BHUBANESWAR : Stereotypes should be abandoned and India should be mapped without referring to race, caste, colour, creed or sex. This was the unanimous view of speakers at the session, “Mapping the world through prose,” in the second and last day of third edition of Odisha Literary Festival (OLF), 2014.
Creative Director V Sunil, the force behind the Incredible India and Make in India campaigns, said the process of mapping the world has completely changed with the television taking over visual media. There has been a massive shift in the manner of storytelling with the arrival of different mediums, Facebook and Twitter. Referring to the Make in India campaign, Sunil said lion was chosen over elephant and tiger because it connected to the past.
Bureaucrat-turned-novelist Ranendra Kumar said tribal India was never in mainstream India. British colonialists were defeated in the Santhal War in 1855-56 which broke the myth that they cannot be defeated. The defeat actually was precursor to the first war of Independence in 1857, Ranendra said and added that this is not discussed in mainstream history.
Stating that mapping of tribal India was biased from the beginning, Ranendra maintained that mainstream India ignored tribal India. West and North India is never described in a callous way as are North-East and South India, he said.
Ranendra maintained that tribal language was rich from the beginning. A foreigner has catalogued Mundari language in a book with 16 parts, but mainstream India has never studied it and people of other parts are mostly not aware of it. The mainstream India has a stereotyped idea of the tribals, he said.
Journalist and author Kishalay Bhattacharya said mapping of India was earlier done by British gazetteers which were mostly erroneous and biased. But, the stereotypes about different castes and races in India created by them through their gazettes remain valid even now, he said and added that such types of stereotypes describing races and castes in the country should be changed.
Bhattacharya said story-tellers have become more relevant today because they punch holes in such stereotypes. Stories show other side of a matter, he said.
Aman Nath, co-chairman of Neemrana Hotels, said mapping of the world has undergone change now. In the early 21st century writers gave a picture of their ideas through words. He maintained that stereotypes should be given up and India should be mapped in a uniform manner as visual mapping has now-a-days has become complicated.