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Prabhat Kumar


Prabhat Kumar





born 1978 in Madhubani (Bihar), India  


since 07.2008: Team member of the project “Gauging Cultural Asymmetries: Asian Satire and the Search for Identity in the Era of Colonialism and Imperialism” (B1) of the Cluster of Excellence at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany, Ph.D. Candidate

2001-2003: M.Phil. (Dissertation title:"Rambriksh Benipuri: The Man and his Ideas") at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India

1999-2001: M.A. in Modern Indian History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India

1996-1999: B.A. (Hons.) in History at Hindu College, University of Delhi, India

Working and Research Experience

2005-2008: Guest Lecturer in Indian History at the University of Delhi, India

2006: Presentation of the paper “Yuvak Sangh Aur Yuvak:1920 Ke Dashak Mein Bihar Ka Bauddhik Parivesh” at the Independent Fellowship Programme 2006 of SARAI, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, India


“Satirical Traditions in Modern Hindi Literature in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century”

Focusing on literary and visual satire (cartoons), which appeared in the self-professed humorous Hindi journals as well as in various other periodicals, and the ones published separately in different literary forms/genres, this study shall locate the emergence of satire as an important literary mode in modern Hindi in the wider context of the emergence of the Hindi public sphere as a heavily contested arena in the 1860s.

This study assumes that during this period and in the coming decades when the Hindi avant-garde staked their claim as the sole and legitimate representative of public opinion of the Indian nation, satire emerged as an important literary device in questioning cultural asymmetries, framing the ‘idiom of protest’ or ‘culture of resistance’ against the existing authorities of power - the colonial as well as the traditional indigenous elite. It became a crucial literary technique, ‘a double-edged sword’ in the hands of Hindi middle class not only for demarcating and occupying the moral, social, political grounds vis-à-vis existing authorities of power, but to contend with the rising political and social aspirations of the Muslims and the subalterns: lower caste people and women.

Also, Satire increasingly functioned as an important literary mode caricaturing many other genres for carving out normative ideals of citizenship, nationhood, family, etc., not by directly and positively defining them, but through indirect attack on the perceived deviation from these putative norms.