The genesis and realisation of a biography echo the way we deal with the relevance of others’ lives. Biographies attempt the full picture, the small details, the backside of the public image, on societal agents who have inspired generations. Such works aim at ‘humanising’ them, to replace the quantity of their achievements with the backdrop of their personal trajectories. But what, exactly, is at the centre of a biography? Is it the life of an individual, liberated from her own cautious confessions? Or, is it the continuous presence of an actor of change within the larger dynamic of a society’s history? As a part of the second edition of the LILA PRISM Lecture Series titled ‘Cultures as Continuum’, publisher and feminist researcher Ritu Menon reflected on the discontinuous-continuous space of interaction that the genre of biography draws into focus. Seeking to rescue its subject from her past by bringing her into the middle of the present, a biographer intensely studies history, its politics as well as its unsuspected roots in the realm of the personal. A biography is always a new take on the connection of historical periods with personal time.
Prof. Jayati Ghosh delivered the fourth lecture of the LILA PRISM Lecture Series. The packed house included a lot of students from city colleges, a heartening thing to see! Ghosh’s lucid, jargon-free presentation carried passion and energy even as she systematically dealt with the tragic effects of incorporating the weaker sections of the society on unequal terms. Her analysis of the Indian economy through the prisms of education, globalisation, gender, society and castewas eye-opening in many ways. Dr. Kanika Batra chaired the session.
Dr Rich Rice made a remarkable distinction between ‘connecting‘ and ‘networking‘. He stressed the need to find a way to develop intercultural competence in our times, in order to communicate more effectively. LILA finds Dr. Rice’s deliberations very seminal, on how new media may facilitate translocal communications in a country as complex as India. Prof. Sumanyu Satpathy served as Chair during the lecture, and facilitated a very lively interaction. The Q &A gave rise to an interesting discussion on ‘sameness‘ and ‘difference‘ in our multicultural context.