A seminar on ‘Style in Indian Writing in English’ was organized by the postgraduate department of English on Jan. 29 and 30. It was a State-level programme sponsored by the Directorate of Higher Education, Haryana. Teachers and scholars from different colleges and universities of the state as also from other parts of the country gathered to deliberate on the topic of the seminar. In all, 125 participants took part in it and 46 papers were presented.

The Seminar was inaugurated by Prof. Bhim S. Dahiya, former Vice Chancellor of Kurukshetra University. Among the literary stalwarts who addressed the gathering were Prof. R.W. Desai, Dr. R.K. Dhawan and Dr. Suman Bala of Delhi University, Prof. Harsharan Singh of Guru Nanak Dev University, Prof. Pushpinder Syal of The Central Institute of Indian and Foreign Languages, Lucknow, Dr. Rekha Beniwal of Deenbandhu Chhoturam University and Dr. Umed Singh of C.D.L. University, Sirsa. Earlier, Dr. S.S. Goyal, the Principal of Hindu College as also the Convener of the programme welcomed the guests.

In his key-note address, Prof. Dahiya outlined the vast panorama of stylistics and articulated his views on the applicability of different parameters. He also released a book titled Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake: A Critical Study written by Dr. Jagdish Batra, Head, Department of English of Hindu College.

The discussions in different working sessions centred round the different stylistical approaches to the English literature produced by Indians in India or abroad. These also included the poetic and fictional works published by the second generation of Indians diaspora settled in other countries.

The theme of the first working session was ‘Traditional Style Analysis’ and the focus was on imagery, metaphor, plot, characterization and literary works of authors like R.K. Narayan Kamla Markandeya, Arundhati Roy, Nissim Ezekiel, Anita Desai were discussed by scholars including Prof. Harsharan Singh, Dr. Vipasha Agarwal and Dr. Kiran Sharma.

In the second session devoted to ‘Linguistic Stylistics: Theory and Application’, Dr. Jagdish Batra focused on the limitations of linguistic stylistics. According to him, the approach can be useful in a literary text in which language deviates significantly from the norm. The application part was dealt with by Meenakshi Hooda, Jyoti Dehiya, Shuchi Makan, Dr. Jyoti Sheoran and Anju Malik and the authors taken up were Arvind Adiga, Rohinton Mistry, Kiran Desai, Kamla Das, Mulk Raj Anand and R.K. Narayan.

The third working session was marked ‘Structural Criticism’. In it, the focus was on narratological aspects. Leading fiction writers like Amitav Ghosh, Quarratulain Hyder, Ruth P. Jhabvala apart from Mistry, Deshpande, and Narayan were discussed by Dr. Umed Singh, Dr. N.K. Saini, Dr. B.K. Singh, Mr. Satish Kumar, Dr. Joginder Singh, Dr. Sumita Ashri and Dr. Geeta Goyal.

The theme of the fourth session was ‘Post-structural Criticism’ but mostly the traditional approaches were applied to the works of Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Khushwant Singh et al. by Dr. Shilpi Ahuja, Jyoti Sharma, Dr. Susheela Rana, Rajesh Kumar, Sonu Lohat et al. The session came to an end with the Valedicatory Session on Jan. 30. Earlier, Prof. R.W. Desai, a well-known Shakespeare scholar, underlined the importance of language in poetry and gave valuable tips to aspiring poets.

In his valedictory address, Prof. S.L. Paul, former chairperson of the Department of English of Kuruskhetra University and a well-known scholar took up the study of R.K. Narayan’s novel The Guide for discourse analysis. An important intervention was from Dr. R.S. Malik who spoke briefly on discourse analysis. Also present on the occasion was Dr. R.C. Goyal, Principal, Govt. College, Panchkula and the nodal officer of the programme.

In this very session, Satish Kumar presented the report of the seminar. Called upon to give feedback, Dr. N.K. Saini and Dr. Saroj Malik, delegates to the Seminar, were all praise for the arrangements made for the seminar and the meaningful discussions held therein. In his presidential remarks, Prof. Dhawan praised Dr. Batra for the choice of the subject and selection of resource persons. Mementos were presented to the visiting luminaries. In the end, Dr. Batra, the Organizing Secretary of the Seminar, thanked the dignitaries, resource persons, Principal and delegates. He also lauded the efforts put in by the members of the organizing committee particularly Mr. B.K. Garg, Dr. Anita Phor, Dr. B.K. Bansal, Ajay Sharma, Yogita Girdhar, Kuldeep, Shuchi Makan, Ameeta and Jyoti Dahiya to make the programme a success.