The Fulbright Association Conference schedule is live! I’m honored to be jetting to Denver later this month to rep my alma mater NYU Tisch School of the Arts where I also teach part-time, and grateful to have received a Tisch Adjunct Professional Development Grant to attend. I’ll be giving a 60-minute talk entitled “Happy Accidents: How a Mistakenly Published Play Forced Reforms in British India”.
My abstract: In 1860s India, Bengali playwright Dinabandhu Mitra wrote the play Nil Darpan (Indigo Mirror), an exposé of violent abuses committed against malnourished Indian farm workers by powerful British indigo dealers. With help from a Christian missionary the play was translated into English and shared with the office of Bengal’s Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Peter Grant. Grant approved a few copies to be printed to share with colleagues; instead, hundreds were mistakenly printed and distributed to Parliament members in England, outraging and embarrassing the British Raj. But would the amusing debacle help bring positive change and food security to Indian laborers? These events are well-known but have often been mythologized and misrepresented. Stanley will provide his own findings from Indian, UK and US newspapers of the day.