Seminar: "Constructing ‘Bhojpuri’ Language and People: Methodological Reflections"
Speaker: Dr Asha Singh
This paper has grown out of my PhD thesis which tried to sociologicallyanalyze Bhojpuri women’s Oral Cultural Productions in the context of maleout-migration from Bhojpuri region. The present moment in the life ofBhojpuri language is marked by political contestations on its ‘status’ within India. Its attempts to be enlisted in the eighth schedule arebeing passionately debated. In such a scenario, it is important to take adeeper look at the underlying assumptions which inform the conceptualization of Bhojpuri language and people. This presentation wouldmake certain inviting and brief comments on the sociology of Bhojpurischolarship produced majorly in Hindi. It would take a detailed look at the works of ‘eminent’ folklorist Krishnadeva Upadhyaya who conceptualizedthe language, its caste-gender relations and region primarily through oralcultural productions. Such an exercise would unravel the fault-lines and power relations in constructing ‘Bhojpuri’ within the frameworks of theimagined nation.
Dr. Asha Singh is an Assistant Professor at Centre for Studies in SocialSciences, Calcutta (CSSSC). Previously she taught at Ambedkar University,Delhi and Amity University, Noida. Her PhD is from Tata Institute ofSocial Sciences, Mumbai. Her doctoral work focuses on the intersections of gender, caste, migration and Bhojpuri folksongs. Her current researchfocuses on the sociology of Bhojpuri language and its implications on thesocial transformation of marginalized majority. She has also worked as a journalist in Hindi newspapers NaiDunia, Bhopal and Lokmat Samachar,Maharashtra. She hails from Bhojpur district of Bihar.