Thursday, 11 August 2022

Pleasure of Dissecting the Text

(University with Potential for Excellence)
Re-accredited by NAAC with A++ in the 4th cycle
MADURAI - 625 021

Refresher Course  in English on the theme of Pleasure of Dissecting the Text: The Poetics of Literary Theories and Criticism in English

The Past, the Present and the Future of Dissecting Literary Texts: From Moral Philosophical Approach to Digital Humanities

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Academic Writing

Introduction to Academic Writing


Certificate Course on Advanced Academic Writing for Students in English Studies

Introductory Video:

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Memorabilia 2022

Memorabilia 2022 

Click here to download or view Memorabilia 2022

The Memorabilia 2022 released by Dr. Kaushik Bhatt and Prof. Dilip Barad

Video recording of the Annual Function - 9 April 2022

Video recording of the Farewell Function - 9 April 2022

From the Desk of the Head of the Department . . .

This passing out batch, i.e., 2020-22 will go in the annals as ‘the Corona Batch’. Among several disruptions #Covid19 pandemic brought in, the disruption to education system is of a curious kind. On one hand it gave ample opportunities to explore new dimensions in online pedagogy, while on the other hand it made us realize several vital pedagogical issues, which were, hitherto, taken as granted.

The benefits of teaching this batch were innumerable. Right from the beginning, it was challenging to build a rapport with students as students have never visited department or teachers, personally. To bridge this gap, we tried our best to make teaching as interesting and engaging as possible. And hence, we have to ‘revisit & relearn’ pedagogy of teaching in online remote mode. We also have to try our hands at new technologies like OBS, Live Streaming, Video Recording, Learning Glass, Video Conferencing etc. It was not only to use these technologies but also to make it effective and engaging for learners. Going down the memory lane of screenshots taken during first week of teaching this batch was a good memory to see how it all began. The Google Class & the Group were introduced in live video conferencing session – and OBS was used to make it engaging. The learning glass was also used to see that the teaching does not become dull and boring. The first two pictures in the below given collage-pyramid are telling this story. However, the story of disruption does not end here. The other side of the story, the students’ side, had also been of great learning importance.

The students story told from the perspective of teacher has a few significant aspects. The teacher expects curiosity in the eyes of the students. This curiosity is what is driving force for the teacher. Well, in this remote emergency, if there is one very challenging thing, it was to feel the curiosity in the eyes of the students. As most of the students keep their camera’s off, it was not possible to see even normal gestures, forget the curiosity in the eyes. Somehow, it was very difficult to make it understand students that keeping camera on while attending the sessions is necessary. A few students were able to understand this. These students were like oasis in the desert. These students who kept their cameras own while attending the online sessions were such a great relief in the troubling and chaotic situation. Among the few students who understood this, three students deserve special mention. Daya, Nidhi and Riddhi – they were the most consistent in regularly attending the sessions with camera on. We, the teachers, expect to have similar students, in troubling times, wherein one can experience if the attempts made for engaging the learners are materializing or not. The bottom picture of the screenshot-pyramid (given above) is the evidence of this. Such a participation by students in remote teaching is very crucial.

The number of students in this Corona Batch was also considerably low than normal class strength. That was like a double whammy. One, virtual existence of all of us and on it, low number. Some may say it is good. Easy to manage! Well, yes, that’s true but we wanted to do lots of activities. Without good number of participations from equally good number of students, it is difficult to carry on the show. We believe, education is not only completing syllabus and the routine academic rigor. It is all about participating in co-curricular, extra-curricular activities like reading papers in seminars, publishing research papers, participating in cultural and sports events. It is not to say that there was complete stand-still to all these activities. However, it reduced drastically in this passing out batch 2020-22. Even with all these limitations of second wave of corona pandemic and lockdowns of academic institutes and activities not happening as such, our students have participated in around 40 events. Have a look at the chart in Memorabilia 2022 – page number 138/139. In spite of reasonably good participation in the troubling time, we were not able to get laurels and accolades. Except for FIRST positions by Riddhi Bhatt in Essay Writing and Khushbu Lakhupota in Research Paper Writing competitions, the participation did not yield desired result. Apart from this sorry state of affairs, even use of library substantially reduced during this year. Normally, all students have their library card and keep on visiting library occasionally to exchange books. This time, several students did not open an account with University Central Library. To add to this sorry state of affairs, several students’ committees remained ineffective or inactive. This is a great lesson to remembered. This is an example of why education is not only completing syllabus. When the students are not able to have physical gatherings in an academic institute, there are innumerable life-skills which are not acquired. Yes, some are genius and they do not require such training or orientation. Nevertheless, we need to build an environment wherein all these life-skills are acquired without much effort. We are unhappy to see that many talented students are passing out without brushing up their talent, many committee leaders are passing out without learning leadership skills, many are passing out without getting the finishing fine touch of our Department of English.

It is not to be concluded that all was dark and dull. We have seen amazing participation from Kishan, Latta, and Sneha in various events. Apart from Daya, Nidhi & Riddhi, Latta & Khushboo have displayed an amazing development in their performances from first to the last semester. Chandani, Sneha, Jignesh, Bhavyang, Pina & Aditi were also very good and performed as expected. Hiral and Nandita are talented but somehow, they were not able explore their potential during the studies. Bhumika, Anjali & Stuti are also good in several things but were not able to perform as per their capacities. You all have incredible spart within yourself. Had there been no corona pandemic, we would surely have been able to fire it and see the sparkles that you all are capable of.

With a sense of pastness, we are all supposed to look forward towards future. Bygone is bygone. No one can amend the past. But future is still in our hand, in our control. From the pandemic year we learn to be ready for whatsoever befall on us. Without giving an iota of doubt or an inch of hesitation, we shall be ready to live life it all its fullest capacity.

On behalf of Department of English, MKBU, I wish you all a great future.

Let yourself metamorphose into something so beautiful that we feel proud to say that ‘s/he is our student’.                                                   ~ Dilip Barad 

Monday, 14 March 2022

Teachers Tool Kit

 Being Teacher in Digital Age | Tools for Teacher Toolkit

The Presentation can be viewed here - Click here

Video Recording of the Online Session

National Education Policy | Technology in Education

Screenshots of the  event:

Friday, 18 February 2022

Indian Poetics

Rasa Theory:

According to an entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 

rasa, (Sanskrit: “essence,” “taste,” or “flavour,” literally “sap” or “juice”) Indian concept of aesthetic flavour, an essential element of any work of visual, literary, or performing art that can only be suggested, not described. It is a kind of contemplative abstraction in which the inwardness of human feelings suffuses the surrounding world of embodied forms.

The theory of rasa is attributed to Bharata, a sage-priest who may have lived sometime between the 1st century BCE and the 3rd century CE. It was developed by the rhetorician and philosopher Abhinavagupta (c. 1000), who applied it to all varieties of theatre and poetry. The principal human feelings, according to Bharata, are delight, laughter, sorrow, anger, energy, fear, disgust, heroism, and astonishment, all of which may be recast in contemplative form as the various rasas: erotic, comic, pathetic, furious, heroic, terrible, odious, marvelous, and quietistic. These rasacomprise the components of aesthetic experience. The power to taste rasa is a reward for merit in some previous existence.

Rasas are created by bhavas the state of mind.
The rasa theory has a dedicated section (Chapter 6) in the Sanskrit text Natya Shastra, an ancient scripture from the 1st millennium BCE attributed to Bharata Muni. However, its most complete exposition in drama, songs and other performance arts is found in the works of the Kashmiri Shaivite philosopher Abhinavagupta (c. 1000 CE), demonstrating the persistence of a long-standing aesthetic tradition of ancient India. According to the Rasa theory of the Natya Shastra, entertainment is a desired effect of performance arts but not the primary goal, and the primary goal is to transport the audience into another parallel reality, full of wonder and bliss, where they experience the essence of their own consciousness, and reflect on spiritual and moral questions.
Although the concept of rasa is fundamental to many forms of Indian arts including dancemusic, theatre, painting, sculpture, and literature, the interpretation and implementation of a particular rasa differs between different styles and schools (Wikipedia Rasa).
The word rasa appears in ancient Vedic literature. In Rigveda, it connotes a liquid, an extract and flavor. In Atharvaveda, rasa in many contexts means "taste", and also the sense of "the sap of grain". According to Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe – a professor of Drama, rasa in the Upanishads refers to the "essence, self-luminous consciousness, quintessence" but also "taste" in some contexts. In post-Vedic literature, the word generally connotes "extract, essence, juice or tasty liquid".
Rasa in an aesthetic sense is suggested in the Vedic literature, but the oldest surviving manuscripts, with the rasa theory of Hinduism, are of Natya Shastra. The Aitareya Brahmana in chapter 6, for example, states:
Now (he) glorifies the arts,
the arts are refinement of the self (atma-samskrti).
With these the worshipper recreates his self,
that is made of rhythms, meters.
The Sanskrit text Natya shastra presents the rasa theory in Chapter 6, a text attributed to Bharata Muni. The text begins its discussion with a sutra called in Indian aesthetics as the rasa sutra:
Rasa is produced from a combination of Determinants (vibhava), Consequents (anubhava) and Transitory States (vyabhicaribhava).
According to the Natya shastra, the goals of theatre are to empower aesthetic experience and deliver emotional rasa. The text states that the aim of art is manifold. In many cases, it aims to produce repose and relief for those exhausted with labor, or distraught with grief, or laden with misery, or struck by austere times. Yet entertainment is an effect, but not the primary goal of arts according to Natya shastra. The primary goal is to create rasa so as to lift and transport the spectators, unto the expression of ultimate reality and transcendent values.
The Abhinavabhāratī is the most studied commentary on Natyasastra, written by Abhinavagupta (950–1020 CE), who referred to Natyasastra also as the Natyaveda.[18][19] Abhinavagupta's analysis of Natyasastra is notable for its extensive discussion of aesthetic and ontological questions. According to Abhinavagupta, the success of an artistic performance is measured not by the reviews, awards or recognition the production receives, but only when it is performed with skilled precision, devoted faith and pure concentration such that the artist gets the audience emotionally absorbed into the art and immerses the spectator with pure joy of rasa experience.
— Aitareya Brahmana 6.27 (~1000 BCE), Translator: Arindam Chakrabarti
— Natyashastra 6.109 (~200 BCE–200 CE), Translator: Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe

Bharata Muni enunciated the eight Rasas in the Nātyasāstra, an ancient Sanskrit text of dramatic theory and other performance arts, written between 200 BC and 200 AD.[4] In the Indian performing arts, a rasa is a sentiment or emotion evoked in each member of the audience by the art. The Natya Shastra mentions six rasa in one section, but in the dedicated section on rasa it states and discusses eight primary rasa.[12][21] Each rasa, according to Nātyasāstra, has a presiding deity and a specific colour. There are 4 pairs of rasas. For instance, Hāsya arises out of Sringara. The Aura of a frightened person is black, and the aura of an angry person is red. Bharata Muni established the following:[22]

  • Śṛṅgāraḥ (शृङ्गारः): Romance, Love, attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green
  • Hāsyam (हास्यं): Laughter, mirth, comedy. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: white
  • Raudram (रौद्रं): Fury. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: red
  • Kāruṇyam (कारुण्यं): Compassion, mercy. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour: grey
  • Bībhatsam (बीभत्सं): Disgust, aversion. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: blue
  • Bhayānakam (भयानकं): Horror, terror. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour: black
  • Veeram (वीरं): Heroism. Presiding deity: Indra. Colour: saffron
  • Adbhutam (अद्भुतं): Wonder, amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow[23]

Śāntam rasa

A ninth rasa was added by later authors. This addition had to undergo a good deal of struggle between the sixth and the tenth centuries, before it could be accepted by the majority of the Alankarikas, and the expression "Navarasa" (the nine rasas), could come into vogue.

Shānta-rasa functions as an equal member of the set of rasas, but it is simultaneously distinct as being the most clear form of aesthetic bliss. Abhinavagupta likens it to the string of a jeweled necklace; while it may not be the most appealing for most people, it is the string that gives form to the necklace, allowing the jewels of the other eight rasas to be relished. Relishing the rasas and particularly shānta-rasa is hinted as being as-good-as but never-equal-to the bliss of Self-realization experienced by yogis (Source Wikipedia).

Online Test: Check your understanding of Rasa Theory

Additional Resorces:

Thursday, 3 February 2022

The Only Story

 The Only Story - Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes, in full Julian Patrick Barnes, pseudonyms Edward Pygge and Dan Kavanagh, (born January 19, 1946, Leicester, England), British critic and author of inventive and intellectual novels about obsessed characters curious about the past. Click here to read more, in brief, about his works).

About the novel - 'The Only Story'

1. Introductory Presentation by Students: The Only Story - Julian Barnes


 2. Characters | Plot Summary | Timeline | The Only Story


 3. Narrative Pattern | The Only Story


 4. Theme of Love | Passion and Suffering | The Only Story


 5. Memory Novel | Memory and History | The Only Story


 6. Joan | Character Study | The Only Story


 7. Two Ways to Look at Life | The Only Story


 8. Question of Responsibility | The Only Story


 9. Theme of Marriage | Critique of Marriage Institution | The Only Story


'The Only Story' as a Postmodern Novel by Julian Barnes

Crosswords: Symbolic Significance

The Question of Memory

Postmodern Absurdist Critique of 'The Only Story'

Summary of 'The Only Story'

Check your understanding of the novel: Click here to open an online test

Points to Ponder: Questions 

Presentations on 'The Only Story:

Additional Reading Resources:

Sunday, 23 January 2022

Gun Island

 Gun Island - Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh’s latest novel, Gun Island, traces familiar crosscultural patterns evident in his earlier novels. There are journeys by land and water, diaspora and migration, experiences aboard ships, the world of animals and sea-creatures. Ghosh foregrounds environmental issues like climate change and the danger to fish from chemical waste dumped into rivers by factories, concerns that carry over from earlier books like The Hungry Tide and The Great Derangement.

Gun Island describes the quest of Deen, a scholar and collector of rare books, who returns from New York, his city of domicile, to the Sunderbans in West Bengal to unravel the mystery and legend of a seventeenth-century merchant, Bonduki Sada-gar, translated “The Gun Merchant,” and his persecution by Manasa Devi, mythical goddess of snakes. In a talk held in New Delhi after the release of the novel, Ghosh stated that the merchant “was a trope for trade.” The merchant and the goddess dramatize “the conflict between profit and the world.” In the novel, the goddess pursues the merchant to make him aware of other realities like the animal world: “Humans—driven, as was the Merchant, by the quest of profit—would recognize no restraint in relation to other living things.”

We learn that the old Arabic name for Venice was al-Bunduqevya, which is also the name for guns. Deen concludes that the name Bonduki Sadagar did not perhaps mean the Gun Merchant but the Merchant who went to Venice. When Deen travels to Venice to research further on the Gun Merchant, he discovers that many Bangladeshis are being employed as illegal migrant labor. Their hazardous journey across the Middle East and Africa and the strong, even militant opposition to their presence in the city by Italian authorities form a major segment of the second part of the novel, contrasting with the Gun Merchant’s past, prosperous journey to Venice (Rita Joshi - World Literature Today)

Genre: Novel, Cli-fi (Climate Fiction)

Characters and Summary of 'Gun Island

1. Characters and Summary - 1 | Sundarbans | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh

2. Characters and Summary - 2 | USA | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh

3. Summary - 3 | Venice | Part 2 of Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh

Thematic Study of 'Gun Island

1. Etymological Mystery | Title of the Novel | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh

2. Historification of Myth & Mythification of History | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh

3. Climate Change | The Great Derangement | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh

4. Migration | Human Trafficking | Refugee Crisis | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh

Check your understanding: Appear in Online Test

Points to Ponder:

  1. How does this novel develop your understanding of a rather new genre known as 'cli-fi'?
  2. How does Amitav Ghosh use myth of Gun Merchant 'Bonduki Sadagar' and Manasa Devi to initiate discussion on the issue of Climate Change and Migration/Refugee crisis / Human Trafficking?
  3. How does Amitav Ghosh make use of 'etymology' of common words to sustain mystery and suspense in the narrative?
  4. There are many Italian words in the novel. Click here to view the list of words. Have you tried to translate these words into English or Hindi with the help of Google Translate App? If so, how is Machine Translation helping in proper translation of Italian words into English and Hindi?
  5. What are your views on the use of myth and history in the novel Gun Island to draw attention of the reader towards contemporary issues like climate change and migration?
  6. Is there any connection between 'The Great Derangement' and 'Gun Island'? 

Additional Reading resources:

Q & A Session:

Thematic Study

Friday, 7 January 2022

Avoid Plagiarism - Research in Digital Era

 Understanding Unintentional Plagiarism | Research in Digital Era

How do students research in the digital age? (Source: Turnitin)

The Pew report shows that the ease with which information “appears” online allows students to avoid any of the questions that may surface concerning the quality and intent of information they “research.” The Pew survey revealed that only one percent of those surveyed reported as “excellent” the ability of students “to recognize bias in online content.” As for their “ability to assess the quality and accuracy of information they find online,” only three percent reported that they found students to be “excellent.”

This data supports the following insights into student research behavior, specifically:
Students appear to value immediacy over quality in online research 
The ease with which “the answer” may be found online places sites such as Wikipedia, homework help sites, answer sites, and other social and content sharing sites to the top in terms of source matches. 
Students often use cheat sites and paper mills as sources 
Less a research competency issue than a moral and ethical one, the significant number of sources that match to cheat sites and paper mills suggest that for students there is a bias towards immediate outcomes and results rather than towards concerted effort to meet assignment goals. 
There is an over reliance on the “wisdom of the crowd” 
Students appear to demonstrate a strong appetite for crowd-sourced content in their research. Though it is not immediately evident why students seek these sources out, the strong reliance on these types of sites indicate difficulty assessing the authority and legitimacy of the content these sources present. 
Student “research” is synonymous with “search” 
The frequent and uninhibited use of sites with limited educational value (as defined by the quality and authority of content) in student work underscores a preference for “searched,” rather than “researched” content. 
Existing student source choices warrant a need for better search skills 
In addition to a preference for immediacy, the popularity of crowd-sourced content online indicates that a majority of students are engaging in cursory or shallow searches for content. At play may be an absence of awareness of how search engines work and how to effectively conduct searches to find appropriate content. What also appears to be absent is the use of criteria (whether internally—or externally—defined) to judge that content.

Evaluating Online Sources

The Source Educational Evaluation Rubric (SEER) represents the evolution of the critical approach that Turnitin has adopted and used to categorize websites in our analysis of student sources. The rubric was designed by academic experts and used by secondary and higher education educators who field-tested the rubric by using it to evaluate over 300 of the most popular student sources (which will be shared in a follow-up white paper.). 
The rubric is built on five criteria: 
Authority: Is the site well regarded, cited, and written by experts in the field? 
Educational Value: Does the site content help advance educational goals? 
Intent: Is the site a well-respected source of content intended to inform users? 
Originality: Is the site a source of original content and viewpoints? 
Quality: Is the site highly vetted with good coverage of the topical area? 

These criteria are evaluated along a numerical scale anchored by an explicit call out to “credibility,” a move to make the scores more informative for students. 

Instructors and students who use SEER can quickly arrive at an easy-to-interpret score based on the commonly used 4.0 grade point scale. By adding up all criteria values and dividing by five, users will generate a readily-understandable grade for sources. If so desired, the weighting of the criteria can also be adjusted to reflect varying evaluation-directed objectives (see the accompanying SEER Worksheet in the appendix). 
• 3.0 - 4.0: highly credible, quality sources 
• 2.0 – 3.0: credible sources 
• 1.0 – 2.0: questionable sources 
• 0.0 – 1.0: unacceptable or inappropriate sources 

The rubric, in its entirety, appears below. Following the rubric are a few examples of sites and how instructors have scored them.