An inter-disciplinary international conference was organized from 10-12 March, 2015, by the Department of English, Bharati College to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of William Butler Yeats and Rudyard Kipling in collaboration with Saurashtra University and The Oberoi Cecil, Shimla. The first chapter of the conference was held in Delhi, the other two in Shimla and Rajkot. The session started with the welcome address by the Principal, Dr. Pramodini Varma. Ms.Malabika Sarkar, former Vice Chancellor of Presidency University delivered the keynote address titled “Yeats, Kipling and the Haven Finding Art” in which she discussed and compared poems such as “Sailing to Byzantium” by W.B. Yeats and “Gunga Din” by Kipling. Subsequently, the session was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor of University of Delhi, Professor Dinesh Singh. He talked about his relation to poetry and shared his knowledge of the writings of Yeats and Kipling.
The next session was titled “Yeats and Kipling: Notes on an Unlikely Pair”. The chairperson for this session was Prof. Rupin W. Desai. Papers were presented by Dr. Alexander Bubb (Department of English, King’s College, London) and Prof. Harish Trivedi (formerly) Department of English, University of Delhi. The next sessiontitled “Kipling: the epistemic Raj”, was held on the second day of the conference and was chaired by Prof. Rajiva Verma. The paper presenters were Dr. John Lee (Department of English, University of Bristol) and Prof. Christel R. Devadawson (Department of English, University of Delhi).
The post lunch session focused on papers by Prof. Prashant Sinha (University of Pune), Prof. Peter Schulman (Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Old Dominion University) and Dr. Naina Dey (Department of English, Maharaja Mahindra Chandra College). A paper by Prof. Mythili Kaul (formerly) Department of English, University of Delhi was read in absentia by Dr. Jyoti Bajaj Desai.
12th March 2015 was the third and the last day of the conference. Thesession was chaired by Professor Robert S. White and it started with a Skype presentation by Professor Ruth Vanita. She presented her paper titled “Self-Delighting Soul: A reading of Yeats’ ‘A Prayer for My Daughter’ in the light of Indian Philosophy”.In the next session, Ms. Indrani Dasgupta (Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, presented her paper followed by Dr. Sengupta’s (University of Burdwan) paper, focussing on some of Kipling's short stories following the Great War, written between 1915 and 1932. The next paper was presented by Mr. Chetan (Bharati College).
The last session of the Conference, had a paper presentation by Prof. Robert S. White. (Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, University of Western Australia.)The next paper was presented jointly by Ms. Ipshita Nath, Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Mr. Anubhav Pradhan, Department of English, University of Delhi. The last paper of the session and the conference was presented by Prof. Rupin W. Desai. The title of his paper was “Yeats and Kipling: Parallels, Divergences, and Convergences”. At the end of the session, Dr. Promodini Varma gave her vote of thanks.
Through the course of the conference there were enactments of two plays of W.B Yeats and a spoof on Kipling. Yeats Purgatory was performed by Shaw’s Corner and directed by Dr.Vinod Bala Sharma (former faculty member of Mata Sundari College, Delhi University). Yeats’ The Words upon the Window Pane was performed by the students of “Chilman”, Bharati College Dramatic Society. It was directed by Dr.Sonali Jain, faculty member of the English Department, Bharati College. The spoof on Kipling, Never the Twain Shall Meet, was performed by the students of the Department of English, Bharati College and was directed by Mr.Anubhav Pradhan.
Anavisha Banerjee is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English, Bharati College. She is pursuing her Ph.D from the Department of English, University of Delhi.