Editorial

KALYANI VALLATH EXPLAINS THE ‘HOW’ AND ‘WHY’ OF THIS MAGAZINE.

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Dear Reader

he first issue of TES Literary Supplement had an overwhelming response, and copies have reached all major universities and colleges across the country. Six months have flown by, and before we realize it, it is time to bring out the second issue of TLS! These six months have witnessed numerous national and international upheavals such as debates over capital punishment, the introduction of the antirape bill, deaths of Carlos Fuentes, Chinua Achebe, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Hugo Chavez, the Academy Awards and effects of global warming and waste accumulation, to name a few. Students, young scholars and senior academics from across the country have written to TLS on many of these issues, which we have included in the current number. We are proud that this little magazine is already growing beyond the bounds of region, discipline, perspective and identity into a healthy, democratic forum for all its readers. We have purposefully avoided an introductory note on the contributors, for we feel the writing will speak endlessly when the author and reader remain anonymous. Do keep writing to us; become part of the many voices of TLS.

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Backstage

The people behind TLS
Chief Editor
Dr. Kalyani Vallath

Patrons
Prof. R. Balakrishnan Nair Dr. P.P. Ajayakumar Dr. C.A. Lal Dr. Babitha Justin Dr. Rajesh Nair

Managing Director
Ilyas C.A.

Executive Editor
Sudip N.

Editorial Board
Vinita Teresa Rajitha Venugopal Suhana Sathar Prasara V.P.

Issue Editors
Mary Suneeta Joy Mini John Akhila V.L. Chandini Retnan

Production
Layout: Renju Varghese Printed at Drishya Offset Printers, SS Kovil Road, Thampanoor, Trivandrum

Research Team
Krishna Badigar Mithun Yelve Ajithkumar Chougule Archana S. Viswan Soufar Ali Cover: Chinua Achebe (1930-2013) Shivakumar Channagowdra Neelima Santhosh Tintu Anie Mathew Gayathri Krishna Priyanka Susan Rahul Chavan Nitesh Telhande Shivaguru Vhandkar Ranganath J. Ugale P.N. Santhini

Call for contributions
We welcome contributions to TLS in the following categories:
»» Brief original writeups on books, films, newspaper / magazine, articles of literary and cultural interest,
literary events, travel, and personal experiences.

»» Poems, brief one-act plays, paintings, drawings, caricatures, and other creative works. »» Translations of brief poems, and translations of excerpts from novels, articles or plays in any
language into English. [Please send us a copy of the original also.]

»» Games and interesting activities on literary and cultural topics.
All contributions should be emailed to tesliterarysupplement@gmail.com. Only copies should be sent and they will not be returned to the contributor. The contributions will be peer-reviewed and requests for revision/ editing may be made. The publication of the contributions will be at the discretion of the editors. Acceptance will be intimated by email. Comments, responses, criticisms, and queries to the editors / contributors should be sent by email to TLS at tesliterarysupplement@gmail.com.

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VOL. 02 ISSUE. 01 JUNE 2013

Contents
7 17 19

ANNIVERSARY
Double Century for Pride and Prejudice

CLASSICS
The Magic Mountain

COMPARATIVE
The Plural and the Singular

CURRENT
Orthodoxies: Debates on the film Celluloid and Beyond

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DRAMA
The Other Side of the Door

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GAMES
Know ’em? Identify the Work Solve It

24 30 55

Communication Crossword GK Scramble

59 60

IMPRESSIONS
Intrepid Tagore Creativity Modernity Affection The Leader Restrictions

24 25 39 44 58 62 65 41 45 63

MUSINGS
Think Ignorance What is life?

POEMS
Thank You God Forget Way of life Sweet Morning Quest Go City Go Ethnical Infliction On the Street The Last Moment

8 10 10 14 14 16 18 23 24

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Contents
An Adamant Heart Why Bother to Brother? Art frnd I am a racist Sublimation Years I bleed sir; but not kill’d

27 32 37 43 44 53 61 64

RESPONSES
Bharathipura: A Voice against Casteism The Kite Runner: Karbala and the Persian Saga The Darker Side of Shining India Revealed in Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger

36 38 40

REVIEW
Tabish Khair and The Thing About Thugs Yann Martel’s Life of Pi

31 33 35 54 56 57 66

SNIPPETS
Seven Deadly Sins Fun Facts Literary Awards Losses of 2012 and 2013 Paan Singh Tomar

STUDY
Dalit Translation: A Necessary Evil

29 26

TRAVEL
A Statue of Liberty

TRIBUTE
Chinua Achebe: The End of an Era Ruth Prawer Jhabvala: Writing from the Outside Carlos Fuentes: A Renaissance Man Who Makes the Book Bleed Hugo Chavez: The Beacon of the Future Class Struggle Rituparno Ghosh

9 11 13 15 28

WRITER
The Warrior of Light: Paulo Coelho and His Books Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Literary Genius Overshadowed by Deductive Brilliance

34 42

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Anniversary

DOUBLE CENTURY FOR PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Vinita Teresa analyses the reasons behind the classic’s enduring charm.

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ride and Prejudice is probably one of the very few novels that has had its plot subtly and overtly transformed into the stuff of hundreds of romance novels and movies. The classic plot line where boy meets girl resulting in a war of words and wit with an undercurrent of sexual tension and a final resolution of misunderstandings, leading to a “happily ever after,” is perhaps best exemplified in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The novel completed its 200th anniversary in January this year and continues to hold sway over the collective imagination of literature enthusiasts across the world. If literary historians are to be believed, the novel held a special place in Austen’s mind. She completed the manuscript of the novel when she was merely 19 years old and she observed that its protagonist Elizabeth Bennet was “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.” Being a woman and a debutant writer, Austen suffered her own share of tribulation to get the novel published. In 1797, at the age of 21, she approached Cadell and Davies, the prominent publisher of her day, to get the novel published under the title First Impressions. Not surprisingly, she was promptly turned down. Years later, in 1813, Egerton’s Military Library, which had hitherto published only military history, published the revised novel under the title Pride and Prejudice. Interestingly, in her first published novel Sense and Sensibility, the author is referred to as “a lady” and in Pride and Prejudice, the author is mentioned as the “author of Sense and Sensibility.” Jane Austen continued to maintain her anonymity till her death in 1817 at the age of 41. for all categories of readers. On the most superficial level, it is a humorous and entertaining ‘Mills and Boonish’ account of a witty woman who brings down an arrogant aristocrat with love. A more intellectually incisive reading brings out a sharply nuanced portrayal of the cultural demography of rural English society and the attitudes towards the institution of marriage. Be it Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s marital monotony, Charlotte’s and Collins’ “marriage of convenience,” Lydia’s and Wickham’s scandalous elopement, Jane’s and Bingley’s conventional marriage or Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s passionate and romantic relationship, Austen gives the readers slices of multi-hued perceptions. Feminist writers see the novel as a commentary on the mandatory male-dependency of women. Marrying a financially secure man is often a woman’s only chance to attain economic and social stability. Since the late 1970s, Austen’s writings have been seriously analysed

Pride & Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice inarguably has the most famous opening line of any novel from the nineteenth century. The line “It is a truth most universally acknowledged that, a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” is loaded with multiple meanings and beautifully sets the theme and ironic tone of the novel. The enduring appeal of the novel lies in the fact that it has something

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in the context of feminism. In fact, many academicians consider her a proto-feminist. Today, Jane Austen is literally a global brand with her works, especially Pride and Prejudice being adapted into different media. Also, fan clubs all over the world actively discuss and react to her work. Fan fiction, most of which are spin-offs of Pride and Prejudice, attempt to look at the novel from the perspectives of different characters and are generally postmodern in nature. Famous adaptations include BBC’s Pride and Prejudice television series (1995) and Joe Wright’s critically acclaimed Pride and Prejudice movie (2005). Close to home, we have Gurindher Chaddha’s Bride and Prejudice (2004) which celebrates the story in true
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Bollywood style. While the ones mentioned above have been more or less faithful to the spirit of the original novel, there are more quirky takes on the novel. Popular crime-writer PD James’s Death Comes to Pemberley (2011) catapults Elizabeth and Darcy, now a married couple, into the midst of a murder mystery. Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies combines the novel with zombie fiction. In this first-of-its-kind literary remix/ mash-up, Smith casts Elizabeth as a sword wielding, Kung-Fu practising, slayer of the undead. The opening line of this novel is a clever subversion of the classic opening line of Pride and Prejudice — It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains

must be in want of more brains. Other Pride and Prejudiceinspired works include Lizzie ­ Bennet Diaries, a serial told in the form of video blogs, Lost in Austen, a television series where a modern-day protagonist steps into the antiquated world of Pride and Prejudice and skews the plot and character delineation. As the world celebrates the 200th anniversary of this iconic novel, one is awed by the plethora of literary reactions and devoted fan culture that Pride and Prejudice has spawned over the years. Hence it can be concluded that this novel bears the mark of a true classic—a story that has stood the test of time and still remains accessible, relevant and interesting to the masses.

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“Thank You God”
On the busy road, I saw a dazzling black four wheeler with silver panes. It made me sad when I saw the driver’s diamonds and white Gucci I sighed and looked at the wide blue sky and said, “God, this is not right.” She has it all—the car, the rings and all the things that give her pleasure; While I toil all day, to make both ends meet, with no moment of leisure. On the suburban North Street, I saw a lavish house with lush lawns With pricey lamps and the servants were tough and hard to count. I sighed and looked at the wide blue sky and said, “God, this is not right.” They have it all—the lawn, the lamps, the things which give them pleasure, While I toil all day, to make both ends meet, with no moment of leisure. Back home, as I rang the door bell, there was a contest amid the kids To be the one to win their mom’s kiss; to tell the things I’d missed. As I looked with joy at their glowing faces, I forgot the car and the house, I sighed and looked at the wide blue sky, felt no other pleasure can trade for this, And said, “I thank you dearest God, I feel I am blessed, I want nothing anymore.”

Pooja Malik Choudhary

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Tribute

CHINUA ACHEBE: THE END OF AN ERA

Prasara V.P. pays tribute to the father of African English literature.

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he entire literary world fell apart as Achebe bid farewell to this mortal world on March 21, this year. However, his legacy of writing lives on through his books that share shelves with Shakespeare and Dickens. Chinua Achebe was a doorway to the traditional African life, its beliefs and customs. His elegiac novel Things Fall Apart laments over the African continent that was ravaged by the claws of Eurocentric determinism. A preoccupation with the disintegration of African society induced first by forced territorial subjugation followed by covert hegemonic prepotency defined Achebe and his world. An Ibo born to Christian parents, Achebe held on to the Ibo culture of which he was a loyal affiliate. He felt torn between Christianity and Ibo culture, between Nigeria and Britain and these pulls left him in a state of political, cultural and religious turmoil. Achebe who started writing when Africa was in desperate need of independence interlaced his novels with issues of power, representation, colour and freedom. Achebe’s works center on African politics, the way Africa is represented in the West and the effects of colonization in African societies. Achebe was born in Ogidi in Nigeria on November 16, 1930. He began working with the Nigerian Broadcasting Service in Lagos in 1954. During the Nigerian Civil War of the ‘60s, the people of the Eastern region tried to establish an independent Republic of Biafra and Achebe tried to publicise the plight of his people. He wrote There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, a memoir that deals with his life during the civil war that nearly tore Nigeria apart. He has lectured in universities around the world and was Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University, USA, prior to his death. A dynamic African writer, Achebe wrote for a “human purpose” and used relevant African adages in his novels Achebe. Things Fall Apart is a definite pronouncement of his anti-colonial urge and was inspired by his reading of Mister Johnson, a 1939 novel set in Nigeria written by an Anglo-Irishman, Joyce Cary. Cary’s is the story of an idiotic African protagonist who madly worships his white master and in the end, to avoid the gallows, begs his master to kill him. The portrayal of the blind mimicking of the white man’s culture by the protagonist provoked Achebe to write against the author’s Irish prejudice. Achebe’s efforts to liberate Africa from the stranglehold of European imperialism continued with No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, The Man of the People and the Booker Prize-winning Anthills of the Savannah. His Okonkwo and Ezeulu are tragic heroes. They flailed at colonial powers and ultimately became victims. Achebe has

Chinua Achebe
to convey his messages. For him “art is, and always was, at the service of man.” He walked after Cesaire and Senghor, and sought to dispel the denigrating images of Africa universalized by Western meta-narratives. He marched in front to reclaim the African past and its lost glory and to make the global community acknowledge its achievements and contributions. It was the univocal metanarratives that enraged the artistic consciousness of

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also penned numerous poems, critical essays and children’s books. “An Image of Africa,” his critique of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is controversial for its depiction of Conrad as a blatant racist. He has made substantial
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contributions to journalism too. He was the founding editor of the Heineman African Series, edited the university of Nsukka journal, Nsukka Scope and founded Okike, a Nigerian journal of new writing. Innumerable African
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writers have felt his influence, but it is quite unfortunate that Achebe was not awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature even though four African writers have received the award till date.

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Forget
It is strangely pleasing, To see that you remember, Each and every word I said, Every word of nonsense, Recorded and stored, In your fond memory All the queer fantasies, Uneasiness and likes, Every turn of phrase, Recorded and stored, Carefully held close In your fond memory. But I would rather you forget, Every little thing, every word, Than remember and store, Treasure with sharp ache, Going through every day Like on a bed of arrows I would rather you change Change with the seasons Dance with the crowds Shake with roaring laughter Smile that slow-breaking smile, Than ever remember me. Even when the candle burns And lips move in silent prayer, That may or may not reach, For blessings to fill your hands, To give you strength to forget, An intense slice in our lives.

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Way of Life
I walk through the road of life Like a horse with eyes bound; My dreams gasp for breath Like goldfish in a broken bowl. I lie counting the luminous stars And wish I was one among them. I lie wounded, attacked by a Pisces, Helpless and battling for life. While my life stretches before me, Like a vast and arid desert, Trampled and tred, While I yearn for an oasis. Myriad voices evoke memories, Memories scrawl the past And like tired travellers Search for the elixir of life.

Maria

Anu Placheril

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Tribute

RUTH PRAWER JHABVALA: WRITING FROM THE OUTSIDE

Jayalekshmi N.S. writes about Jhabvala’s contributions to literature and film industry.

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uth Prawer Jhabvala (7 May 1927 – 3 April 2013), is the only writer to have won both the Booker and the Oscars “without any ground of being out of which to write.” Being a German-born Anglo-Indian, Jhabvala did not really have a home, and she despaired that she had been “blown about from country to country, culture to culture.” Her true home was her writing, and there she delineated lives that were as intense as they were extraordinary. It was there she finely etched portraits of interpersonal lives set amidst the socio-cultural tumult of the early decades of the 20th century. Jhabvala’s life and art captured the drifting life of a writer buffeted about by the whirlwind of history. For her, India was the prism that refracted riotous histories in myriad colours. Her first novel, To Whom She Will, appeared in 1955. It was followed by The Nature of Passion (1956) and Esmond in India (1957). We can see that her early novels ironically depicted the life and manners of Indian middleclass families, the spectrum of how the Europeans tried to understand India, and the clash between Eastern and Western cultures. By interacting with her husband’s colleagues and clients, she became acquainted with people who lived lives which were much different from hers. That is probably why most of her stories are written from the point of view of an outsider. Of course, many Indian critics have labelled her authorial detachment as a sign of Western condescension towards India. Apparently, her insights and depiction of snobberies, self-delusion and explained why she disliked westernized Indians, for “they are not conditioned to look at themselves.” As the New York Times puts it, living in Delhi in the years immediately following independence, Jhabvala, with her European sense of irony, was probably the first writer in English to see that India’s westernizing middle class, so preoccupied with marriage, lent itself well to Jane Austen-like comedies of manners. Unlike Naipaul, she wasn’t drawn to India by ancestry or, as in Forster’s case, by a desire to move beyond a complacent Western liberalism. In between heat and dust, she indulged herself in her rootlessness through the sights and smells of India, till eventually India tired her out. Slowly, the melancholy and oppression of being an outsider in India caught up with her. “I am no longer interested in India,” she wrote in 1971. “What I am interested in now, is myself in India, which sometimes, in moments of despondency, I think of as my survival in India.”

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
orthodox Indian family ties made her sound like “an oldfashioned colonialist.” However it has to be noted that she was a writer who took pains to keep her identity away from her writings; it has to be mentioned that Jhabvala’s German-Jewish heritage has never even once occupied a central place in her works. She wrote 12 novels, five collections of short stories and around 20 screenplays, two of which won Academy Awards. Writing about the intense heat, the lack of a social life and the “great animal of poverty and backwardness,” Jhabvala

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Notably, her collaborations with the producer Ismail Merchant and the director James Ivory which started in the 1960s, led to beautifullycrafted film productions. She won Oscars in 1987 and 1993 for her screenplays of A Room with a View and Howards End respectively. Both were adapted from E.M. Forster’s eponymous novels. In 1990, she won the Best Screenplay Award from the New York Film Critics Circle for Mr. & Mrs. Bridge. She was nominated for a third Academy Award for screenwriting for The Remains of the Day (1993), adapted from the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. She also won a Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award for Heat and Dust, which explored the East-West relationship through parallel narratives and was awarded the Booker Prize in 1975. She was honoured with the CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 1998 and a joint Bafta fellowship with Merchant and Ivory in 2002. Her perception of film adaptation “diagonally” raises curtains of a female film director’s methodology in that field. “You can take up the theme but never do it literally. You’d come up with a kind of travesty, if you tried to interpret anything literally. Fidelity is not the first [thing], the theme and the feel of the characters... the ambience and their relationships... So it’s a separate work, in a way…there

is a period when the book and I are two separate entities,” she says in an interview to Philip Horne. Away from adaptations, the scene of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s own literary interests moved from India to New York. In Search of Love and Beauty dealt with the destinies three generations of Austrian and German immigrants in the city. Her literary, subtly shaded screenplays were lauded for their depictions of people caught in social worlds circumscribed by manners and emotional restraint. In both film and fiction, Jhabvala examined the theme of cultural dislocation, of outsiders becoming involved in—and sometimes victimized by—an exotic, foreign environment. Jhabvala is wellknown for bringing the queer sensibilities of E.M. Forster and Henry James to the screen as the writer of the Ismail MerchantJames Ivory queer period-piece film-making team. She always considered her screenwriting a hobby, while fiction was her true passion, “the films were fun …I live so much more in and for the books,” she wrote to a friend. Receiving the 1979 Neil Gunn International Fellowship, she gave a rare insight into her psyche in an address entitled “Disinheritance.” She spoke of her life’s losses but acknowledged their part in what she had become. Jhabvala saw herself locked “in a double pretence” of being “Indian and Anglo-Saxon.” Jhabvala

apologetically gave natural colours for her rootlessness. She thought it was like “changing countries like lovers …a cuckoo forever insinuating myself into others’ nests... chameleon hiding myself in false or borrowed colours.” The wit, economy and detachment that she achieved in her fiction was also reflected in her personality, and there too, they masked contradictory qualities. Her characters surge with violent emotions (which they often suppress) and pursue voracious appetites (for food, sex, love) with a relish which their creator seems to share. Her vision was bleak; her tone austere. But her supply of complex characters and subtle, vivid scenes was inexhaustible and she caught the ambiguities of human behaviour and the pleasures of the senses in precise, perfect words. She wanted her stories to feel like nonfiction—fake biographical, fake autobiographical—but on the other hand, she wanted it to have literary appeal. It was her lush, sensual language and her keen ear for smouldering restraint in dialogue, her nuanced sensitivity to the class conflicts and consciousness in the Merchant-Ivory films that drove the big, romantic productions to become perennial award-winners. Throughout her life she was ingenuous to her motto, “as an artist or writer, you’re much more your work than you are yourself.” This makes her a golden feather in the dome of woman writers.

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Tribute

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CARLOS FUENTES: A RENAISSANCE MAN WHO MAKES THE BOOK BLEED

Drisya K. lists the achievements of the pioneer in Spanish writing.

arlos Fuentes, Mexico’s elegant public intellectual, an unfettered cultural force and grand man of letters, was pivotal in mainstreaming Spanish writing in the second half of the 20th century. His panoramic novels captured the complicated essence of his country’s history. He was born in Panama to Mexican parents on 1928. True to his name, which means “fountains” in Spanish, he was a prolific writer, producing plays and short stories and co-founding a literary magazine, Revista Mexicana de Literatura, with Octavio Paz. He was also a columnist, political provocateur, essayist, critic, screenwriter and playwright, editor, ambassador and a cultural historian. A towering figure in Mexican and world literature, Fuentes, along with Gabriel García Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Julio Cortazar, acted as a catalyst for El Boom—the explosion of Latin American literature in the 1960s and 1970s which became closely associated with magical realism. Fuentes’s first short story collection, Masked Days (1954) was followed by his first novel, Where the Air is Clear (1958), laying the foundation for the boom. It was a literary sensation, mixing biting social commentary with interior monologues and portrayals of the subconscious. It was his second novel, The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962) that won him recognition as one of Latin America’s leading young authors. The book is based on the Mexican revolution (1910-20) and criticizes the distortion of the revolutionaries’ original aims through “class domination, Americanization, financial corruption and failure of land reform.” The Death possibilities of fiction. The major novels Fuentes produced in these years were A Change of Skin (1967) and Terra Nostra (1975), a “massive, Byzantine work” in the baroque tradition. It spans more than 2,000 years of history and has been called “a panoramic HispanoAmerican creation myth.” His 1985 novel The Old Gringo was the first Mexican novel to figure in the New York Times. In Christopher Unborn (1987), he tries to exorcise all the evils of Mexico City. The 1990s started with a flurry of publications: Constancia: and Other Stories for Virgins (1990); The Campaign (1991), the first of a planned trilogy spanning the 100 years between the 1810 Year of Revolution and the 1910 Mexican Revolution; and The Buried Mirror (1991), a wideranging account of Hispanic culture. His other works that caught international attention were The Crystal Frontier (1997), The Years with Laura Díaz (1999) and Inez (2003). His epistolary

Carlos Fuentes
of Artemio Cruz was the first Latin American novel to employ stream of consciousness technique. His mysterynovel Aura (1962) narrates a romantic encounter beneath a crucifix with a black Christ. In his 60s and 70s, Fuentes produced a stream of novels and essays that deepened his investigation into the

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novel The Eagle’s Throne (2003) comically takes apart the complexities and absurdities of Mexican political life. In 2008, he published Destiny and Desire: A Novel, in which the narrator is a severed head. At the time of his death, he had just completed a new novel, Federico on His Balcony, and had embarked on writing another. Fuentes was weighed down with prizes, awards and honorary degrees for his versatility. Fuentes received the National Order of Merit, France’s highest civilian award given to a foreigner; Spain’s Prince of

Asturias Award for literature; the Cervantes Prize, the Spanishspeaking world’s highest literary honor; France’s Legion of Honor Medal as well as honorary doctorates from universities in the US and Britain including Warwick, Harvard, Cambridge and the University of California. Carlos Fuentes considered writing as a struggle against silence. He himself drew on the concept of the agora, a place for citizens to assemble in ancient Greece. He defined the power of the novel as that of the agora, “where all voices are heard, where all voices are respected.” He wrote novels that formed

a kind of “Mexican Comedy,” a deep portrait of Mexican society, economy and politics. Carlos Fuentes died in 2012, depriving the nation of its most internationally recognized voice. Fuentes’ works have been translated into 24 languages. Though Carlos Fuentes wrote works belonging to just about every genre, including opera, he declined to write an autobiography till his death in May 2012. He once said “one puts off the biography like you put off death. To write an autobiography is to etch the words on your own gravestone.”

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Sweet Morning
The night gives way to the daybreak The morning breeze kisses my cheek, The beautiful world of nature welcomes As I open my eyes to another nice day. The trees dance and the leaves touch As if whispering secrets to each other. The flowers bloom and their scents, Their colours permeate the universe. Through the trees, the sun peeps, Wishing to me, “Have a nice day,” Showering his golden rays on me, Though the dewdrops melt away. The dew drops on the windowpane Hide themselves from the sunrays, As I look, there’s a knock on the door, Have to go, to my duty, to do God’s will.

Quest
Spring smiled, summer dried And autumn wished her fruitfully The cold winter she always felt Still lingering by her side, The time was ripe, and little did she realize For the quest was hard to quench alone To let it go, free of all. There started she with hope and prayer Not knowing, but all in vain Still empty with her thoughts. And oh, listen she reached the spot Where the quest had reached before Lying on the tiny grass With dew drops all around. She felt it with her weary hand This took her breath along. For it was the call, of eternal might, The peace she yearned The quest which burned.

Soorya Nayana S.S.

Soumya Remesh

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Tribute

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HUGO CHAVEZ : THE BEACON OF THE FUTURE CLASS STRUGGLE

Abhilash Babu pays homage to the Venezuelan revolutionary.

egelian dialectics posits that society develops through conflicts of internal contradictions. When history turns to the new dawn of capital sovereignty, our politics is also very much influenced by the capitalist policies as the economic base fashions the superstructure. (The term ‘politics’ in all its possible scope, as nothing is unaffected by political science.) Haves–have nots, Slave owners–Slaves, Bourgeois–proletariat relations gave way to the new antithetical multi-national corporate–consumer relations. We, the consumers, are subjected to and exploited by the subtle forces of virtual capitalism. (We don’t know exactly where it originates from and where its center is. But it is here, there and everywhere). Our wealth is tapped from our home economies to fill some invisible pockets (veritably, the Swadeshi movement and drain of wealth theory will never lose its significance whenever there is imperialism—direct or hidden—in opposition). Here is the significance of alternates for the prevailing system as one put forth by Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (July 1954 – 5 March 2013) popularly known as Hugo Chávez, the President of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013. Latin America had a splendid history of antiimperialistic struggles as manifested by Simon Boliver, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro etc, to mention a few. And Cristina Kirchner, Dilma Rousseff, Ollanta Humala—the new left flag holders of the modern era—are trying to take up the populist, pro-working class politics to wield the legacy of Latin American revolutionaries and their tenacious struggle against inequality. After Chavez took up charge, all the privatized oil fields were nationalized and the very action was a bolt from the blue for the private owners. Under his and malnutrition rates ebbed, clean water accessibility and enrollment ratio increased. He could increase the standard of living of the tribal communities of Venezuela who were reeling under utter poverty. The most praiseworthy among his actions was of course that he could lead the bloc from the front prompting the leftist leaders all over the globe to achieve the goals of socialism. The capitalist forces under the leadership of the US and the media controlled by them tried their level best for coups in the country and to tarnish the personality of Chavez. Chavez could tide over all these attempts and become the icon of anticapital struggle of the new era. Of course, he is not a foolproof leader. He was and is being criticized for many of his actions. But the thing is he

Hugo Chavez
administration, poverty was brought down from 71 per cent in 1996 to 21 now, and extreme poverty came down from 40 per cent to 7.3. The benefits of social programmes he started reached 20 million people and 2.1 million senior citizens of the country were relieved by his pension programme. During his tenure, poverty

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could achieve something for the downtrodden and only beyond that he was flayed by those apolitical forces without social consciousness. What are the capitalist forces and media controlled by them doing today for the people and the nature? Our culture has changed (or is changed!). We are forced to look at everything in terms of money—love, relations,
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personality are all commodified and indigenous cultures are crushed under the feet of new modes of imperialism. Everything is made available in the market. Weapons are largely produced to strengthen the war market. For that purpose, nationalisms and ethnicities are used as potent weapons to ignite divisive passions in the minds of social

groups using media. Instances are numerous in this context. Here the Chavezian ideologies become relevant. Our rulers must declare who they are ruling for. If it is for the majority, here is the model. If it is otherwise, we are taking him as the model in our struggle against tyranny.

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Go City Go
When sarcasm ate me Every inch and every bit, No doping drug Could save the fit. The foolish city and its flood Reeking drains of selfish brains Amidst the sordid thunder And dark rains The sacred eponym The golden sculpture The kind posture became Farces under the same sun Glances that fix The laughter of your face And royal of your heart Timid hypocrites of the tainted soil Hungry way wards For a deeming dawn For a rejuvenating vitamin On a heartbreaking holiday Burn down his corridors The savage tailor and his doggone ways The humbug sailor of abominable seas Scissor him to knit coffin clothes for the fleas. Guardian angels are all dead and gone Long back, into a fading holy yard Extinct thinkers for a fine democracy The cheap ditz have replaced them all. The dirty athletics is on Go volunteer silly You might benefit In odd ways unlike the old days Nonsensical brows Showing off their ups and downs Of a superior hypocritical Land and a hyperbolic race Of hackneyed promises and ghostly dreams, In the unethical sleep of an insecure thief. Raid on his plans and grant him vilification Go city go…..

Jyothi Jagadish

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Classics

THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN

T

Maria introduces to the readers, Thomas Mann’s classic novel The Magic Mountain, which views life through the prism of insanity and death.

he Magic Mountain is a 1924 philosophical novel by the German writer Thomas Mann. Set in a tuberculosis sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, this is a growing-up novel or bildungsroman that focuses on the growth of its hero Hans Castorp. It also comments on the European civilization just before the First World War using disease as a symbol of the moral deterioration of the society of that time. the resultant dream-like state of consciousness. Castorp feels attracted to Clavdia Chauchat while Joachim is in love with Marusja, another hopeless case. He feels that Madame Chauchat is the center of his life. Chauchat and Castorp flirt with each other and arouse each other’s sexuality. Instead of getting better, he gradually loses his health and becomes part of the atmosphere of Berghof. Castorp discovers that Chauchat was also involved with Behrens, who had painted her in the nude. On Walpurgis Night, Behrens presides over the party conducting diabolic games in reddish semi-darkness. That night, Castorp professes his love to Chauchat, who leaves the sanatorium. Later Castorp decides to stay back at the sanatorium because he is genuinely ill. He takes up serious reading and gathers insights on the origin and composition of life. He spends time with Naphta and Settembrini, who discuss various topics and argue endlessly over them. The relationship between

The novel begins with the hero Hans Castorp’s journey to the tuberculosis sanatorium in Berghof to take three weeks of rest as prescribed by his physician. His cousin Joachim Ziemssen, already an inmate of the sanatorium, meets him at the train station and brings him to Berghof. Once at Berghof, he meets Dr. Krokowski who laughs when Castorp says that he is healthy and had come for rest and not for treatment. Castorp is from an aristocratic family and is studying shipbuilding. Joachim, who was sent to Berghof to get better, is a Lieutenant with the German army. Settembrini is an Italian inmate and man of letters who addresses Castorp as Engineer and Joachim as Lieutenant. Settembrini later introduces him to Naphta, a Jewish Jesuit. Castorp meets Hofrat Behrens, the director of the sanatorium and makes friends with many other inmates as well. Frau Stöhr is a memorable character who uses several malapropisms in her daily conversations providing a lot of hilarity to

The Magic Mountain
Castorp who says that he does not know whether to laugh or cry, on listening to her errors. Everyday, Castorp encounters different responses to death and listens to morbid descriptions from Joachim. Joachim describes how Behren treats dying patients brutally, especially if they create a scene. Castorp becomes used to the schedule of the sanatorium— heavy meals, checking of temperature, rest-cures and

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Joachim and Castorp becomes strained. Joachim leaves the place to return to the army and before he leaves, asks Castorp to follow him while there is still time. Castorp gets permission from Behrens, but refuses to leave. However, Joachim comes back ill and after his death, is buried in a soldier’s grave. Castorp’s uncle Tienappel comes and persuades him to go back but he still refuses to go. Amidst an atmosphere of boredom at the sanatorium, people resort to various activities to while away their time. Dr. Krokowski, with the help of a young girl named Elly Brand, establishes communication with the world of spirits. Castorp is told that he had been at Berghof for the last seven years. In one of the séance sessions, where Elly Brand acts as the medium, Castorp requests the return of Joachim from the dead. Hans’ wish is granted
em s

as Joachim’s shape appears but he is so scared by the appearance of Joachim that he switches on the light and causes Joachim’s spirit to vanish. Gradually, the atmosphere in the sanatorium grows into total intolerance among the inmates. Castrop, “life’s delicate child” returns to the flatland after seven years at the sanatorium and the war hurls him back into the real world. The novel, as a bildungsroman, focuses on the hero’s progression towards a meaningful idea of himself and his role in the world. He encounters various temptations and obstacles during the process of his education. Though at times, he moves in circles and makes no evident progress, his constant striving helps him to grow. However, his educators are his fellowinmates at the sanatorium and

life itself. His introduction into the world of Berghof initiates his process of education. At Berghof, he develops his faculties and this leads to his growing self-awareness. The narrative techniques employed by the writer involve shifts in time and perspectives offered from different vantage points. The writer ponders over the concept of time, especially the timelessness of life at the sanatorium. The questions of life and death are dealt with from the perspectives of the inmates of the sanatorium where all kinds of people from different European nations recuperate from tuberculosis. However, during their stay at Berghof, they become shadows of their previous selves and are reduced to mannerisms, appearances, actions, or figures of speech. The novel is a stark commentary on the European civilization before the First World War.

Po

Ethnical Infliction
Heaps of breasts are kept for sale… The breasts of a mother is being Rummaged by the forlorn child. A girl playing beside her house Rushed inside to lock the door, Imagining the sounds of the crackers To be the bombs that Took away her playmates, cousins, neighbours… The tears of the child dried out completely Watching the wounded body of its dead mother.

Karunya Sakthi

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Comparative

THE PLURAL AND THE SINGULAR

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K. Satchidanandan gives an insight into the richness of the literatures of India.

henever I think of the concept of “Indian” literature, a story retold by A.K. Ramanujan comes to mind: Hanuman reaches the netherworld in search of Rama’s ring that had disappeared through a hole. The King of spirits in the netherworld tells Hanuman that there have been so many Ramas over the ages; whenever one incarnation nears its end, Rama’s ring falls down. The King shows Hanuman a whole platter with thousands of rings, all of them Rama’s, and asks him to pick out his Rama’s ring. He tells this devotee from the earth that his Rama too has entered the river Sarayu by now after crowning his sons, Lava and Kusha. Many Ramas also mean many Ramayanas and we have hundreds of them in oral, written, painted, carved and performed versions. If this is true of a single seminal Indian work, one needs only to imagine the diversity of the whole of Indian literature recited, narrated and written in scores of languages. No wonder, one of the fundamental questions in any discussion of Indian literature has been whether to speak of Indian literature in singular or plural. With 184 mother tongues (according to Census 1991; it was 179 in George Grierson’s Linguistic Survey of India, along with 544 dialects, and 1,652 in 1961), 22 of which are in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, and 25 writing systems, 14 of them major, scores of oral literary traditions and several traditions of written literature, most of them at least a millennium old, the diversity of India’s literary landscape can match only the complexity of its linguistic map. Probably, it was this challenging complexity that had forced an astute critic like Nihar Ranjan Ray to conclude historical forces that are in operation through the ages in that particular locale. If that be so, one may reasonably argue that the literature of a given language will have its own specific character of form and style, images and symbols, nuances and associations.” It is true that often “Indian” tends to imply the values that argue for the cultural unity of India as a whole. The use of English to write about literature in Indian languages seems to reinforce such a view. As E.V. Ramakrishnan observes in his introduction to Making It New: Modernism in Malayalam, Marathi and Hindi Poetry (IIAS, Shimla), the framework of grand narratives of history cannot accommodate the subversive function of the new trends in literature unless they become domesticated and canonised. The levelling effect of history and the domestication implicit in canonicity finally fossilise

K. Satchidanandan
that there cannot be a single Indian literature as there is no single language that can be termed “Indian.” To quote him, as translated from Bengali by Sujit Mukherjee (Towards a Literary History of India): “Literature is absolutely language-based, and language being a cultural phenomenon, it is all but wholly conditioned by its locale and the socio-

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authors and works, leaving no trace of their relevance to our present. We also have to recognize the fact that the gap between the national and the regional has been problematised by the post-colonial vocabularies of identity and difference, and centrality and plurality.

Composite Histories
Comparative literature scholars like K.M. George and Sisir Kumar Das have attempted composite histories of Indian literature as in the former’s Comparative Indian Literature and the latter’s A History of Indian Literature. Sisir Kumar Das tries to locate the points of convergence and parallels on a civilizational terrain of labyrinthine complexity. He looks at the history of Indian literature as a history of “the total literary activity of the Indian people, an account of all literary traditions, great and little, their ramifications and challenges, their recessions and revivals, dominance and decline.” In fact, a literary text produced in an Indian language answers a certain need or performs a historical function in the context of a specific linguistic community, and its meaning lies essentially in its specificity. This relationship of the text to its contexts gets blurred or distorted when we abstract a text in an Indian language into the realm of a national literary history. In order to understand how a poet or a fiction writer

radicalises the literary idiom, it is necessary to grasp the specific history of that literature along with its social background from which the literary registers spring. There is, in addition, the question of the overlapping of various tendencies at the same juncture in most Indian languages. In Malayalam, for example, even now there are romantic poets following an older idiom jostling with those who consider themselves postmodern and experiment with avant-garde idioms. This gets further complicated if we introduce the element of ideology that, according to Michael [sic] Bakhtin, is inscribed in the language. In short, there are problems of chronology (or synchrony and diachrony), of ideology and of terminology involved in the consideration of the singular / plural nature of Indian literature. Let us now look at the other argument. While Nihar Ranjan Ray is not without some followers in contemporary India, it is also possible to interrogate his general approach to literature as something tied entirely and inextricably to the language in which it is originally written. Language cannot be the only criterion of literature; other criteria, social, cultural, political, ethical and aesthetic, have been applied to literature from time to time. It can be, and has been, categorised, read and analysed from the point of view of class, race, caste,

gender, myth, archetype, sign, structure, ideology and textual unconscious. In all these cases, the language of the text assumes a secondary status under another dominant paradigm. Secondly, there are many literatures that are known by the name of the nations they belong to, rather than the languages they are written in. This is true of American, British, Australian, Canadian or Indian English literature where literatures mostly in the same language are given different nomenclatures. On the other hand, a category like European literature cuts across languages as it is written in diverse languages, like German, French, Italian, Spanish or Swedish. And Spanish literature written in South America is considered to have a separate identity as it belongs to the larger corpus of Latin American literature. Thirdly, crossings of linguistic boundaries are so frequent in Indian literature that we find it difficult to divide our literature solely on the basis of language. In the words of the distinguished Marxist theoretician Aijaz Ahmad, “multilingualism and polyglot fluidity” are in the very nature of Indian creativity. We have Indian writers of the past like Kabir, Namdev, Meerabai, Guru Nanak or Vidyapati who were all multilingual. In modern times, we have many writers who belong to the composite Hindi-Urdu tradition that can

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perhaps be called the Hindustani tradition, like Premchand, or bilingual writers like A.K. Ramanujan, Jayanta Mahapatra, Kiran Nagarkar and Kamala Das who wrote/write in their mother tongues as well as in English. Thirdly, most Indian languages share genres and forms from the mahakavya, doha, prabandha, prahasana, nataka and ballad to sonnet, elegy, lyric, narrative poem, short story and the novel. Fourthly, they also share concepts of poetics, both oriental and occidental, from rasa, dhvani, alankara, anumana, vakrokti, bhava and vibhava to mimesis, catharsis, metaphor, metonymy, suggestion, myth, archetype and several other, more contemporary, terms, concepts and methods. Fifthly, many literatures in India share literary influences as well as trends and movements like the Bhakti, the Nationalist or Swarajist, the Progressive or Pragativadi, the Modernist or Adhunik Movements and the later trends like post-modernist or uttaradhunik, nativist or deseevadi, ecological or prakritivadi, feminist or nareevadi, Dalit and tribal or Adivasi movements. This is besides shared patterns of thought, feeling, concerns and their modes of expression. These common features must have inspired the famous statement by S. Radhakrishnan popularized by the Sahitya Akademi: “Indian Literature

is one even while written in different languages.” One problem with this approach is that it is reductive and tends to standardize all the literatures of India and in the process leaves out and thus alienates many literatures like the oral tribal literatures and literatures of the north-eastern region and of certain languages and dialects where the history has proceeded in other directions and which have had little impact of the West. This dilemma was best summed up by U.R. Ananthamurthy once when he said, “If you look at the diversity of Indian literature, you come to see its unity ad if you look for unity, you are struck by its diversity.” This is, in fact, a dialectical statement that is nearer the truth than the positions expressed by either Nihar Ranjan Ray or S. Radhakrishnan for, while there have been pan-Indian trends and movements, there have also been regional ones, and even the pan-Indian movements like Bhakti have manifested themselves in different forms in different Indian languages. It is also not true to say that all the movements have affected all the literatures alike or that the influences from outside the languages, Indian or otherwise, have had the same impact across languages. There are forms that are unique to certain languages, like for example the thullal poem, the kathakali verse, the cartoon poem or the

pattalakkatha (barrack stories) to Malayalam or bijak or ramaini peculiar to ancient Braj as used by Kabir, or the pillaipadal (lullabies), chintu (a kind of song), akaval (metric mode in narratives), venpa (for didactic works), kalippa (for love poetry and choral music), vanchapp (for descriptive situations), kumm (a song for dancing women), and kanni (couplet form) in Tamil, abhang in Marathi, vachana in Kannada, vakh in Kashmiri (all forms of Bhakti poetry) or rubai, maznavi, qavvali manaqib, nama, qasida or quit’a in Urdu. This is also true of the concepts of poetics. All the languages were not equally permeated by Sanskrit poetics. Tamil, for example, had its own concepts like that of the tinai or terrains with their peculiar moods and contexts. Tholkappiyam also speaks of meypadus comparable to the rasas. There are also concepts like ullurai, connotatively close to dhvani. Urdu has inherited a lot of concepts from the Perso-Arabic critical tradition. One can also see that different languages have appropriated Sanskrit as well as Western concepts in poetics with nuanced semantic shifts. Some forms are common to some languages, but not to all alike; the ghazal that came from Persian was developed in Urdu and then had practitioners in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and even in English in India (remember Agha Shahid Ali, for example). This is also true of neoclassical

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forms like champu and sandeshakavya, or movements like Dalit literature shared chiefly by, say, Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Kannada, Tamil Telugu and, more recently, Malayalam. Even a pan-Indian tendency like the Progressive Literary Movement was stronger in languages like Urdu, Hindi, Oriya, Bengali, Telugu and Malayalam than in others. There are also movements and debates confined to one or two languages like desseevad [sic] or nativism, chiefly, observed in Marathi and Gujarati. In short, while languages have interacted from time to time and received forms, trends and movements from other regions and languages, each language has had also periods of isolated growth and its own special genius just as each region in Indian has its own customs, celebrations, forms of art and literature and at times even certain temperamental tendencies. Indian culture is a mosaic of cultures, religions, races, languages, attitudes and word views; hence the concept of Indian literature also has to be open, inclusive, dynamic and flexible so that it accommodates diverse voices of the majority as well as of the religious, linguistic, sexual and ethnic minorities.

hundred years of imperial and colonial rule, it is imperative that we rethink concepts like Indianness and Indian literature. One may then be able to unveil the complicity of these concepts with the ideology of colonialism on the one hand and globalization on the other. We have come a long way since the German romantic theorist Wilhelm von Schlegel used the term Indian literature to mean Sanskrit literature (1823). Since then many other scholars have used the term as being synonymous with Sanskrit literature, at the most extended to include Prakrit, Apabhramasa [sic] and Pali literatures. M. Garcin de Tassy’s two-volume History of the Literature of Hindu and Hindustani in French (183947, later revised and enlarged as a three-volume edition in 1870-71), Albrecht Weber’s History of Indian Literature in German (1852), George A. Grierson’s Modern Vernacular Literature of Hindustan (1889), Ernst P. Horowitz’s A Short History of Indian Literature and Moriz Winternitz’s History of Indian Literature (1908-1922) in German as well as Herbert H. Gowen’s History of Indian Literature (1931) have all contributed to the constitution of the category of Indian literature. Most of these do not represent, or under-represent, the literatures in the modern Indian languages that were full-grown by the time: many even had their own histories of literature written in

the concerned language itself. Sanskrit was posited by them as the classical code of early India, congruent with new linked conceptions of classicism and class. Indian scholars too have contributed in a big way to the constitution of the category of Indian literature though many of their approaches are more nuanced and they take into account modern languages in various ways. Sri Aurobindo, Krishna Kripalani, Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, V.K. Gokak, Umashankar Joshi, Sujit Mukherjee, Sisir Kumar Das, K.M. George, Ganesh Devy and so on, have elaborated the category as a posited unity of diverse language formations or as the articulation of “Indian culture.” Aijaz, Ahmad, in his essay on Indian literature In Theory, has acknowledged the difficulties of position such a unitary category. Pointing to the introduction of Narrative Strategies: Essays on South Asian Literature and Film by Vasudha Dalmia and Theo Damsteegt (Leiden, 1998), where they claim to let the world know “the seriousness” of their discipline, he points out how their statement is unabashedly Eurocentric and ignorant or, deliberately neglectful of the enormous scholarship that has been produced on Indian literature by scholars of various hues from the south Asian subcontinent. It is disgraceful that the attitude of European scholarship to this mighty archive remains unchanged

Imperative to Rethink Concepts
After more than six decades of independence and five

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since the 19th century. All these works also share the class and caste prejudices of the tradition of the Sanskritbased Hindu orthodoxy. Only recently have some scholars like Sheldon Pollock begun to realize this, as is evidence in his introduction to Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia (New Delhi, 2003) where the language literatures have been treated in isolation as also in relation to other language literatures in India. Sheldon Pollock says: “With very few exceptions, European histories of Indian literature remained histories of Sanskrit and its congeners … The real plurality of literatures in South Asia and their dynamic and longterm interaction were scarcely recognized, except perhaps incidentally by Protestant missionaries and British civil servants who were prompted by the practical objectives of conversion and control.”
em s

Pollock also examines how the subaltern school of historiography has sought to redirect the study of 19th and early 20th century Indian society and politics “toward the popular, the vernacular, the oral, and the local, and recapture the role of small people in effecting big historical change.” Contemporary analyses of colonialism have shown how new Indian pasts with real-life social consequences, such as the traditionalisation of the social order by the systematic miscognition of indigenous discourses on caste, were created by colonial knowledge. They have demonstrated at the same time how discourses such as nationalism that were borrowed from Europe entered into complex interaction with local modes of thought and action that, through a process not unlike import substitution, appropriated, rejected, transformed, or replaced them. He goes on to

say how the reexamination of theory, practice and history of areas, especially driven by the analysis of globalisation, has made us aware of the artificiality of geographical boundaries of inquiry. Today we need to develop alternative genealogies that go beyond the hegemonic canon and travel to the deepest springs of popular creativity. Rather than a mechanical unitary concept, we need to develop a comparative concept, a fresh literary cartography, marking areas of isolation and interaction, patterns specific to languages and influences that they share. Only then will we be able to overcome the binary opposition between the singular and the plural as irreconcilable antinomies and arrive at a dialectical concept of Indian literature in its twin aspects of unity and diversity.
Article previously published in Frontline, 19 April 2013 .

Po

On the Street
There’s a family on the street We think they are sad; Only they know. They beg on the street, And sleep on the street. All their days are same To live is their sole aim. Where do the streets take them?

Ranganath J. Ugale

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e Po

m

s

The Last Moment
I opened the room And the door creaked. It was inundated With smoky darkness And very deserted. A walking stick stood Still in a corner, A big row of medicine bottles By the window, An old pair of spectacles on the table, And an ayurvedic smell in the air, And at last, “A stamp pad left open” In place of a glass of water in half And the lost drops on the pillow...

Im

ag

es

Ram Sharma
es

Intrepid: Ajay B.R.

m Ga

Know ’em?
Jithesh J. Nair wants you to identify these great writers.

1. ______________

2. ______________

3. ______________
2. Leo Tolstoy

4. ______________
1. Bertolt Brecht
ANSWERS

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3. Pablo Neruda

4. Bapsi Sidhwa

Impressions

Tagore: P.P. Ajayakumar

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Travel

A STATUE OF LIBERTY

Lal C.A. talks about his walk to locate and photograph a statue in Seattle, USA.

I

meant to ask Kim to go with me looking for the old man’s statue, just as she had asked me the previous day to explore Capitol Hill in uptown Seattle. But she had hopped off the bus at the Pike Place Market, and I decided to go on my own. It was my third day in the city, and a rather hectic one. It was already late afternoon, and I had only a couple of hours before I was to join Magda and Anzar for dinner with a senior lady living in a beautiful house overlooking the sea. She was to pick us up from the hotel around 6 p.m. I had read a version of Chief Seattle’s speech in early 90’s when I was taking care of the Eco Club in my college, and had found it very appealing. Its rhetoric and poetry, even more, the eerie and apparently intuitive undertone of a keen ecological awareness, haunted me. So when the IVLP programme of the US Department of State took me to Seattle, I naturally wished to look for monuments related to the old Duwamish chieftain, who in his legendary speech in 1850’s, is supposed to have made a fervent appeal to the white authorities to have a more holistic perception of man’s locus within the biosphere. Nobody knows what he actually spoke, as his speech was written down only a few years after he made it. There are many versions, and the most popular one, the one in most text books, and the one that appealed to me, was created by a screenwriter named Ted Perry in 1972, which sounds so good, but is not always what the poor old man actually said! Seattle is in the state of Washington, on the Pacific side of the USA, and the largest city in the whole Pacific Northwest region of the country. It is amusing that, as in many other American states, the most prominent city is never the capital province; the more laid-back Olympia happens to be the capital of the state of Washington. Regarding Seattle, Bill Gates has his office some 16 miles from this city, and in the neighbourhood are the Starbuck corporate office and the first Boeing factory. The Seattle Central Library is an amazing place where one could read, browse, or even have computer and language classes, as much as one liked, and not pay anything for it. The lady who accompanied us to the library commented: “If I were a homeless, I’d spend all my days here.” I had never heard the word ‘homeless’ being used to mean a ‘homeless person,’ and it was interesting to know there were quite a few homeless people around, and that they could, and many did, spend a lot of time in the library! I hurried up to my room in the Max Hotel, and changed into casuals, remembering to take my scarf and the thick jacket, as the air outside was rather nippy. Down at the lobby I looked for the pretty Korean receptionist with irregular upper teeth, who I hoped would give me directions, and perhaps a nice smile! But she was nowhere to

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be seen, but a young man with a distinctive regional American accent was in her place. I was not particularly impressed by his smiles, but he was very helpful with his directions, and fetching me a map of the city, he drew on it the way I should go to reach the monument I was looking for. It was more or less along the famous Seattle Monorail, and generally in the direction of the Space Needle. The Space Needle is a vivid landmark of the city, and near it is the EPM Museum (formerly known as the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame), which has several interesting movie related artifacts, including those from major Hollywood movies like the Jurassic Park, the Star Wars, and E.T. the ExtraTerrestrial. The monorail ran
e Po m s

from the city center, covering just a mile’s distance from one end to the other, and passed straight through the EPM building. I felt it was more of a curiosity than an effective and useful mode of mass transportation. I discovered all these on the days after my walk to the statue. Following the map, and observing the life on either side of the street the best I could, I hurried along until I was suitably confused and had no idea where I was. Nobody seemed to have even heard of the human being after whom their city was named, and finally a man, well past middle-age, waved his hand in the direction I was going and told me “he is just two blocks from here.” I was, after all, going in the right direction! Cars were rushing past in all directions round the little pool

on which the old man stood with a grim face on a pedestal! There was no water in the pool as the fountain that should be gushing from the bear’s mouth was not turned on. A girl was sitting on the little low wall enclosing the statue space, facing the monument, with her feet dangling down, and totally lost in the book she was reading. She hardly moved all the time I walked around taking snaps. There is one photograph that I still find rather amusing, the one in which the chief seems to hold the Space Needle as if it were a lighted torch! That was the one I sent, soon after I reached back at the hotel, to one of my students back in my college. I knew I could rely on Lois to share it with other friends who might be interested. I was excited because they had Chief Seattle’s speech in their English text book that year!

An Adamant Heart
It isn’t the obscure memory that begirds my heart, And raises me into an awful world of shabby raiment, That shackles the banquet of nature’s blissful Art, Alas! Their act that has moulded my heart adamant Breaking a rhythm, that too a soothing moment of curse, Out of a jacket-open mind, that too a red blood shower There wakes up the fire dancing with makeup, Off worse; And also arises a huge, small and little flesh of tower. Let them enjoy the day at times; let them cry for lives, That too a shame for the Lord? Not the mother; to celebrate, The part-blood lives for life, not to retrieve; but lives. Enjoying the sons’ return and allowing the flays; to liberate Let’s exalt the adoration of the disguised devil, otherwise be sober, Abet the earth to weigh all the evil-urban and timid of violence, For briale the red-blood that ruin the loam, a noxious lover Don’t throw me into lethal clay and make my Heart Adamant!

Suhana Sathar

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Tribute

Rituparno Ghosh (31 August 1963 – 30 May 2013)
“Rituparno Ghosh’s death is a massive loss to the creative vitality of Indian cinema. After nearly 22 films (most of them in Bengali, two in Hindi, and two in English), Ghosh, was indeed beginning the next phase of his career. He had made the transition from a successful regional film director of independent art-house Bengali cinema to a sought-after director of urbane Hindi cinema, and finally, to being an Indian filmmaker of international acclaim on par with Shyam Benegal and Mira Nair. Ghosh was often compared to another famous Bengal-born director, Satyajit Ray. Ghosh in turn reinvigorated and reinvented the Ray canon of Bengali cinema. He took Ray’s early material, stage and literary adaptations of the great 19th century Indian writer, Rabindranath Tagore, and breathed new life into them by focusing on the psychological complexities of women’s lives in colonial India.”

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Study

DALIT TRANSLATION: A NECESSARY EVIL

Jyothi S. wonders whether it is possible for English translations of Dalit writings to effectively facilitate Dalit empowerment.

D

“Can English translations of Dalit literature proclaim with an air of triumph that they have been able to fathom the real feelings of the Dalits?”

alit literature represents a powerful, emerging trend in the Indian literary scenario. The emergence of Dalit literature coincides with the emergence of the Dalit as a political category and identity. Given its overarching preoccupations with the location of Dalits in the caste-based Hindu society, their struggles for dignity, justice, and equality, this literature is by nature, similar to AfricanAmerican literature. With the works by Dalit writers in various regional languages being widely translated into English, Dalit literature is poised to acquire an international presence in the realm of literature. Dalit literature also poses a major challenge to the established notions of what constitutes literature and how we read it. New researches in Dalit literature bring its exclusive character, distinct language, indigenous culture, and ethnicity into the limelight. This new literary genre consists of several translated texts from Dalit communities and has received worldwide acclaim. The text also has a new sense of affirmation which strives to liberate itself from being labelled victimhood literature. Though Dalit translation catapults the text to an international audience, these translated texts apparently fail to convey the aesthetic sensibility, innate feelings and indigenous culture of the author because of the inability of the foreign language to make a covalent bond between two different cultures. The reception of the text can be seen from different perspectives. Though Dalit texts can migrate foreign reader defines the limits and boundaries of the text because he/she is not aware of the real context in which the text is produced. The struggles, violence and resistance that the Dalits suffer are totally unknown and inexplicable to the new reader. Here, the real objective of the text, i.e., the empowerment of Dalits is unattainable. An “imagined community” of Dalits in desperate need of sympathy is conjured up in the mind of the target language reader who, more often than not, is dissociated from the realities of Dalit life. Linguistic and rhetorical questions linked to translation, the question of accessibility, political interpellations regarding canonization of texts and stereotyping the Dalit literature, etc., figure prominently in the debate surrounding translations of Dalit writings.

from their indigenous language to any other foreign language, the innate culture cannot be translated through this process. The real essence of the text dwells in the vernacular language and it transcends translation. There arises a sack full of questions regarding the readings and interpretations of these translated texts. The

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According to A. K. Ramanujan, “language is a tree, [which] loses colour under another sky.” These words are very relevant in the case of Dalit translation. In the current situation, translators must concentrate more on cultural rather than on mere literal translation. They have
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a crucial role in liberating the Dalits from a repressive social system. In order to do the work efficiently, translators must strive to capture the culture in which the text is embedded. Translating Dalit poetry is an especially challenging task and the translator, who is almost

like a second writer, must be able to translate not simply the words, but also the passion, the innate anger, the sarcasm and the truths of a group of people whose realities are different from those of mainstream society.

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Identify the Work

Chandni Retnan challenges you with a game on “Partition Novels.”
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 1956 novel—set in the village Mano Majra—about the life of a village gangster Juggut Singh Novel about the life of Gian, a Gandhi follower and a ruthless woman Sundari, who is half in love with her brother 1975 novel—story about a sweeper Nathu—set in a small-town frontier province First novel by a woman novelist from Pakistan—about the child Lenny, who is lame and helpless—fate of people in Lahore 1961 novel—set in Lucknow—autobiographical account by the character Laila , a 15-yr old orphan

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Answers

5. Sunlight on a Broken Column 4. Ice-Candyman 3. Tamas 2. A Bend in the Ganges 1. Train to Pakistan

Review

TABISH KHAIR AND THE THING ABOUT THUGS

Athul Jayakrishnan gives us a glimpse of smoke-filled dens, anonymous serial killers and unscrupulous physicians who inhabit the eerie world presented in The Thing About Thugs.

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abish Khair is an Indian English author whose works include Babu Fictions, The Bus Stopped and The Thing About Thugs among others. Born and brought up in Gaya, his was not a case of late blooming or premature withering as is seen commonly among many promising writers. The world recognized his talents from his younger days itself. Apart from being a winner of “All India Poetry Prize” and fellowships from Cambridge University, Delhi University and Baptist University, his works The Bus Stopped and The Thing About Thugs have been shortlisted for “Encore Award” and “Man Asian Literary Prize“ respectively. The Thing About Thugs (2010) is an odd confection of a novel, set mostly in a place resembling late-Victorian London. It is a subversive, macabre story of a young Indian man’s misadventures in the city. In a small Bihari village, Captain William T. Meadows befriends Amir Ali, a member of an infamous cult named ‘Thugee.’ Amir is whisked away to London by the former to become a test subject for phrenological research. The gas-lit streets, which form the backdrop of the novel, are peppered with grim underworld actions. The city, overwhelmed with crime and prostitution, takes one back to “Jack the Ripper” days. Unsurprisingly, a serial killer starts wreaking havoc by decapitating his victims, and curiously, the severed heads are absent from the scene of crime. The police are baffled while characters share of gore and sickening corpses reminiscent of works of R.L. Stevenson. The eerie factor is further enhanced by descriptions of skull-lined mansions and underground tunnels. The novel is a feat of imagination which rivals the works of Wilkie Collins or Michael Chabon. The novel ends ambiguously, leaving a lot of possibilities. The novelist asserts that none of what we have read is true; that none of it matters; that it was all fiction in the first place.

Tabish Khair
with names such as “One-Eyed Jack” strike shady deals in seedy taverns and clubs. In the background, members of the upper class vigorously debate the theory of ‘Darwinism.’ Naturally, the suspicion falls on the thug. The novel has its own

Though the atmosphere and settings give a late-Victorian era feel, the narrator states that it is 1837, the year in which Victoria ascended the throne. Khair seems to relish his plot’s liberation from the more rigorous conventions of historical fiction. This work is inspired by so many other books that it sometimes resembles

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a ‘Frankenstein monster’—a monster whose tissues are held together by smooth and at times coarse, sutures. The novel touches upon a variety of topics including the theme of the “Other” where a colonial subject is placed in the heart of the imperialist center. This concept is intricately linked to the author’s personal life as well, since according to him, he is a minority among minority. During a talk given at the Florence
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Poetry Festival in 2005, he says: “Muslims are the biggest religious minority in India. But, within the community of Indian Muslims, my family again belonged to a large minority: that of middle class, professional Muslims. When you are born into a minority that is a minority within a minority, you learn to belong in different ways.” Another aspect in the novel is the implicit claim that since

every story is the product of other stories, a writer needn’t be shackled to notions of verisimilitude, historical precision, plausibility or even coherence. However, this point of view can prove to be selfundermining as far as the novel is concerned. But still, to a certain extent, the author manages to pull it off admirably and prevents the novel from falling apart.

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Why Bother to Brother?
I called him “brother” till it began to bother him. My mother used to say, that we were born In different homes On the very same day And when he cried, I cried and when I cooed He did the same. I called him “brother” Till he learnt at school that One minus two is One; And he was number one, Always! Way back home, he caught my pigtails and said: You minus I is still I. I called him “brother” Till he went to college; When I stayed back at home: My mother could use extra hands, As my siblings were growing up; One evening, I ran to ask him What he learnt on the top most floor Of the huge building And he said: I learn to learn You learn to unlearn. I called him “brother” Till he went abroad And I stayed back On the streets Selling groundnuts: Dark, brown and crisp Folded in newspapers: Black lines on white paper And when he came for his vacation I ran and asked him what he learnt Abroad and he said: I am fair And you are dark

Nithya Mariam John

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Review

YANN MARTEL’S LIFE OF PI

Indu B.C. reviews Martel’s Booker Prizewinning novel

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ife of Pi is a 2001 adventure novel by the Spanish-born Canadian author, Yann Martel and it won the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2002. It portrays the story of Piscine Molitor Patel, nicknamed Pi, son of a zookeeper and his misadventures. Pi is peculiar because of his faith which is an amalgam of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. It is a story within a story where a Canadian author Rafe Spall is asked to meet an Indian in Montreal to listen to a story intended to restore his faith in God. The first part deals with Pi’s experiences of growing up with animals, his faith and his family. His story begins with his father owning a zoo in Pondicherry and having to relocate to Canada to sell off the animals. The Japanese freighter that was shipping the animals gets caught in a massive storm in the deepest part of Pacific and sinks. This is the point from which the story takes shape because Pi is the lone human survivor along with a hyena, a zebra, a female orangutan and the second lead of the story—a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, for whom Pi has a deep fascination. The novel gives a rich account of surviving against odds, marine biology and explores the redemptive power of storytelling. As the story progresses, Darwin’s theory of “the survival of the fittest” comes into play. At this juncture, the reader is also reminded of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. One by one they all fall, leaving Pi and Richard Parker to face the perils of the sea. They do it wonderfully well and are not as pleasant as the one with animals and starkly depicts the conflicts among the four human survivors of the shipwreck— Pi, his mother, a sailor and the French cook. Pi’s animal story is probably an allegory for the unspeakable cannibalism committed by the French cook and his own survival because God was with him. We stop to wonder whether Richard Parker was an extension of Pi’s own persona. The ambiguity in determining what is real and what is imagined is the crux of the whole novel. Well, it’s up to the reader to decide!

Life of Pi
washed ashore. In a dramatic turn of events, Richard Parker walks away without looking back or saying good bye. Now comes the point in the story where in the readers can decide what actually happened because Pi presents the Japanese officials with two versions of the story—one, the animal story and in the other version, the animals are replaced by individuals. This alternative narrative is

Did you watch the fabulous movie adaptation of this novel directed by Ang Lee?

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Writer

THE WARRIOR OF LIGHT: PAULO COELHO AND HIS BOOKS

Maria gives an overview of Paulo Coelho’s major works.

“A warrior of light values a child’s eyes because they are able to look at the world without bitterness. When he wants to find out if the person beside him is worthy of his trust, he tries to see him as a child would.” (The Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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aulo Coelho, the literary alchemist, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August 1947. He was a highly successful songwriter for the rock star Raul Seixas until he met with his mentor who advised him to go on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. This journey changed his life and he converted to Christianity. This life-changing journey forms the theme of his first novel The Pilgrimage, published in 1987. He advocates through this book that “the extraordinary is always found in the way of the common people.” Coelho’s second book The Alchemist has become a universally admired modern classic because of its allegorical nature. It describes the journey of a young Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago to the pyramids of Egypt in search of a treasure and the philosophy of the book lies in these lines: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Brida is Coelho’s third novel and narrates the story of a young woman who experiments with sorcery and other magical traditions. In this novel, he deals with the theme of the feminine face of God, which is a strange idea to most people. The Valkyries is about the exorcism of personal demons and discovering one’s strength. This autobiographical novel Decides to Die and The Devil and Miss Prym are part of a trilogy called “On the Seventh Day.” This trilogy is about a week in the life of someone ordinary to whom something extraordinary happens. The Fifth Mountain is based on the story of Elijah from the Bible and explores the prophetic questioning of authority, rebellion and liberation. At the same time, the novel is a powerful metaphor of human self-confidence and strong desire for self-fulfillment by helping other humans. The Manual of the Warrior of Light is a book of Paulo Coelho’s teachings compiled into one volume. It includes proverbs, extracts from the Tao Te Ching, the Bible, the book of Chuang Tzu, the Talmud and various other sources,

Paulo Coelho
narrates how Paulo and his wife Chris go on a spiritual quest to the arid Mojave Desert to meet the Valkyries, a group of warrior women who travel the desert on motorcycles. By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, Veronika

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and is written in the form of short philosophical passages. Eleven Minutes narrates the story of Maria, a young girl from a remote village of Brazil, who goes to seek her fortune in Switzerland, only to find that reality is lot harder than she expected. But when she least expects it, she experiences love and the sacred nature of sex. The Zahir is about a bestselling novelist who enjoys his luxurious and peaceful life, until the inexplicable disappearance of his wife from their Paris home turns his world upside down. Coelho compares a marriage to a set of railway tracks which always stay together but cease to come any closer. This novel narrates the journey from a stagnant marriage and love to the realization of the unseen, but ever-increasing gravity between the two souls. In Like the Flowing River, Coelho offers his personal reflections on a wide range of subjects from
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archery and music to elegance, travelling and the nature of good and evil. He shows us how life has lessons for us in the greatest, smallest and most unusual of experiences. The Witch of Portobello starts with the death of the protagonist Athena and is narrated from the perspectives of many people who knew her. All of them provide different views of her, describing not only what they saw and experienced, but also add their own impressions, interpreting her through their own beliefs and fears. The Winner Stands Alone is set in Cannes during the Film Festival and narrates the epic drama and tension between the three main characters—Igor, Hamid and Gabriela. The story unfolds within a period of 24 hours. He offers a novel full of suspense, a mirror image of the world we live in, where our commitment to luxury and the success at any cost often prevents us from hearing what the heart

actually whispers. He points out that money, power and fame are what drive most people. Aleph is an autobiographical novel that depicts his search for spiritual renewal and growth. Coelho decides to travel, to experiment, to reconnect with people and the world. This journey helps him to open up to friendship, love, faith and forgiveness and be stronger while facing the challenges of life. Coelho has written more than twenty novels and his recent work, Manuscript Found in Accra deals with the story of an Englishman who discovers a manuscript that describes an ancient alchemist named Copt who answers the questions asked by a crowd, which had gathered inside the city gates of Jerusalem in 1099. According to Copt, being successful means “being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace.” His works focus on the discovery of the self as means of spiritual fulfillment.

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1 2

Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle.

Seven Deadly Sins
Nitesh Telsande lists the flaws according to Mahatma Gandhi that you should avoid

3 4 5 6 7

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Responses

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BHARATHIPURA: A VOICE AGAINST CASTEISM

Suhana Sathar talks about the importance of caste consciousness in Bharathipura

. R. Ananthamurthy, one of the pioneers of the Navya literary movement in contemporary Kannada literature, is among those prominent novelists who have made a name for themselves in the category of post-colonial writers from India. He is a teacher of English who writes in his mother tongue, Kannada. He has to his credit novels, collections of short stories and poems that have, at times, added polemical elements to Kannada literature. He has also enriched regional literature and made it at par with Indian writing in English. Being born a Brahmin and acutely aware of the discrimination between castes and communities in India, in most of his stories, Ananthamurthy questions the traditional hierarchy in the society and the sacred rituals followed in Brahmin community. His novel Bharathipura, written in 1973, revolves around caste sensibility and untouchability— issues that continue to plague contemporary India. The novel reveals what it means by modernism, socialism, and the struggle of individuals to move beyond caste and class interests in a modern society. Nearly 40 years after Prem Chand’s Godan, Bharathipura once again makes people sit up and rethink the logic behind the caste system in traditional Indian society. Bharathipura is about the paradoxes of Nehruvian India—a country where freedom fighters either become successful or failed politicians, where idealism gives way to cynical India after studying in England, leaving behind a girlfriend with whom he cannot see a future. The novel is about his inner life, his intense desire to bring about a social revolution by shaking the social and economic structure of his temple town and shatter its belief system. It is about his plan to accomplish all this by persuading the Holeyaru community—the community that cleans toilets, to enter the Manjunatha temple. Once his plan is set in motion, other people’s lives gets intertwined with this. The novel is thick with other characters that are etched brilliantly. You cannot forget Nagamani or Pilla, or Prabhu, or Chikki, or even Chander who enters the narrative tangentially. The character list also includes the feisty Raghava Puranik, who speaks only in English and lives in the mini-England he has created for himself after his daring radical act of marrying a widow. Jagannatha, an interesting choice of name, is not a believer, and yet has to achieve

Bharathipura
pragmatism, where social and political changes bring about greater social stratification, an India where the changing economy is seen as a chance to serve vested interests, a socialist society where religion plays a greater role than ever before. Set in the temple town of Bharathipura, the novel is about a young idealist landlord Jagannatha, who returns to

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his revolution by consciously “desecrating” images of belief. He is not genuinely interested in empowering the Holeyaru community. Rather, these repressed beings are merely tools in his hands to achieve his aim of exposing the falsities of his religion. His plan is to destroy the feudal order by attacking its center. Can he succeed? How pure are his intentions? How clear? Is he exploiting the Holeyarus as much as others? These are some of the questions that a critical reading of the novel brings to the fore. Ananthamurthy weaves a complex web of myth and reality into the narrative. He uses images and symbols to deconstruct the past, merge it with the present, and then chart a course for the future so as to liberate the Indian way of life from a make-believe world and help it confront the changing realities of the postNehruvian era. The novel not only demystifies an old belief, but it also chronicles encounters with new realities on different fronts The book is also about intense personal relationships— familial, social, personal and sexual. Ananthamurthy bravely explores the elements that construct the feudal world of Bharathipura and the attendant ambiguities and ambivalences of revolutionary zeal. The book raises serious issues and confronts them head on. It is a piece of work that remains relevant in the contemporary era.

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Art
Art is in every heart, In every soul, everywhere. Art is in every bloom, Every bird and brook, everywhere. In the heights of the Himalayas, In the profoundness of the Pacific, In the poesy of prairies, In the cadence of cascades, In the rushing of rivers, And in the whisper of willows. In the paeans of Palestine, In the bongo beats of Congo, In the frescos of France, In the colours of kimonos, In the lore of Laos, And in the aroma of Arabia. In the mirth of monsoon mizzle, In the hush of autumnal hues, In the splendor of iridescent sky, In the rare shades of coral reefs, In the lull of lyrical lullaby, And in the melody of marching men. Art is in every heart, In every soul, everywhere. Sometimes vivid and vast, Often times unseen or unsung, Or hidden or hindered, Or latent or lost. Art is in every heart, A silent sense, sensibility, That binds us in one bond, Us, the progeny of the Ultimate Artist.

Mini John

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Responses

THE KITE RUNNER: KARBALA AND THE PERSIAN SAGA

Arshad Ahammad traces the influence of Persian history and mythology in Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling novel, The Kite Runner

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haled Hosseini is certainly the first Afghan novelist to fictionalize his culture for a Western readership by creating an incisive and engaging story of the hardships and struggles of the Afghanis. In his debut novel, The Kite Runner (2003) which became a bestseller and a classic of our time, he narrates the story of Amir, a young boy who betrays his best friend Hassan, the son of his father’s servant, and lives in guilt. Inter-textual references play an important role in The Kite Runner. The events pictured in the novel are reminiscent of the Karbala Tragedy (AD 680), one of the cruellest and heartbreaking disasters humanity has ever seen. People of Kufa, a place near Baghdad, forced Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, to fight against Yaseed, the self-claimed Caliph who is better known for his craving for wine and women than for the welfare of the subjects. But the same people did nothing to help Hussein. In a similar way, Hassan, the Hazara boy in the novel, flies kites for Amir and even gets raped by Assef, the bully, in order to protect the kite which is symbolic of Amir’s pride. But Amir, though he happens to witness the scene, cannot do anything against Assef. The dark regime of Yaseed and the Taliban reign can be considered for a similar reading. Hassan’s sacrifice for Amir, his terrible life and final death at the hands of the Taliban remind one of the Shiite group in Muslim community was the ultimate offshoot of Karbala tragedy. In The Kite Runner, the tension between Sunni-Shiite groups in the guise of Passhtun-Hazara division is very prominent. It is possible to trace a distant echo between The Kite Runner and Shahnamah (Book of Kings) which is the mythical history of Iran. Myths and stories about legendary heroes symbolize both the similarities and differences between the various communities in Afghanistan and Iran. Shahnamah is the heroic story of the great warrior Rostam and his illustrious son Sohrab. In The Kite Runner, Baba, Amir’s father and the biological father of Hassan, is the very image of Rostam. He has all the qualities of a Persian hero. A Persian hero is not a hero until his virtues and acts of courage are extolled by others. In this sense, Baba is a hero since everyone tells stories of Baba’s adventures. Also, another similarity is that Sohrab discloses that he is

The Kite Runner
the martyrdom of Hussein in the Karbala war. Both Sainul Abideen, the son of Hussein, and Sohrab, Hassan’s son are the escaped ones. Hassan’s qualities such as loyalty, innocence, honesty and so on, epitomize the true Islamic way of living practised and propagated by the Prophet and his early followers. It is an accepted fact that the development of

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the son of Rostam only in his death-bed. Hassan’s identity as Baba’s son is also unfolded only after his death. The character of Rostam, who acts dishonourably towards the King by sleeping with his daughter, symbolises Amir. The character of Sohrab, who is unaware of his parentage, becomes Hassan’s ideal hero. Hassan follows in the footsteps of his hero and
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encounters an untimely end. Amir, who actually deeply desires his father’s love and favour, also stands for Sohrab. It cannot be considered as mere conincidence that Hassan gives his son his beloved hero’s name—Sohrab. The novel contains numerous references to Sohrab and Rostam as Amir often reads the epic story to Hassan who is illiterate.

Hosseini published his second novel A Thousand Splendid Suns in 2007. It recounts the experiences and emotions of two Afghani women, Mariam and Laila whose lives become entangled with the history of recent wars in their country. Hosseini’s third fictional work, And the Mountains Echoed was recently released.

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Creativity: Arup Pal

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Responses

THE DARKER SIDE OF SHINING INDIA REVEALED IN ARAVIND ADIGA’S THE WHITE TIGER

Ingole Pradeep Goutam contemplates the veracity of Adiga’s portrayal of contemporary India.

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n The White Tiger, Adiga reveals the dark side of our “Incredible India”. Just like Balzac and Dickens, he portrays the evil side in order to bring about a change in the status quo. Though India is still among the developing countries in the world, in his recent visit to Mumbai, American President Mr. Obama remarked that, “India is not a developing country, but it has already developed.” Yet one-third of India’s population is below the poverty line and Adiga attempts to depict these paradoxes in his novel The White Tiger. Adiga intends to attack the illusion of India’s growth. In this context, it is relevant to mention Anna Hazare and his movement called India Against Corruption. Though the methods are different, the aims of Adiga and Hazare are the same: to give birth to an India that is free from the clutches of corruption. In the novel The White Tiger, Adiga brings into focus matters of national and personal importance. Despite all these features, there are many drawbacks. In the novel, the author divides this country into two parts, namely “Dark world” and “White world.” He believes that people of this country live either in slums and huts or in lavish flats and bungalows. However, he forgets the middle class who is always crushed between both these worlds. In fact, there are three worlds instead of two. The central character of this book “breaks the rooster coop” by slitting his master’s throat tremendous effort. The author seems a little eager to paint a bleak picture of Indian society and ignores the presence of honest and successful citizens. Though the book has many strong points such as simple language, realistic description, skilful use of narrative technique, plot construction, journalistic language, apt setting, and the art of characterization, Adiga has portrayed India badly in his novel. He chooses to oversee that in contemporary India, a son of a boatman can become the president of the country and a member of a nomadic tribe can initiate a telecom revolution. Also, he seems to ignore innumerable reforms such as online R.O.C Compliance, Online Income Tax and Vat returns and SelfAssessments that have reduced corruption in present-day India. In the past, Booker-prize winning novels by Indian writers have portrayed the problems of India in various ways. However, Adiga’s novel is different due

The White Tiger
and snatching his money bag. Ironically, the master is the only person who is kind towards the protagonist. Also, the author implies that no entrepreneur in India is worthy of a clean chit. This statement is offensive to thousands of Indian entrepreneurs who have come up in life because of their great dedication, knowledge and

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to its severe pessimism and vituperative discontent with the state of affairs of the country. Adiga says that it is not surprising that the greatest literary influences on the book were three great twentieth century African-American novelists namely Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and Richard Wright. They all wrote about race and class. Ellison’s Invisible Man was a great influence on Adiga because it was disliked by both blacks and whites. According to Adiga, Balram is the invisible man made visible for the readers. Indians have to take responsibility for modern India. The corruption, lack of health services for the poor etc., are problems that should be tackled by a responsible citizen. In an interview that took place in the wake of him winning the Booker

prize, Adiga said that he doesn’t know how he will spend his prize money and was not even sure if there was a safe bank for him to deposit the money in. Comparing himself to the Indian painter MF Hussain who was compelled to live in exile because of his alleged misrepresentation of Gods in his paintings, he says, “I am in a different position from Hussain, fortunately, the politically class doesn’t read.” Narendra Jadhav, former vice- chancellor of Pune University, and author of the Dalit family story Outcaste: A Memoir, says “I don’t think Adiga and [Danny] Boyle have shown the real India. There is a silent revolution happening in India with millions of people who have lived on the margins for centuries, now experiencing positive changes in their lives.” Adiga opines that the biggest problem in Indian society is that

of caste. He points out that this problem hinders the economic momentum of India and makes the country backward when compared to other nations. In The White Tiger, the protagonist Balram Halwai is a warning bell for millions of Indians who immigrate without thinking twice about the consequences. Aravind Adiga is a socially conscious writer who recognizes a writer’s duty towards society. He is deeply committed to speaking about the less-spoken and to reminding people of the ugly facts that they generally prefer to willfully forget. Adiga says the tone of his book was meant to be provocative, to get people thinking. It is a story of the poor people who don’t get represented in run-ofthe-mill Indian films or books.

Think
Keerthy Sophia Ponnachan has a question for you
If a webpage doesn’t load, we hit “try again” button, till it loads. Why not in life, if something doesn’t work, hit that same “try again” button till it works?

!

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Writer

SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE: LITERARY GENIUS OVERSHADOWED BY DEDUCTIVE BRILLIANCE

Obed Ebenezer S. delves into Doyle’s oeuvre and discovers the sensitive and philosophical side of the author.

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hough Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was a prolific writer of plays, romances, poetry, nonfiction and historical novels, he is remembered only as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, the greatest detective in fiction. Doyle was an ophthalmologist who had plenty of spare time as “not a single patient crossed his door.” The reading world is indebted to his spare time that exceeded his working hours for the creation of the wonderful detective—Sherlock Holmes. However, his prolific output of 19 novels, 115 short stories, 13 plays, 81 poems, 12 pamphlets, not including his Professor Challenger series and Brigadier Gerard series was overshadowed by the success of Sherlock Holmes. His stories are unmatched in description and continue to evoke suspense, terror, horror and at times, laughter. That Conan Doyle sets our blood racing is an understatement. He sets our hearts beating wildly with excitement, anticipation and suspense as we slip into a bygone era, and get transported to the settings of the story. None can read the dare-devilry of Brigadier Gerard and not wish to experience the hairraising adventures narrated by him, and no woman who will not dream of being wooed by the dashing officer of the French Hussar Cavalry. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writings are energetic, distinct and readable. They are full of terse, luxurious descriptions that indisputably conjure up a feeling of belonging to a place. His characters are remarkable with distinct traits and behaviour. narrations about them, but from their interesting conversations and eventful relationships. It is indeed a resonant experience to engross oneself in Conan Doyle’s imagination. Perhaps Doyle’s literary works are not popular because of the tone of his writings. As a man who experimented with spiritualism, his works are infused with the strange, foreboding, mysterious and psychic tone that might easily unsettle the casual reader. In Sherlock Holmes, this dark and peculiar feeling adds to the atmosphere of crime and suspense, and the solving of the mystery brings relief to the reader. But, most of his other works fail to provide a definite ending, and is usually abrupt and cryptic, which renders the reader unsatisfied. He was a writer who strayed from the conventions set for prose during

Arthur Conan Doyle
Above all, he is a powerful raconteur and impressive narrator. Although Conan Doyle began writing in the late Victorian era, his characters and writing style are predominantly modern. We learn about characters not from lengthy

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that period. The convention mandated the presence of a definite introduction, body and conclusion. Though his brilliant writings failed to capture the attention of the readers of his time, his literary style became popular much later. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed that his “historical romances” were his most important works. Patriotism, individual heroism and chivalry abound in his writings. Doyle’s fiction draws upon an archive of national and racial stereotypes in its construction of non-English characters; moreover, these stereotypes are organized and expressed in terms of military prowess, chivalry and manliness. In Doyle’s medieval romances, war and games merge: the tournaments and jousts of the knights and the archery contests of the bowmen are play warfare. But, such themes were starting to get obsolete during his time due to the emergence of modern warfare techniques. But, most of what Doyle wrote about mystic and the psychic elements are now affirmed by modern theories of parapsychology. He was a man much ahead of his time. He understood that there are other worlds, and dimensions that cannot be comprehended with our physical senses. The belief that there are spirits that communicate and interact with men may seem a bit strange

to us. But, it is a common practice in occultism and in deeper meditations of the eastern religions to converse with beings other than humans. This accounts for the magic and supernaturalism in his writings. Intense observation and deep understanding of the human mind are evident in Doyle’s writings. As we turn the pages, we find that thoughts that we seldom dwell upon are beautifully expressed. One such striking example is from A Study in Scarlet: “It was not the father, however, who first discovered that the child had developed into the woman. It seldom is in such cases. That mysterious change is too subtle and too gradual to be measured by dates. Least of all does the maiden herself know it until the tone of a voice or the touch of a hand sets her heart thrilling within her, and she learns, with a mixture of pride and of fear, that a new and a larger nature has awoken within her. There are few who cannot recall that day and remember the one little incident which heralded the dawn of a new life.” And he writes in The Man from Archangel, “What companion is there like the great, restless, throbbing sea? What human mind is there which it does not match and sympathize with? There are none so gay but that they may feel gayer when they listen to its merry turmoil, and see the long green surges racing in, with the glint of the

sunbeams in their sparkling crests. But when the grey waves toss their heads in anger, and the wind screams above them, goading them on to madder and more tumultuous efforts, then the darkest-minded of men feels that there is a melancholy principle in nature which is as gloomy as his own thoughts.” Such magnificent lines of poetic-prose leave one awed. At the same time, we cannot help but feel a twinge of sadness for, the world while celebrating Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, fails to acknowledge the sensitive and poignant writer in him. This is a classic case of a creation eclipsing the glory of its creator.
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frnd
wen i wan 2sleep u wake me up wen i wan to b alone u giv me compny wen I fear d most u cheer me up wen I flee u brng me back wen i let go u hold me tight … i know not if not 4u do i exist?

Jebamalar

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I am a racist
Yes, I am a racist. From the beginning, I was one. You know, my black memories were black, And my white memories were white. I made differences I proclaimed whiteness. I feigned loving black While at midnight Amid those thousand stars I confess I loved the white moon The whiteness of the moon Forgetting The sheer darkness of the darkened plain, I confess I am a racist.

Muhammed Roshan

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Modernity: Naveen V.K.

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Musings

IGNORANCE

Mini John points out the brighter side of ignorance.

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he word ignorance has a negative connotation. The attitude that it evokes in us is certainly not affirmative. The ignorant are not the desirable, reliable lot in any field. Is ignorance all that bad? Let’s look at it from another angle. Who is cognizant in this world? Can the philosophers, scientists or the intellectuals of the world claim to know it all? right direction. Sky is not the limit, because it is limitless. So let us not be afraid of ignorance. Let it not keep us from sharing what we know and being beneficial to many. Let not the scorns of the so called cognizant mar our thirst and industry for knowing more. Ignorance is neither a bliss to dwell in complacently, nor is it a curse that hampers our progress; but it is a realization that out there, there is so much more to explore and to experience, to aspire and to attain; it is the realization that I am merely an inconspicuous and dispensable entity in this wide world and that the Creator is much beyond my comprehension.

Intricacy, subtlety and excellence are strewn about in every creation around us in this universe. The silent pace with which blossoms bloom and fruits mature; the perfection and symmetry of a spider’s web; the regularity with which, sun and snow, and showers and spring visit us; the flawless rotations and revolutions of multitudinous heavenly bodies across cosmic space; the constant, correlated life cycles of innumerable organisms; who can comprehend the littlest of these phenomena happening around us? We humans are so proud and over enthusiastic that we are in the pursuit of unlocking the mysteries of the world. We value only those who are cognizant and knowledgeable. The standard is set so high that many fall short; many are made insecure about their capabilities and talents, making them less productive than they really are. It is like requiring of a fish to climb a tree. Who sets these standards? These standards are certainly set by those who wrongly believe that they know it all.

There is a beginning for everything. Ignorance is also a beginning—the beginning of an unending journey of learning and knowing. Recognizing our ignorance is the door that opens the vast vistas to ultimate knowledge. Ignorance becomes the wind under our wings, when we acknowledge and admit it. That realization will enable us to take flight into the heights and vastness of the sky of knowledge. As the wise say, knowledge is not a station we arrive at, it is a manner of travelling. We never reach there, but we are progressing in the

“Ignorance is neither a bliss to dwell in complacently, nor is it a curse that hampers our progress”

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Current

ORTHODOXIES: DEBATES ON THE FILM CELLULOID AND BEYOND

P.P. Ajayakumar opines how the controversies surrounding Celluloid have exposed the debilitating presence of communal forces in modern Malayali society.

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elluloid is a film dedicated to the father of Malayalam cinema, J.C. Daniel. A biopic of a special kind, the film depicts the troubles taken by Daniel to make the first film in Malayalam. He goes to Bombay to meet Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema and imports a camera from England. After much trouble, he finds Rosamma renamed as P.K. Rosie to act the part of a Nair woman in the film. Rosamma is a Kakkarassi artist and a Pulaya girl. But when the film gets completed and released in the Capitol theatre in Thiruvananthapuram, the ruckus created by the uppercaste audience over a Pulaya girl donning the role of a Nair woman results in total commotion and the cancellation of the screening of the film. Hunted by the irate mob, Rosie is forced to escape from there and thereafter her whereabouts remain unknown. Daniel loses everything and shifts his residence from Thiruvananthapuram to Agastheesapuram situated in Kanyakumari District in Tamil Nadu. It is his wild dream and the intense desire to make a motion picture at a time when such efforts were unheard of in regional languages such as Malayalam that leads to the alienation and financial crunch in his life. In that sense, the film depicts the life of a pioneer who chose the un-trodden path to glory and inevitably met with failure. Ironically, though Daniel, with his mad craving for revealing its insensitivity to the feelings of J.C. Daniel. The film, Celluloid, hints at this insensitivity and forgetfulness shown by the institutions and individuals connected with Malayalam film industry as well as the general public. The film triggered debates on the historical correctness of the events and the authenticity in the portrayal of characters. Though based on the life of a person who died about 37 years ago, the director does not make any claim related to the historical accuracy of the incidents portrayed in the film or the authenticity of the individual characters that form part of it. But its rootedness in the historical experiences and the actual incidents that took place in the lives of individuals like J.C. Daniel and Rosie cannot be ruled out. The major challenge of a biopic is to be as authentic as possible. It is true that Celluloid, to a great extent, succeeds in presenting

Celluloid
film-making, loses everything and becomes a pauper both mentally and financially, film, as an industry and as an art form reached its summit, outpacing all other art forms in its popularity, during Daniel’s own lifetime. But the film industry has turned its face away from the pioneer film-maker in Malayalam

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the central concerns and confrontations in Daniel’s life. Daniel’s unorthodox approach is evident in his enthusiastic, dedicated and committed efforts to make a film way back in 1928. Instead of adopting a puranic story as was the practice followed by his Hindi and Tamil counterparts, Daniel decides to depict a social drama. Using actors who are well-versed in Kakkarassinatakam, Kathakali and other similar traditional art forms, he introduces a new form of art which could be seen as the harbinger of modernity in the field of art. The conflict between traditional training in Kathakali and the problems of appropriation in the new genre is humorously presented through the discomfort the Kathakali artiste expresses while acting in the film. The confusion is shared by the spectators as well. Trained in viewing traditional art forms and puranic films, they fail to appreciate the social drama and spoil the show by attacking the theatre. The commotion starts when the spectators, mostly uppercaste men, find that the role of an upper-caste Nair woman is being played by a Pulaya girl. Though not mentioned in the film, it is believed that the scene in which the character played by Daniel places a flower in Rosie’s hair also triggered angry outbursts and destructive attacks in the theatre. Both point towards two varieties of orthodoxies, one related to caste and the other related to morality.

The current debates surrounding the film reveal the orthodoxies of the present. But the debates over the depiction of caste prejudice in the film and the moral right to place Daniel’s

prejudices effectively from the social psyche. The emergence of the revivalist tendencies and the huge presence of communal forces in the public space of contemporary Kerala society are evidences for the prevalence of such sentiments. In one sense, the film focuses its lenses on the orthodoxies that prevail in Kerala society. The motion picture is an agent of modernity that operates in a secular space. In the movie, Daniel tells Rosie that caste discrimination is not prevalent in the field of film. But Rosie’s own experience proves that it is still present in the minds of the spectators. This in turn, shatters Daniel’s dream. The two personalities that the film focuses on—Daniel, the filmmaker and Rosie, the actress— encounter the orthodoxies in two different ways. It is true that the film is a biopic on J.C. Daniel, and his struggles with the making of the film and its aftermath. But it could also be seen as the story of two lonely individuals who attempt to break the walls of established norms. Both Daniel and Rosie knowingly or unknowingly adopt such roles, question the orthodoxies and accept the fate destined to them. Thus the film Celluloid and the debates surrounding it become an argument against the orthodoxies of the Kerala society in the past as well as the present.

film Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child) on top as the first Malayalam film to a great extent carry forward the orthodoxies of the past. The argument “how a silent film could claim itself to be the first Malayalam film?” is analogous to the argument, “how a Pulaya girl can be cast in the role of a Nair girl?” The caste prejudice alleged against the IAS officer is the source of another debate that has created lot of noise. N.S. Madhavan’s defense of Malayattoor Ramakrishnan is a pointer to the commonsensical approach adopted by many who believe that prejudice against lower sections of the community is a past story. But it is true that the movements against caste discrimination and efforts for bringing modernity have not eradicated such

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Drama

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR
Characters:

A One-Act Play by Betsy Paul C

Renu – a nineteen year old girl, extremely interesting, more attractive than beautiful. Man – a six- pack TDH (tall, dark, handsome) 26-year old. Two strangers – in their thirties Renu’s father – in his late forties Renu’s mother – around forty five

The stage is divided into three parts. The central room is where most of the action takes place. On the left is a smaller room opening to the other side of the stage. There is a closet on the right wall of this room. To the right of the central room, on the other side of the closed door, a road is clearly visible. Only the room on the left is illuminated. Renu is on her phone. Unpacking and inspecting the room while talking. RENU: into the phone What have I done! You tell me, what else could I have done. Come on, Neethu. It was not my fault. You know I cannot stand the smell of blood. And to cut through a human body; the kidney, the liver, the intestine. I never wanted to study medicine. No, no. you won’t understand. You always wanted to be a doctor. And, I only want to be a fashion designer. Yes, yes. You try that. Just convince my parents. Okay. Where am I? Takes a comb from the bag and loosens her long thick hair What have I done? Well, you know I flunked in every single subject in the last exam. They’ve sent out the progress reports to the parents. The day before yesterday. I keep my cell phone switched off all the time. And yesterday. . . Yes I’m coming to it. You were all studying for today’s test. What am I to do? You know I can’t make head or tail of anatomy. I couldn’t stand the pressure. I went for that movie I told you about. Katrina Kaif wearing those new designer dresses. First show. Oh yes, alone. You wouldn’t have come if I’d called you. Would you? No, I didn’t go with a boyfriend. You know I don’t have one. You will be the first person to know if I have a boyfriend. Where was the time for all that? I was busy studying to make a fool of myself.

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Takes some thick books out of a bag and heaps them on the table. And what happened? What is to happen? The warden caught me entering the hostel at 9:30 pm. Told me to clear off the next morning. Yes, if I had begged her, yes, if I brought my parents down and explained. Removing her high-heeled shoes and opens a plastic bag I packed my things and came here. There is only one slipper inside the bag. Shakes it. Still only one slipper. Searches the bag and throws out various dress materials. This room is okay. Struggles to open the door of the closet to keep the piled up clothes. Next to the Central Tower in Avenue road. I’m switching off my mobile. If my parents call don’t answer. Please. Yes. I know what I’m doing. Pushes the closet door. Yes. I am careful. Bye!. . . . The closet door breaks into half and she falls into it. A groaning sound becomes audible. She listens. It persists. She probes further into the closet. Finds a long, horizontal plank which appears to be connected loosely at the back of the closet. She shakes it and it loosens further, making her lose her balance. A long horizontal gap, as long and wide as a small door is seen leading to the central room. The groaning continues. She hesitates. Then, cautiously, she steps into the central room and finds a switch on the wall. As she presses the switch on, light in the left room is dimmed. And, into the central room light floods, revealing a man sitting in a pool of blood. He is the one who is groaning. Renu sees him. Screams. MAN: RENU: Please. Trying to control herself. What? How? What? Shall I call the Police? Phone? Where’s the phone?

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MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU: RENU: MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU:

Getting up Please. He is completely drenched in blood. Please control yourself. I will explain. You! What? Explain? This is only a setting for a drama. Of course, not intended for you. For someone else. Okay. I am sorry. I thought… I am so sorry. For what? For… Okay, for disturbing you. She turns to go back. And, for trespassing into my room. eh…ye…yes. I am so sorry. I only thought you may need some help. I was trying to help. Calmly. Have you done this before? What? Trying to help? No, trespassing into another’s property. That’s not fair. I was not trespassing. I heard you groan. I was trying to help. You were peeping into my room. Were you looking for something to blackmail me? You misunderstand me. I’m your new neighbour. I rented the room next to you and moved in just now. And wasted no time in getting your voyeuristic pleasures. Who are you? A pervert? Shakes her by the shoulder. How dare you? I was only trying to help. Now I am sorry for ever having thought of helping you. I’m going. She shirks him off and stomps off towards her room. He takes a water gun lying nearby and presses it. She is showered with a red, blood-like liquid. You! She shoves a nearby chair onto him and attempts to dash out, but slips and falls into the blood pool. Oh, no! Don’t hurt me please! He bends down to her, making a macabre sight of oozing blood. But, actually, he is trying to help her get up. Sorry, that was just for fun. Screams. Fun!!! Please don’t scare the neighbours. I have no bad intentions. Don’t touch me.

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MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU: MAN:

Okay, okay. I told you, I am sorry. I was only teasing you. Please wash your face and you can go. Points to the wash basin I won’t stay here a moment more. Turns to go. But if you go out with that face, won’t it, perhaps, look a bit scary? I’ll wash in my room. There is no wash basin there. You’ll have to go to the common bathrooms. Shouts. How do you know that. I’m your neighbour. Points to the wash basin. Sorry, please. Renu goes to the wash basin, washes her face, as light dims. In the right, the road lights up, as two men walk up to his door. This is where he lives Knock on the door No need. There’s a calling bell. Or we can break down the door. Anything to bring him out And marry him to my sister. Rings the bell.

STRANGER 1: STRANGER 2: STRANGER 1: STRANGER 2: STRANGER 1: STRANGER 2:

Light is switched on inside the room. The shrill ringing of the bell is heard MAN: RENU: MAN: RENU: MAN: Oh, they have come. Still at the wash basin. Who? Opens the window. The strangers don’t see him opening it. The brother and uncle of the girl. Your girl friend? No, not really. She just thrust herself onto me.

The bell rings shrilly once more. Then it goes on ringing without a pause MAN: Oh, what shall I do? He takes the water gun absent-mindedly in his hand and pauses at the door. Then softly removes the latch of the door. The men outside are not aware of this. The bell keeps ringing. Renu has finished her washing.

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RENU: MAN: MAN: RENU: RENU:

So. That’s your business. Bye! Turns to go. Stop! Squeezes the water gun. Again red liquid is splashed on to her face, body. He grabs her hands and thrusts the water-gun into them. Renu screams. Outside. Stranger 1 kicks the door wide open. Inside. The man clutches his chest with one hand, holding the girl with the other. Kneels down. To the girl, clinging on to him. Oh, what have you done! I would have married only you. Just because they have come here doesn’t mean I will marry her. You were and are my only love. What, oh, what, have you done? Confused, frantic, struggling to get out of his grasp. What? What have I done? Stranger 1: Stranger 2: Stranger 1: Stranger 2: Stranger 1: Stranger 2: lays his hand over Stranger 2’s shoulder It sure is a murder! I think we better go. What a terrible fool your sister is. To have fallen in love with this jerk! We better go. We can’t afford to be witnesses to a murder. They may even accuse us.

They rush out and disappear into the darkness Inside the room Renu and the man are still struggling. Renu manages to push him down. Meanwhile, simultaneously, in Renu’s room, her parents search for her. They discover the closet, the gap, and enter the man’s room, and are shocked at what they see. Renu turns to see them. A momentary tremble. She turns her back to them, clutching the water-gun. Points the water-gun at the man. Starts to shout at him. This is what you get. I told you not to disturb me. I wanted, I only wanted to study. To be a doctor. To fulfill my parents’ dreams! You pestered me at the hostel. That’s why I changed my room. Now that you have come here, this is what you get. Death. I only wanted to fulfill my parents’ dreams. That’s why I came to this city. To study medicine. Sacrificing my dream to be a fashion designer. For my dear parents. Now . . . weeps, now, the police will come for me. My parents will see me in jail. For killing you! The man looks on, aghast, confused, still clutching his chest

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MOTHER: Screams. No! FATHER: Come, Renu. No police will come for you.

MOTHER: Let’s escape fast. We’ll protect you, my poor darling baby. FATHER: RENU: Come fast. You won’t come back to this city again. Weeping. My studies…oh, my life is ruined.

MOTHER: We’ll protect you, baby. FATHER: They pull her out of the room to her room. Tomorrow, you’ll join the fashion technology institute in our town. They take her bag, trunk, and go out of the door of her room.

MOTHER: We’ll protect you, baby. The sound of car doors opening and closing, and the starting of a car. Meanwhile, the man gets up slowly, wiping his face. He moves to the wash basin.

Curtain
e Po m s

The words of the master of the absurd Rang very true: Nothing happens, In those slowest moving times, In the days of the still hourglass, Nothing happens, no one comes or goes, It was the tale of this slow-moving life, That gave many sad tales to tell of you And many lone tears to shed for you. When victory came it was too late, To laugh or cry or even to try; Now there’s no going back at all, The absurd heart knows too well. Now we have become like two solids Who shed no tears; but only sublimate.

Sublimation

Maria

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Snippets

FUN FACTS

Compiled by Keerthy Sophia Ponnachan

»» One out of every eight letters you read is the letter ‘e’. »» In 1939 an author named Ernest Vincent wrote a 50,000-word novel called Gadsby. The only thing
unusual about the novel is that there is not a single letter ‘e’ in the whole work.

»» Over 20,000 books have been written about the game of chess. »» In the book, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, there is a sentence that is 823 words long. When Victor wrote
to his editor inquiring about his opinion of the manuscript, he wrote, “?” The editor answered, “!”.

»» If you arrange all the shelves in the New York Public Library in a single line, the line would be
around eighty miles long. The books most often requested at this library are about drugs, witchcraft, astrology and Shakespeare.

»» Interestingly, William Shakespeare invented the word “hurry.” »» More than two and a half billion Bibles have been printed till date. If you put them on a long
bookshelf and started driving along the shelf at 55 mph, you would have to drive 40 hours per week for over four months to get to the end. All these Bibles would fill the New York public library 467 and half times. The Bible contains 3,566,480 letters, or 810,697 words.

»» Leo Tolstoy wrote the extremely long novel, War and Peace, much before the invention of copying
machines. His wife had to copy his manuscript by hand seven times.

»» It took Noah Webster 36 years to write his first dictionary. »» Jonathan Swift wrote a classic book called Gulliver’s Travels that borders on science fiction. It was
written much before science fiction emerged as a literary genre. In this book, he wrote about two moons circling Mars. He described their sizes and speed of revolution. He did this one hundred years before they were described by astronomers.

»» The largest book in the world, “The Klencke Atlas” is 1.75 metres tall (about 5 feet 9 inches) and 1.90
metres wide (about 6 feet 3 inches when open).

»» Bill Gates holds the record for purchasing the most expensive book in the world .He bought the book
for 30.8 million dollars at an auction. The book is Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci.

»» The longest novel available is Marienbad My Love by Mark Leach. It contains 17 million words. »» The most expensive book is The Task by Tomas Alexander Hartmann. It is priced at 153 million Euros.
That’s about 213 million U.S. Dollars. And the kicker is, it’s only 13 pages long.

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Solve It
A crossword puzzle from Prabhanjan R. on general literature.
1 4 2 3

5 7 8 10 11 12

6

9

13

14

15

16

17

18 19

20

ACROSS 3. 4. 7. 8. “Alpha of the Plough” is his pen-name. “The Charge of the Light Brigade” is set against this war. He wrote the satirical novel Barchester Towers He made the battle-cry, “Make It New!”

DOWN 1. This Marxist playwright from Britain wrote Live Like Pigs. 2. This means bad handwriting. 5. Samuel Pepys wrote his Diary in this language. 6. Another name for this epic is Jai Samhita. 9. The British writer Doris Lessing is associated with this philosophy. 11. This famous battle took place in 1815. 17. The Mystery of Edwin Drood is his unfinished work.

10. He wrote the novel The Sense of an Ending which won the 2011 Booker. 12. He is the pioneer of humanism. 13. This is the term for a song sung on the occasion of death. 14. The German novelist Patrick Suskind is known for this novel. 15. He called Shakespeare “Dear son of memory.” 16. He is known as “prose Shakespeare.” 18. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre has been discussed as a part of this tradition. 19. He represented religious, melodramatic and “seedy” environments in his novels. 20. He wrote the novella Death in Venice.

1. Arden 2. Cacography 5. Cipher 6. Mahabharata 9. Sufism 11. Waterloo 17. Dickens DOWN: 3. Gardiner 4. Crimean 7. Trollope 8. Pound 10. Barnes 12. Petrarch 13. Threnody 14. Perfume 15. Milton 16. Scott 18. Gothic 19. Greene 20. Mann ACROSS: Crossword Answers

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Snippets

LITERARY AWARDS
»» Nobel Prize for literature »» Neustadt International Prize for Literature »» Franz Kafka Prize »» The Man Booker Prize »» International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award »» Prince of Austrias Award (Literature) »» Premio Iberoamericano Planeta »» Casa de América de Narrativa »» Susan Smith Blackburn Prize »» Lionel Gelber Prize

Compiled by Tintu Anie Mathew

2012
Mo Yan Rohinton Mistry Daniela Hodrova Hilary Mantel Jon McGregor (Even the Dogs) Philip Roth

Jorge Luis Volpi (La tejedora de

sombras) Jennifer Haley (The Nether) Ezra Feivel Vogel

(Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China)

»» S.E.A. Write Award, or Southeast
Asian Writers Award Wipas Srithong (Thailand)

»» Commonwealth Book Prize (There are five regional winners and an overall winner) * Jacques Strauss— Africa—The Dubious Salvation of Jack V * Shehan Karunatilaka —Asia— Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew (overall
winner)

* Riel Nason—Canada and Europe—The Town that Drowned * Alecia Mc Kenzie —Caribbean— Sweet Heart * Cory Taylor —Pacific— Me and Mr. Booker »» The Micro Award (This award is given for “flash fiction,” i.e. fiction below 1000 words.)—Bruce
Holland Roger—“Divestiture”

»» DSC Prize for South Asian Literature—Shehan Karunatilaka—Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep
Mathew

»» The Hindu Literary Prize—Jerry Pinto—Em and the Big Hoom

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2013
»» Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society – Antonio Munoz Molina »» DSC Prize for South Asian Literature—Jeet Thayil—Narcopolis »» Pulitzer Prize for Fiction—Adam Johnson—The Orphan Master’s Son

LOSSES OF 2012 AND 2013
Street.

Compiled by Tintu Anie Mathew

»» Martin Zweig (d. 08.02.2013): Financial analyst, investor, and author of the book Winning on Wall

»» Debbie Ford (d. 17.02.2013): American author of self-help books. Her first book is The Dark Side of
the Light Chasers.

»» Stanley Karnow (d. 27.01.2013): American journalist and historian. His book In Our Image: America’s
Empire in the Philippines won him the coveted Pulitzer Prize for History.

»» Evan S. Connell (d. 10.01.2013): American writer, who wrote novels, short stories and poems. He was
nominated for the Booker International Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2010. His works included: The Anatomy Lesson, Mrs. Bridge, The Patriot, Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel, At the Crossroads, The Diary of a Rapist.

»» Sol Yurick (d. 05.01.2013): American novelist best known for the 1965 novel, The Warriors. »» Gerda Lerner (02.01.2013): Historian and author who is considered a pioneer in the field of women’s
history. Founding member of the National Organization for Women.

»» Richard Ben Cramer (d. 07.01.2012): Journalist, and a Pulitzer Prize winner. »» David Oliver Relin (d. 14.11.2012): Co-author of the highly successful and controversial book Three
Cups Of Tea.

»» Bryce Courtenay (d. 22.11.2012): well-known author from Johannesburg, South Africa. Known for his
first-published book, The Power of One.

»» Esme Valerie Eliot (d. 09.11.2012): Known by her middle name, was a well-known publisher and
editor from Leeds, England. Valerie is most known for assisting with the publication of her husband

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T.S. Eliot’s works. Valerie assisted in the well-known publications of The Waste Land (1971), The Letters of T. S. Eliot: Volume 1, 1898-1922 (1989), and Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

»» Ellen Douglas (d.07.11.2012) (real name: Josephine Ayres Haxton): Is a well-known author and
novelist from Natchez, Mississippi. Douglas is well-known for her National Book Award- nominated book Apostles of Light (1973). Douglas has also published other various well-known works, such as: A Family’s Affairs (1961), Black Cloud, White Cloud: Two Novellas and Two Stories (1963).

»» Erica Kennedy (d. 13.06.2012): Was a renowned young African-American writer, journalist and
blogger. Kennedy’s most noted work is the novel Bling which she wrote back in 2004.It was on the New York Times’ best-seller list.

»» Ray Bradbury (d. 05.06.2012): Was a well-known author from Waukegan, Illinois. Bradbury’s writings
covered a wide range of genres, such as: fantasy, horror, science fiction and mystery. His most-known works are: The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Fahreinheit 451.

»» Carlos Fuentes (d. 15.05.2012): Mexican writer who is considered one of the top essayists and
novelists in the Spanish-speaking world. Notable works include: Aura, The Death of Artemio Cruz, The Old Gringo, and Christopher Unborn.

»» Maurice Sendak (d. 05.08.2012): Well-known children’s literature author from Brooklyn, New York.
Well-known work —Where the Wild Things Are.

»» Chinua Achebe (d.21.03.2013): Is known as the father of African literature. His oeuvre includes the
African Trilogy—Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God.

»» Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (d.03.04.2013): Was of Indo-German origin. Has written over a dozen novels
and screenplays. Won the Booker Prize for her novel Heat and Dust and the Academy Award twice for her screenplays.
ag es

Im

Affection: Naveen V.K.

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Communication Crossword
A crossword puzzle on communication by Sam Daniel
1 5 6 7 2 3 4

8

9

10 11 12 14 15 16 13

18

ACROSS 2. 5. 6. 7. 8. 10. 12. 13. This is the term to denote the ideas that are transmitted in communication. This is one who receives the message. This is a criterion for forming groups, and indicates the number of members. It is a function of communication. (It means teaching) Communication is derived from this word. (It means to impart) Through this channel, rumour spreads. This is one of the earliest electronic media. This communication is controlled by a single source, and reaches out to a large number of people beyond boundaries. This barrier is related to the mind. This flows from the receiver to the source. This type of interpersonal communication occurs naturally, and is not planned.

DOWN 1. 3. It is a skill required for effective communication. This is a principle of effective communication. (It means trustworthiness) This type of communication is also called one-to-one communication. This is an example for intra-personal communication. A type of listening in which the listener concentrates on a preferred area. Classroom teaching is an example for this communication. These songs are an example for traditional mass media. This is the medium through which communication takes place.

4. 6. 9.

11. 14. 15.

16. 17. 18.

ACROSS:

17

1. Listening 3. Credibility 4. Interpersonal 6. Selfanalysis 9. Emphatic 11. Group 14. Folk 15. Channel DOWN: 2. Message 5. Receiver 6. Size 7. Instruction 8. Communicare 10. Grape vine 12. Radio 13. Mass 16. Psychological 17. Feedback 18. Spontaneous Crossword Answers

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Games

GK SCRAMBLE

Ajitkumar Chougale tests your knowledge of current developments in the field of Literature.

Read the clues and unscramble the given words to get the correct names.
1

HET NUTTACLER MISTNALDUNFAET
This is the Man Booker (2007) nominated novel by Mohsin Hamid. It is being made into a film by Mira Nair. The novel recounts how Changez, a young Pakistani, finds himself increasingly disillusioned with corporate America after 9/11.

2

EHT LIFOO ZERIP
This is being promoted as a rival to the prestigious Man Booker, and will be awarded in March This will be a major award for fiction written in English and published in the UK with no barriers of form or genre. The prize money will be £40,000.

2014.

3

HIMSA HITTIPRA
He has written the popular “Shiva Trilogy” which includes the books (i) The Immortals of Meluha, (ii) The Secret of the Nagas, and (iii) The Oath of the Vayuputras These novels beautifully blend myth and fantasy. His sources are Alan Jacob’s The Principal Upanishads and Wendy Ronigers’s Rig Veda.

4

SOLSNES NI TOGGERFINT
This film has fetched the National Award for the Best Film in English at the 60th National Film Awards (2012). It is based on a novel by Anita Nair. Anita Nair is also the screenplay-writer for this film.

5 POCRASLION
This novel won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2013. This novel was also nominated for Man Booker 2012. The story depicts drug addiction destroying the world of the poor and the marginalized people in Mumbai during the ’70s and ’80s.

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6

NOAHRAM LAKNGAROM
His recent novel The Men Who Killed Gandhi is an account of Gandhi’s assassination with details of the plan, the politics revolving around the trial of Nathuram Godse and his partners in crime, Narayan Apte, Vishnu Karkare, Gopal Godse and Madanlal Pahwa. This novel will be made into a film directed by Siddharth Sengupta. The film is scheduled for release in January 2014, marking the 66th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

7

TEH DELTACINAC PANPRICEET
This is the new novel by Vikas Swarup, of Slumdog Millionaire fame. Sapna Sinha works in an electronics store in downtown Delhi, hates her job, but knows without the money she brings in, her family won’t be able to survive. Vinay Mohan Acharya, a billionaire, chooses her as his heir for his business empire, but there are seven tests she must This is Vikas Swarup’s third novel: previous novels are Q & A and Six Suspects.

pass.

8

HERIT GENAGULA FO VELO
This a short story collection by a Pakistani-Jewish writer living in America. She is best-known for her collaborative work with Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta. In each of these stories, the author appears as either the listener of a friend’s story, or one of the lead characters.

e Po

m

s

Years
Years were passed of this century In the hope That something would change. Something Perhaps, Everything will change. But what happens with thinking? Do something positive As it will take years to build.

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

GK Scramble Answers

Manohar Malgonkar Amish Tripathi The Folio Prize Narcopolis Lessons in Forgetting The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Their Language of Love The Accidental Apprentice

Ram Sharma

61

Impressions

The Leader: Parvathy Prakash M.

62

M

in us

gs

Here are some thoughts that have inspired Krishna Badiger

What is Life?
Life is a song, sing it. Life is game, play it. Life is challenge, accept it. Life is an exam, write it. Life is a book, read it. Life is a war, dare it. Life is health, save it. Life is wealth, keep it. Life is a problem, solve it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is a drama, see it.

63

e Po

m

s

I bleed sir; but not kill’d
“I bleed sir; but not kill’d,” never will be, never can be killed For I am the soul of every man who have ever sinned. What do you grumble you, lazy guard? Yes I am the one who have killed our Lord. Not literally though, but I caused his death I made him strangle his lady love to death. Why did I so? Oh don’t ask, it’s that he wooed my wife, Oh you know her too!! What a shameless whore my wife! Oh so you say she was chaste? True to me? Well, she said so too and so did everybody. But however be it, how much ever true she be, I like to take it my evil way, and to imagine she betrayed me! Think of the evil in talking foul of one’s own wife, I like to pretend that I lived a very pathetic life. Oh! How pitiable that now I should spend in jail, It is hard to live not taking pleasure in someone’s pain. How foolishly you guards question! Why I be so? Aye! I have for eons been so, I am the evil in every man’s soul. I guided devil to be the snake who misled Adam and Eve, From that day on I hide in man, in every soul I live. Not only the soul, but I became the very evil itself, The very cause of trouble in this world. I am the agate lamp that took Cupid away from Psyche, I am that pomegranate that brought back to Hades his Persephone I am the new sprout that laughs at the falling leaf, I am the catapult that scatters the pair of lovebirds

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I separate lovers in the name of religion I turn man against man under the cover of complexion, I become that word, which triggers a war, I poison the minds when dear ones are afar It is I who nourish Lucifer; he is at my mercy, When I drive you people crazy, he is at my courtesy. I am like a speck of dust that hover in the air, And is present everywhere, in every corner you stare. When I settle on someone, you dust me away Into the eyes of someone whom you wish would go away Why do you laugh when I make good use of my smile? A dust is no harmless thing; it makes you cry when it falls in your eye. I will tell you a secret, I am in the very soul of man, Even when you deny me publicly, you’d be plotting against someone I am in you, and all around you, why doubt I am you, “I am not what I am,” no mortal, but given immortality by you “I bleed sir, but not kill’d,” never will be, never can be killed For I am the soul of every human who have ever sinned.

Gayathri Jagadish
es

Im

ag

Restrictions: Naveen V.K.

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Snippets

Paan Singh Tomar (Hindi) was adjudged the Best Feature Film at the 60th National Film Awards. Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, “it is the powerful presentation of a true life story. The sleek and sensitive handling of a not-too-common subject highlights the decadent value system prevalent in society.”

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