Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

2 - Voicing Self, Penning Travel: Masculine Vernacular Life Writing of Satyadev Parivrajak

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Jacaranda I, First Floor

This paper focuses on Swatantrata Ki Khoj Mein arthat Meri Atm-Katha (Search for Freedom meaning My Autobiography, 1951) and Vichar Swatantrya ke Prangan Mein: My Autobiography – Critics Answered (Ideas in the Courtyard of Freedom: My Autobiography – Critics Answered, 1952), the two vernacular autobiographies of Satyadev Parivrajak (1879-1961). Parivrajak wore many hats. He was a sadhu, swami and a monk, a nationalist, a philosopher, a fiction writer, a political sanyasi, an Arya Samajist, a virulent Hindu activist, a staunch supporter of Hindu sangathan, a Hindi pracharak, and a ghummakad, yayavar travel writer. To rephrase the famous feminist lexicon, the biological bodies of nations were culturally produced by Parivrajak through his autobiographies, which were deeply intertwined with this travel writings. A dialogue between east and west, and slavery and freedom was a quintessential marker of Parivrajak’s autobiographies. The paper argues that these life writings were part of a nation’s attempt to reclaim a space of freedom, forged through the carving of ‘perfect masculinist bodies’, which embodied Parivrajak’s ideals of pleasure and beauty. While traveling extensively in the west, Parivrajak wrote only in Hindi, communicating to the Hindi-Hindu reading public his descriptions of geo-bodies of nations and regions through his travel writings and autobiographies. His life writings, the paper argues, provide a world beyond the drudgery of everyday life, creating a spectacle of vernacular freedom that boosted the morale and aspirations of the Indian Hindu middle classes in a global context.

Charu Gupta

Delhi University, India

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2 - Voicing Self, Penning Travel: Masculine Vernacular Life Writing of Satyadev Parivrajak



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