Call For Papers
Bengali Theatre: Bengalis and Theatre
"The really conspicuous talent for histrionic art possessed by the Bengali, cannot be seen to better advantage than in this drama." -The Englishman (1873)
7th December 1872 was a historic day for Bengali Theatre as well as the socio-cultural spectrum of India as the nation witnessed the inception of a public theatre with the staging of Nildorpon. It was the first time that a public space was thrown wide open to the common masses in lieu of ticket and not on the basis of class, caste, creed, race, religion or gender. Every inhabitant of Bengal was welcome in the playhouse, which would now be the site of mass agitation, nationalist revolutionary awakening and cultural-spiritual cultivation in the coming decades.
Dinabandhu Mitra’s Nildorpon (translated by Michael Madhusudan Dutt as Indigo Mirror) signaled a new herald of nationalism that swept the Bengali stage to evolve into a potent weapon of protest against the British colonialism. The legacy of Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay in Bengali literature was carried on by the likes of the "Shakespeare of India", Girish Chandra Ghosh who pioneered modern play writing in Bengali. Soon, the Bengali stage acquired importance beyond socio-economic and cultural boundaries as spiritual leaders like Ramakrishna Paramhamsa patronized it and the British rulers despised it by drafting one coercive legislation after another.
The immortal words of Ramkrishna,"Theatre e lokshikkhe hoi" (Theatre provides mass enlightenment) catapult theatre from the mud of rich man’s entertainment and forced prostitution of actresses like Binodini by patrons to an aesthetic art form with an immense potential to influence people, that was evident in case of Binodini playing Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Girish Ghosh's theatre. As time progressed, better technology, innovation and indigenous features and an imminent Bengaliness characterized Bengali theatre with the likes of Notosurjo Ahindra Choudhury and Natyacharjo Sisir Kumar Bhaduri coming to the forefront. Tagore's contribution to Bengali theatre was noteworthy too.
During the 1940s, with the advent of Leftist ideology in theatre, nationalism took a back-seat; anti imperial struggle was displaced and sabotaged under the name of class struggle in renowned plays like Nobanno. IPTA became the buzzword and Bengali theatre appeared in new avatars like Gononatyo, Nobonatyo and finally to the present form of Group Theatre. It has changed parallel to the change in Bengali society, values, norms, ideologies.
The present issue would like to throw open arguments, broadly regarding the change in Bengali theatre from its glorious nationalistic beginnings to the domination of leftist ideology and to what extent this has affected Bengali theatre and its environment.
The topics for contribution will include the following sub-themes but will not be exclusively limited to the same:
1. Bengali theatre and society.
2. Nationalist/Revolutionary awakening & Bengali theatre.
3. Bengali drama and Bengali language, culture, politics and history.
4. Bengali literature and Bengali theatre: Bankim, Sharat, Tagore et al.
5. Economics, publicity and stagecraft of Bengali theatre.
6. Issues & subjects of Bengali theatre.
7. Bengali influence on Indian and world theatre (on the plays in languages other than Bengali).
8. Leftist ideology in Bengali theatre.
9. The legendary commercial-popular theatre of Bengal. Group theatre movement.
10. Contemporary Bengali theatre.
11. Women in Bengali theatre.
12. The relation of Bengali theatre to the traditional performing arts of Bengal, like dance, Jatra, Kobigaan etc.
(the authors are encouraged to extend beyond the given theme and sub themes)
General details about submissions to Journal of Bengali Studies:
Journal of Bengali Studies is published in English and is an online journal. A Contribution must be electronic and in English language. It should consistently follow any one of these three scholarly styles of citation: MLA style, Chicago Manual of Style and APA style. Contributions must always be double spaced. An article, with notes and bibliography, should not be more than 10000 words. In case of reviews, the upper limit is 2000 words; we welcome reviews of new books as well as old and out of print ones, not necessarily of books written in English alone; we accept reviews of old and new plays alike, as well as reviews of theatre related books, new and old alike.
From our Cinema issue, we have started a section (in addition to articles and reviews) called Creative Workshop: Theory in Practice. This section features creative writings which are related to our theme. Any kind of creative writing that concerns the relationship between Bengalis and Theatre is welcome for this issue; a priority may be given to maiden theatre scripts, which may be originally written in Bengali, in which case it has to be in English translation, or it may be originally written in English. In either case, it should touch our theme and be relevant to the CFP; for example, a meta-theatrical play about Bengalis and theatre (immediately coming to mind is Utpal Dutt's Tiner Toloyar) would be very much welcome. So will be any play that explores the question of Bengaliness. Upper Limit of Creative Workshop: 10000 words.
We have no lower word limit for the contributions, the authors are free to use their discretion. Contributions should either be in MS Word, Open Office, or RTF format and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before submission, please see our Submission Guidelines and Terms and Conditions for further details at http://bengalistudies.
Editor: Tamal Dasgupta
Editorial Board: Sourav Gupta , Rishi Ghosh, Sandeep Chatterjee, Mousumi Biswas Dasgupta, Sujay Chatterjee.
For this Theatre issue of JBS, Sourav Gupta (09938902001) and Rishi Ghosh (09804230995) will be Executive Editors.