CULTURAL IDENTITY & IDEOLOGY - IV

COMMUNITY APPEARANCE & INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATIONS

TMYS Review March 2023

in collaboration with

                                                    

 

 

 

For the year 2022-23  TMYS Review is working on the theme of CULTURAL IDENTITY & IDEOLOGY. 

Under this context, TMYS Review March 2023 will explore the role of Community Appearance & Individual Presentations in shaping cultural identity and ideology, focussing on three sub-themes:

  1. Religious Identity and Freedom
  2. Clothes, Jewellery and Accessories
  3. Language and Provincial Narratives

 

Call for Submissions   

Stories, Poems and Essays on

COMMUNITY APPEARANCE & INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATIONS

Based on any of the three sub-themes defined above.

 

Selected contributions will be published into a paperback book in collaboration with

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

         A significant part of dressing styles, living practices and appearances forms unique cultural identities which are actually metaphors of communication. Choices, habits and practices of the people collectively or their personal responses to body size, shape and colour thus exert their belonging in the social environment surrounding their race, gender, sexuality, religion. Individuals choose their way of dressing based on comfort, conformity, sociability, decoration, insecurity, submissiveness, or economy (Rosenfeld & Plax, 1977). Clothes are not only objects which are worn on or around to enclose or envelop the body. Dresses, dressing sense, jewellery, accessories and the way individuals choose to present themselves, form the medium of ideologies at the micro as well as the macro level. The similarity in the choices of a group of individuals get transported to the world as the non-verbal communication of a community.

          In India, traditional attires mark the regional identities. Where Sarees are worn by women across the country, North Indians prefer to wear churidars and salwar kameez. Men generally wear pants, shirts, dhoti and kurtas. Assamese women wear mekhela chaddar and the North Eastern hill states have their own way of dressing. In South India, the half- sari is popular among women and white dhoti or colorful lungis can be seen as the desired attire of men. However, South Silk sarees are not only famous in the South but are famous in the worldwide. If South pride Kanjeevaram has kept its admirers enchanted till date Dhakai jamdani which is one of the finest handwoven silks, patterned saree of Bengal has been its glory since ages.

          Colours have different meanings across diverse cultures and religions. Colours are not only significant because they exert distinct meanings but they have been the symbols of community’s norms and beliefs, perceived ideologies of religion. Red has been associated with passion, love and patriotism world-wide, in most of the Asian communities, the colour red symbolizes good luck, good fortune and celebration. Asian brides often wear red on their wedding day. However, in Africa, red is the colour of mourning and in South Africa red represents violence. Saffron has been very significant for the Hindus. Moreover, the yellow colour has been seen as a symbol knowledge and learning. Lord Vishnu's dress is yellow symbolizing his representation of knowledge. Lord Krishna and Ganesha also wear yellow dresses. Green represents growth, evergreen nature and many Western cultures associate the colour green with luck, money and ecology. For Muslims, green is a colour of utmost importance as it is associated to Prophet Muhammed. When the colour white symbolizes purity, elegance, peace in the West, it is common for brides to choose to wear white for their wedding. But, in the East, however, white is the colour of mourning. In India, white, pale and off-beat colours are traditionally preferred by the widows.

          Since India is a conglomeration of different races and cultures, the pattern within is very dynamic as the derivatives become the “variables” that in turn affect the system and results differences based on the complexion. Caste, class, religion, region, gender and economics are a few of these variables.  Suiting the interest of the colonizers, India had been divided on the basis of the racial affiliations and cultural differences into Aryans and Dravidians. The skin colour has been the cause of the great Indian divide, ‘North and South dichotomy.’ In the context of the Aryan-Dravidian divide, Neha Mishra notes that, “there are references describing Aryans, the followers of Indra (who is the king of Deva’s), Agni (Goddess of Fire) and Soma had to fight against black people of India: the Dasyus.” (Mishra 729).

           India has the history of celebrating the complexion disparities where we can see the glorification of the dark-skinned Lord Krishna’s complexion which is similar to the freshly formed monsoon black clouds along with Radharani’s molten gold complexion.

           However, the common people do not restrict their judgements only to each other’s choices, circumstances, shapes or complexion defining the composite appearances. Added to these are the collaterals like body odour, the visible or perceived hygiene, age, marks on the skin and such-like. Practically, a lot is dependent on the comfort one feels at the sight of someone, the basis of comfort often being a result of severe conditioning imposed by family and peers.

            Fredric Jameson's characterization of all Third World literature as "national allegory" has been masterfully criticised by eminent critic and Marxist, Aijaz Ahmad by demolishing the First World characterization of nations like India collectively as the "Third World", and then proceeding towards investing the notion of the nation itself with a radical ideological value which post-structuralist discourse had sought to drain it off.

            The best part is that India is not a land of a one language but is a conglomeration of many. But the worst part is that, with this spark language debates based upon power equations. Often, epiphanies are arrived at by looking at the expression of writing and speaking process across years. Today, social media acts as a catalyst to further influence the interaction and understanding (sometimes conflicts too) between the users of various Indian languages. A converting process that has been helping global citizens with language diversity to understand each other’s perspective and be able to maintain a healthy communication is Translation. In the multicultural society, be it national (like in India) or global, translation has been promoting growth, carrying, transferring ideologies and discourses of indigenous literature and wisdom not only to strengthen the shared fervour but also showcasing the rich and varied cultural ethos to the global audience.

             TMYS Review March 2023 aims at exploring the role of  “Community Appearance & Personal Presentations of Individuals” in shaping Cultural Identity and Ideology, adhering to the below mentioned sub-themes:

  1. Religious Identity and Freedom.
  2. Clothes, Jewellery and Accessories.
  3. Language and Provincial Narratives.

 

Under the scope of the project, we will organize PANEL DISCUSSIONS (topics listed below) with senior scholars, professors, researchers, authors, journalists and other professionals who have worked extensively on such contexts falling under the three sub-themes listed above and have minutely studied their history, culture, occurrence, circumstances and more. This project endeavours to add to the existing body of study materials on this subject.

 

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT:

1. Youth engagement with a network of entities that have researched or contributed towards exposing the hidden and/or understanding the complicated dimensions of the theme (and sub-themes).

2. To curate critical insights for global learning and inspiration on the social, political and personal dynamics of Individual and Collective Appearance shaping Cultural Identity & Ideology.

3. Invite attention towards the historical and contemporary practices that have influenced generations, impacted the society, the economy, the present and future of countries. 

 

THE PROJECT ARCHITECTURE:

1. TMYS Review March 2023 invites essays, short stories or poems on the mentioned theme; the submission must cater to one of the sub-themes.

2. Solo and panel discussions on the sub-themes will be hosted live on TMYS social media.  

Please scroll below for DIGITAL CONVERSATIONS for the titles and the delegate speakers.

3. Submissions citing one or more discussions from the DIGITAL CONVERSATION/S for information and inputs will carry additional weightage.

4.  A selection of short stories, essays and poems will be published in TMYS Review March 2023. The issue will be available in ebook and paperback formats across the world, distributed via Amazon.

5. Three winning contributions will receive a Certificate of Excellence from the collaborating body.

 

THE DIGITAL CONVERSATIONS

TMYS Facebook LIVE with global thought-leaders. Topics are listed below.

 

(I) RELIGIOUS IDENTITY AND FREEDOM.

1. RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION AND WOMEN'S PERSONAL SPACE.The practices and impact of covering women's faces under various religious faith.

Delegate Speakers:  Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan

Date & Time: TBD

2.  TANTRIK, OJHA, FAKIRS OFFERING MEDICAL RELIEF & SALVATION.

Negotiating cultural memory, religion and psychological fears to understand the fabric of faith-based traditions.

Delegate Speakers:

Date & Time: TBD

3. PRESERVING THE REPOSITORY OF INDIGENOUS CULTURE AND RELIGION. 

Remembering the untold story of vanishing tribes.

Delegate Speakers: Ananya Dutta Gupta

Date & Time: TBD

4.  ROLE OF RELIGION AND CUSTOMS IN CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.

Leveraging the power of religion to protect and conserve nature, wildlife and ecosystem.

Delegate Speakers: Anway Mukhopadhyay Roger S. Gottlieb Ashish Kothari Adrian Martin

Date & Time: TBD

5.  RITUALS SYMBOLISING MARRIED WOMEN ACROSS RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES. 

Impact and significance of wedding symbols on women's choice and freedom.

Delegate Speakers: Eak Prasad Duwadi

Date & Time: TBD

6.  SUFI SONGS AND BHAJANS: THE RELIGIOUS ICONOGRAPHY IN BOLLYWOOD.

Celebrating the spirit of God by transgressing religious identities of composers and audience.

Delegate Speakers:

Date & Time: TBD

 

(II). CLOTHES, JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES.

1. HISTORY OF INDIAN CLOTHES AND JEWELLERIES

Functional and aesthetical qualities of clothes and jewelleries with specific reference to Indian history.

Delegate Speakers: 

Date & Time: TBD

2.  EMERGING TRENDS IN CONVENIENCE DRESSING

Preferences with respect to occupation, geographical location, festivals or workplace.

Delegate Speakers: Nithyaprakash Venkatasamy Vaibbhavi Pruthviraj Ranavaade 

Date & Time: TBD

3.  MODERN JEWELLERIES V/S TRADITIONAL JEWELLERIES

From handmade to technology enabled, the shift in the emotional bonding with jewellery.

Delegate Speakers: Sylvia Raha Nantia Koulidou Maarten Versteeg

Date & Time: TBD

4.  EVOLUTION OF MEN'S ACCESSORIES

Fashion v/s function and inspiration from women's accessories.

Delegate Speakers:

Date & Time: TBD

5.  MULTICULTURALISM IN CLOTHING AND JEWELLERY

Foreign influences on Indian clothing styles, jewellery and vice versa.

Delegate Speakers: Parul Bhatnagar  Maria Angela Jansen

Date & Time: TBD

6.  UNISEX CLOTHES AND EMERGING TRENDS IN SELF GROOMING

Popularity of gender-neutral beauty products, clothes, styling and service providers.

Delegate Speakers: Lisa M. McLaughlin Benilde Reis

Date & Time: TBD

 

(III.)  LANGUAGE AND PROVINCIAL NARRATIVES.

1. PORTRAYAL OF HYBRIDITY AND OTHERNESS IN INDIAN MYTHOLOGY

Relooking at the descriptions of women and the third gender in Indian Mythology.

Delegate Speakers:  Lavanya Vemsani Jeffery D. Long  Anuja Chandramouli

Date & Time: TBD

2.  SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE NEW LANGUAGE

An exploration of new terms, jargons and slangs popularised by social media.

Delegate Speakers: 

Date & Time: TBD

3.  FEMININE, FEMINIST AND FEMALE LANGUAGE

An evolution of women’s writing and expression over the years.

Delegate Speakers: Ranjita Biswas  Sumana Roy Debali Mookerjea-Leonard

Date & Time: TBD

4.  BORROWING, MIXING AND NATURALISING LANGUAGE

An analysis of loanwords and colloquial terms in languages across the world.

Delegate Speakers: 

Date & Time: TBD

5.  LANGUAGE AND SEXISM

Sexist and derogatory slurs across languages.

Delegate Speakers: Rakhshanda Jalil Kiran Manral

Date & Time: TBD

6.  WOMEN’S LANGUAGE OF REBELLION

Real-life stories of women’s protests through activism and symbolism.

Delegate Speaker:  Malashri Lal

Date & Time: TBD

 

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SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

 

1. TMYS Review invites short stories, poems or essays on the above-mentioned theme. All submissions to TMYS Review that do not follow the guidelines will be rejected.

2. The submissions MUST justify either or more of the sub-themes mentioned above. The content doesn't need to restrict to Indian situations. We welcome contributions on and from other parts of the world.

3. Selected submissions will be published in TMYS Review March 2023.  Last date of submission: 31 December 2023.The issue will be available in ebook and paperback formats across the world, distributed via Amazon.

4. The contributors are free to refer to our digital conversations with the delegates (details above). At the end of the submission files, the citation must mention the referred talks if consulted.

(Submissions with such citations will carry greater weightage for selection/recognition.)

5. The short stories could be fiction or nonfiction, 1200-2000 words.

The essays should be 2500-3000 words. Submission upto 5 poems will be accepted against each registration.

6. A participation fee of INR 300/- (USD 5 for contributors outside India) will be charged per contribution. 

 

 

PROJECT TEAM

 

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