My research focuses on the folk theatre tradition from West Bengal, India, Jatra. Since its inception, Jatra has been recognized as a participatory performance form; the early history of Jatra can be traced back to the 16th-century religious bhakti or “devotional” Vaishnavism—a monotheistic religious tradition originated in Bengal, India emphasizing absolute devotion and love for Krishna. Jatra started becoming non-religious around the mid-19th century when India was under British rule. Jatra was challenged by the arrival of the European style theatre with its proscenium style public stage in Calcutta in 1872. Nevertheless, Jatra as a performance tradition survived and evolved in colonial and postcolonial Bengal.
One of the most distinctive features of Jatra is anthropomorphizing the conscience, which is commonly known as the bibek. Bibek denotes a combination of concepts, including ethical judgment, direction, and conscience. Mostly played by the male performers, bibek can interrupt the action to grant expression to various characters’ perspectives through song and provide larger ethical commentary on the action of the drama. Informed by the postcolonial theory of hybridity, I examine the nature of contemporary Jatra through the bibek character.
Leaving Home, Finding Home is a digital storytelling space by and for the immigrant women from South Asia residing in the United States (South Asian countries: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka). As a South Asian academic, immigrant, and digital archivist for this platform, I invite women who identify as South Asian to share their powerful stories related to immigration, identity, freedom, and equality.
Through this website, we can claim a collective identity while still celebrating our differences. I am creating this platform to better understand and to collectively negotiate our evolving identities as immigrants. I envision this forum as a powerful new performance space to invigorate an exchange on issues immigration specific for women from South Asia to the US.
How can you participate?
You, the author/performer can use various mediums, such as, write your story or experience, submit a video, a sound file, and/ or a photo to ensure that you retain agency and ownership of your own experiences. By contributing your story to “Leaving Home, Finding Home” your story will be a part of a peer-reviewed, published collection of oral narratives. Scalar as a platform allows the users to incorporate media into the text.
Scalar works as a media interface that is structured like a book. By browsing through the project site, and following the table of contents in the upper left corner of the page, you can easily navigate the project and explore the interconnecting paths that will allow you to access other projects on the website. Each media file must be less than 2 MB in size.
Director, Shakuntala, CU Boulder
Dramaturg, Original dance performance, Kalanidhi Dance Company
Dramaturg, We are the Wake (new play), CU Boulder
Dramaturg, The Long Christmas Ride Home, CU Boulder
Director, Whitewash (new play), CU Boulder
Director, On the Other Side (new play), Frontera Fest, Austin, Texas
Asst. Director/Choreographer, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Zach Scott Theatre, Austin, Texas
Director, The Loop, Frontera Fest, Austin, Texas
Director, Far Away, Oklahoma State University
Director, What I Did Last Summer, Oklahoma State University
Director, Pratibimb, Mumbai University, Mumbai, India