Home and the World
A festival of films from South Asia
for IAMCR 2014 Hyderabad Conference
South-Asian-Film-FestivalIn considering Region as a framework for post-national sensibilities, we pay tribute to an early pan-nationalist figure, Rabindranath Tagore. In Tagore’s universe, the narrow and hard-edged definitions of ‘nation-state’, which had ridden piggyback into the anti-colonial struggles in Asia and Africa, were incompatible with a South Asian way of living and being. Interestingly, and rather ironically, two South Asian nations use songs penned by Tagore as their national anthem.
His 1916 novel, ‘The Home and the World’ was a story of ethno-religious violence wiping out communal harmony in the name of anti-colonial hostility. The novel was a plea to anti-colonial fighters to seek an alternative vision that can truly defeat colonialism without sacrificing universal human values of an inter-connected and inter-dependent universe. The growing calls we hear around us today for a futuristic regionalism necessitates that we revisit our post-national past within our region. But rather than opposing the views of the two geographic poles of North and South, the aim here is to synthesize multiple voices through a focus on what people really do.
The film festival focuses on four interlinked parameters in this endeavour: socially assigned gender roles, work and mobility, contested ideas of nations, and contested ideas of borders.
The domain of ‘home’ is often assigned to women, argued that it is for their own safety but also putting women in charge of an inner sanctum that must be protected from all evils of the ‘world.’ Women are often groomed as the Mother Nation – be it in the form of colonialism-defying Satis of British India or burka-clad suicide bombers of French Algeria. Masculinity, on the other hand, is time and again invoked in roles of Shivaite protector-destroyers. Amid these socially and culturally constructed gender norms, one must then choose, first, one’s everyday work which will define his or her personal being, and second, negotiate one’s political ideologies and border loyalties which will define his or her public affiliations.
The idea here is not to come up with rigid constructions of themes or subthemes but construct a dialectic that brings out something meaningful about regional sensibilities in South Asia and beyond.
Magic Lantern Movies
Dr. Mallika Shakya
Department of Sociology
Faculty of Social Sciences
South Asian University
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