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Comparative
Literature and
Culture
Amiya Dev
Name: Bhavyata Kukadiya
Roll No: 4
Sid Number : 4069206420220018
Email:bhavyatakukadiya@gmail.com
Date :12th January 2024
Sem: 4
Paper Name: 208 Comparative Literature & Translation Studies
Paper Code :22415
Smt S.B Gardi ,Department of English, M.K.B.U.
Name: Avani Jani
Roll No: 3
Sid Number : 4069206420220014
Email: avanijani.18@gmail.com
Academic Information
Table of Contents
1. Abstract
2. Key Points
3. Key Arguments
4. Analysis of Arguments
5. Conclusion
6. References Cited
Abstract
- Amiya Dev bases his discussion on the fact that India has many languages and literatures, representing diversity.
- Speaking of an "Indian literature" in the singular is problematic due to this diversity.
- However, speaking of Indian literatures in the plural also overlooks or obscures interrelations and affinities.
- The article compares the unity and diversity theses regarding Indian literature.
- It identifies the relationship between Indian commonality and differences as the prime site of comparative literature in India.
- Dev surveys current scholarly positions on unity and diversity in Indian literature.
- He examines post-structuralist doubts about homogenizing differences in the name of unity.
- The article looks at the search for common denominators and patterns of togetherness.
- Dev underlines located inter-Indian reception as an aspect of interliterariness.
- He perceives Indian literature not as a fixed entity but an ongoing, interliterary process.
Key Points
1. India has immense linguistic diversity with many languages and literatures, raising questions around whether there is an "Indian
literature" in the singular or many "Indian literatures" in the plural. The author argues that both perspectives are problematic and
instead proposes viewing Indian literature as an interliterary process.
2. The article discusses the opposing perspectives of unity vs diversity when it comes to Indian literature. The unity perspective sees
Indian literature as one overarching category, while the diversity view sees distinct, separate literary traditions.
3. The author criticizes Indian poststructuralism for over-emphasizing theory to the exclusion of practical application and for not
recognizing that difference-speaking in India may be distinct from the West. He argues Indian theorists must consider the situs or site
and location of theory.
4. The article proposes viewing Indian literature through the framework of interliterariness, meaning the interactions and connections
between different Indian literary traditions over time. This avoids constructing a simplistic singular "Indian literature" while also not
neglecting commonalities.
5. The notion of an "English" archive of Indian literature is critiqued, as is the attempt to create a canon of texts translated into English
as representing Indian literature. The author sees flaws and biases in these approaches.
6. The article discusses Sisir Kumar Das's comparative historical project tracing connections across Indian literary traditions over time.
This project is seen as avoiding the extremes of Indian literature as either unified or totally diverse/discrete.
Key Arguments
● Indian literature should not be seen as a singular, homogeneous category of "Indian literature", but rather
as comprising many diverse "Indian literatures" in the plural. He critiques perspectives that gloss over the
diversity and distinctness of the many languages and literary cultures in India.
● It is problematic to view the literatures of India as entirely separate and disconnected. There are
meaningful interrelations, affinities, and interactions between Indian languages and literatures over time.
So the diversity should not preclude recognizing some "Indian commonality."
● Dev argues for an "interliterary" approach to studying Indian literatures, focusing on literary interactions,
reception, overlaps thematic movements across Indian languages over time. This allows appreciating both
the diversity as well as "a pattern of commonality" in a dialectical way. The study of Indian literatures
reveals an ongoing interliterary process rather than a fixed unity or distinct literatures.
1. Gurbhagat Singh:
● He critiques the French, American and Goethean approaches to comparative literature as inadequate for
dealing with Indian diversity. Instead he proposes "differential multilogue" as a comparative approach that
celebrates difference.
Major arguments of Amiya dev in the article :
● He sees the poststructuralist suspicion of the label "Indian literature" as valid, since centralizing such a
concept leads to accumulation of power. Decentralization and context are key.
2. Jaydev:
● Jaidev critiques contemporary Indian fiction for exhibiting trends of "existentialist aestheticism." As an
alternative, he puts forth an argument for a "cultural differential approach" for appreciating diversity
without homogenization.
● Jaidev argues against the 20th century overhaul towards narratives of homogeneity or fixed unity,
undermining the fluidity and multiplicities sustaining the conceptions of "Indian literature" over
centuries. His differential approach attempts to preserve this diversity while also identifying unifying
threads in the pre-modern interliterary landscape.
3.Aijaz Ahmad:
● He states that while European and African literatures have some historical common denominators
beyond just geography, Indianness in the "Indian literature" archive ultimately proves limited compared
to the differential literature in each of the 22 recognized languages.
● His main concern is with the hegemony of constructing a unified "Indian literature" which overrides the
individual identities of the different Indian literatures. He resists the nation-state oriented identity
construction embedded in this notion.
Analysis of Arguments
Amiya Dev:
● He rejects the notion of a singular "Indian literature" and instead argues for referring to
"literatures produced in India" in the plural. He sees the concept of one unified Indian literature
as promoting an unhealthy nationalist identity.
● Indian literatures should be viewed as diverse literatures in an ongoing interliterary process and
dialectical relationship, rather than either a homogenous national "Indian literature" or entirely
separate regional literatures.
● In other words, Dev argues against viewing Indian literatures as either a singular unity or an absolute
diversity. Instead, he advocates for an interliterary approach that recognizes the plurality of distinct
Indian literary cultures and languages, while also appreciating the meaningful interconnections,
interactions, influences and reception between these literatures over historical time. This allows for
acknowledging both diversity as well as some Indian commonality in a nuanced way.
● His proposition is to move beyond binaries and appreciate the diversity, uniqueness as well as
interrelationships between languages and literatures in India through interliterary processing and a
systemic dialectical view spanning history. The key is to understand Indian literatures as a continual,
dynamic and complex process of intersecting literatures rather than discrete categories.
Gurbhagat Singh
● As a relativist, Singh believes Indian literatures have both linguistic and cultural singularities that
should be respected. He accords value to difference rather than unity.
● He critiques the French, American and Goethean approaches to comparative literature as inadequate
for dealing with Indian diversity. Instead he proposes "differential multilogue" as a comparative
approach that celebrates difference.
● His differential multilogue concept moves beyond dialogue to insist on engaging with the plurality of
distinct voices/logoi in Indian literatures without sacrificing their individual identities.
● He sees the poststructuralist suspicion of the label "Indian literature" as valid, since centralizing such
a concept leads to accumulation of power. Decentralization and context are key.
● For Singh, the notion of difference should not disallow interliterary interactions across Indian
languages/cultures. But such interactions should be bottom-up rather than imposed from centralized
authorities.
● He suggests that resistance to "Indian literature" as a category emerges from how certain
languages/literary cultures have been marginalized or subordinated in that national project.
Celebrating difference is thus in part a reaction to such power hierarchies.
Jaidev
● Jaidev critiques contemporary Indian fiction for exhibiting trends of "existentialist
aestheticism." As an alternative, he puts forth an argument for a "cultural differential
approach" for appreciating diversity without homogenization.
● His notion of "oneness" does not endorse a routine or stereotypical view of a unitary
Indian national culture. Rather, Jaidev acknowledges particular commonalities and
continuity in expressions across Indian literary cultures - such as multilingualism,
diverse genres, similar social themes, emphasis on orality traditions.
● However, Jaidev roots these commonalities in literary periods prior to modernity and
warnings of an artificial "oneness" tied to contemporary nation-state construction.
Hence the need for a differential approach.
● Jaidev argues against the 20th century overhaul towards narratives of homogeneity
or fixed unity, undermining the fluidity and multiplicities sustaining the conceptions of
"Indian literature" over centuries. His differential approach attempts to preserve this
diversity while also identifying unifying threads in the pre-modern interliterary
landscape.
Aijaz Ahmad
● He rejects the analogy between "Indian literature" and "European literature", arguing that while
"European literature" is at best an umbrella designation and at worst a pedagogical construct, "Indian
literature" is seen as a fixed, classifiable entity.
● He argues against the notion of an "Indian literature syndicate" that suggests an unsatisfactory
aggregation and homogenization of the diverse literatures of India.
● He states that while European and African literatures have some historical common denominators beyond
just geography, Indianness in the "Indian literature" archive ultimately proves limited compared to the
differential literature in each of the 22 recognized languages.
● He argues that the "Indian" archive of literature does not constitute one archive but rather 22 different
archives that do not aggregate into a whole.
● His main concern is with the hegemony of constructing a unified "Indian literature" which overrides the
individual identities of the different Indian literatures. Ahmad resists the homogenizing drive in the
concept of "Indian literature" which papers over the diversity of literatures produced in different Indian
languages and cultures. He argues for recognizing this diversity rather than constructing a homogeneous
national literature.
Other Key Arguments:
● Indian literature should be viewed as an ongoing, evolving "interliterary process" rather
than either a singular "Indian literature" or absolutely separate "Indian literatures".
● The notion of an "English archive" of texts representing Indian literature reflects colonial
biases and impositions.
● Sisir Kumar Das's historical examination of interconnections across Indian literary
traditions offers a productive model, avoiding extremes of forcing singular unity or absolute
diversity.
● Indian literature should be seen as a fluid, dynamic process always in the state of remaking
itself, rather than any stable, fixed entity.
● Indian comparatists should start by striving to understand India's own complex literary
context before making broad theories.
● The comparative literature framework allows recognizing both the diversity of Indian
literatures and their shared historical experiences over time.
Conclusion
To sum it up, the article explores different ideas about Indian literature. It suggests that
thinking of it as one big category or many separate ones has its problems. Instead, the
author proposes seeing it as a continuous interaction among different literary traditions.
Scholars like Gurbhagat Singh, Jaidev, and Aijaz Ahmad argue against simplifying Indian
literature. They emphasize celebrating differences and resisting the concentration of
power in labels like "Indian literature."
The article highlights the need to avoid fixed categories, promoting an understanding of
Indian literature as an ever-changing process. It criticizes biased approaches like the
"English archive" and applauds balanced models like Sisir Kumar Das's project.
In the end, the key takeaway is to appreciate the complexity of Indian literature,
value diverse voices, and understand its ongoing evolution. Embracing this
complexity allows us to truly grasp the rich and dynamic nature of Indian literary
traditions.
References Cited
Ahmad, Aijaz. "'Indian Literature': Notes towards the Definition of a Category." In Theory: Classes,
Nations,
Literatures. Aijaz Ahmad. London: Verso, 1992.
Das, Sisir Kumar. A History of Indian Literature. Vol 1: 1800-1910: Western Impact / Indian Response.
New
Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1991.
Dev, Amiya. “Comparative Literature in India.” vol. 2, 2000, https://doi.org/10.7771/1481-4374.1093.
Jaidev. The Culture of Pastiche: Existential Aestheticism in the Contemporary Hindi Novel. Simla:
Indian
Institute of Advanced Study, 1993.
Singh, Gurbhagat. "Differential Multilogue: Comparative Literature and National Literatures."
Differential
Multilogue: Comparative Literature and National Literatures. Ed. Gurbhagat Singh. Delhi: Ajanta
Publications, 1991. 11-19.
Thank you!

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Comparative Literature in India by Amiya dev.pptx

  • 2. Name: Bhavyata Kukadiya Roll No: 4 Sid Number : 4069206420220018 Email:bhavyatakukadiya@gmail.com Date :12th January 2024 Sem: 4 Paper Name: 208 Comparative Literature & Translation Studies Paper Code :22415 Smt S.B Gardi ,Department of English, M.K.B.U. Name: Avani Jani Roll No: 3 Sid Number : 4069206420220014 Email: avanijani.18@gmail.com Academic Information
  • 3. Table of Contents 1. Abstract 2. Key Points 3. Key Arguments 4. Analysis of Arguments 5. Conclusion 6. References Cited
  • 4. Abstract - Amiya Dev bases his discussion on the fact that India has many languages and literatures, representing diversity. - Speaking of an "Indian literature" in the singular is problematic due to this diversity. - However, speaking of Indian literatures in the plural also overlooks or obscures interrelations and affinities. - The article compares the unity and diversity theses regarding Indian literature. - It identifies the relationship between Indian commonality and differences as the prime site of comparative literature in India. - Dev surveys current scholarly positions on unity and diversity in Indian literature. - He examines post-structuralist doubts about homogenizing differences in the name of unity. - The article looks at the search for common denominators and patterns of togetherness. - Dev underlines located inter-Indian reception as an aspect of interliterariness. - He perceives Indian literature not as a fixed entity but an ongoing, interliterary process.
  • 5. Key Points 1. India has immense linguistic diversity with many languages and literatures, raising questions around whether there is an "Indian literature" in the singular or many "Indian literatures" in the plural. The author argues that both perspectives are problematic and instead proposes viewing Indian literature as an interliterary process. 2. The article discusses the opposing perspectives of unity vs diversity when it comes to Indian literature. The unity perspective sees Indian literature as one overarching category, while the diversity view sees distinct, separate literary traditions. 3. The author criticizes Indian poststructuralism for over-emphasizing theory to the exclusion of practical application and for not recognizing that difference-speaking in India may be distinct from the West. He argues Indian theorists must consider the situs or site and location of theory. 4. The article proposes viewing Indian literature through the framework of interliterariness, meaning the interactions and connections between different Indian literary traditions over time. This avoids constructing a simplistic singular "Indian literature" while also not neglecting commonalities. 5. The notion of an "English" archive of Indian literature is critiqued, as is the attempt to create a canon of texts translated into English as representing Indian literature. The author sees flaws and biases in these approaches. 6. The article discusses Sisir Kumar Das's comparative historical project tracing connections across Indian literary traditions over time. This project is seen as avoiding the extremes of Indian literature as either unified or totally diverse/discrete.
  • 6. Key Arguments ● Indian literature should not be seen as a singular, homogeneous category of "Indian literature", but rather as comprising many diverse "Indian literatures" in the plural. He critiques perspectives that gloss over the diversity and distinctness of the many languages and literary cultures in India. ● It is problematic to view the literatures of India as entirely separate and disconnected. There are meaningful interrelations, affinities, and interactions between Indian languages and literatures over time. So the diversity should not preclude recognizing some "Indian commonality." ● Dev argues for an "interliterary" approach to studying Indian literatures, focusing on literary interactions, reception, overlaps thematic movements across Indian languages over time. This allows appreciating both the diversity as well as "a pattern of commonality" in a dialectical way. The study of Indian literatures reveals an ongoing interliterary process rather than a fixed unity or distinct literatures. 1. Gurbhagat Singh: ● He critiques the French, American and Goethean approaches to comparative literature as inadequate for dealing with Indian diversity. Instead he proposes "differential multilogue" as a comparative approach that celebrates difference. Major arguments of Amiya dev in the article :
  • 7. ● He sees the poststructuralist suspicion of the label "Indian literature" as valid, since centralizing such a concept leads to accumulation of power. Decentralization and context are key. 2. Jaydev: ● Jaidev critiques contemporary Indian fiction for exhibiting trends of "existentialist aestheticism." As an alternative, he puts forth an argument for a "cultural differential approach" for appreciating diversity without homogenization. ● Jaidev argues against the 20th century overhaul towards narratives of homogeneity or fixed unity, undermining the fluidity and multiplicities sustaining the conceptions of "Indian literature" over centuries. His differential approach attempts to preserve this diversity while also identifying unifying threads in the pre-modern interliterary landscape. 3.Aijaz Ahmad: ● He states that while European and African literatures have some historical common denominators beyond just geography, Indianness in the "Indian literature" archive ultimately proves limited compared to the differential literature in each of the 22 recognized languages. ● His main concern is with the hegemony of constructing a unified "Indian literature" which overrides the individual identities of the different Indian literatures. He resists the nation-state oriented identity construction embedded in this notion.
  • 8. Analysis of Arguments Amiya Dev: ● He rejects the notion of a singular "Indian literature" and instead argues for referring to "literatures produced in India" in the plural. He sees the concept of one unified Indian literature as promoting an unhealthy nationalist identity. ● Indian literatures should be viewed as diverse literatures in an ongoing interliterary process and dialectical relationship, rather than either a homogenous national "Indian literature" or entirely separate regional literatures. ● In other words, Dev argues against viewing Indian literatures as either a singular unity or an absolute diversity. Instead, he advocates for an interliterary approach that recognizes the plurality of distinct Indian literary cultures and languages, while also appreciating the meaningful interconnections, interactions, influences and reception between these literatures over historical time. This allows for acknowledging both diversity as well as some Indian commonality in a nuanced way. ● His proposition is to move beyond binaries and appreciate the diversity, uniqueness as well as interrelationships between languages and literatures in India through interliterary processing and a systemic dialectical view spanning history. The key is to understand Indian literatures as a continual, dynamic and complex process of intersecting literatures rather than discrete categories.
  • 9. Gurbhagat Singh ● As a relativist, Singh believes Indian literatures have both linguistic and cultural singularities that should be respected. He accords value to difference rather than unity. ● He critiques the French, American and Goethean approaches to comparative literature as inadequate for dealing with Indian diversity. Instead he proposes "differential multilogue" as a comparative approach that celebrates difference. ● His differential multilogue concept moves beyond dialogue to insist on engaging with the plurality of distinct voices/logoi in Indian literatures without sacrificing their individual identities. ● He sees the poststructuralist suspicion of the label "Indian literature" as valid, since centralizing such a concept leads to accumulation of power. Decentralization and context are key. ● For Singh, the notion of difference should not disallow interliterary interactions across Indian languages/cultures. But such interactions should be bottom-up rather than imposed from centralized authorities. ● He suggests that resistance to "Indian literature" as a category emerges from how certain languages/literary cultures have been marginalized or subordinated in that national project. Celebrating difference is thus in part a reaction to such power hierarchies.
  • 10. Jaidev ● Jaidev critiques contemporary Indian fiction for exhibiting trends of "existentialist aestheticism." As an alternative, he puts forth an argument for a "cultural differential approach" for appreciating diversity without homogenization. ● His notion of "oneness" does not endorse a routine or stereotypical view of a unitary Indian national culture. Rather, Jaidev acknowledges particular commonalities and continuity in expressions across Indian literary cultures - such as multilingualism, diverse genres, similar social themes, emphasis on orality traditions. ● However, Jaidev roots these commonalities in literary periods prior to modernity and warnings of an artificial "oneness" tied to contemporary nation-state construction. Hence the need for a differential approach. ● Jaidev argues against the 20th century overhaul towards narratives of homogeneity or fixed unity, undermining the fluidity and multiplicities sustaining the conceptions of "Indian literature" over centuries. His differential approach attempts to preserve this diversity while also identifying unifying threads in the pre-modern interliterary landscape.
  • 11. Aijaz Ahmad ● He rejects the analogy between "Indian literature" and "European literature", arguing that while "European literature" is at best an umbrella designation and at worst a pedagogical construct, "Indian literature" is seen as a fixed, classifiable entity. ● He argues against the notion of an "Indian literature syndicate" that suggests an unsatisfactory aggregation and homogenization of the diverse literatures of India. ● He states that while European and African literatures have some historical common denominators beyond just geography, Indianness in the "Indian literature" archive ultimately proves limited compared to the differential literature in each of the 22 recognized languages. ● He argues that the "Indian" archive of literature does not constitute one archive but rather 22 different archives that do not aggregate into a whole. ● His main concern is with the hegemony of constructing a unified "Indian literature" which overrides the individual identities of the different Indian literatures. Ahmad resists the homogenizing drive in the concept of "Indian literature" which papers over the diversity of literatures produced in different Indian languages and cultures. He argues for recognizing this diversity rather than constructing a homogeneous national literature.
  • 12. Other Key Arguments: ● Indian literature should be viewed as an ongoing, evolving "interliterary process" rather than either a singular "Indian literature" or absolutely separate "Indian literatures". ● The notion of an "English archive" of texts representing Indian literature reflects colonial biases and impositions. ● Sisir Kumar Das's historical examination of interconnections across Indian literary traditions offers a productive model, avoiding extremes of forcing singular unity or absolute diversity. ● Indian literature should be seen as a fluid, dynamic process always in the state of remaking itself, rather than any stable, fixed entity. ● Indian comparatists should start by striving to understand India's own complex literary context before making broad theories. ● The comparative literature framework allows recognizing both the diversity of Indian literatures and their shared historical experiences over time.
  • 13. Conclusion To sum it up, the article explores different ideas about Indian literature. It suggests that thinking of it as one big category or many separate ones has its problems. Instead, the author proposes seeing it as a continuous interaction among different literary traditions. Scholars like Gurbhagat Singh, Jaidev, and Aijaz Ahmad argue against simplifying Indian literature. They emphasize celebrating differences and resisting the concentration of power in labels like "Indian literature." The article highlights the need to avoid fixed categories, promoting an understanding of Indian literature as an ever-changing process. It criticizes biased approaches like the "English archive" and applauds balanced models like Sisir Kumar Das's project. In the end, the key takeaway is to appreciate the complexity of Indian literature, value diverse voices, and understand its ongoing evolution. Embracing this complexity allows us to truly grasp the rich and dynamic nature of Indian literary traditions.
  • 14. References Cited Ahmad, Aijaz. "'Indian Literature': Notes towards the Definition of a Category." In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures. Aijaz Ahmad. London: Verso, 1992. Das, Sisir Kumar. A History of Indian Literature. Vol 1: 1800-1910: Western Impact / Indian Response. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1991. Dev, Amiya. “Comparative Literature in India.” vol. 2, 2000, https://doi.org/10.7771/1481-4374.1093. Jaidev. The Culture of Pastiche: Existential Aestheticism in the Contemporary Hindi Novel. Simla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 1993. Singh, Gurbhagat. "Differential Multilogue: Comparative Literature and National Literatures." Differential Multilogue: Comparative Literature and National Literatures. Ed. Gurbhagat Singh. Delhi: Ajanta Publications, 1991. 11-19.