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Across Literary and Linguistic Diversities

Essays on Comparative Literature

Edited By Goethe Society of India, Madhu Sahni and Mazumdar Shaswati

Comparative literary studies face new challenges today in a world marked by the migration of people, languages, ideas and texts across diverse and increasingly porous borders. The field is restricted by conventional notions of comparativism born in the era of nationalism and colonialism. However, scholars are now provoked to rethink these notions as a result of the social, economic and political forces that drive the contemporary world, which simultaneously draw it into an ever tighter global network and create new, or reassert persisting, lines of division.
What are the conceptual and methodological questions that must engage our attention if comparativism, as recent debates suggest, has to revive its critical potential and chart afresh the future of literary studies? The essays in this volume attempt to rethink comparison in this context through theoretical reflections and concrete comparative analyses. They investigate similarities and differences, connections and references, across diverse literary and linguistic cultures in Indian, German and other European literatures.
This volume is the 2014 Yearbook of the Goethe Society of India.
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Die Bilder der Macht und die Macht der Bilder. Muslime als indische Minderheit im Spiegel der Politik und des Kinos


← 164 | 165 → SWATI ACHARYA

The article discusses the place and position of religious minorities, in particular that of Muslims in Indian social, political and cinematic representations. The focus is on popular Indian cinema and the evolution of certain trends in depicting Muslim on-screen characters and the set of prejudices attached to such perceptions in the popular psyche. The article explores the syncretic traditions prevailing in India since ancient times without assuming the binaries or issuing any exclusive ‘Otherness’ to Muslims. Instead of taking these traditions into consideration, the political developments after Independence have shown a clear shift in strengthening the negatively biased perceptions about Muslim communities and accordingly this negativity gets reflected as cinematic reality in the popular Indian cinematic idiom. The article traces particular political influences after the destruction of the historic Babri Masjid and the communal pogroms following after that as heavy impact factors in shaping the on-screen as well off-screen images of Muslims in India.

Es liegt an der Zeit, dass sich manche Themenfelder gleichzeitig in Indien und Deutschland in den Mittelpunkt der öffentlichen Debatten gerückt haben. Die Integrationsdebatte gehört zu solchen Feldern. Dennoch gibt es Klärungsbedarf in Bezug auf eine Reihe von bedeutenden Einzelphänomenen, die im gegenwärtigen weltpolitischen Kontext sowohl Indien wie Europa und, in Sonderheit, auch Deutschland, existentiell betreffen, und die, wegen der äußerlich gleichlautenden Nomenklaturen bei deren Bezeichnung, selbst im internationalen und interdisziplinären Diskurs unter Spezialisten, zu Missverständnissen führen könnten,...

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