India Studies | Issues in India Culture & Society - Theatre of Life: Indian Culture
I303 | 29144 | Dr. Ananda Lal


This course introduces the culture of India through the work of some
of her most famous writers and through the medium of performing arts.
The texts chosen offer a student the widest possible exposure
historically, geographically and linguistically: from classical
Sanskrit of the “Golden Age” to contemporary English in 2003; from
rural Rajasthan and Manipur to urban Delhi and Chennai; in Urdu and
Bengali, Marathi and Tamil. The readings (all in English translation)
represent both the living continuity and rich diversity of Indian
literature and performance. They span classics by Kalidasa, Tagore,
Vijay Tendulkar, Habib Tanvir and others. In each case, the author has
taken traditional stories or situations and reinterpreted them
according to urgent concerns. Specific themes covered include gender,
environment, political protest, spiritual quest, religious violence,
collective folk consciousness, and regional separatism.

The instructor will be Ananda Lal, Professor of English at Jadavpur
University, Kolkata, and a Senior Fulbright Fellow for the fall
semester at Indiana University. He is India's leading theatre scholar,
and editor of the pioneering Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre. He
has four other books to his name, on Rabindranath Tagore, Shakespeare,
and Indian theatre, as well as two CDs. He has contributed to many
international reference works for publishers like Oxford, Routledge,
Websters and Macmillan, including the Encarta Encyclopedia. He is also
an accomplished translator, theatre director, media personality, arts
commentator, and theatre critic for a leading national daily.