Celebrating STRIDE with PRIDE! ‘Aloysian Literature Fest (ALF) featuring Indigenous Cultures at St Aloysius College

Celebrating STRIDE with PRIDE! ‘Aloysian Literature Fest (ALF) featuring Indigenous Cultures at St Aloysius College

 “Being a catalyst in facilitating a cohesive, inclusive, holistic and sustainable development of the coastal region and its diverse cultures and peoples by creating appropriate systems in the institution and proactively engage with communities by promoting and harnessing the research potential of the staff and students”- Motivation of STRIDE (Scheme for Trans-Disciplinary Research for India’s Developing Economy) of the UGC.

Mangaluru: A four-day Literature festival called The Aloysian Literature Fest (ALF) 2020 under the aegis of STRIDE (Scheme for Trans-Disciplinary Research for India’s Developing Economy) of the UGC, was inaugurated today ( Monday, 17 February 2020) at L F Rasquinha Hall, LCRI Block, organized by St Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangaluru. St Aloysius College is one of the 36 colleges in India, and only ONE in Karnataka state to have received this grant to conduct trans-disciplinary research in the area of Culture Studies. The Fest comprises of various cultural events like performance of folk dance, songs, theatre activities, documentary screening, dance / art workshops, and interactive sessions with scholars in the field of folklore from across the nation, who will share their research work with students, teachers and researchers and the public” .

The inaugural programme of the Fest began with a “Tattva Geethe” titled “Taravalla Tagi Ninna Tamburi’ sung by Miss Meghana Kundapur of IIIrd B Sc, which mesmerized the audience with her high pitch voice and excellent performance, along with group members. The welcome address was delivered by Dr Ratan Mohunta-HoD of of English and the Convener of the Fest, followed by briefing of STRIDE by Dr Alwyn D’sa, the Coordinator of STRIDE. Dr Alwyn said, “Being a catalyst in facilitating a cohesive, inclusive, holistic and sustainable development of the coastal region and its diverse cultures and peoples by creating appropriate systems in the institution and proactively engage with communities by promoting and harnessing the research potential of the staff and students” is the motivation of STRIDE”.

He further said “The transformative power of culture for social inclusion, resilience and sustainable development is increasingly recognized as a key enabler for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development marked a major turning point in global efforts to address development challenges and opportunities, as the local authorities and communities take an increasingly important role in this global momentum alongside international and national actors and other relevant stakeholders. Culture is also an essential component of human development, representing a source of identity, innovation and creativity for all; it provides sustainable solutions to local and global challenges. In this context, it is pertinent to understand the United Nations has acknowledged and emphasized the significance of the cultural diversity and recognized the critical contribution of indigenous cultures to sustainable development “.

“In a connected world where people influence each other which measures help to preserve the coexistence of cultures? Previous research has shown that factors population size, geography, mass media, and type of social influence play important roles. We need to evolve a viable model that allows for inclusion of the full spectrum of cultural diversity. Several studies have been conducted on the different levels of cultural diversity and the parameters identified to study the same. These studies need to be localized and contextualized to further interrogate the mechanisms behind their results, applications, and implications for political and social sciences with specific regional diversities mentioned in this proposal. The Focus Areas are : Studying ways in which different cultures might view things in different ways; Identifying and promoting cultural values of different cultures; Making use of cross cultural perspectives; Critically looking at cultural stereotypes and generalizations; Positing counter stereotypes of people; and Studying the similarities and differences between cultures” added Dr Alwyn D’sa.

The programme was inaugurated by lighting of the lamp and also unveiling the Fest Book by chief guest Prof K Chinnappa Gowda-Former Vice Chancellor of Karnataka Folklore University-Shiggavi; along with other dignitaries on the dais, namely- Fr Dionysius Vas SJ- Rector of St Aloysius Institutions; Fr Praveen Martis SJ-Principal of st Aloysius College, Dr Alwyn D’sa-Mentor, Dr Ratan Mohunta, Girish N- Dept of PG Studies in English and Dr Dinesh Nayak- Dept of Kannada-both Organizing secretaries of the Fest; and Miss Rupal D’souza- VP of students’Council and Student Coordinator of the Fest.

Addressing the audience, Rector Fr Dionysius Vas SJ said, “At St Aloysius Institution we always promote various programmes of culture and diversity. There is always music in the garden amongst the trees, but your heart must be quiet to hear it. Some cultural studies scholars tend to focus more on symbolic, representational forms of culture than on their organic links with lived practices of peoples and communities. It is important therefore to explore and understand the organic links between the symbolic forms sucha s songs, rituals, dress and music and lived practices like marriage, child birth, language and food. The Aloysian Literature Festival aims to create awareness among students , teachers and the public about marginal cultures and identities through this central theme”.

Chief guest Prof Chinnappa Gowda addressing the audience said, “This institution with 140 years in existence has catered to the needs of the local people, and beyond. It has reached to greater heights and has earned name and fame nationally and internationally. I have been associated with St Aloysius College quite a few time during my tenure as Vice Chancellor, and I am really impressed by the development and achievements, a college with Potential par Excellence, with Star status. You should celebrate the launching of STRIDE with PRIDE. I like the theme “Celebrating Indigenous Cultures”, where various events are planned during the 4-day Festival”.

” Our appreciation of folk art and other cultural performances will strengthen our identities, our pride in belonging to a community. People trained in the creative use of their hands soon acquire skills, excellent craftsmanship which will be most important measure of how well we can industrialize. Although our backgrounds and languages may be different, one thing isn’t so different, and that is -Everybody like to have a good time. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. Make the best use of the 4-day fest, and enjoy the rich culture it highlights” added Prof Gowda.

Fr Praveen Martis SJ also spoke and complimented the organizers for their efforts to conduct trans-disciplinary research in the area of Culture Studies, through STRIDE. Dr Dinesh Nayak introduced the chief guest, Girish N proposed the vote of thanks, while Miss Sneha D’souza of I B Sc compered the programme very meticulously and professionally.

Following the formal inaugural ceremony of the Festival, from 2 pm-3.30 pm there was a plenary session on “History and Contemporaneity in Indian Fiction” by renowned novelist and author, Vasudhendra. This was followed by “recitation of multi-lingual poetry” by students and staff of the college between 4 pm and 6 pm. Later at 6.45 pm, Ninasam Maru Tirugata performed a Kannada play Antaranga”, at Mother Teresa Peace Park

On Day 2 (18 February), the event begins with a plenary session of novelist and author o short stories Sri Gopalkrishna Pai will share his ideas on “The Memories of the Indigenous: Shifting Identities.” This will be followed by screening of a documentary film and interaction with the Director Sri Prithvi Konanur. At 4 PM there will be a multi-talent display by students called “Open Mike.” At 6.30 PM, a well-known Tulu Play Namaskara Masthre will be performed by Cha Parka Kalavidaru

On Day 3 (19 February), the day begins with a plenary session by eminent scholar and researcher in ethnic studies Dr Dheeman Bhattacharyya, assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Viswa Bharati, Santiniketan who will speak on “Indigenous Studies as Pedagogic Shift: Case Study of Research conducted among Criminal Tribes of India.” This is followed by a second plenary session by Dr Malini Adiga, Historian and Author who will speak on “Indigenous Population and Cultures of Dakshina Kannada: A Historical Overview.” At 4 pm the students and staff of SAC will entertain the audience with a spectacular performance of folk songs, dances and bhavaageete chosen from different languages and cultures. At 6.30 a multi-lingual play Kendonians will be performed by Padua Ranga adhyayana Kendra”.

On Day 4 (20 February), the concluding day, it will begin with two Plenary sessions; one by prof. N. Manu Chakravarthy who will speak on “Confronting Global Hegemony through Cultural Theories,” followed by Dr Dheeman Bhattacharyya who will speak on “Locating the Other: Decolonizing Academic Practices in India. Sri Laxmeesha Tolpadi and Dr Dheeman Bhatacharyya will be the chief guests at the valedictory program of the fest .

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