Wednesday, March 15, 2017
The 16th International MELOW Conference on "Facts, Distortions and Erasures: Literature as History; History in Literature" was held in Chandigarh from 3-5 March 2017. It was attended by approximately 125 delegates. A total of 102 speakers presented papers in 27 different sessions.
Among the international delegates who attended the conference were Manuel Broncano from Texas, Mukesh Williams, Kaoru Kinoshita and Ui Teramoto from Japan, and a few international Ph.D. Scholars.
In the inaugural session Manpreet Kang—Jt. Secretary—welcomed the delegates, Manju Jaidka—the Secretary—gave a brief outline of the history of MELOW, Anil Raina—the President of MELOW—delivered the presidential address, and Vijay Sharma—the Vice-President—gave the vote of thanks.
The Keynote Address was delivered by Prof. Manuel Broncano on "Master Narratives, Grand Narratives, Meta Narratives and the Apocrypha: Some Preliminary Considerations on the Relations between History and Literature." He focused on the classic Don Quixote and how the text is related to the historical situation prevalent in those times.
The Isaac Sequeira Memorial Special lecture was delivered by Prof. R. W. Desai who spoke on "The Rape of Lucrece as a Conspectus of the Rise of Parliamentary Democracy in Tudor England," a subject closely linked to the literature-history theme of the conference.
There were four plenary sessions in all while the rest were parallel sessions. The various sessions of the conference were chaired by Anita Sharma, Ashu Vashisht, Brajesh Sawney, Debarati Bandyopadhyay, Dipankar Purkayastha, Jyoti Desai, K.B Razdan, Kaoru Kinoshita, Manpreet Kang, Manuel Broncano, Mukesh Williams, Namrata Nistandra, Natasha Williams Vashisht, Neela Sarkar, Nilakshi Roy, R.W Desai, Radha Gautam, Ranjita Pati, Roshan Sharma, Rimika Singhvi, Suneeta Patnayak, T.N. Dhar, and Vijay Sharma.
In the penultimate session Certificates were distributed to all the participants by K.B. Razdan, the senior most member in the gathering, and by Brajesh Sawhney from Kurukshetra University.
The General Body Meeting of MELOW was held at the end of the conference. The audited accounts of MELOW were presented to the house and passed unanimously. The chief office bearers interacted with the members, invited observations and suggestions on further activities of the Society.
Several important issues were discussed and the following decisions were taken:
1. The thrust of the Society is World Literature, so an effort has to be made in all future conferences that a balance is maintained in the papers that are presented. In the past few conferences the tendency of members is to send abstracts on just one category (Indian literatures) ignoring the rest of “world literature.” This has to be rectified and balance is to be restored.
2. The academic standard of papers needs further improvement. It was suggested that full papers should be invited before the conference so that they may be scrutinized and quality be maintained.
3. An effort should be made to bring in more members from the Southern and Western states which are under-represented. Further, international linkages need to be strengthened and there should be greater participation of delegates from abroad.
4. The venue for the next MELOW Conference was discussed. Roshan Sharma from Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala, offered to host the next conference on his campus after a discussion with his Vice-Chancellor. Further details will be worked out in the weeks that follow.
5. The tentative theme for the next conference was discussed. The Executive Committee will further discuss the matter online, draw up a Conference call and circulate the same in due course.
6. The MELOW Journal, MEJO, will be edited by Manpreet Kang. Articles will be selected and published in the online journal and also on Kindle in a paperback form.
7. All participants interested in submitting their conference paper for possible publication need to send in the final paper by a date to be announced. The papers will follow the latest (8th) MLA Handbook. Further guidelines will be circulated by Manpreet Kang.
8. Changes were made in the Executive body of MELOW. Dipankar Purkayastha and Radha Gautam were added in place of Ashis Sengupta and R.G. Kulkarni. Suneeta Patnayak was also added to the executive council
The updated list of Office Bearers is as follows:
President: Prof Anil Raina (Chandigarh)
Vice-President: Dr Vijay Sharma (Delhi)
Secretary: Prof Manju Jaidka (Chandigarh)
Jt. Secretary: Prof Manpreet Kaur (Delhi)
Treasurer: Dr Meenu Gupta (Chandigarh)
1. Prof Sushila Singh (Varanasi)
2. Prof Dipankar Purkayastha (Silchar)
3. Prof Debarati Bandopadhyay (Santiniketan)
4. Prof Ravichandran (Kanpur)
5. Dr Roshan Sharma (Dharamshala)
6. Dr Seema Bhupendra (Udaipur)
7. Dr Neela Sarkar (Kolkata)
8. Dr Jyoti Mishra (Chattisgarh)
9. Dr Vandhana Sharma (Jammu)
10. Dr Suneeta Patnayak (Chandigarh)
11. Dr Radha Gautam (Surat)
Giorgio Mariani (University of Sapienza, Rome, Italy)
Shirley Geok Lim (University of California, SantaBarbara)
Rajeshwari Pandharipande (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA)
Mukesh Williams (Soka University, Japan)
Pawel Jędrzejko (University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland)