Living and dead in the shifting shadows of place-names
Ravi Nandan Singh
Assistant Professor, Sociology, Hindu College, University of Delhi.
Friday, 3rd March, 2017
Venue: Seminar Room (First Floor),Department of Sociology, University of Delhi
In this paper I take up the question of the city, Banaras, in its contemporaneity, approaching it through the lens of its several names viz. Kashi, Benares, Varanasi, Banaras. Place-names become pointers of certain marked features, in this case, say of celestial luminosity and good death but beyond and beneath this signalling there lies the infinite world of events, practises, habits, associations, experiences and subjectivity with which such names get adjoined over time. I focus on this latter aspect to discern how and in what circumstances place-names, condensed as they are with such overwhelming intimacy, both enliven and deaden possible conditions of life: of people, of deities and of things. In particular, how are the stakes re-enacted when such names are declared socially dead or are made non-utterable (as in the instance of a new or alternative place-name) through officious means or everyday parlance of ‘sayings’ and ‘stories’ ? The presentation will draw from three sets of textual sources, different in style and intent, that comprise popular, historical, and anthropological projections of the city.
About the Speaker
Ravi Nandan Singh is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Hindu College, University of Delhi.