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Stories Told, Untold And Retold*

Rizio B. Yohanan and Indu Mary Yesudasan

No culture in the world has ever under mined the status of the Narrative as a happening site. As the human self is composed of multiple identities and roles related to nativity, territory, class, religion, gender and many such concepts and ideologies, stories told and retold in assertion, affirmation, rejection and even detachment, naturally become a crucial means of identity formation and sustenance. The Central University of Kerala (CUK), a national institution committed to the cause of cultural integration and promotion of local histories, has realized the vital role of story (katha) in moulding societies and cultures. It is as an outreach programme of this realization that the CUK launched its Katha series of Lectures and Public Interface Programmes, in 2010.   The first edition of Katha, KathaI: Ramayana and Other Stories, held on 22 Jan 2010, brought together various stories revolving around the intangible text of the Ramayana along with many local narratives recovered from the northern coast of Kasaragod in Kerala, where the University is housed. The border land of Kasaragod is a centre of various cultural forms and linguistic diversity, and this lends new dimensions to the CUKs mission of extending the scope of learning through a holistic methodology that accommodates diverse linguistic, scientific and cultural traditions. The CUK organized the second edition of the Katha series Lecture and Public Interface Programme based on the theme of Narrative on the 13th of January 2011. KathaII focused on the topic of The Tragic Hero and Indian Dramatic Tradition with special reference to Ravana. It became a platform where Ravana, the villain in Ramayana, was reinterpreted as an antihero (prati nayaka). In order to bring home the comparative orientation of the programme, KathaII wove various narrativesoratory, poetry, film, dancedramainto its fabric.   The Katha Series of Lectures and Public Interface Programmes is conceived as an annual event to bring together creative and academic talents from all walks of life, from various parts of the globe. It is hoped to showcase how the stories of individual encounters with life as well as those of societal movements can act as models of resistance, survival, harmony and celebration. Every Katha event to come will highlight the human endeavour to move across national and cultural frontiers and to facilitate intercultural conversations, thereby affirming the meditational role educational and research institutions have to play in our striferidden world.   The event was inaugurated by Jancy James, the ViceChancellor of CUK, who ...

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