She has 12 years of teaching experience. Her latest works have been on issues related to violence, its after-effect and matters of representation. She has been involved in recording the women’s experiences largely with respect to literature from/ of the margins.
At present she is actively engaged in a project on “(E)razed Chapters: Remembering the Tales of Mourning Carnage ’84” funded by Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar. She has been working on Literatures from the Margins, Post-colonial Studies, Australian Literature and Sikh Studies. Along with the main stream Australian Literature, she has ventured into Indigenous studies of Australia and India.

She has been continuously translating women’s experiences from Punjabi into English and from English into Punjabi. She has translated works of Bushra Ezaj, Pakistani writer Just Before the Dream (2011) and Veena Verma, Punjabi Diasporic writer’s short stories from Punjabi into English (published in Indian Literature: A Journal by Sahitya Akademy); and Australian Aboriginal writer Jeanine Leane’s book Dark Secrets: After Dreaming (AD)1887--1961 from English into Punjabi (2014). She has lately published an edited volume on Patrick White, Patrick White: Critical Issues, 2014. She has several articles in various books and Journals.

At CUG, she has been engaged in teaching courses such as Marginality and Literature, Nation and Literature, Indian Literature, Translation Studies and Research Methods and is the Co-ordinator for Writing Skills Enhancement Project. She is also an Associate at IIAS, Shimla.