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Vedic Language And Literature & Indian Poetry Reading

Press Release

"Vedic Language and Literature"
 Dr. Susan Rosenfield, Brown University
 Saturday, May 3, 2008, 3:00 PM

The Vedic tradition underlies the very fabric of Indian society and religion.
For well over three millennia, the custodians of this tradition have maintained one of the world's richest bodies of hymns, ritual practices, and reflective thought, to name just a few. In this lecture, we will briefly touch on the various theories surrounding the historical nature of the Vedic tradition. We will cover the precise recitation practices that allowed for the tradition's continuance, as well as the sophisticated linguistic science that evolved alongside this primarily oral tradition.  We will explore the content of Vedic hymns, their usage in ritual performance, the deities they invoke, and the kinds of reflective thought that arose from them.  We will trace selected myths and themes, beginning with the earliest text of the Rig Veda, and follow their development through the prose literature, ending with the Upanishads. We will also listen to excerpts of Vedic recitations and view their usage within a ritual setting.  Lastly, we will attempt to understand the Vedic tradition as it exists today, both in modern India and the world at large.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Susan Rosenfield received her PhD from Harvard in 2004 specializing in Vedic Studies.  She is currently affiliated with the Department of Classics in Brown University assisting in the project of on line production of a Sanskrit library.  Besides being involved with the studies in Sanskrit and linguistics, she spends time with computers in developing transliteration and fonts.

"India Poetry Reading"
Harvard University Science Center, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge

Saturday, May 10, 2008, 3:00 PM

Poetry has been called the elixir of life.  India has been the home of bards, story tellers, event chroniclers, and literary geniuses over her history and has contributed to the world the form of lyricism, expression, meters, language and the fanfare of poetry in life. From the ancient Vedas to the late romantic compositions in films, India has created songs for every aspect of human life and integrated it into the cultural fabric of her people. Over time, many languages and dialects have spawned over the geography of the subcontinent and each has made its mark in contributing ideas, thoughts and rhythm to the stream of life in India.

India also has been celebrated outside her home by visitors, scholars, religious practitioners and language enthusiasts.  Indian sentiments of spirituality, family living, respect of earth and nature, and ornamentation in words and style have been practiced by many other cultures all over the world.  The creativity in expressing thoughts is as powerful in the interior lands of Africa as in technological societies of the West.  Poetry is the celebration of the story of mankind.

India Poetry Reading as an event commenced in Harvard University in 1997 and has continued every year in the month of May.  This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, May 10, to be held at 3 PM in Hall A of Harvard University Science Center located at 1 Oxford Street in Cambridge, MA.  In consonance with the ongoing lecture series on “Languages and Literature of India”, the theme for this year’s Poetry Reading event will be “My Language”.  Poets of all ages are invited to read original compositions or share segments of classical literature in the gathering.  Compositions and readings in all languages are invited on the theme topic.

Please contact Dr. Bijoy Misra, Convener, Outreach Committee of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Harvard University for any further information and participation.  He can be reached by email at bmisra@fas.harvard.edu or by phone at 781.259.0029.  The Gujarati poet of eminence Sri Chandrakant Shah will help coordinate the event.  He may be contacted at c420@comcast.net or by phone at 781.983.4941.  The event notification of the Department is at http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~sanskrit/event.html and can be viewed to participate in activities at the University.

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