For the design and execution of an ‘Art-from-Waste’ project in several Mumbai schools, bringing together the fields of arts education and environmental education. Individual ‘art-from-waste’ ideas will be researched, developed and tested, and then implemented in schools and evaluated. The project will culminate in the publication of a handbook that will be distributed widely and will be directed primarily at art teachers who work with middle school children.
For continuing the implementation of a dance-in-education programme in Bangalore. Movement classes will be conducted in schools and a cadre of dance teachers trained to facilitate the dance-in-education work. Funds will also be used to strengthen the institution’s capacity to sustain this programme through income from other sources.
For the further development of a new performance form called Versedance. Three short pieces of dance-theatre, based on poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, Amrita Preetam Singh and Jibonananda Das, will be created and performed in Kolkata. The pedagogical possibilities Versedance will also be explored with students at two universities in the city.
For a writer and a filmmaker to make a documentary film on the significance of Sufism in the lives of mofussil communities in the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh. The grandfather and granddaughter pair will begin by looking at the changing perceptions of Sufism within their own family and then branch out to explore the intersection of religious belief, cultural practice and social mores in the Awadh region.
For digital photography and annotation of 5,500 miniature paintings largely from the Jaina traditions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The paintings, ranging from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century, form an eclectic and unique collection. to facilitate research on the materials. The project will improve scholarly access to the miniature paintings and facilitate preservation of the original materials.
For creation of a series of public installations based on proto-typical electronic arrangements. The intention behind these pieces is to draw attention to the pervasively ‘wired’ nature of our environment. At the same time, by working with simple, almost every day arrangements and exhibiting outcomes in public spaces, the project will also form a critique of ‘hi-tech’ media art that operates in gallery or laboratory-like spaces alone. The installations will be documented and disseminated through an online archive.
For the editing, designing and printing of Tamasha: Ek Rangadi Gamat, a book in Marathi on the Tamasha folk theatre form. The book––one of the outcomes of an IFA-supported documentation project––will contain about 250 photographs accompanied by text that describes the different forms of Tamasha prevalent in Maharashtra as well as the lifestyles of its performers.
For identifying partner institutions, developing course books and film study capsules, and fixing a time schedule for a series of workshops to be conducted for students of film, design and creative writing. The eventual workshops will lead to the creation of a story-board on the life of Dadasaheb Phalke. By bringing together students of these various disciplines, the workshops will explore ‘the industrial mode of production’ in cinema—something which Phalke exemplified and which the current specialisation in the arts no longer allows for.
For the production of Bishar Blues, a film on the fakirs of Bengal, examining their music and their deeply spiritual everyday life as a living practice of radical syncretism. Bishar, the deviant branch of Islam practised largely by the lower castes, does not sacralise the Shariat, and its history in Bengal is replete with the assimilation of Buddhist, Tantric and Vaishnavite traditions and practices. In a context where Islam is increasingly under attack from different quarters, the film seeks to open up a crucial debate on secularism.
For research towards the writing of a novelised history of Tiruchenkode in Namakkal district, Tamil Nadu. A town with an ancient history, Tiruchenkode is today marked by its hill temple dedicated to Murugan and Ardhanareeswara but is also known for its vibrant modern industry. In the course of writing a historical account of Tiruchenkode, the author will document references to the town in literature, folklore and mythology, analyse the town’s design and study its ritual and religious life.
For research towards two novels––in Bengali and English––on the journey of a refugee colony to urbanity in post-partition Calcutta. Envisaged as a border-crossing genre, the proposed novels will explore the interface between ethnography, history, memoir and fiction. Dwelling on the texture of the ordinary and familial history to construct an archive of pain, anguish and hope, the novels are expected to challenge nostalgic accounts of the afterlife of the Bengal partition.
For post-production work on a film titled, In Search of Umrao, exploring the social and cultural history of the tawaifs of North India. The film focuses on the arts forms associated with them and the relationship between aesthetic expression and sexual identity. Through the story of a lost thumri sung by Rasoolan Bai, whose career as a performer overlapped with significant transitions in both the practice of music and public female sexualities, the film will examine the major shifts in the tradition’s history.
For research towards a novel on the rise and fall of Carnatic music as a dynamic social form from the mid-1920s to the end of the 1960s. The researcher will consult archival material on the lives of Carnatic musicians and the technical innovations made within the music during this period; interview performers and critics who were associated with this phase of the music; and consult scholars working on Carnatic music. The project will also lead to English translations of selected memoirs written by Carnatic musicians, which will be useful for the novel but can also be more widely disseminated.
For research into the Bharuds––allegorical verses from the mid fifteenth century attributed to Sant Eknath. Compiled by the followers of the Bhakti saint, Bharuds exist in Maharashtra as written texts, apart from being recited as poems, sung as bhajans and kirtans, and dramatised during the pilgrimage of vari and other religious occasions. Combining ethnographic study of the vari with the social histories of the performers, the research will engage with the makings of this marginalised cultural tradition and examine the differences between its oral, written and performative forms.
For preparatory research towards a novel about the caste wars waged by the Nadar community in Tirunelveli and Madurai districts in Tamil Nadu during the 19th and 20th centuries. Based on an examination of archived police, court and other documents of the colonial administration, the novel will transform factual history into an emotionally ‘true’ portrait of these turbulent times in the life of the Nadar community, which in turn fed into the larger Indian struggle for independence.