SAARC FOLKLORE FESTIVAL-IV

Participation of performing artists from almost all parts of the region and especially from areas far flung, not easily reachable, of people who do not often venture out from their areas of habitation, made the Festival come vibrantly alive.

The performing troupes were taken to several other venues on all five days, where they entertained several thousand spectators, including students and people from all walks of life, getting them acquainted with the folk culture of the entire SAARC region.

The prominent public places where the troupes performed were:

• Central Park, Connaught Place
• Dilli Haat
• Jamia Millia University
• Delhi University
• The Press Club of India
• Lady Shri Ram College
• Gargi College
• Dayal Singh College
• Modern School
• Blue Bells School
• Ryan International School
• Academy of Fine Arts and Literature

The reassuring presence of several thousands of spectators on all the five days of vibrant performances all over Delhi, proved the keen interest of our people in folklore and its future survival.

SEMINAR ON SAARC FOLKLORE

Within the context of SAARC Folklore, the Seminar explored issues such as:

• Folklore: Inter-cultural and Intra-cultural Dimensions in SAARC Region
• Exploring the Soul of SAARC Region through its Oral Traditions of Folklore
• The Sacred and the Secular in Folklore
• Folklore and History

Dr. Jaya Jaitley sharing her experiences while addressing the Academic Seminar. On the stage : Dr. Molly Kaushal, Dr. Abhi Subedi from Nepal, Dr. J.P. Das, Dr. Malashri Lal, Dr. Ileana Citaristi

• Folklore and Myth
• Folklore and Contemporary Popular Culture
• Folklore in Contemporary Literature, Theatre and Cinema
• Research in Folklore: Methodological Issues
• The Politics of Folklore: Its Uses and Abuses
• Folklore in the Age of Post-Modernism.

The Participants included 59 Scholars, Folklorists, Historians, Artists, Writers, Sociologists, Anthropologists, and Social Activists, from all the SAARC countries, and scholars from Estonia and Finland and Norway, who have done Research on South Asian Folklore.

The eminent delegates who participated in the Conferences included : Dr. Ponnampalam Ragupathy from Norway; Prof. Ulo Valk from Estonia; Prof. Lauri Harvilahti from Finland; Dr. Afsar Rahbeen from Afghanistan; Prof. Mahbubul Haque, Prof. Maniruzzaman, Mr. Saymon Zakaria, Prof. Shamsuzzaman Khan, Prof. Syed Jamil Ahmed, Mr. Khademul Islam from Bangladesh; Prof. Abhi N. Subedi, Prof. C.M. Bandhu, Prof. Tulasi Diwasa from Nepal; Fouzia Saeed from Pakistan; Dr. Nihal Rodrigo, Prof. Chandrasiri Palliyaguruge, Mr. K.M.I. Swarnasinghe, Prof. Tissa Kariyawasam from Sri Lanka; Dr. Jawaharlal Handoo, Dr. Bhagwan Das Patel, Dr. Ganesh Narayan Devy, Prof. Kikkeri Narayan, Dr. Sitakant Mahapatra, Prof. K. Satachidanandan, Prof. Soumen Sen, Dr. Ileana Citaristi, Prof. Kapil Tiwari, Dr. D.P. Pattanayak, Prof. Kishore Kumar Bhattacharjee, Prof. Yashodhara Mishra, Dr. Malashri Lal, Prof. Roma Chatterjee, Prof. Mahendra Kumar Mishra, Dr. A.J. Thomas,

Prof. Molly Kaushal, Prof. Sylvanus Lamare, Dr. C. B. Pattanayak, Ms. Nilofar Suhrawardy, Prof. Sadhana Naithani, Prof. Simmi Malhotra, Dr. Susan Daniel, and Ms. Ajeet Cour from India.

Valedictory Session

The final day was a day of mixed feelings, a day to take stock as well as say goodbye. But that did not deter the participants from engaging with enthusiastic academic rigour in the Seminar.

The first session of the final day was Presided over by Dr. Khademul Islam from Bangladesh, and Dr. Tulasi Diwasa from Nepal was the Special Guest.

Dr. Khademul Islam, eminent senior journalist from Bangladesh and Literary Editor of ‘Daily Star’, addressing the Academic Seminar, in the Valedictory Session

Ajeet Cour, President FOSWAL, raised some pertinent questions to be deliberated by Folklore scholars, expressing profound concern for the dying languages and dying folk cultures. She raised several questions regarding the definition of culture and of Folk Culture, journying through the beginnings of History, to the present era of Globalization. Referring to the beautiful film, Where Green Ants Dream, she spoke of the clash between indigenous people, the tribals and the ‘adivasis’ and their lifestyle and the process of development. She urged that it is our duty to save the dreams and hopes of the marginalised groups. She concluded with an appeal to get together and come up with some concrete recommendations and strategies to save the dreams of the Green Ants.

The three day long Seminar ended with the Vote of Thanks by Prof. K. Satchidanandan, the Director of the SAARC Folklore Festival. Thanking all the participants and collaborators, Prof. K. Satchidanandan observed how seminal this first-ever seminar on SAARC Folklore Seminar had been, because this was just the beginning, launching of a great idea and a long-range campaign in the SAARC region, spearheaded by FOSWAL and other like-minded institutions in the region. He summed up the major ideas brought up in the papers and discussions, pointed to the gaps to be filled in the following seminars, and pointed to the relevance of the whole exercise in terms of people-to-people relationships in the region, and a subaltern understanding of local histories and traditions so vital for consolidating our resistance to capitalist culture industry, commodification of ethnic traditions and the cultural amnesia and forced standardisation brought about by the violent process of globalisation. He said that folklore can play a crucial role in forging a sisterhood of South Asian cultures oriented towards fighting the hegemony of global capital with its imperialist cultural designs meant to silence the culture of the masses.

In continuation of Ajeet Cour’s call for action, the eminent folklore scholars who were participating in the Seminar : Prof. Jawaharlal Handoo, Dr. Nihal Rodrigo, Prof. Abhi Subedi, Prof. K. Satchidanandan, Dr. Bhagwan Das Patel, along with Ajeet Cour, drafted a resolution which was unanimously passed. It was decided that this document would be signed by the Chairman of FOSWAL’s SAARC Folklore Festival, Mr. V. P. Singh, and forwarded to the various Governments of the SAARC nations and the SAARC Secretariat. The text of the resolution is reproduced