#TROH (The Return Of Home, October 03, 2015):

Do you feel at home? What is the other of home – the world? We think of home variously as culture, a memory, an identity, a language, a terrain of materiality, a landscape, the zone of affect, an idea, a gharana, & a family? How the sense of belonging (to, say, a gharana) has nothing to do with place? Have all homes been founded on the basis of some principles? How is the notion of home different for the refugees and the diaspora? Can you carry your home with you? Why do we need a home, & can one make multiple homes? How ideas, often, have multiple homes. What happens, however, when a certain musical tradition (a home for some) is appropriated by the market economy? What is the home of Hakuna matata? What is the significance of land, & where our ancestors might be ‘buried’? We also explore, using the Israel/Palestine case & other instances of settler colonialism, whether it is possible to have a home without a homeland. Is home where we can debate, converse and have access to new ideas? What is the future of gharanas? Does the future of home lie in creating an equilibrium between difference and similarity? Finally, are we all merely nomads? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions, about the past, present & the possible futures of homes, using concepts from literature (Githa Hariharan, New Delhi), social sciences & philosophy (Prof. Shail Mayaram, CSDS, New Delhi),  and music (Vidya Rao, New Delhi). 

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TROH show.

Githa Hariharan (writing, literature) is a writer based in New Delhi. Her published work includes novels, short stories, essays, newspaper articles and columns. Her first novel, ‘The Thousand Faces of Night’ won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book (1993). Her other novels include ‘The Ghosts of Vasu Master’, ‘When Dreams Travel’, ‘In Times of Siege’, and ‘Fugitive Histories’. Her work also includes a collection of short stories, ‘The Art of Dying’, and a book of stories for children, ‘The Winning Team’. She has also edited and contributed to a collection of essays (From India to Palestine: Essays in Solidarity). Her most recent book is a collection of her own essays, ‘Almost Home: Cities and Other Places’. In 1995, Githa challenged the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act as discriminatory against women which led to a Supreme Court judgment in 1999 on guardianship acknowledging mother also as the guardian of ‘the person and property’ of her child. She has been a Visiting Professor or Writer-in-Residence in several universities, including Dartmouth College and George Washington University in the United States, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and Jamia Millia Islamia and Goa University in India.

Prof. Shail Mayaram (political theory, philosophy) is currently a Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi. Her research interests & areas of work include South Asia, Middle East, Islam (Law, Philosophy, History, Medieval Islam), Political Theory, Religion, Philosophy, Sufism, Cities, Pastoralist, Peasants. She is the author of ‘Against History, Against State: Counterperspectives from the Margins’, ‘Resisting Regimes: Myth, Memory and the Shaping of a Muslim Identity’ and has also coauthored ‘Creating a Nationality: The Ramjanmabhumi Movement and the Fear of Self’ (1995). She has also edited ‘The Other Global City and Philosophy as Samvada and Svaraj: Dialogical Meditations on Daya Krishna and Ramchandra Gandhi’ and co-edited ‘Subaltern Studies: Muslims, Dalits and the fabrications of history’. She has worked on subaltern pasts and moral imaginations of peasant, pastoral and forest-based communities, living together in the city and on nationalism and decolonizing knowledge. Her most recent book is ‘Israel as the gift of the Arabs: Letters from Tel Aviv’ and her current research project examines contestations between Sufis and Salafis.

Vidya Rao (classical music) is a performer of Thumri-Dadra and Ghazal. For many years the disciple of the legendary singer, the late Vidushi Naina Devi, she continued her study of this form under Vidushi Shanti Hiranand and Vidushi Girija Devi. Her initial training in Khayal was under the late Prof. B.N. Datta and thereafter under Pandit Mani Prasad. Her repertoire ranges over Thumri-Dadra, Ghazal and allied forms, the songs of medieval Sufi and Bhakti poets, verses from Hindu and Buddhist texts and the Islamic forms such as naat, soz, and nauha. Her research and writing work has focused on gender and musical form. Her book, ‘Heart to Heart: Remembering Nainaji’, is a memoir of life with her guru Naina Devi. She has been Visiting Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU (Delhi), and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. In 2012-2013, she was Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Nantes, France. In 2014 she was at an Arts Residency at Smith College and the Five Colleges Inc. for performances and lectures. She was the recipient of a Fellowship from the Ford Foundation, and a Senior Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture (Government of India).

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TROH mentions: Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Ibn Musa (Maimonides), Ananda Coomaraswamy, K. C. Bhattacharya, Hannah Arendt, Judah Magnes, Martin Buber, Gananath Obeyesekere, Ramchandra Gandhi, Susan Abulhawa, & Jonardon Ganeri, among others.