The School of Comparative Tribal Language and Literature (English Programme) at KISS Deemed to be University organized a webinar on ‘Greening of Romanticism and Romanticization of Greenness: A Reading of Wordsworth and Tagore from Eco-theological Perspective’ on 28th December 2021. Professor Goutam Buddha Sural, Department of English, Bankura University, was invited as the distinguished speaker. Faculty members and research scholars from English, Sanskrit, Hindi, and Odia Programmes under the School attended the webinar.

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Goutam Buddha Sural talked about environmental degradation, a global concern. He shared the significant role of Literature in enlightening society on issues of environmental crisis. Sharing his observations on the similarities in the writings of Wordsworth and Tagore, he pointed out that both have laid importance on building harmony with nature. Professor Sural emphasized that Literature should focus on responsiveness to climate change. By quoting Rig Veda, he shared that environmental conservation has always been an integral part of Indian culture. He also talked about the close relationship between environment and literature. Professor Sural quoted lines from Douglas on Eco-criticism, major studies conducted by Jonathan Bate, Karl Kroeber, and romanticists associated with literary origins of modern ecological consciousness. He stressed that Literature enables us to reshape and broaden the senses of a sustainable environment. Literature can be instructive and upgrade awareness of the natural world. He concluded his talk by drawing references from Tagore’s ‘My School’ and Wordsworth’s ‘The excursion – II’.

Professor Sural has been teaching in Bankura Christian College since 1990 in the Department of English, where he was Associate Professor and Head of the PG Department of English. He went to Bristol University UK in 2006 as a visiting fellow and joined the Department of English Vidyasagar University Midnapore as a professor in 2006. He has published numerous books and articles, including editing four books on Tribal Life and a book titled Hopkins and Pre-Raphaelitism. His interests include Indian English Literature, Tribal and Dalit Studies, and Victorian Poetry.

In response to Professor Sural’s lecture, Dr. Ashok Kumar Mohapatra, Senior Professor (English Programme), School of Comparative Tribal Language and Literature, said that Romantic poetry was part of an oppositional discourse as it opposed the utilitarian and rationalist approach to nature. Wordsworth and Tagore can be meaningfully compared in the context of this discourse as both were opposed to the commoditization of nature in the early phase of capitalist developments in Europe and the colonies. He also said that lyric as a mode of much of the romantic poetry of both poets was the idiom of disconnect between the subjective self and nature, which Georg Lukács was alluding to while discussing epic as the mode of a utopian and mythical world of harmony in the essay ‘Epic and the Novel’.

Earlier, in his Welcome Address, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU, appreciated the webinar’s topic and was pleased to learn that the School of Comparative Tribal Language and Literature has been organizing online symposia, webinars, and invited lectures and contributing to the vibrant academic environment. He suggested that the scholars of the four Programmes should undertake research in promoting eco-critical sustainability in their locality. Speaking from an Anthropogenic perspective, Professor Behera shared his concerns about climate change and brought to light some of the initiatives undertaken by KISS in meeting all the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

While briefing about the School of Comparative Tribal Language and Literature, KISS-DU, Dr. Rashmita Tripathy, Dean talked about the various Programmes (English, Hindi, Sanskrit and Odia) offered by the School and shared with the attendees that the M.Phil. and Ph.D. scholars are pursuing research on tribal centric topics as a part of their innovative curriculum. She also shared some of the academic activities organized by the School till date.

Dr. Chittaranjan Bhoi, Associate Professor (English Programme) and Director Human Resource Development Centre (HRDC), KISS-DU offered a vote of thanks on the occasion.