Dr Rositta Valiyamattam
IASH-SSPS Fellow, December 2019 - February 2020
Home Institution: Gitam Deemed University
Project: Documenting and Critiquing Female Agency and its Representations during the 1992‐93 Communal Riots in Western India
Dr. Rositta Joseph Valiyamattam is presently Assistant Professor of English at the School of Gandhian Studies, GITAM Deemed University, Vizag, India. She completed her Masters in English from Andhra University, winning six awards and two gold medals including the prestigious Acharya K.R.S. Iyengar Memorial Gold Medal. Her areas of interest are post-colonial and Indian English literatures and she has specialised in subaltern theory from the Forum on Contemporary Theory, MS University, Baroda. A UGC Senior Research Fellow, she was awarded PhD by Andhra University for her thesis centring on a critical appraisal of Indian English fiction in depicting the interface between individual lives and national history in post-independence India, especially as a re-writing of conventional history from the margins. Her thesis was subsequently published as “Personal and National Destinies in Independent India: A Study of Selected Indian English Novels” by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK in 2016.
Rositta’s current project at IASH focuses on documenting the unrecorded history and critiquing existing historical representations of the agency of women in western India especially Mumbai and neighbouring areas which were hotbeds of violence during the 1992-93 Hindu-Muslim riots following the demolition of the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. It attempts to offer a more genuine alternative to mainstream history and thereby new insights into potentially more effective paradigms for dealing with communal violence and maintaining peace and harmony. The agency of these women, who, despite their subalternity, form the core of Indian social life, needs to be recovered, however imperfectly, through an interdisciplinary interface of history, politics and literature, through direct engagement with them on the ground as well as through a critiquing of textual as well as audio-visual sources so as to gain authentic perspectives on the anatomy of communal violence and mechanisms for its deterrence, especially at a time when the Ayodhya dispute constantly threatens to tear apart India’s communal harmony.