The School of Language and Literature, KISS Deemed to be University organized a webinar on ‘Meera Bai – Examining Gender and Sexuality through the Prism of Her Poetry’ on 12th August 2020. Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda, Principal, Miranda House, University of Delhi graced the virtual meeting as the chief speaker and enthralled the participants with her erudition.

Meera Bai was a 16th-century Hindu Bhakti Poet and a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna. With rebelliousness in attitude, this mystic poet dared to condemn the restrictive norms that controlled the lives of women during those conservative times. She continues to remain revered in readers’ hearts, as also in the cultural consciousness of people through the ages. In this context, the webinar was an attempt to address the issues of gender and sexuality through Meera Bai’s poetry, creating an academic platform to celebrate her idea of poetic truth and humanity.

Dr. Nanda, in her presentation, underscored the aspects related to the poetry of Meera Bai. Drawing reference from the Indian history, she spoke about the folklore of Meera Bai’s sainthood and how poetry during that time was devotion and questioning of patriarchy. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi in her talk, she said, “Meera Bai was the ultimate satyagrahi. Her life and poetry is a road map reflecting the status of women linked to marriage and motherhood”. She also appreciated the contributions of KISS and its founder Dr. Achyuta Samanta towards tribal education, through interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary methods.

Earlier, in his inaugural address, Dr. Prashanta Kumar Routray, Registrar, KISS-DU, threw light on the topic and its significance in the context of KISS, appreciating the Department of Comparative Tribal Linguistics and Literature (CTLL) for choosing such an offbeat subject for the webinar. He expressed his confidence that the outcome of the webinar would surely broaden the horizon of interdisciplinary and comparative studies at KISS, which is in sync with the vision and mission of the Department. “It would be an eye-opener for the researchers while zeroing down on their topic of research”, he added.

Dr. Nanda’s presentation was followed by a thought-provoking question and answer session from the participants hailing from multidisciplinary fields. Dr. Chittaranjan Bhoi, Vice-Principal, KISS, summed up the deliberations and proposed the vote of thanks. The webinar was organized and moderated by faculty members of the Department of English, KISS-DU – Ms. Disha Bhatt and Dr. Preetinanda Roy.