Renaissance by Dr M H Srrinarahari
A homemaker was elated in describing how she could prepare chutney from tomato which she has grown in her kitchen garden in an apartment in a metro city in which she lived. Another was describing the reason for a special taste for her make on that day as the vegetable was grown in her roof garden. Yet another ecstatically explained how she was able to make a bouquet from the pot culture which she has developed.
This is universally true with all the homes and homemaker. They enjoy growing vegetables, fruits and flowers for daily use. One derives pleasure in developing a kitchen garden and also in utilizing the product for day-to-day life. The process saves money, time and brings gratification. Contrarily, one can observe agricultural products grown on a large scale in fields by farmers, transporting to the market and reaching the customers in multiple ways.
The above analogies are similar to explain the process of the world production of books and magazines as well as at the regional level. Though we have the ‘global village’ concept, it is difficult to meet its standard by one and all. The reason is not about the lack of innovative ideas and expression in standardized communicative language but it is the concern of expression of ethnic, regional, custom and traditions which are often misunderstood or become non-communicative. The global language which makes use of ‘hi’, ‘hello’ or greeting good morning itself are not used in many Indian vernacular language groups. The salutation of ‘see here’ ‘aga’ ‘ree’, ‘choodandi’ ‘suniye’, ‘are you listening’, are used in daily life. To cite a classic example, a lady is in the past was not accustomed even to take the name of her husband when talking with others. Bala Gangadhar Tilak being a National hero during the pre-independence era was once gone out of his house on a particular job. When someone came asked his wife whether Tilak was at home, she answered that his chappals are not seen. When questioned again, she answered that she is unable to see his walking stick.
There are several items which cannot be translated to the other foreign language. It is very difficult to translate the question ‘what is your rank among your brothers and sisters?” There used to be several places in a house which are meant for designated works. There used to be a place for a haircut outside the house, an unknown person to wait, a distant relative to wait, a woman in menstrual days to spend, an attic meant to spend the time during grief, restricted entry near the pooja room, inside the pooja and kitchen, and bedroom. One may exclaim now that those days are gone and say that the places are now open for anyone to enter. That is the metro-culture. But mainly, India is a land of villages. We live with myth, we live with tradition, custom, follow the rules which cannot be eradicated overnight. In the sense, we should have an understanding of village culture, semi-urban culture, and the metro-culture. Clashes are inevitable if anyone crosses the border. Time only can heal to unite them all.
One can observe the expression of ideas and lucid flow of narration as well the comprehension would be maximum if the lingua franca is local and not a foreign one. There are twenty-two officially recognized Indian languages. However, the common binding forces among them are Indian culture, tradition, way of life, myth, customs, beliefs, and others. The structure of sentences is almost remaining the same pattern with little variations. Thus, there is unity in diversity.
This is true with any country, state or province. Hence, one prefers to grow in their kitchen garden to grow their own literature to mass production on a global platform.
In this regard, it was a welcome thing that at the turn of the twenty-first century Dinker Charak started publishing Science Fiction stories, articles, discussions, reviews and interactions in Adbhut.in. But the chief editor had to relocate himself to another country and engage himself fully in a career assignment.
Indian Science Fiction an online magazine from Delhi was started by Mr Arya Madan Mohan. It was also folded. Kalpabishwas Kalpabignyan began under the leadership of Dip Ghosh from Kolkata. But it focused upon publishing Bengali works. Sci-Fi Katta an online discussion forum was started in Maharashtra state. It has a backup by Prasanna Karandikar, Suneel Sule, Sharad Puranik, Ashish Mahabal, AP Deshpande and others. But it also focused on Marathi works. Vignyan Katha under the leadership of Dr Rajeev Ranjan Upadhyaya from Ayodhya though publishes in Hindi seems to be worth mentioning here that it is being published for two decades uninterruptedly in hardcopy as well after a decade in soft copy. But there is no science fiction magazine in the English language in India whether it is a hard or soft copy which could touch upon local and global levels except for Mithila Review edited by Salik Shaw.
One day in February this year, I got a mail from Dinker Charak stating that he is back home and started again the publication of Adbhut.in. I suppose this as a renaissance of Indian Science Fiction because it can connect the Indian sub-continent with other countries especially the western world. Hope that the editor with his technological skills, his exposure to the western present trend, with a local touch will surely establish a semblance of harmony in the field of science fiction. I wish to reiterate my assurance as I had expressed about 17 years:
On its first anniversary, I wrote an article entitled “That’s Over!”. I made a statement at the end, “There is the entire country to back him up for this noble cause”. I wish luck for him and a bright future for future publication and it wishes that it would really be “Adbhut” (Wonderful)!
IASFS has organized 14 National and 5 International Science Fiction conferences at different locations in India. The first conference was attended only by a dozen delegates. But from the second conference, there was no turning back. The Association had begun to collaborate with many Colleges, Universities, Local Bodies and Institutions in organizing conferences. Hence, it could bring together hundreds of academicians, scholars, scientists, writers, publishers, critics, movie makers, journalists, fans, webmasters, industrialists, technologists, farmers and readers. So far the Annual Conferences were held at Chennai, Coimbatore, Gandhigram, Gudiattam and Vellore in Tamil Nadu, Bangalore, Yelahatti and Mysore in Karnataka, Varanasi in UP, Aurangabad and Pune in Maharashtra States, Pondicherry a Union Territory and Ernakulum in Kerala State in India. During the annual conferences, participants have shown keen interest in discussing the following topics: the forms of science fiction, Artificial Intelligence, Cinema and SF, “Science Fiction Film: Seventy Years of Synergy, 1926 to 2003”, Aliens, A Tribute to Kalpana Chowla, Technology and Science Fiction, Fantasy, Genetic Engineering, Hindi SF, Indian Responses to World SF, Indian SF in Vernacular languages, Literary Criticism on Indian SF, Myth, Fantasy, Utopia, Feminism, Colonialism, Popular Science, Genetic Engineering, Robotics, Media and SF, Information Technology, Nanotechnology, Print versus Visual SF, Science and Science Fiction, Space travel, Time, Science Fiction Today, Science Today, SF and Mainstream Fiction, Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary perspective, SF Narration, SF the Human Aspect, Women in Science Fiction, SF & Technology and others. Each conference had plenary sessions and story reading sessions by respective authors in addition to paper presentations. IASFS had also arranged an SF Story Writing Workshop conducted by Eric Miller and story reading session by respective SF writers. The association had a video conference with Professor James E Gunn Director, Center for Science Fiction Studies, Kansas University, Kansas, USA.
The association has held the 19th Annual/5th International Science Fiction Virtual Conference in collaboration with Bangalore University, Bangalore on, December 7,8, 9, & 10, 2020. The unique feature of the conference is that all the 58 PG departments of the University, Sci-Fi fans, media and the general public had converged at “All Roads to Science Fiction” as ISFC -2020. There were themes varying from Myth to advanced technology and to the life in other worlds. The conference was inaugurated by Honorable Chief Minister of Karnataka State, The Honorable Deputy Chief Minister & The Minister for Higher Education, Honorable. Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Honorable Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University, Nobel Laureate Professor Didier Patrick Queloz (Keynote- Physics 2019), had made their august presence. Plenary sessions, presentations, special lectures, interviews, panel discussions, narrating stories of tomorrow variety of programs from the PG Department of Performing Arts and others were the highlights of this mega event.
The Association publishes a quarterly magazine entitled Indian Journal of Science Fiction Studies. It comprises of papers and stories presented in the previous conferences, review of books, and interactions by the readers.
This non-profitable association is registered under Karnataka Societies Registration Act. The Registered office is at # A 107, DS Max Signature, LKR Nagar, Devinagar, Near Aadhar Data center, Bangalore -560094. Please visit IASFS website: https://iasfs.in. Life membership is open for all (R+18). Apply here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeo8ZEYjyNytmMPM7JfcgLtJgjmy0rHGa3TZRsB99uLRvqKDw/viewform?usp=sf_link
Cover pic by matman2a.