The Subversive and the Subaltern in Bhakti Poetry in India
Number of Sessions: 5
Principal Teacher: Dr. Sridhar Rajeswaran
About the course:
Bhakti Poetry, simply put is a poem that is a devotion to God. The Bhagavad Gita (“Song of God,” fifth to second century BCE) was the first text to use the term bhakti to designate a religious path. The word bhakti derives from the Sanskrit root bhaj, meaning “to share, to possess,” and bhakti poetry is an intense way of sharing in the divine.
Having said this, Bhakti poetry does something larger. It was a movement that sought to engage directly with the biases and prejudices that so permeated in the society of the times. It had its focus on basic human dignity but the verse had the power and knowledge to foreground the right to indwell in spaces, personal, private, public and the larger national. It accommodated people irrespective of caste creed or gender. It grew exponentially in the course of four to five centuries. It was subversive and empowered the subaltern.
This course of 5 sessions of an hour and a half each, shall begin with introducing Bhakti poetry in the context of what it stood for and how essential it is to our own ways of life and what it has taught us.
About the Resource Person:
Prof.Dr. Sridhar Rajeswaran is a Visiting Professor of Humanities at the Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, University of Mumbai and Department of Atomic Energy. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the CoHaB IDC Constructions of Home and Belonging Indian Diaspora Centre, University of Mumbai. He is Global Faculty at the Fairleigh Dickinson University, NJ, USA. He has studied at the Universities of Madras and Bombay. His doctoral work dealt with postcolonial perspectives on the poetry of W.B. Yeats. His postdoctoral areas of research are Modernist Poetry, Modern Indian Drama, Postcolonial Studies and Studies of the Indian Diaspora in Literature and films.