Sunday, 29 May 2011

Vanashree's Bio

Academic  and Professional Position

Teaching Experience of 27 years; courses Taught in Pre PhD, MA and BA : Contemporary Literary Theory: Feminism, Post-Colonialism, Post-Modernism, Indian Drama in Translation, Indian Literature in English, Women’s literature, Shakespearean Drama and Criticism, Theory of Fiction, Modern British and American Fiction

Fulbright Teaching Fellow: As a teaching Faculty, Department of English George Washington University, taught: Postcolonial Literature, Subaltern Studies and Indian Drama.

Editor, Research and Criticism (New Delhi:  Pencraft Publication)


Areas of Specialization

Contemporary  theories of Literature and Culture with special reference to Post colonial Women’s Studies, Subaltern Studies, Modern British and American Fiction and Drama, Shakespearean-Criticism, Modern and contemporary Indian Drama in English, Indian writing in Translation

Awards and Recognition

  • Awarded Fulbright University Visiting Lecturer Fellowship to teach Post Colonial Literature in 2008-09 at the Department of English, George Washington University, Washington DC 
  • Visiting Associate in Institute of Advance Studies, Shimla, 1998, 1999 and 2001
  • Research Associate, Jawaharlal Nehru University, 1995-1999
  • Senior Fellow Indo-American Centre for Studies 1999. 
  • Indo-American Centre for Studies, Middle award 1989 and 1991



  • Twentieth Century American Fiction: T. S. Eliot’s Children (Includes Introduction and an article: “Quest for Mystic Enlightenment in Salinger’s Nine Stories and Eliot’s The Waste Land”), Vanashree and Sukhbir Singh (eds.), New Delhi: B.R. Publishers, 2006.
  • Poetics & Culture: Three Plays of Girish Karnad.  Vanashree, New Delhi: Prestige, 2004, includes nine articles by the author).
  • Antony and Cleopatra   (Introduction of 40 pages, Annotations and Essays) Vanashree Tripathy (ed.), New Delhi: Worldview, 2000 
  • Feminine Consciousness in Katherine Anne Porter, New Delhi: Associated Publishers, 1991
  • Art of Fiction in Katherine Anne Porter, Varanasi: Rama Brothers, 1990 

Books in Progress

  • Imaginary of Magic and Witchcraft in India: A Feminist Study
  • Narratives of Indian Peasantry  

Research Papers

1.“Writing Rural Poverty: Hori of Premchand in Shrilal Shukla’s Hori aur Unnis Sau Chourasi” (“Hori and1984”), South Asian Review (University of Pittsburg) Vol.34 No.1, 2013. 

2. “Witchcraft, Pain Resistance and the Ceremony of Punishment” published in Sage   Journal of Gender Studies Vol. 17. 2- May-August, 2010, New Delhi: Sage, has been ranked 15th by the journal in the list of “most read papers” of the decade 2001 -2010. See 

3. “Hori and the Dynamics of Injustice: Mahasweta Devi’s Water”, published in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLV, No.41, Oct.09, 2010. 

4. “Shrilal Shukla: An Aesthete and a Visionary” in Indian Literature” ( Sahitya Akademi), Shrilal Shukla: An Aesthete and a Visionary”, Vol. 56, No.2, March -April 2012.

5. “Predatory Intents and Pornographic Messages: Tendulkar, Writing Orient” Indian Literature, (Sahitya Akademi), Vol. 49, No. 4, June- July 2010.

 6. “History in Performance: Cultural Activism in the plays of Girish Karnad”. Theatre and Democracy, Journal of ISTR, Vol. 21, 2006-07. 

7.”Geography of Scars and History of Wounds: Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice Candy Man,” Novels of Partition (Anthology).  Ed. R.K. Dhawan, New Delhi: Prestige, 2003.

8.  “.Pahala Girmitia:  Gandhi’s Rite of Passage (A Review Article on Giriraj Kishore’s novel, Pahla Girmitia)” Seminar, October   2001.

9. “Charlotte Perkin Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper: A Gynograph”, IJAS, Vol.30,   1999.

10.Initiation to Experience: Male/Female Consciousness in Sara Orne Jewett’s “The White Heron”, Vol. 12, IJAS, 1995. 

11. “Frantz Fanon: Locating Culture”, Mainstream, April 21, 2001.

12. “Counter Ideology in Hemingway and Heidegger’s Dasein”. Literature and Ideology,   Sukhbir Singh (ed.), New Delhi: B.R. Publication, 2000.

13. “Mythology of Landscape: Short- Fiction of Ruskin Bond. Contemporary Indian Fiction (Anthology), R.S. Sharma (eds.), New Delhi:  B.R. Publication, 2000.

14. Quest for Enlightenment and Indian Mystic Thought: The Waste Land and Salinger’s Nine Stories, Aligarh Critical Miscellany, Vol. III, 1999

15.“Quest for New Narratives: Nadine Gordimer, Margaret Atwood, Fay Weldon, and Suneeti Namjoshi.” Panjab University Journal, Vol. 31, No.3, 1999.

16. “The Ceremony of Sorrow: Bharati Mukherjee’s “Management of Grief,” Indian Journal of English Studies, Vol. 37, 1998-99.

17. “Urge for Autonomy, Eco- Feminism, the Movements of Innocence and Experience in Chitra Divakaruni’s The Bats,” Critical Practice, Vol. VI, No. 2, June 19989

18. “Echoes of Oedipus Rex in Joyce’s Ulysses”, Critical Studies, Volume 9, No. 3-4, 1998

19. “Interiority and Dark Labyrinths: Gothicism in Emily Dickinson,” Panjab University Journal, Vol. II August, 1997

20. “Rhetoric of Otherness: Roberts Frost and the Wilderness,” Evaluation, Volume 6, No. 2, 1997

21. “The Backyard and the Dark Corner of History: Bapsi Sidhwa’s The Ice Candy Man”,   Panjab University Journal, Volume 21, No. 1-2, 1996

22. “Self Appropriation, Fabulation and Play of Meaning in Ibsen, Chekov, Strindberg and Albee”. Aligarh Critical Miscellany, Vol. II, 1995.

23. “Political Unconscious in Albee’s The Zoo Story and Death of Bessie Smith”, ASRC Seminar Proceedings on Class, Race & Gender, Hyderabad: ASRC, 1993.

24. “New Historicism: Strategies of Reading,” Indian Response to Contemporary Critical  Theories.  R S Pathak (ed.), New Delhi: Prestige, 1993. 

25.  “Polysemy at the Dead End: Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel”. Recent Indian Novel in English, R. S. Pathak (ed.), New Delhi: Prestige, 1993.

26."Language Consciousness in Heidegger, Camus and Hemingway", Aligarh Journal of English Studies, Volume 17, No. 1-2 (1995), 97-104; Also published in  Critical Half Yearly, Volume 2, No. 1-2, 1993. 

27."Bi-polar Self Reflexivity and Illusions of Transcendence: James Joyce's Ulysses"   Aligarh Journal of English Studies, Vol. 30, No. 3 (1990).

28. “Tennyson’s Ulysses: A Stylistic Interpretation”, Panjab University Journal, Vol.13,        No.2, 1989. 

29. “Modern Western Language Consciousness and Indian Philosophy of      Language”,    Prajna, (A Journal of Banaras Hindu University) 1989.

 30. “The Divided Self: Feminine Consciousness in Penelope Mortimer’s The Pumpkin Eaters,” Criticism & Research”, Vol.8, 1987-88.

31. “Samuel Beckett & the Aesthetics of   Being: A Reading of ‘All That Fall’, The Aligarh Journal of English Studies, Vol.12, N0.2, 1987.

Select Reviews and Translations

  • Poetics and Politics of Suphism and Bhakti Movement in Indian Literature, Vol 62, No. 3, 2013.
  • “Hori and 1984” Translation of Shrilal Shukla’s Hori aur Unnis Sau Chourasi, published in Indian Literature, Vol.56, No.2, 2012.
  • A Review of Sans ki Kalam Se (An anthology of Short Stories by Dharamveer Bharti), Pashyanti, October 2001.
  • Review of Naya Anahad, published in Pashyanti, August 2001.
  • Translation of Rilke’s Ten Selected Poems, Pashyanti, July 2000, pp.43-45.
  • “Quest beyond History, beyond Self: Poetry of Charusheel Singh,” Literary Criticism, 1990, pp 61-63.
  • “Amartya Sen Ka Argumentative Indian”, Pashyanti, March-May, 2005.

Supervision of PhD Dissertations

1. Writing India: Salman Rushdie and V. S. Naipaul, 2011 
2. Subaltern Experience in Mahasweta Devi’s Writings: 2011
3. Narratives of Counterpointing: Suniti Namjoshi, Fay Weldon and Alice Munroe, 2011 
4.Partition and the Women Writers: (Attia Hossain, Bapsi Sidhwa, Amrita Pritam, Qurratulain Hyder, Mumtaz Shah Nawaz, Krishna Sobti, Ismat Chughtai, , 2011
5. Quest for Narrative freedom in the Fiction of Margaret Atwood and Margaret Drabble, 2006
6.  A Study of Dramatic Modes in the plays of Wole Soyinka and Girish Karnad, 2003
7. Gothic imagination in the short stories of Joyce Carole Oates, 2000
8. Hero as a Cultural Archetype in Modern American fiction, 1999
9. Psychoanalytical Study of Lillian Hellman’s Plays, 1994
10. Edward Albee and the Theatre of Aggression, 1993
11. Politics and Women in the Works of Nayantara Sahagal, 1991
12. Comic Imagination in Kingsley Amis and Evelyn Waugh, 1991

Ongoing Research Supervision

1. David Lodge and the Novels of Academia, 2011-

2. Dyotima’s Daughters: Specter of Dyotima in the Late Twentieth Century Feminist Thought, 2013

Membership and Activities in Professional Association

       1. Indian Society for Theatre Research.
       2. Abhinava Gupta Theatre Group.
       3. Indian Association for Canadian Studies.
       4. Indian Society for Commonwealth Studies
       5. Indian Institute of American Studies.
       6. Indian Association of English Studies

Education: MA, PhD from the University of Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, India

Poetics & Culture: Three Plays of Girish Karnad. New Delhi: Prestige, 2005

Poetics & Culture: Three Plays of Girish Karnad. New Delhi: Prestige, 2005
This book critically examines Girish Karnad's concern with Indian drama as a sustained and cumulative tradition– that has since ages invoked the intellectual, religious, spiritual, sexual, political and democratic aspects of Indian civilization. A Repertory of diverse art forms, histories and myths lend revolutionary energy to his portrayal of contemporary experiential realities. The introductory discussion and a close reading of the three plays, Hayavadana, Tale-Danda and The Fire and the Rain, testify to the playwrights’ growth from being a radical exponent of the post-colonial drama to a consummate theorist. The book contains following Chapters:       
  1. Hayavadana: Towards Forging an Indian Theatre
  2. Padmini and Multilayered Social Messages in Hayavadana
  3. Play of Meaning in Hayavadana
  4. Rasa Pratiti (Experience)in Karnad’s Plays
  5. Tale-Danda: A Thesis Play on the Evils of
  6. Varnashram (Caste System)
  7. Tale-Danda: The Saint, the Protégé and the King’s Men
  8. Matrix of Gender Identity: History in Tale-Danda
  9. The Fire and the Rain: Myth, Aesthetics of Drama and the Contemporary World
  10. The Fire and the Rain: A Complete Theatre Experience
  11. The Fire and the Rain: A Tragedy of Desires

Witchcraft, Pain Resistance and the Ceremony of Punishment

Witchcraft, Pain Resistance and the Ceremony of Punishment” published in Sage Journal of Gender Studies Vol. 17. 2- May-August, 2010, New Delhi

Witchcraft accusation is an issue beyond historical recollection and yet it does not figure in the public sphere. Branding a woman Daayan or Chodail has been the most common practice in rural India.  This paper’s engagement with Mahashweta Devi’s play, Bayen intends to provide a searching analysis of the mechanism of witchcraft accusations in India. How the accused is seen in possession of uncanny gaze by which she bewitches her unfortunate victim, how the mob violence condemning her is seen in terms of popular justice, how literate or illiterate people seek a scapegoat in the accused; someone they could blame for their misfortune.  The fact that it also gets the sanction of women  along with men belonging to the same community does not rule out  that it is gendered since  most accused are women. Invoking several narratives of violence and torture upon the body of women accused of practicing witchcraft and in closely analyzing Bayen, the study probes the way spectacle of torture and exclusion is performed as the ceremony of punishment recalling Arendt’s and Foucault’s understanding of the psychology of crowd power and the relationship between power and surveillance.  In this context it also  goes on to debate the identity categories in which subaltern and gendered subjectivity are assumed to speak and discovers in the Post colonial feminist frame of reference the psychic identity of the gendered subaltern as varied, contingent, and capable of showing modes of resistance. In spite of deranged illusions, and dehumanisation, Devi’s Chandidasi survives emotional and physical devastation rendering claims of power and control, discipline and punishment doubtful.

Hori and the Dynamics of Injustice: Mahasweta Devi’s Water

2. “Hori and the Dynamics of Injustice: Mahasweta Devi’s Water has been published in the October 9, 2010 issue of Economic and Political Weekly (see TOI India Program: Web:

In numerous reports and narratives of agrarian crises and of the despondent peasant from Kanyakumari to Vidharbha, from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh, and from Bihar to West Bengal, in varied persona, Premchanda’s Hori of Godan (1935) survives as an iconic figure of Indian peasantry.  Mahasweta Devi’s story/play, Water (1972) written during the period of nascent Naxal insurgency may be read historically as the ongoing sequel to Hori’s elegiac tale down the ages. Invoking several texts and political contexts, the article explores the interweaving of the dynamics of rural poverty with the machinations of the local landed elite in collusion with local village officials and the police. It proceeds to find in the very recent development program, Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA) in much larger magnitude, a telling analogue of Devi’s story in the way intermediaries, fixers, and sidekicks performed ingenious forms of frauds and corruption. Devi’s rural Bengal in Water represents the endemic disarray of Indian rural poor at large. The exploited subaltern men and women despite deprivation are vigorous and not passive, sensible and caring, suppressed and yet practical, capable of showing the urge towards claiming agency and authority for themselves.

Predatory Intents and Pornographic Messages: Tendulkar, Writing Orient

Predatory Intents and Pornographic Messages: Tendulkar, Writing Orient” published in Indian Literature, June- July 2010 (Sahitya Akademi).

The article attempts a contrapuntal reading of Vijay Tendulkar’s Ghashiram Kotwal.  Said describes it as the way of reading the texts so as to reveal their deep implication in imperialism and the colonial processes. Ghashiram Kotwal situates the gaze of the would be colonizer (in the pre- colonial times) as a dramatic strategy of beholding the scenario of excess—voyeuristic pleasure-seeking and senseless violence – as characteristic features of the  orient India  from the lens of British Imperialism.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The book in progress, Narratives of Peasantry: Culture and Crisis

 The book in progress, Narratives of Peasantry: Culture and Crisis

The book reads in a number of story narratives, mostly non canonical, in Hindi and regional Indian languages (translated into Hindi) and  dealing with rural India, astute understanding of the complex structural processes operating in the  colonial, colonial, post-colonial and the contemporary times that constituted and normalized certain forms of cultures and politics--expressions of subalternity.  As locations of the subaltern, the narratives of Phanishwarnath Renu, Uma Shankar Joshi, Pannalal Patel, Prabhas Kumar Choudhary, Mahasweta Devi, Shrilal Shukla, Markandeya, Shilendra Ranjan, Tarachand Viyogi, Damoder Dutta Dixit, Subhash Kushwaha, Harnot and several others not  only articulate the daily struggle of billions of small and middle level peasant families for subsistence but also reveal their intense urge for better lives amidst the growing disarray of the agricultural sector in a world fast changing. We find  revealed  to us the contingencies and difficulties of farming,  the dynamics of chronic poverty, usury, bank and credit, landlessness, tenancy, inept educational facilities, unimplemented development programs, large scale corruption and oppression-- exacerbated by caste discrimination and electoral concerns, crises in job prospects, mass migration, dearth of medical care, addiction etc. Reading them with reference to the relevant discourses, contexts and concurrently various reports and debates enable us to figure out how the gradual disintegration of peasantry in India is implicated in the politics of tradition, democracy as well as capitalism.