Nari Samvaad Prakalp
The IGNCA is a premier national Institution engaged in the research, preservation and dissemination of traditional Indian knowledge systems along with the fields of Indian arts, culture, lifestyle studies, folklore, etc.
Nari Samvaad Prakalp was launched in the year 2017 at IGNCA, to create a space and discourse on women’s studies from Indian perspective, by its able and illustrious management led by Sh. Ram Bahadur Rai, President and Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi, Member Secretary, IGNCA.
Since then, the NSP became an essential project of IGNCA under which dedicated research on the multiple aspects of women – studies has been initiated. The primary focus of the major research projects under the Prakalp is to revisit, review and reinterpret Indian intellectual and traditional knowledge sources from the viewpoint of women, which have either been airbrushed and marginalized or distorted by misrepresentation of historical facts or completely misunderstood in the due course of time. The main objective is to explore the right and successful models preserved in these rich resources and knowledge systems, as an integral element of gender studies; and to emphasize and re-assess the key role women have played in the creation, preservation and transmission of our Indian cultural heritage. Through the Prakalp, IGNCA endeavors to look into such hidden and hitherto neglected areas where art and culture becomes a main resource for women’s empowerment. The main objective is to create a platform of discourse leading to a healthy discourse through publications, organization of special public lectures by eminent subject scholars, national and international seminars, focused workshops, exhibitions and a host of other related academic activities, which will strengthen the dialogue and pave the way for better comprehension of women studies.
The various schools of thought have interpreted the history of women according to their preferred convenience and demarcated her-story into a territorial division. However, the current project of Nari Samvaad Prakalp emphasizes on the idea of rewriting ‘her’ history keeping in view the Indian traditional knowledge systems, Indian art, culture and religion along with oral narratives, Folk and tribal communities, etc. The project seeks to question the current epistemologies in gender studies and to provide a new theoretical orientation for the study of gender, culture and religion. The project also initiates methodological reflections by introducing new ways of exploring women’s experience and to develop an indigenous ideology so that the Indian women can relate to their cultural context.
Events and conferences held:
Since its revival in 2017, Nari Samvaad Prakalp has carried out a host of events on the following subjects:
- ‘Women’s World: Choices, Challenges and Future possibilities‘(Conclave)
- ‘Gender Equality: Where are the Gaps?‘(Symposium)
- ‘Indian Women: Tradition, Continuity and Modernity‘ (Symposium)
- ‘Shakti Parva: Celebrating the feminine energy‘(Three Day long Festival)
- ‘Rromani Women: their position in traditional wisdom and in modern times‘(Lecture)
- ‘Centres of Educational Excellence and Sites of Knowledge in Early India up to 13th Century A.D: History, Dimensions and New Researches (CESKE-2018)‘‘(International Conference)
- ‘Shakti Worship in India with special reference to Kerela‘(National Conference)
- ‘Ever – changing Women: Mid Age Dilemma‘ (Panel discussion and Q&A Session)
- ‘Divya Prakriti Parva: the Divine Nature‘(Three Day long Festival)
- ‘Nari aur Veda-Adhyayan‘(Lecture)
- ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Family System and the role of mother‘(International Conference)
- ‘Vedic Wisdom and Women: Contemporary Perspective‘(International Conference)
On-going Research Projects:
In addition to the successful organization of the aforesaid events from time to time, several academic research projects have also been initiated under the Prakalp which are as follows:
‘Paramtappa: Twelve Most Inspiring Women of India’
(Audio-Visual Documentation and Illustrated Monograph)
‘Paramtappa: Twelve Most Inspiring Women of India’ is one of the challenging projects of Nari Samvaad Prakalp, which will culminate into the A/V documentation and an illustrated monograph based on the lives of twelve most inspiring Indian women.
In India, the involvement of women in public life from past to present varies from region to region. Some women are well educated and profitably employed, while a large number of them are still struggling for primary education and basic needs. Thus, the primary aim of this project is to look for those inspiring women who sometimes voluntarily and sometimes under compulsion, overcame the societal dogmas and set out to earn a livelihood on their own. These women not only set an example for others by being successful in their fields but their utmost zeal enthusiasm and deep interest in their work fields lead them to great achievements. Their success and hard labour inspires other women around them which leads to a big social change, and they become instrumental in contributing to the upliftment and empowerment of fellow women along with the whole society. This saga inspires the masses in general and women in particular.
The process of handling the project begins by interviewing and documenting these women at their native work places, capturing their success stories in their indigenous environment in A/V format reflecting their life, their struggle and their achievements.
‘Women Saints & Philosophers of Kashmir‘
(Documentary Film Project and an Illustrated Monograph)
‘Women Saints and Philosophers of Kashmir’ is an anchor based documentary film prepared under the NSP, IGNCA. The film underlines the contribution of women saints and philosophers of Kashmir to the land, which is also called the ‘Sharada Desha’, the embodiment of feminine divinity. The film depicts the fact that how the feminine power can also be a defining factor of the identity of a land and its people. The film brings out the message of peace in Kashmir through ages, which has been shown with the examples of the women saints and philosophers, who dwelled in Kashmir over a long span of last 800 years and more. Some prominent philosophers and saintly women of Kashmir dealt in the film are: Mata Lalleshwari, Mata Bhaagbhari, Mata Roop Bhawani, Mata Bagdajee, Mata Riche Ded, Mata Sharika Devi, Mata Prabha Devi, etc. Even today, the tradition of Kashmiri women sages and philosophers is alive.
An Illustrated Monograph based on the aforesaid subject will also be published shortly.
‘Applied Natya Therapy: Integrating Science & Arts for mental health through Bharatmuni’s Natyashastra‘
Applied Natya Therapy (ANT) is an inter-disciplinary academic project, which integrates science and arts for the mental health with the help of Bharatmuni’s Natyashastra. The project aims at in-depth understanding of the 5000-year old tradition of Natyashastra for creating psycho-therapy for human mind, and body movements for healing the mental health.
This project is set for eight workshops to be done across IGNCA head office in Delhi and other Regional Centres. Organizing these workshops at different academic centres would not only prove to be of great importance for the participants but would also help in enhancing their knowledge of the performing arts and its application to treat or control mental health.
Applied Natya Therapy (ANT) is based on the premise that the body and mind are interrelated and mental emotional problems are often held in the body in form of muscle tension and constrained movement patterns. During the workshops, the movements created in the body can be regulated in such a way that these result into positive therapeutic results to specific emotional and psychological issues.
The following methodologies are followed during the workshop:
- Brain Storming Session;
- Pre and Post tests on emotional and Psychological Competency;
- Group Activities;
- Exercises based on Angika, Aaharya, Vaachika and Satvika movements.
- Healing Exercises,
- Exercises for self introspection, self awareness and Self concepts of body Image, Gender Differences and Mental Blockages, etc.
‘Streedesh: the extraordinary story of forgotten women of Kashmir’
(Documentary Film Project and an Illustrated Monograph)
‘Streedesh: the extraordinary story of forgotten women of Kashmir’ is a research based project culminating into a documentary film and an illustrated monograph, which highlights the life and achievements of thirteen extraordinary women rulers and military commanders of Kashmir who had enjoyed ‘equal status’ during the ancient period of Kashmir. These women of yore were full of valour, courage and strength, and researching their life and contribution to the ancient society becomes necessary for the contemporary Indian society that has misinterpreted the history of women.
From the past, the people of Kashmir believed in the feminine power and women were treated as embodiments of divinity and prestige. The relevance of these thirteen women in the contemporary global scenario of conflict and violence holds more significance in the sense that it will reintroduce the real history of India. The much acclaimed regional purana of Kashmir- Neelmatapurana and Rajataringini have the names of such extraordinary women preserved in the history of Kashmir, which are Yashovati, Sugandadevi, Didda, Kotadevi, Eshandevi, Vakpushta, Shrilekha, Kalhanika, Silla, Chuddah, Lachhma, Bibihora, etc.
Nari Samvaad Prakalp has been deeply engaged in research, publication and promotion of original studies of the subject on several aspects and the following monographs/books and DVDs have been published so far:
- ‘A passion for freedom: The story of Kisanin Jaggi Devi’ by Deepti Priya Malhotra.
- ‘Gender and Orality: A Hermeneutics of Indigenous Religion in Mesoamerica’ by Sylvia Marcos.
- ‘Writing women’s lives: Some methodological questions for feminist historiography’ by Veena Poonacha.
- ‘Manu: The meaning of Svatantrya and its implications for women’s freedom’ by Sanjay Kumar.
- ‘Representation of Gender in folk paintings of Bengal’ by Ratnabali Chatterjee.
- ‘Paradigms of female embodiment in the Hindu world’ by Madhu Khanna.
- The symbolic relationship between Indian dance and yogic chakras’ by Rekha Tandon.
- The Mirasans of Punjab: Born to Sing
- A Dialogue with Women: Priestesses of Lepchas
- Recollection of A Satyagrahi
- The Journey of Bhikkunis
- Brahmavadinis: The first women’s Gurukul in India.