These poems by Sharanya Manivannan are inspired by her readings of the Murti Rahasya of the Saptasati Chandi, a Hindu devotional text about the Supreme Goddess Devi, or Chandi. Sharanya Manivarnnan is the much acclaimed author of “The Queen of Jasmine Country” and “The High Priestess Never Marries“, both prose works. Sharanya’s two books of poetry are “Witchcraft” and “The Altar of the Only World“. She can be reached at www.sharanyamanivannan.in
At the Barak Valley Annual Conference 2021 we have taken the first steps towards subverting the much ruminated question, ‘can the subaltern speak?’ We ask instead, ‘Can you hear the subaltern speak?’ The theoretical category of the subaltern has been framed by the Subaltern School in a way such that the very subalternity of the subaltern is crystallised in the subaltern’s inability to speak. The act of relegating the subaltern to a muted respondent denies her/him not only the agency of the participant but also that of the observer. Thus, to locate subalternity in the inability of the subaltern to speak already makes the subaltern an object of a gaze, ensuring that solely the owner of this gaze retains the ability to speak and ‘represent.’ The works produced from such a standpoint naturally obliterate a crucial point for the subaltern existence – choice. However, a keener observation of the subaltern existence reveals that not only are subaltern groups already speaking, observing, participating and choosing, the choices are often unnoticed and unheard unless brought forward through honest ethnographic or historical research. This Barak Valley Annual Conference 2021 aims to bring together such ongoing research that have tirelessly worked to reveal the various nuances and complex diversities breathing within the subaltern existence and manifesting in the form of choices.