Why Prabodh Samman


Lamenting on the marginalization of important cultural languages like Maithili, in an important essay on ‘Another India: Voices from the Periphery’ presented at Saarbrucken (Germany) in 2001, Udaya Narayana Singh had stated:

“Which India shall I talk about? The space that is presented in the words woven by our writers who write or re-write in English may appear to be a conundrum – a universe plotted as a pastiche on a canvas which looks remote and diverse at the same time – to the reading public in other parts of the world…But for those of us who think and write in – let me use the much-maligned word, 'vernacular languages' – …, it is evident that rather than illuminate the concept or the space we would like to call India, Indian English writing allows a large part of India to perpetually remain outside the focus. What is in focus suddenly becomes the center…but what is outside this written world remains in the periphery for the Anglophone Indian, no matter how interesting Labtolia or Purnea may be in Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay or Renu's unforgettable stories. ..Yet another India, often not understood by the readership of mainstream Indian literatures…is the India in the stories of Chandayana in Rajasthan or Raja Salhes in Mithila…”

PRABODH SAMMAN attempts to correct an imbalance that has set in during the post-independence period, where to some, everything seems possible to be tackled by the game of numbers. It is more often than not that those languages that are numerically marginal lose out at the end, in spite of having a rich literary heritage and a vibrant contemporary writing and scholarship. The ‘Samman’ will try to identify and encourage this scholarship, and bring such writers and scholars to limelight.

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