“Stories of Resilience and Strength” by Ishmeet Kaur Chaudhry of the Central University of Gujarat, India, has been announced as a keynote to be presented at The 3rd Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2022) and The 3rd Barcelona Conference on Arts, Media & Culture (BAMC2022).
How is one expected to contemplate and make sense of the different times of turbulence and upheaval? What efforts can one make to recover from setbacks and adversity? How does one reconcile with loss? This presentation focuses on answering these questions through various narratives and stories witnessed during the pandemic, and focuses on how these experiences are case-studies of the invisible people who have created history of their own times.
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Stories of Resilience and Strength
Leo Tolstoy remarked in War and Peace that “the two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” This statement stands true for all times, particularly in times of crisis. While time has its power, it can be equally destructive as well as healing; patience is the key to surviving time. Belonging to a family that witnessed the violence of the partition of India, followed by the 1984 anti-Sikh massacres and other situations of violence and war, COVID-19 has added a new experience – surviving during the pandemic. Thus, for the family, there have been phases of trauma and revival followed by repeated critical situations and revival from them. Every experience became a strength story, when the most stressful times were countered with hope and faith. It is true that distress is also the birth of undeterred hope and faith.
How is one expected to contemplate and make sense of the different times of turbulence and upheaval? What efforts can one make to recover from setbacks and adversity? How does one reconcile with loss?
The present paper focuses on answering these questions through various narratives and stories witnessed during the pandemic. The extraordinary strength that people showed in the worst of situations, as India witnessed poor labourers migrating to their homes at the outbreak of the pandemic; the widening gap of untouchability, not just in terms of caste but also in terms of social barriers and medical distances; breakdown of health care machinery; increase in suicides and mental stress; challenges met by students and educationists; and the farmers protest against the agriculture laws that turned into a full movement. At the same time, a lot of people and organisations came forward and made attempts to take charge of themselves and move on at individual levels that opened up different opportunities in the midst of the crisis. This paper focuses on how these experiences are case-studies of the invisible people who have created history of their own times.
Central University of Gujarat, India
Dr Ishmeet Kaur Chaudhry (educationist, author and poet) teaches at the Centre for English Studies at Central University of Gujarat, India. She was recognised as an Inspired Teacher for the President of India’s in-residence program at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi in June 2015. She has been largely interested in areas of literature of margins, studies of violence, trauma, and women studies. She has also been actively engaged in Comparative Studies and Translations from Punjabi into English. She is a member of the Global Guru Granth Sahib Translation project at Sikh Research Institute, United States. Her recent work has been on violence studies engaging with discourses on the 1984 anti-Sikh carnage in Delhi. She is an editor of Black November: Writings on Anti-Sikh Massacres of 1984 and the Aftermath (2019); Patrick White: Critical Issues (2014); co-editor of Violence, Subversion and Recovery: Women Writers from the Sub-continent and Around (2019, with Rachel Bari) and the author of Texting the Scripture: Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the Visionary Poetics of Patrick White (2016). Her collection of poems is Forbidden Button and Other Poems (Signorina Publications, 2020)
Dr Ishmeet Kaur Chaudhry also engages in conducting talks on women's concerns, well-being and mindfulness. She firmly believes that in a world that is full of pressures, there is an innate energy within people. She engages in discourses on various aspects of spirituality, learnings from Guru Granth Sahib, and real-life memoirs. She has delivered lectures in various institutions and different countries like Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, America, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and Spain.