Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary – or, as commonly called, Shakespeare Quadricentennial – was celebrated the world over in 2016. For any English department, the Quadricentennial signalled a commemoration of a befitting stature. Our Department of English & CLS, Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat responded by organizing an International Seminar on the theme “William Shakespeare Worldwide” (4 – 6 Feb., 2017) to explore how Shakespeare as a cultural icon has been received, adapted, appropriated and theoretically responded and negotiated in multiple ways within India and beyond.
The academic year 2016-17 is also the Golden Jubilee year of Saurashtra University. The University encouraged and financially assisted all its departments to organise significant academic/cultural events in its Golden Jubilee year. The event was partially sponsored by the Alumni Association of the Department and also got a generous support from the Suraksha Setu wing, a project forging a bond of trust between the police and the public initiated by the Home Department of Gujarat. The Commissioner of Police, Rajkot City, Mr. Anupam Singh Gehlot took a special interest in the Seminar and was a revered guest at the Inauguration. Our Department thus became only the second English department in the entire State of Gujarat to commemorate the Quadricentennial of the Bard in a remarkable way, the statistics of which will validate the grandeur of this event.
The Keynote Address was offered by Professor Avadhesh Kumar Singh, renowned scholar and academician and the founder and perennial mentor of the Department and presently a Professor with the School of Translation Studies and Training, IGNOU, New Delhi.
There were five Plenary Speakers:
A) Professor Rupin Desai – Former Professor at Delhi University and a renowned Shakespeare scholar with more than half a century of experience of teaching (including delivering seminal talks/lectures), writing and directing Shakespearean works. He delivered his talk on “The Greave-digger in Hamlet as the First Postmodernist in Social, Cultural and Literary History”.
B) Professor Sukanta Chaudhuri – Former Professor at Jadavpur University and a renowned Shakespeare scholar and Special Guest Editor of The Shakespearean International Year Book(12th Section: Shakespeare in India). He delivered his talk on “How Shakespeare became Shakespeare”.
C) Professor Prashant Sinha: Former Professor at the University of Pune and a renowned scholar of British and American Drama. He delivered his talk on “Shakespeare in Love: How to View the “Dark Lady” of the Sonnets?”
D) Dr. Poonam Trivedi: Former Associate Professor at Delhi University and a renowned scholar of adaptations and appropriations of Shakespeare in Indian Cinema; author of India’s Shakespeare: Translation, Interpretation and Performance, and of the Routledge Studies in Shakespeare. She delivered her talk on Shakespeare in Indian Cinemas with a special emphasis on Bollywood.
E) Dr. Mahesh Champaklal, former Professor at the Faculty of Performing Arts, M.S. University, Baroda and a renowned scholar of Shakespearean adaptations in the Gujarati theatre. He delivered his Plenary talk in the area of his specialization.
There were 12 parallel sessions of paper reading with more than 60 scholarly papers read.
Among other significant scholars attending and chairing sessions in the Seminar were Professor Balaji Ranganathan (CUG), Professor Tapas Chakraborty (NGU), Dr. Mukta Mahajan (North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon) and Dr. Jyoti Bajaj (DU).
The Seminar was coordinated by Professor Kamal Mehta who was ably assisted by the organising team comprising of the faculty members as well as some alumni of the Department.
Wishes and Regards,
Dept. of English & CLS,