On 30th November 2018 the Department of Humanities, University of Turin, Italy, will host the 10th death anniversary International Symposium in memory of Late Dr. Prabha Khaitan titled “Translating existentialism in South Asia,” under the auspices of the Prabha Khaitan Foundation, Kolkata, and the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Women and Gender – CIRSDe, Turin.
The conference will disseminate the results of a three-year long research led by Prof. Alessandra Consolaro, Associate Professor of Hindi Language and Literature at the University of Turin. Funded by the Italian Ministry of University and by the Department of Humanities, the focus would be on the autobiography and the contact between Existentialist and Indian philosophy.
Hailing from the Marwari community in Kolkata, Late Dr Prabha Khaitan (1st Nov 1942 – 20th Sept 2008) was renowned as a writer, litterateur, entrepreneur and feminist. Her writings reveal not only her private life and working experiences, but also her thought, that combines Indian and European philosophy. The conference shall focus on the philosophical aspect of Prabha Khaitan’s literary production.
Prabha Khaitan was the Hindi translator of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, published in 1991 with the title Stri Upeksita. She introduced Jean Paul Sartre’s Existentialism to the Hindi readers (Sartre ka Astitvavad, 1984; Sartre: Sabdom ka Masiha, 1985) and published an essay on Albert Camus (Albeyar Kamu: Vah Pahla Admi, 1993).
Mr. Sundeep Bhutoria, Managing Trustee, Prabha Khaitan Foundation, Kolkata, will deliver the keynote speech for the international symposium. Both European and South Asian scholars and translators, researching on different aspects of Existentialist thought and gender issues, will participate in the event: the program includes presentations by Monika Browarczyk (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland), Andrea Drocco (University of Venice, Italy), Mara Matta (La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy), Pakistani poet and feminist Kishwar Naheed (Urdu translator of The Second Sex, 1982), and Jayandra Soni (General Secretary of IAAS——International Association of Sanskrit Studies, Vienna).
“Her ideas and thoughts were ahead of her times. She was the founding president of Prabha Khaitan Foundation and was actively involved in women’s affairs. She was the first female president of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce,” said Mr Sundeep Bhutoria from Kolkata.
Prabha Khaitan was awarded by the President of India and had also won the “talented woman” award and Top Personality award for her contribution to the literature of the Kendriya Hindi Sansthan scholar Rahul Sankrityayan. Her autobiography is titled Anya se Ananya (A life apart).