Editorial

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

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Dear Reader

t is my greatest pleasure to present TLS to you, a collective venture of our patrons, students and friends. TLS, short for TES Literary Supplement, is a biannual magazine published by Vallaths Total English Solutions (TES), Thiruvananthapuram. It aims to “de-academize” English studies, to bring books, concepts, theorists and movements to the level of ordinary people, and to re-discover the delight and excitement of learning English language and literature. TLS is born out of our basic needs as students: to think, write and deliberate freely and fearlessly; to discover on our own, without the constraints of being correct and academic; to step outside the limits of “literature,” into other realms of knowledge and expression. We do not claim that we have attained all these objectives in the very first issue of TLS. This is going to be a long process of learning and re-learning, of making mistakes and correcting them, of overcoming stumbling blocks, persistently. We thank you for taking interest in this magazine and request your support as a regular reader and contributor to 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

Editorial Board
Chandrika Raju Rajitha Venugopal Suhana Sathar Prasara V.P.

Issue Editors
Vinita Teresa Sambhaji Manoorkar Apoorva Rao Saji Krishna

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

Research Team
Padmashree G. Arathy S. Irine Maria John Drisya K. Sheena K.P. Renjini G. Nasnin S. Sandra Oommen Cover: Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012 Keerthy Sophiya Ponnachan Karthika V.P. Vineetha Anna Thomas Dhanya R. Madhumadhi S. Sreeranj Dinesen Sreeja S. Reji A.L. Anna M. John Deepa K.P. Namitha V.S. Anju Mary George James Maliekal Devi K.T.P.

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. 01 ISSUE. 01 DEC 2012

Contents
26 7 9

ANALYSIS
An Ecofeminist Approach to Sawako Ariroshi’s The River Ki

ANNIVERSARY
The Persisting Silence after Silent Spring The Philosophical Revolutionary

CLASSICS
Madame Bovary 38

CURRENT
V.S. Naipaul: Controversially Yours 20

GAMES
Can you Identify Them? Auden Crossword Vampire Quiz Theorists—Know ’em? Who Wrote These? Identify these South Asian Writers 18 29 37 52 54 56 Hallmarks of Indian Literature Pair them Right Constitution Quiz True or False How the Vernacular Affects Us 57 58 61 62 63

IMPRESSIONS
Nets at Dusk Woman on the Cross Madness—an Endless Battle Pieta 32 45 53 60

MUSINGS
Is rationality, control, order, meaning necessary? Was it a Dream? 13 51

POEMS
Go Back to Your Love A Simple Wish Out of God’s hands . . . so suffer Handful of Love Slip of Fingers The Frightening Promise Clueless A Scream ion deficiency 8 14 17 17 21 23 25 28 32 A runaway dream Shadow of Fear Passion Fruits Birth of an Oracle The Wildest One Hope Modern Haikus Sin 39 42 43 46 47 49 51 59

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Contents
REMINISCENCES
Romanticising the Library Nostalgia 12 14

RESPONSES
Reading Edward Said’s Representations of the Intellectual 24

REVIEW
31 by Upendra Namburi Mother of the Believers: History seen through Her eyes The Thousand Faces of Night Asura: Tale of the Vanquished Roots & Flavours Three Indian Novelists Narcopolis 15 16 18 19 22 47 64

SNIPPETS
Language Tidbits Contemporary Awards Milestones in the Indian Constitution Losses of 2012 19 34 44 50

STORY
A Myth 65

STUDY
The Political Novel as a Mirror of the Bizarre Castles & Ghosts 25 43

TRAVEL
Musings in the Museum 30

TRANSLATION
Spirit Worship and a Folk Epic Njorivu and Vadivu in Translation 41 46

TRIBUTE
Lifelong Commitment 48

WRITER
Mo Yan—The Man who Refuses to be Silent The Novels of Hilary Mantel Fearless Secularist 33 36 40

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Anniversary

THE PERSISTING SILENCE AFTER SILENT SPRING

2012 is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Rajitha Venugopal re-assesses Carson and her work.

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dedicated scientist, an ardent nature lover and environmentalist, Rachel Carson (1907-1964) rose to popularity with the publication of her seminal Silent Spring (1962) which is said to have kindled the earliest sparks of the ongoing crusade against environment degradation. As the literary and the scientific world commemorates her on the 50th anniversary of this renowned work that lamented the onset of a barren spring devoid of croons and colours, and exhorted a smug society to be attentive to the disastrous onslaughts mindlessly unleashed on the environment in the form of pesticides and other harmful chemicals like DDT, one realises the compelling importance of Carson’s arguments, even half a century after its publication. Silent Spring was a polite reminder to the rapidly progressing humanity, that we are but only a link in the wide and interconnected food chain that keeps the ecosystem running. In simple, lucid and evocative prose, Carson rationally explained the obnoxious effects of using pesticides, never giving in to emotional outburst, raising an alarm that proved apocalyptic in nature. A contemplative and observant child who loved reading Herman Melville, Conrad and R.L. Stevenson, Carson, at a very young age, was fascinated by the oceans and had realised the dire need for a harmonious balance between human beings and nature. What makes this scientist particularly different is her style of writing, which is never commandingly esoteric or condescendingly scientific, but a style that would appeal to a common reader. One of her earliest success stories, so to say, was a script for a weekly educational programme on the radio, “Romance under the Waters,” which generated unprecedented public interest in biology. There was always a spark of a writer in Carson, and more prominently, the fire of a crusader for environment conservation. Perhaps that made her switch from literature to biology in her college days. Ranging from aerial spraying of DDT and pesticides, use of cancer-causing chemicals, the Great Cranberry scandal, Carson’s long and eventful campaign against various issues Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us, The Edge of the Sea — a saga of romancing with the oceans, which brought alive the life under the sea in fable form. Silent Spring was the result of a four year project, working on several cases, gathering material and proof by reading scientific literature and interviewing scientists, conducting massive field study of individual cases of sickness due to exposure to toxic chemicals etc., and thus Carson set the tragic tale of the poisoned earth beginning with the metaphorically titled chapter, “A Fable for Tomorrow.” As much romantic as scientific, one finds in Carson a Keatsian vein of remorse and lamentation, yet intermingled with the fiery Shelleyian spirit appealing for action. A humanist who could touch and feel the soul of nature, Carson writes, “In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand, there is the story of the earth.” Ironically enough, Carson’s attempts to envisage a better, eco-friendly

“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.” Rachel Carson

alerted the government and the public on the rapid decline in bird population, which she poetically referred to as “silencing of the birds.” Meanwhile she had also written, what came to be known as the “Sea Trilogy” —

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scientific approach was met with vicious vilification, caught in the clutches of capitalist powers which included the nexus among the chemical industry, the business lobbies, the government agricultural department, and the fourth estate, which supposedly owes to the public an objective survey of affairs. Carson’s claims were nullified as the insane musings of a “spinster woman” and a “communist.” Doesn’t it ring a familiar bell that science perhaps is a male-dominated field of study and that women dare not delve deep into research, especially if it is something that goes against the capitalists’ welfare, and more so, being a spinster is an even greater aberration? What does it convey about the “rationalist progressive” American nation in particular and by extension, our society and our times, in general? We are all, willy-nilly, part of a system that directly and indirectly gets involved in doing our bit towards harming the environment. Living in a society where we have turned callous spectators of say, the haunting pictures of children disfigured by the indiscriminate spraying of Endosulfan, or the voluminous reports on relentless struggle by natives of Kudankulam against the monstrous nuclear venture — perhaps we inhabit a time and space which demands a deep (re)consideration of Rachel Carson’s arguments. The unfortunate fate that Silent Spring met with soon after its publication also makes one attentive to the iniquitous attempts of a patriarchal capitalist system driven by lucrative motives, forgetting the moral responsibility towards nature — again a premonitory reminder of

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s

Go Back to Your Love
Go back to your love Go back to the memories, live them do not let death stalk you, let not its coldness spread into your heart like lichen, keep the fire alive and kindle it, poke at it, blow at it like an old housemaid, bring alive a dying hearth, poke till embers fly, and sparks spurt, let the cities be warmed by your fire let snow-turfs thaw and then listen to your heart slowly coming alive with her music follow her, she will take your down to the alleys of warmth and your nightmares will end

Babitha Justin

our own times. We may be in the eleventh hour; it is better late than never that we poke ourselves from this persisting silence, indifference and inaction. A concerned and wary Carson writes, “As crude a weapon as the cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life — a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient, and capable of striking back in unexpected ways. These extraordinary capacities of life have

been ignored by the practitioners of chemical control who have brought to their task no “high-minded orientation,” no humility before the vast forces with which they tamper.” On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of this profound, thoughtprovoking book, let us, at least momentarily, remind ourselves of the “vast forces” which are “capable of striking back in unexpected ways”, and, think of possible ways of delaying our doom a little further.

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Anniversary

THE PHILOSOPHICAL

REVOLUTIONARY

Excerpts from an essay on Frantz Fanon, by eminent academic and historian, Aijaz Ahmad (Frontline, Nov. 16, 2012).

Why Fanon?
“2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Frantz Fanon, one of the indispensible figures of the 20th century and a man of exemplary commitments to revolutionary action and human liberation. A thinker who offered original and lasting insights of great complexity, he was also a physician and a psychiatrist who used his scientific knowledge not just for professional purposes but as an instrument for healing victims of oppression and violence. Born in Martinique and educated in France, Fanon dedicated the closing years of his life to the revolution in Algeria. During the revolutionary waves of the 1960s and early 70s, he was read and revered by hundreds of thousands across the globe.” “Scholar-activists of today have a duty to renew the visions, the analyses and the warnings he offered roughly half a century ago.” Sartre, especially the latter. The great philosophical eminence behind his youthful book, Black Skin, White Masks, is Hegel, not Marx. Secondly, he levelled the same charge against Marxism and communism that many other writers of Afro-Caribbean and Afro-American origins, notably his friends Cesaire and Richard Wright, had brought up. They had argued that colonialism was constitutive of the capitalist modern world, that racism was the constitutive ideology and practice of colonialism, and that the philosophical and political traditions descended from Marxism did not take racism seriously enough, as something intrinsic to the social relations of capitalism and imperialism on the global scale. Fanon further asserted that in the political context of colonialism, the category of nation had primacy over the category of class, and that in the socio-economic structure of African / Caribbean societies (he sometimes said all colonial societies) the

His relation to Marxism:
“Marxism was very much a part of the air that Fanon breathed through his formative years in Martinique in the company of such people as Aime Cesaire, the great poet; during his years in France and his association with people like Henri Jeanson and Jean-Paul Sartre; and in those particular circles of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) Frantz Fanon with which he was most closely associated.” “Philosophically, his brand of Marxism was suffused with Hegelian Dialectics, Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology as well as the existentialism of Heidegger and

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peasantry and the lumpen proletariat were more revolutionary than the proletariat per se; in this view of the lumpen proletariat in particular, he ran counter to virtually every tendency within Marxism.” [Summary: Contrary to Marxism, Fanon believed that (i) racism should be taken up as an important issue in countering colonialism, and (ii) the “lumpen proletariat” — the lowest stratum of the industrial working class, including also such undesirables as tramps and criminals — are more revolutionary than the proletariat, or the working class.]

violence, about racial identities and racial pathologies, and a host of other issues. Otherwise, it would appear that he is always contradicting himself, saying one thing in one place and its opposite elsewhere.” “Among all the revolutionary thinkers actively involved in national liberation movements, Fanon was the first and the most lucid in grasping the fact that nationalism itself was a two-edged sword: absolutely indispensible in uniting the whole people in the fight to overthrow colonial rule and creating a national solidarity out of various religious, linguistic, regional and ethnic groups inside the national territory; but also an instrumentality that could be used for a transfer of power from the colonial masters not to the colonized people but to the newly emergent national ruling class, whether that class was bourgeois or merely bureaucratic.” [Summary: Fanon realized that nationalism is a necessary tool in the attack on colonialism, but it has its disadvantages too in that nationalism would privilege only the newly emergent ruling class in the independent nation, and would keep the colonized people still powerless.]

itself and, even more so, immediately after the revolution. In Marxist theory, this is called “the withering away of the state,” that is, the proposition that the task of revolution is not to replace the bourgeois state with another kind of state but to distribute the functions of the state among the people as widely as possible…” “The emancipation of the working class can be accomplished only by the working class itself,” Marx had famously said. Thinking in the context of largely non-industrialized colonies, Fanon extended this dictum to say that colonial rule may be overthrown by a revolutionary army and party but real national liberation can be accomplished only through the exercise of the power, vision and work of the whole people, the peasantry and the wageless proletarianized mass in particular.” [Summary: Like Marx, Fanon held that the revolutions against colonization should, at the same time, focus on decentralization of authority and on giving power to the people. While Marx advocated empowering the proletariat or working classes, Fanon defines “people” as including those people below the “proletariat,” i.e., the wageless lumpen proletariat.]

Fanon’s views on nationalism:
Fanon “is first and foremost a dialectician. Greatly simplifying matters, this means two things. First, that reality, conceived as a totality, is comprised of internal contradictions, so that in order to comprehend a reality, one has to first grasp those contradictions. Second, that things — politics, society, history, the human subject — are never static but always in motion. To grasp a reality, one has to grasp not only what it is but also what it is in the process of becoming.” [Summary: Dialectics means (i) reality includes contradictions, and (ii) reality is always changing. And Fanon’s views are based on dialectics.] “These analytic principles are fundamental to understanding what Fanon says about national formation and national consciousness, about

So, what is the solution?
“Although Fanon scarcely used Marxist vocabulary in dealing with such issues, he instinctively proposed a classically Marxist solution: extreme decentralization of authority and construction of organs of popular power right down to the village level, during the revolution

Fanon’s views concerning violence:
“When The Wretched of the Earth was first published, its initial popularity, not only in France or elsewhere in Europe but also in such faraway places as Brazil, was owed largely to Sartre’s preface, which

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was notable for a virtual avalanche of words, a hyperbolic tendency Sartre was to acknowledge later, and an almost exclusive focus on the opening chapter of the book, “Concerning Violence.” He thus tended not only to greatly reduce the range of arguments in the book as a whole, but also to offer a somewhat one-sided account of Fanon’s own very complex argument on the issue of violence, comparing him favourably with Sorel and portraying him as something of a prophet of unremitting anti-colonial violence.” But Aijaz Ahmad argues that Fanon’s views on violence have not been understood correctly. “Fanon was misread twice over; his Black Skin, White Masks was regarded as an angry manifesto of Afro-American racial identity — with a Back-to-Africa cultural revivalist message grafted on to it — while a singular emphasis on the chapter “On violence” was interpreted as a licence to launch armed struggles against the U.S. state in American cities, with the mass of the ghettoized black population seen as the true revolutionary agent.” “Decades later, the prevailing

context today is entirely different. For Fanon, revolutionary violence gains its legitimacy not from abstract theoretical reflection but from the actuality of the revolution itself. No such actuality exists in our time, even though the world has become immensely more violent and in even greater need of revolutionary transformation. “ “What was at issue for him was not violence in general but revolutionary violence, as the opposite of — a dialectical overcoming of — colonial violence, and not only the colonial violence of his own time but also the accumulated violences of colonialism throughout its history, which had left a deeply mutilating imprint on society, economy and psychology of the colonized.” “Two caveats have to be entered at this point. First, although Fanon tends to speak of colonialism in general, what he actually says applies much more to the extremities of settler colonialism, from South Africa to Palestine, and needs to be read, first and foremost, in the Algerian context. Second, it applies to revolutionary movements for national liberation where a complete overthrow of the

system is sought, as in Vietnam.” Fanon does not romanticize the colonized (“the colonized man is an envious man”*), and except for a couple of rhetorical flourishes, he can hardly be accused of glorifying revolutionary violence. . . . As a revolutionary militant and as an expert in psychopathology, Fanon knew perfectly well that the colonized are capable not only of revolutionary violence against their oppressors but also against themselves and each other: repressed aggression, selfmutilation, “fraternal bloodbaths” among groups and tribes, refuge into religion and the occult, etc. The answering, organized violence that comes from the anti-colonial uprising is described as simple historical necessity, in almost regretful tones…” [*Famous quotation from The Wretched of the Earth: “The look that the native turns on the settler’s town is a look of lust, a look of envy; it expresses his dreams of possession — all manner of possession: to sit at the settler’s table, to sleep in the settler’s bed, with his wife if possible. The colonized man is an envious man.”]

And, finally:
“[I]n the famous closing pages of Black Skin, we encounter a final affirmation of human freedom — a retrievable humanism — beyond exploitation, beyond race, and with an extraordinary orientation toward the future: ‘. . . I, as a man of colour, to the extent that it becomes possible for me to exist absolutely, do not have the right to back myself into a world of retroactive reparations. I, a man of colour want only this: That the tool never possess the man. That the enslavement of man by man ceases forever. . . . The Negro is not. Any more than the White Man.’

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Reminiscences

ROMANTICISING THE LIBRARY

Salini Johnson shares her memories of the British Library at Trivandrum.

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s a twelve-year old, my experience with books was limited to textbooks, comics and the occasional bedtime readings. To me, back then, libraries were strictly adults-only spaces that the serious-minded frequented to engage in weighty matters. When I tagged along with my father on our visit to the British Council Library (BCL), Trivandrum, to take a membership, I set my eyes on its top-notch settings for the first time. Everything, from the dapper security guard to the impeccable interiors, impressed me exceedingly. As soon as the glass doors opened noiselessly, a sight of eerie perfection greeted me. The cool waft of air that caressed my face was throbbing with a busy silence. Smartly attired men and women with “May I help you?” badges were walking about majestically, their steps guided by a sense of purpose. I saw young men and women bending studiously over gigantic books lying open on the tables before them. There also were grim-looking, aged men like my grandfather who were either perusing the airbrushed pages of foreign journals or slumping with their heads nodding. My experience with the BCL was a list of many firsts in my life. It was the first time I got an identity card (school ID cards came later) that I could flaunt everywhere. The laminated card, emblazoned with my name and photo was a matter of great pride for me. It was also the first time I was addressed as “Madam.” My first shock at having been addressed thus by the Assistant Librarian was so much so that my heart skipped a beat with pleasure. It was the first time that I was treated as an adult and taken seriously which as an experience, I must confess, is quite unforgettable. It was the first time I learned to use a catalogue and how to find a book in a library. Needless to say, it was the first time I realised that so many varied books by very many authors existed in this world. And it was there I fell in love with the world of books. For someone who has been a slave to dust allergy all her life, BCL was a personal haven of comfort. There, I didn’t have to fuss over forgetting to take my kerchief or remember not to disturb the dust, because there wasn’t any. The exclusive corner room in the library earmarked for kids was my refuge at first. I was scared to go out to the main library which looked like a forbidden world out of my reach. But finally I mustered the courage as my curiosity dragged me to explore the stacks of books beckoning me. They all were very friendly. Some had ambiguous drawings on their covers or a mouthful of words alien to me. Nonetheless, huge coffee table books, encyclopaedias and picture books were my best of friends, along with all the usual fare of children’s literature. During the summer vacation, I would be the first one to wake the books and have them all for myself until irksome kids start streaming in to disturb our rendezvous. Sleep and hunger would desert me when I am with them. I vividly recall a copy of the Arabian Nights with which I spent many a blissful hour. It was not the same as taking it home as relishing it then and there in the solemn atmosphere of the library. The alluring smell of its fresh pages still lingers in my memory. I would impatiently turn its crisp pages to be transported into the domain of fantasy, far away from the pestering real world. There were also dog-eared, worn-out pages of the Harry Potter books that were the closest to my heart. My name would trail long book-reservation lists for them. Finally when one of the Potter books would be mine for a fortnight, the triumph that would course through me was inexplicable. My victory would flourish with a luxuriant whiff of its pages and that would surely retain all the magic of its writing. Just as I was about to complete two years of my membership at the BCL, they shut it down, the exact reason of which still eludes me. Whatever it may be, the deprived was me as were numerous kids and other book lovers in the city. Those were days of petitioning for a review of this catastrophic decision, but

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Musings

only futile articles and letters to the editor appeared in the newspapers. The British Library which I came to consider my rightful property was dismantled bit by bit and some took away fragments of this legacy, as

souvenirs perhaps. The literati of the city were devastated and bade a tearful adieu to the inimitable heritage of knowledge that was BCL. And among the mourners was a little girl whose heart too was scarred by

a loss whose magnitude she has no inkling of. Only the memories of their happy times together can she preserve and narrate them over and over to ensure its immortality.

IS RATIONALITY, CONTROL, ORDER, MEANING NECESSARY

?

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Padmashree G. unveils a woman’s thoughts.

ife appears meaningless... it does not make sense. Sometimes we don’t know why we are sad. Our thoughts wander in different ways and we lose ourselves. The word “Death” frightens all of us. But then why do most of us think about it? Frustration, insecurity, psychological imbalance, loneliness, searching for existence, finally nothing is left in us… Dreams make us afraid; till morning we dream and wake up with the same thought. More affection, love, towards others makes us sometimes insecure. Unknowingly we depend upon them. Without our knowledge they become our world. This happens in women more than men. Because men are from Mars, women are from Venus; we are from different planets. They don’t understand women easily; it happens only in some cases. So woman’s expectation, her love, care, irritates them. A woman who depends on others feels insecure, her positivity changes into negativity. She never tolerates neglect. So she feels that she is living in hell. She can’t make her life secure; she fails at every step. She can’t construct her own dreams. She is sick of it. She feels good for nothing. When all her expectations are destroyed, she moves away from all her relationships. She isolates herself. She loses her instinct. Without physical punishment she suffers mental punishment. The inner mind whispers, “Death!” But how? Woman is a fish who is unable to drown in water.

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Reminiscences

NOSTALGIA

Arathy S. fondly recollects her college life.

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emories are always pearls in the caskets of our hearts. Those days at my alma maters — they are not just old memories tumbling out of a dusty attic… Five long years in a “gynoworld” that moulded me; untold secrets, unattended internals, fun during film festivals, silly pranks, hostel memories, laughing more than we breathe, lunch shared with friends, yummy birthday treats, warm relationships, reassuring hearts, surprise parties, and many more treasured moments … Those tension-free days galloped off quickly … but we have carried away some madness in our lives, the best way to keep our innocence alive. With a heart full of love, gratitude, respect and admiration for my alma maters, Assumption College and Govt. College for Women, and my friends, my journey continues.

A Simple Wish
Is it the presence or the absence that bewilders me I know not But it is an awesome feel — this magic The presence in absence And the absence in presence I don’t see the white hand from above But I see the hands in supplication below So can the presence be negated or the absence be attested? The world moves the gyre of the centuries gets unravel’d But from where to where? It runs its course I wish the presence over the absence the presence is fearful but the absence is horrible.

Reneesh Thomas

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Review

BY UPENDRA NAMBURI

31

Justin John presents a novel that covers 31 days of March — the most decisive days in the life of corporates.

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novel could be a narrative or chain of events, or a description of some moments, some feelings, some experiences. It can also be a loose form of aesthetic registration of thoughts, feelings, impulses, emotions, etc. The narrative technique could be arresting, vivid, exquisite and dramatic or for instance, could be ‘stream of conscience-clashes’. In 31, Upendra Namburi tries to achieve all the above in a single stroke. corporate banking sector. Alienated, Ravi attempts to switch over to another bank, where he thinks of salvaging his team through better employment. On the one hand, his attempts are thwarted at the last moment. 27 per cent of employees are laid off. On the other, his ladylove-turned-rival, Maithili, plays up her sexual charms to gain advantage of the system. We can also see similar rise and fall in the careers of many of the employees in the bank. Ravi wages a lonely battle. He faces the financial crisis, a fraud allegation, is almost accused of being a traitor in the most trusted circles, faces a very real chance of unemployment and financial ruin, wife’s miscarriage, an extramarital relationship, job interviews which seem to lead to a no-man’s-land, etc. One month sees so much of action, in life as well as in the virtual world. The world of e-mails and cell-phones also thickens the plot. The twists of fate, the most fatal turns in life, the fast-paced progression of the plot, etc. assure the most epiphanic rendering of the novel, as the happy ending leaves the hero an enlightened-man.

In 31, what we experience is a parade of thoughts, events, and experiences of some bank officials. Ravi Shastry, the protagonist, is a Zonal Manager in Imperial Bank. March marks the culmination of all fiscal activities, and naturally, like others, Ravi Shastry too, expects a promotion since he has put in a glorious year of bone-crunching work. But the intrigue, the scheming, manoeuvres and manipulations among all the aspiring colleagues create an inferno — a purgatory where good work is hardly rewarded. Sidelined by sex games, scheming and cheating, Ravi struggles on with his ordeal. In the protracted drama, to prove each ones mettle, everyone employs the most unethical and unchaste methods to sabotage others’ chances and advance himself. Ravi, though he has put up better performance, is left in the lurch due to the manoeuvres and manipulations of others. At last, though he is accommodated within the system, he throws the chances away due to his sheer disgust at the turn of events. Ravi Shastry also falls prey to the sexual overtures of his colleague

Maithili, who outplays him and gets a better deal. Ravi’s wife, Savitha, who is employed in another firm, also experiences the friction of the job crisis, and at last loses her gamble. She, due to her tension and pressure, suffers an abortion as well. In the novel, we come across a pageant of individuals, all officers of the bank, who play their new-found tricks in the face of the cut-throat competition of the globalised and

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Review

MOTHER OF THE BELIEVERS*: ‘HIS’TORY SEEN THROUGH ‘HER’ EYES

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Arshad Ahammad A. lauds the achievement of Kamran Pasha in his debut novel that tracks the birth of Islam from the eyes of Prophet Muhammad’s wife Aisha.

here are some people, mostly women, who lived a remarkable and fascinating life, but are brutally neglected in history. Kamran Pasha’s Mother of the Believers is the story of such a woman. Crafting an epic novel on the early history of Islam, Pasha unravels the veiled story of the journey of a woman’s mind. Lying on her deathbed, Aisha, the most beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad, relates her glorious life to her nephew. Her narrative covers the eventful but problematic history of the Arabian Peninsula. This historical novel illustrates the birth and the rise of Islam from a few believers to a great Empire. Mother of the Believers presents Aisha as a great scholar, teacher, and political leader and also as a warrior. The book covers all the events in the life of Aisha in detail. The readers witness the birth of the daughter of the first Caliph, her childhood as part of the persecuted group of Muslims, the Hijra (migration) to Medina, her married life with the Prophet, the political struggles and civil wars in the community and many other memorable incidents. Kamran Pasha presents Aisha as the first child born into the community of believers. The Prophet who fall ill, dies in Aisha’s arms. Her active role in politics and involvement in the election of the Caliphs are beautifully pictured. The unnecessary grudge of Aisha against Ali bin Abitalib heralds the future split of Islam into Sunni and Shiite streams. Her passive participation in the Battle of the Camel becomes a turning point in the history of Islam. challenges the prevalent stereotype of the suppressed and submissive Muslim woman. Pasha said in an interview: “A scholar, a poet, a statesman, and a warrior, Aisha lived a life that rivals those of the greatest men in history. She was a passionate and fiercely intelligent woman who changed the course of human civilization, yet has received almost no attention in Western literature.” By placing a woman at the core of a so-called patriarchal religion, Pasha proposes a rejuvenation of Muslim womanhood of the present era. There are four chapters in the novel respectively titled ‘Birth of a Faith,’ ‘Birth of a City,’ ‘Birth of a Nation’ and ‘Birth of an Empire.’ The novel also has a prologue and an epilogue named ‘The Beginning of the End’ and ‘The End of the Beginning’ respectively. In the prologue, Aisha asks the meaning of ‘faith.’ In the

Kamran Pasha
The Mother’s last days and hours are narrated by her listener Abdallah Ibn al-Zubair in the Afterword. Mother of the Believers dismantled the traditional notions about the Prophet of Islam, his early women companions and their participation in the religion, politics and history. Here the Prophet stands as an advocate of women’s liberation and rights. Aisha’s life single-handedly

*The Holy Quran called the wives of Prophet Muhammad the ‘Mothers of the Believers.’ Thus Aisha became a ‘Mother of the Believers.’

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epilogue she herself defines it as the ‘memory of love.’ What is narrated between the prologue and the epilogue is the justification and also explanation for her answer. More obviously, her life history is the definition of faith. [Kamran Pasha is a novelist and Hollywood scriptwriter. Mother of the Believers (2009) is his first novel published by Washington Square Press. Another historical novel Shadow of the Swords was published in 2011. It is about the Third Crusade between King Richard the Lion-Heart and Saladin. Pasha was the producer of highly acclaimed television shows such as Sleeper Cell and The Bionic Woman. He was also a writer on NBC’s Kings, a modern retelling of the Biblical story of David.]

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Out of God’s hands... so suffer!!!
I was sleeping when Kant called me He looked serious and complained about Foucault I stared at him, who was sitting in a corner and rubbing his bald head I called him And Foucault came out critiquing Kant !! Suddenly Marx came running With his economic manuscripts in hand and ideologies in head. I told him to keep quiet His eyes turned blood red But tears didn’t show any economy in coming They visited like a downpour. Oh Marx, I felt sorry for him And went to pat his shoulders But like a raging lion, he called me bourgeois and ran away. Then came the French gentleman, Derrida I detested him for reasons even I don’t know... I kicked hard And his structure and sign got deconstructed But out of the blue came Freud With his dreams and Oedipus complex And I lost my senses and my innocent dreams. I decided, I will change them I made them pack their bags And sent them on a pilgrimage But there I saw Nietzsche, Smiling at me, saying ‘Oh dear, God is dead !!!’.

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I want a handful of Love Can you tell me the price?

Apoorva Rao

Asha P.V.

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Review

THE THOUSAND FACES OF NIGHT

Irine Maria John is fascinated by Githa Hariharan’s book.

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eminist writings cover all aspects of writing for women, by women, and about women and the issues that concern them. The Thousand Faces of Night presents how the female point of view is different from the male discourse, by contrasting myths from the Mahabharata with stories from Sanskrit. she learns the vital duty of any Indian wife is to pretend to be a good wife, pretend to love entertaining your husband’s family and friends, pretend that you are not sick or angry. The novel clearly gives the idea ‘A woman meets her fate alone.’ Githa Hariharan exposes different traumas faced by women within the institutionalised relationships, especially due to the existing patriarchal system. However, it leaves behind some questions unanswered. For instance, are women’s interests better or less served than men’s within the institution of marriage? Why should a wife be subordinate to her husband? Githa Hariharan attracts the reader’s attention to show the general subordinate role that a woman plays compared with that of her husband. But the work ends with a hope of change in the attitude of the society through the challenging role of Devi. With a lyrical, measured and teasing language, Githa Hariharan has created a profound novel highlighting the plight of Indian women.

Through The Thousand Faces of Night, the novelist very dexterously mixes marriages, old traditional values, stories and myths, passion and loneliness in the lives of Indian women in a compact fabric. In her novel, Githa Hariharan has focused on the inner life of three generations of women — Devi, the daughter, her mother Sita and Mayamma. Devi, the central character returns to Madras with an American degree only to be sucked in by the 200 year–old customs and traditions. Exasperated with her pompous husband Mahesh,

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Can you identify them?
Chandrika Raju feels that these great authors have not got the recognition they deserved.

1. ______________
Ezra Pound

2. ______________
3 Emile Zola 4

3. ______________
2 Jorges Luis Borges

4. ______________
1
ANSWERS

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Anton Chekhov

Review

ASURA: TALE OF THE VANQUISHED

Kalyani Vallath introduces an interesting “history from the margins.”

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he ancient Asura empire lay shattered into many warring petty kingdoms reeling under the heel of the Devas. In desperation, the Asuras look up to a young saviour — Ravana. Believing that a better world awaits them under Ravana, common men like Bhadra decide to follow the young leader. With a will of iron and fiery ambition to succeed, Ravana leads his people from victory to victory and carves out a vast empire from the Devas. But even when Ravana succeeds spectacularly, the poor Asuras find that nothing much has changed for them…” I’ve just picked up this interesting book that I would introduce to you: Asura: Tale of the Vanquished. Published by Platinum Press, an imprint of Leadstart Publishing, in 2012 and written by Anand Neelakantan, an engineer born at Thripoonithura in Kerala, working with the Indian Oil Corporation in Bengaluru. “History from the margins” — that is what this book is. Yet another retelling of the story of Ramayana, which beautifully interlaces two voices — that of Ravana, the leader and saviour of the Asuras, and that of Bhadra, a common man who was inspired, led and later betrayed by Ravana. A story that has been cherished by the outcastes of India for 3000 years. Beginning from “The End,” when Ravana lies in the battlefield, his body eaten by the bandicoots and jackals, waiting a slow and painful death. Ending with “The Beginning,” when Bhadra, the dhobi from Ramayana, in a drunken stupor, beats his wife and accuses her of being a whore like Sita herself. This reaches Rama’s ears; he cannot bear to let the people suspect his wife’s chastity; and the rest is “history.” Just as Ramayana romanticizes the victorious Rama, one feels that Anand Neelakantan’s Ravanayana romanticizes and glamorizes Ravana. The style of the narration is rather sentimental and protracted. And the characters do not look like they are from Treta Yuga; they are quite modern in their thoughts and actions. But then, why should one expect history to be told solemnly, “authentically,” objectively from its original context? I guess that is precisely the appeal of this book.

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Language Tidbits
Keerthy Sophiya Ponnachan shares these fascinating facts with us.

» The shortest complete sentence in the English language consists of only one word and that is “go.” » The oldest word in the English language is “town.” » The word with most number of definitions in the English language is “set.” » There are no words that could rhyme with the words orange, purple, silver or month. » There is a seven-letter word in the English Language that contains 10 words without rearranging any of its letters
and that seven-letter word is “therein,” which contains: the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.

» The combination “ough” can be pronounced in 9 different ways. The following sentence contains them all:
“A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough, after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed.”

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Current

V.S. NAIPAUL: CONTROVERSIALLY YOURS

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P.P. Ajayakumar reflects on a contemporary controversy over Naipaul.

he controversies triggered by the Mumbai Literary Festival gave rise to a series of discussions on V.S. Naipaul, India, the colonial legacy and the very market economy of literary debates. It was Girish Karnad’s attack on V.S. Naipaul that ensured media attention to the Literary Festival, which would otherwise have passed unnoticed like any other literary event. Nobody could deny the fact that the debate helped make the festival the centre of attraction, though it is debatable to conclude that the same was a properly planned drama. Amy Fernandes observes: “None of us envisaged that fame that would surround the festival weeks after it had ended. If we were to apportion credit for this windfall, 40 per cent would go to careful planning on the part of the committee, and 60 per cent to Girish Karnad, whose attack on V.S. Naipaul ensured that news of the festival was beamed into millions of homes in the country and abroad. No one had seen it coming — but then, if it had, would our reactions be any different?” Amy Fernandes was concerned about the way the controversy contributed in providing publicity to the festival. But beyond that, it is possible to identify certain fundamental issues related to our society and culture being discussed as part of the debate. But the Festival Director, Anil Dharker’s comment is quite disarming: “This is not what we invited him to speak about. His tirade was intemperate.” He added in a lighter mood, “but we’re now going to invite him every year and cut down our publicity budget.” Dharker’s comment refers to the two sides of the issue. On the one side his ill feeling on the “unwanted” attack on Naipaul is visible, and the other side the hidden mirth on the kind of publicity that erupted out of it is clear. It is true that Karnad was invited to speak on his own body of work. Moreover, there was no immediate provocation from Naipaul inviting reactions from Karnad or from other Indian writers in English. But there is every reason for Indian writers in English to be provoked while addressing the works of V.S. Naipaul. Githa Hariharan, in her article published in The Hindu refers to Naipaul’s attack on Indian women writers. According to him women writers are banal and boring. Hariharan refers to a particular incident: “Naipaul cut off Nayantara Sahgal as she spoke of post-colonialism, again complaining of banality. Ruchir Joshi made a sharp, timely intervention. Naipaul was not just being rude; he felt Sahgal had not gone back far enough in identifying the colonisers of India. “When did colonialism begin?” he asked, implying that it began with “the Muslims.” The attack on women writers is part of Naipaul’s perspective which is by and large conditioned by the western colonial attitude. This approach goes hand in hand with his attack on Muslims. Mushirul Hasan refers to Naipaul’s indigestibility of Muslims in his article published in The Hindu, “Sustaining the Myth of Hostility”: “Naipaul wholly subscribes to the views of Samuel P. Huntington, a controversial American political scientist who earned his reputation by arguing that the New World order is based on patterns of conflict and cooperation founded on cultural distinctions and identification. He talked of ‘the indigestibility of Muslims’ and their propensity towards violent conflict, which makes them threatening.” Naipaul also shares the Orientalist concept of “Islam as a threat to the West.” He prefers to see Muslims as a transnational monolithic group that attempts to dethrone western hegemony. His book An Area of Darkness subscribes to this view. Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey shares the western prejudice that Islam sanctifies rage — rage about faith, political rage, and that Muslim societies are rigid, authoritarian, uncreative, and hostile to the West. He defended the destruction of Babri Masjid saying that it is “an act of historical balancing.” He added “Ayodhya was a sort of passion. . . Any passion has to be encouraged. I always support

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actions coming out of passion as these reflect creativity.” What is common in all these observations is the typical Western colonial perspective and a kind of veneration for everything that is Western. It is true that a writer, however great he may be, is not a holy man/ woman and his/ her opinions may not reveal

historical facts. Naipaul is such a writer whose works are informed by his understanding of history, politics and the socio-economic contexts. Unfortunately, it turned out to be ahistorical and evidently biased. The recent controversies should open up serious discussions on the burning

issues of communalism, gender, history and the need for anticolonial perspective rather than the heat and dust of personal rivalry and the publicity gimmick for easy success.

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Slip of Fingers!
I live in my fingers The fingers which deck my haughty eyes The fingers which tickle my ears, With the turning of the forbidden keys I dart out to the forbidden space To be ravished and chiselled by the rain My anklets unquiet Drenched and dripped With the pattering piercing downpour And when the convulsions of the intoxication writhe I dexterously elude the repercussions And brush off the silent judgments With a foxy tag of “slip of fingers!” I no longer drape the nudity of my ragged mind I no longer pull the cloak over me To curb the blizzard of brickbats No longer shrivels my charmed naivety, By the envy of the bliss of a crawling infant For I am cauterized by the burning embers Embers of the forlorn past! And as these words are born I would like you to tag this As slip of mind Wedded with slip of fingers!

Nasnin S.

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Review

ROOTS & FLAVOURS

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P.P. Ajayakumar appraises a popular Malayalam film.

stad Hotel revolves around a small beachside restaurant in Kozhikode. At the superficial level the story runs through the life of a young man Faizi, his father Abdul Rasak and his grandfather Kareem Ikka. But the film by and large hints at the convergence of cultures and the commoditization of life in the post liberalization era. The location, Kozhikode beach, is strategic as it vaguely hints at the exposure that this land had with both the Arab countries as well as with Europe. The hybrid structure of the title, though quite normal and acceptable in the contemporary linguistic practice, needs be taken into consideration as it is a pointer to this cultural mixing that the Kerala society is exposed to. The combination of the Arabic and the English in the title and its representation in Malayalam and English alphabets provide sufficient reminder to the preoccupation of the film. Ustad Hotel, run by Kareem Ikka, is famous for the Kozhikkodan biriyani that it serves. Derived from a Persian word, ‘birian’ which means fried before cooking, ‘biriyani’ could narrate the story of the Persian influence as well. Though a Muslim belonging to Kozhikode, with little education, Kareem has travelled widely, knows many languages and is influenced by the Sufi philosophy. He is a mixture of many cultures. Quite naturally, Kareem becomes a misfit in the family as well as in the community. But he is revered by many who visit the Hotel regularly to taste biriyani and his affection which is served along with it. They consider him as an ‘Ustad.’ Ustad is an Arabized Persian word which means master or teacher. Kareem’s otherworldly nature and his difference from the typical members of his community are indicated through his peculiar clothes. He appears in shades of violet, light green and brown instead of the white dress commonly used by the rich orthodox Muslims in that area.The light shades used by Kareem are all combinations of different colours and it is easy to identify the harmony of colours in to Gulf countries. Abdul Rasak’s son, Faizi and his lady love Shahana, are caught between these two worlds, the old and the new; the world of love, sacrifice and compassion and that of selfish motives and endless desire. The pangs of the convergence of these two worlds are indicated in several parts of the film. Faizi, with his Swiss degree in Hotel Management, wants to pursue his career in London. But he has to run away from home as his father, who wanted him to assist him in the hotel industry, confiscated his passport and credit cards. His association with Kareem Ikka is rather accidental and Faizi’s aversion for the ways of Kareem Ikka is shown in more than one scene, though he sincerely loves his grandfather. Life in the Gulf and education abroad keeps him more attached to his father than to his grandfather. Though Faizi associates with his grandfather only because he was forced to do so and helps him to revive the Hotel when it was at the brink of closure, his basic perspective remains the same and is deeply enamoured by prospects in

Ustad Hotel
his dress as if it were a reflection of his philosophy of life. Kareem often refers to his philosophy of universal love. As an answer to a question on the ingredients of ‘sulaimani’ prepared by him, Kareem tells Faizi, “A little bit of love (Mohabbat) should be added to every ‘sulaimani.’” While Kareem tried to internalize the values of Sufism and love for the humanity, Abdul Rasak, his son, is a typical business-minded person who finds happiness in amassing wealth. He has succeeded in expanding his business

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The Frightening Promise
Death is the promise He gave me as I hesitated to come here… I was happy there… in His abode... He treated me like His favourite thing… I was His pet… the most blessed kid I never knew what is sadness and separation… On that day He told me of a trip… “I can never think of going away from You” I told Him “She is my best companion, She wants to see you, and caress you as I do. She’ll send you back soon… We have two messengers— Mine is birth and Hers is death Death’ll unite us again dear…” He consoled me Thus I’m here! Early days made me forlorn and gloomy… He came occasionally, when I thought of Him My face lighted like a lamp then Later He began to shrink into some proxies and symbols… Now, I’m a child of this Beauty; I love and embrace everyone with her celestial charm… Lying in her lap I’m enjoying the nectar and honey of my life Now, that promise frightens me… I want to be here always… in this nest always… And I know the greatest boon in life is to be in the lap of the Earth… Now I pray, “let Him forget that horrible promise … He gave me before…”

Europe. He cannot think otherwise, even when Kareem is hospitalized. His visit to Narayana Krishnan, a chefturned-social worker in Madurai is supposed to transform his views in favour of the native land. It is true that Faizi continues to run the Hotel after Kareem left the scene, but he seems to have entered into a compromise with his father and has become part of the ideological space operated by Abdul Rasak. The reference to the branch of Ustad Hotel being operated in Dubai reveals the complex cultural convergence that has taken place after the disappearance of Kareem. Abdul Razak is all smiles in the last scene, quite content with the prospects of the ‘‘Ustad’’ brand and its global appeal. Faizi shares the joy and celebrates the “success” of his venture. The transformation of ‘‘Ustad Hotel” is made conspicuous through the absence of Kareem Ikka. Thus the film deftly portrays the cultural transformation in the contemporary Kerala society revealing the subtle shades of invasion, compromise and dissent.

Krishnaja Mol

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Response

READING EDWARD SAID’S REPRESENTATIONS OF THE INTELLECTUAL

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Drisya K. discusses Edward Said’s 1993 Reith Lectures which examine the role of the Intellectual in modern society.

or centuries, intellectuals have been responsible for epitomizing the lower strata and the advancement of many social strategies that would favour the less privileged and the less advantaged. Even though many renowned writers like Julian Benda, Gramsci, Bourdieu, Chomsky and Emerson deal with the same subject on the dogma of intellectualism and define what an intellectual is, it is Edward Said, the father of post-colonial studies, who has proposed a more political tone to the concept of the public intellectual in Representations of the Intellectual (1993), a series of six Reith Lectures that he delivered over BBC Radio in 1993. Representations of the Intellectual is a reading on Edward Said’s post-colonial concept of the intellectual politics and of his ideology of intellectualism. In this text, he identifies the increasing responsibilities of the public intellectual and specifies what an intellectual shouldn’t represent rather than what an intellectual should. In Representations of the Intellectual, Edward Said writes about “intellectuals as precisely those figures whose public performances can neither be predicted nor compelled into some slogan, orthodox party line, or fixed dogma.” Most prominently, they are accountable for unveiling the truth and raising voice against the deceptions and lies. The intellectual should be an organic, secular individual who stands as an exile, in permanent opposition to the status quo, and always speaks truth to the authority by holding nations and traditions at bay. Nationalism, in Said’s estimation, is a God that always fails because it reduces human experience and lines of solidarity between people to territories and borders that in reality carve up the world in unproductive and destructive ways. Said opines that intellectuals must take on the role of the warriors of the pen, the rhetoricians, and principally, the spokesmen of the acclaim and earn accolades whereas many of the secular intellectuals, who constitute a minority including the most gifted writers, artists, political commentators, have been hounded into silence or exile. In Said’s view, if intellectuals criticize their societies as they are meant to and “confront orthodoxy and dogma,” then surely, the Occidentalist trend in postcolonial nations will be changed. Said’s politics is left-wing, liberationist, and nationalitarian and it is always unquestionably different from those of most of the other post-colonialist writers and interlocutors. Moreover, he is one among the few critics who practised what they advocate. Besides this, in our contemporary society, the so-called intellectuals stand as a figure amenable to the criticism of corrupt global, social and political systems. In this context, the significance of the study on the role and function of an intellectual in a society deserves much attention.

Edward Said
people living in nations in crisis. The secular intellectual stands up against dominating powers and is passionate about the social obligation of intellectuals. One cannot be an intellectual if one is endeavouring to serve and please a god uncritically and there is no universalism at all. Such an intellectual goes in silence and searches for new gods to serve when the earlier patrons are driven away. Such intellectuals achieve world-wide

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Study

THE POLITICAL NOVEL AS A MIRROR OF THE BIZARRE

Chitra V.R. traces the genealogy and scope of the political novel genre.

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olitical novel has become a major expressive mode of contemporary fiction as it offers a fascinating and challenging read by providing insight into the nature of the political being and the society in which we live. Developed from a strand of nineteenth century realism, it portrays characters dispassionately by employing irrational, magical and fantastic elements and differs widely from the social novel’s customary perception of the quotidian and the historical novel’s affinity for verifiable evidence. Academic interest in political novel dawned in 1924 with Morris Speare’s seminal work The Political Novel. As a specific genre, it was introduced by Disraeli and developed by subsequent authors like Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, H.G. Wells, Henry Adams and Leicester Ford. It attained mellowness in the hands of writers such as Garcia Marquez, Chinua Achebe, Nadine Gordimer, Orhan Pamuk, Gunter Grass, Milan Kundera, Salman Rushdie, Naguib Mahfouz and many more thoughtful writers of this century. However, the boundaries of this genre are very hard to delimit as political novels usually deal with more than the intrigues of cabinet ministers and young men on the make. At the other extreme, postmodern theorists like Fredric Jameson in The Political Unconscious (1981) insist that the genre has no meaning, since “everything in the last analysis” is “political.” To the distinguished American critic Irving Howe, any novel can be treated as a political novel, though clearly one would not wish to treat most novels in that way. Characterized by internal tensions between the immediacy of human experience and the general inclusiveness of the underlying political ideology, the political novel treats being itself as problematic and projects it in a world that has undergone changes or may change further. The confrontation between abstract ideology and the rich diversity of human experience and motive provides the polarity and tension of the political novel. The customary perception of order and stability of a conventional novel is often challenged by the political novel as the former tries to furnish standard resolutions to the conflicts encountered in the narrative. Through satire and drama, the political novel can itself become a catalyst for social change and can imaginatively engage its readers in a robust reflection of political culture. Interestingly, this medium offers ample opportunities to criticize or highlight farce, coercion or corruption in politics in ways not possible through other avenues.

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Clueless
I am clueless As to how you Let your hair down In this stickiest of the sticky Hottest of the hot And sickliest of the sickly weathers Droplets trickling down Your nape Tinkling your spine Sizzling your skin Behind your curtain of black What do you hide? Just blisters and red rashes Or something more hideous?

Salini Johnson

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Analysis

AN ECOFEMINIST APPROACH TO SAWAKO ARIYOSHI’S THE RIVER KI

Manjusha Muraleedharan discusses Sawako Ariyoshi’s novel that employs the motif of a river to thread together the lives of three generations of women.

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ne of the universal themes in literature which influences us is the dominance of nature. Naturally, ecofeminism has evolved into a powerful presence in literary theory. Here I present an analysis of The River Ki by Sawako Ariyoshi which depicts the inevitable power of nature in creating and shaping an environment. Sawako Ariyoshi (1931-1984), Japanese novelist, short-story writer and playwright, was born in Wakayama City, Japan and brought up in an area south of Osaka noted for its old and venerable traditions. Ariyoshi often explores the various discourses and power relationships of post-war Japan. She can be described a humanist who analyses sociological issues. Ariyoshi has been prescient in forecasting trends in Japanese society. One of the most enchanting works by Ariyoshi, The River Ki, gives insight into the lives of three generations of women in the river Ki region, through the different eras of the Meiji, Taisho and Showa. The river mentioned, plays a substantial role in shaping the lives of the characters. The women are projected by Ariyoshi with all the vitality of the river. The novel opens with the preparations of the marriage of the daughter of the respectable Kimoto household to the elder son of the equally respectable Matani family. Young Hana’s marriage has been arranged by her grandmother, Toyono — the matriarch of the Kimoto family. Toyono believed that being a woman was no excuse for being ignorant and hence brought up Hana wisely and well, ultimately endowing the beautiful young Kimoto girl with intelligence and an irreproachable character. She has learnt from her grandmother to form a special kinship with the river Ki. The river Ki flows from east to west. Hence brides from families along the Ki must never travel upstream and brides also must not cross over to the opposite side of the river because its waters are supposed to keep people apart. The people who lived on the banks of the Ki had enough tragic incidents to prove these beliefs right. Toyono against nature is high. As a woman and thus a creature of nature, Hana relies on emotion rather than intellect, on intuition rather than reason. As we go deep into the story, we realize that Ariyoshi likens woman not only to the passively flowing but powerful river Ki, but also to the ivy plant. It is believed that the ivy which grew around its central stem symbolized positive feminine characteristics. Ivy is at once decorative and strong. It requires a prop on which it climbs and which it adorns. In the case of Hana, Keisaku can be evidently assumed to be her ‘prop.’ Although Hana considers it her wifely duty to be completely obedient to her husband, she quickly assumes a tacit dominance over him after the birth of their first child — a son and the all-important heir. Nature assists her in this. Hana and Keisaku are depicted as a typical old-fashioned Japanese couple. Keisaku never

The River Ki
favoured Keisaku Matani’s marriage to Hana on the grounds that in travelling to the Matanis’ home, Hana would, in accordance with nature, be travelling downstream, with the natural flow of the river. Shortly after her marriage, Hana learns that a girl who travelled up the river for her wedding was drowned ten days later when the Ki flooded. This made her realize that the penalty paid for going

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tells his wife anything of his business affairs, nor does she ever expect him to confide in her. Soon after their marriage, Keisaku begins to frequent the geisha quarters; while Hana is fully conscious of his marital infidelity, she never brings up the subject between them. We find that Hana remains as calm as the Ki in its gentle shade of green. On the birth of their second child who is a girl, Keisaku cannot conceal his disappointment. However, Hana is determined that her children, Seiichiro and Fumio, shall conform to the traditional gender stereotypes. She worries because Seiichiro is delicate and lacks vitality. Fumio, ironically, possesses the very qualities her brother lacks. While Seiichiro is undeniably highly intelligent, gaining entry to the prestigious First High School in Tokyo, he somehow disappoints his parents. At every step, Hana checks Fumio’s struggle for a life independent of the pattern set for the model Japanese woman and hence there is a constant friction between mother and daughter, for Fumio is more like a boy than a girl. She is bored by the traditional interests of the Japanese women, which include attention to personal appearance, a desire for material possessions, and a preoccupation with domestic chores. Fumio rebels against the limitations imposed on Japanese womanhood. Fumio wonders whether her mother’s rage at her stems ultimately from frustration at being unable to dominate her daughter. Hana is compared to the river Ki whose blue waters, flowing leisurely, appear tranquil and gentle, but the river itself swallows up all the weak rivers flowing in the same direction.

Despite her desire to control Fumio, Hana allows her daughter to attend a university in Tokyo. She follows the ancient Japanese custom that everything should revolve around the eldest son. Hana allows Seiichiro as much money as he requests and never questions him about his student-life in Tokyo, but she is hesitant to send Fumio funds and often wishes she had never allowed her rebellious daughter to leave home. Hana’s scheme to dispose of Fumio in an arranged marriage is, however, shattered when her daughter falls in love. Appropriately, Eiji, Fumio’s chosen husband, is also interested in the ‘modern’ and particularly in all things foreign. Their wedding is conducted in western style, but Hana expresses her own wishes for the couple by symbolically choosing for the bride an ivy crest. By doing so, Hana was indicating her hope that her proud and independent daughter would cling to her husband like ivy, just like herself. The thread of the river imagery which runs throughout this novel appears again shortly after Fumio’s marriage when, symbolically, this modern Japanese woman rejects the native beauty of her mother’s favourite river. When Fumio accompanies her husband to his place of work in Shanghai, she cannot resist taunting her religious mother, who was reluctant to send her daughter abroad, by saying that the beauty of the Ki cannot be compared with the many colours of the sea. But tragedy befalls Ariyoshi’s characters who reject nature. The rebellious Kosaku loses his daughter to the Ki and Fumio loses her second son. This incident makes Fumio look into

her cultural heritage. Fumio decides that she wants her next child to be born in Japan and, overcoming a lifetime’s rejection of what she once condemned as Japanese superstition, Fumio fashions a breast-charm, just like her mother and grandmother, for the baby she is expecting. The river imagery dominates the remainder of this book and often serves as a kind of litmus test of its characters. Hana is beautiful and powerful not only because she recognizes and acknowledges the beauty and power of nature but also because she sees the river Ki as a beloved parent. Keisaku, despite his ‘manly’ insensitivity to the lovely Ki, fully realizes that his considerable political and financial successes have been largely due to his possessing a wife so attuned with nature. Half of his life had been spent sailing down a smooth river with an elegant wife at his side who had always conducted herself with dignity. Fumio and Kosaku, on the other hand, were made aware of the need for a proper appreciation of nature after the death of their children. Hana is rewarded for her steadfast observance of proper values in life by being blessed with Fumio’s daughter, Hanako, in whom she succeeds to instill a love of her nationality. Here we, the readers, are made to acknowledge that fact that Hanako, as she herself admits, is linked to her grandmother by atavism (the abiding natural element of tradition ties them together despite all the superficial differences separating old and modern Japan). When Hanako is first shown the river Ki by her grandmother, she remarks on the loveliness of its colour as she was enchanted by the celadon green of

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the river. Earlier Hana used to worry that her grandchild saw Japan with the eyes of a foreigner because her parents took no interest in bringing her close to the Japanese heritage. However, being brought up in Java did not change the roots of Hanako. She was always fascinated by the particular shade of green or blue of the river Ki, and the blossoms of cherry or peach. Hanako was closely linked to their age-old traditions and beliefs. This makes Hana proud of herself as she was firm that she was indeed a success just like her own grandmother, Toyono, in keeping their roots alive. The novel ends with

Hanako gazing appreciatively at the river Ki and realizes that its colour remained the same — a lovely blend of jade green and celadon — while the mysterious ocean’s colour changes as the sunlight played upon the waves. Through this we understand that she is an appropriate inheritor of the spirit of Japan embodied in Hana. Through her work Ariyoshi has proved that man creates and shapes his environment by the exercise of reason and free will, guided by the inevitable power of nature. She draws a vivid portrait of the challenges facing Japan’s women, which stem from

the country’s culture and traditions. It is the power of nature that gives them the greater mental strength and courage than the men in their lives. Sawako Ariyoshi’s The River Ki makes us realize the truth in Diderot’s words: “Nature is like a woman who enjoys disguising herself, and whose different disguises, revealing now one part of her and now another, permit those who study her to assiduously hope that one day they may know the whole of her person.”

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A Scream
Not that of Edvard Munch’s But in essence it is. Outside, the world runs; The lines of progress wipe away The flesh from the face, Leaving one hollow. I, too, ran through the length and breadth of the azure land. In the dark, many a star Twinkled for me. But poor Lass, for want of ‘L’ got vapourized in the air. Be efficient, Be a story teller Be brave, and leave, Find a new niche... Above all these voices Strikes the scream with the sigh To what end. Yes, I’m also from River Jordan But unlike Galilee, a Dead Sea.

Renjini G.

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Auden Crossword
James Maliekal has given us this crossword on W.H. Auden.

1 3 4 5

2

6 7 8

9

10

ACROSS 2. The satirical poem that Auden wrote for the play The Ascent of F6 4. 5. 9. Nickname of the group of which Auden was the leader Auden encountered “pure evil” in this poet This theatre collective performed Auden’s plays

DOWN 1. Auden emigrated to this country 3. 6. 7. 8. Auden collaborated with him in drama We get glimpses of Auden’s powerful personality in his autobiography Auden called his famous play a “pure verbal opera” Auden’s book Secondary Worlds belongs to this genre DOWN: ACROSS: ANSWERS 1. USA 3. Isherwood

10. The Sea and the Mirror, a series of dramatic monologues by Auden, was an adaptation of 7. Wilde 5. Yeats 8. Criticism 9. Group Theatre 10. The Tempest

2. Funeral Blues

4. Macspaunday

6. Spender

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Travel

AN APPROPRIATED SEAT AND A CAGED BIKE

C.A. Lal shares some of his travel experiences.

I

do not mind long flights, but the one from New Delhi to London was a bit irksome, largely because of the nice lady in the seat next to mine! Throughout the flight I was irritated, not just at her but at myself too; for being a softie! I had asked for a window seat when the tickets were booked, as it was my particular design to enjoy a ‘top-down’ view of London landmarks when the plane made its final swoop towards the airport. This was my first flight to London since I overcame my fear of flying! Now I could look out of an aircraft window at the vast fluffy beds of cloud, or at the great expanses of land or ocean 40,000 feet below, and not go all cold! I was particularly pleased with my seat as it was not above a wing and gave a good view from the window. But then this nice huge lady with her immense handbag stood at the aisle looking at me as if I had been the cause of some immediate distress to her! Remaining poised in that position for a while, she decidedly and heavily eased herself down to the seat next to mine. She looked like one of the ladies in a Ruskin Bond story, who might produce an emerald boa from her handbag were I to offend her! She had a plastic bag besides the handbag, which she squeezed down in the non-existent space between her legs and the seat in front. poor Hindi and lessons learnt from unpleasant consequences of trying to be too helpful during previous travels. Passengers had mostly settled down, when quite unexpectedly, a flight attendant came by and most politely asked for my boarding pass. During my flights abroad I would always keep the boarding pass and passport in my shirt or jacket pocket, but on no occasion did I need these documents during the flight, and so this time I had deposited them in my cabin bag which I had kept in the luggage compartment. I promptly squeezed my way out to the aisle, past the lady, her bags and the heavy shoes of the Middle-Easty gentleman, and fished the documents out of my bag. The attendant having left convinced that I was legally entitled to travel in the flight, I was suddenly overcome by the milk of human kindness racing through my veins, and offered to keep the lady’s bag in the compartment for her. She immediately handed over the plastic bag to me, which I crammed in between the dozen other bags in the compartment, and lingered wondering if she would hand me the other bag as well. Now the most unbelievable thing happened! Out of a sense of gratitude, I am sure, the lady, hugging her precious handbag, rose from her seat, and in a move unbelievable for her girth, plonked herself on to my dear seat at the window! I stood frozen at the aisle, my hand still on the bags, and in a while sheepishly settled on the middle seat. I know I should have asked her to move back. But I did not, both because of the milk in my veins, but also because I did not have the language to do that, in Hindi or Marathi or whatever fantastic language she spoke. Tell me who should be kicked hard, she or I? Black thoughts on acts of vengeance clouded my brain for a while, but these were soon dissipated when the flight attendants, in a markedly post-recession mood, began to trudge up and down the aisle, with various intentions, but always looking very very bored. I soon lost myself in the movie about Jung, Sabina and Freud, and after that in an audio book on the adventures of Marco Polo, Columbus and Captain Cook.

I sat wondering whether to start reading the book I had with me or to plan which movies to watch once the screen before me came alive. As I flipped through the pages of the flight information book, a Middle-Easty looking gentleman occupied the aisle seat in my row. Now the lady looked totally at a loss, and clung to her handbag with greater determination. I was tempted to offer help to stow the bag in the space above, but decided not to, both because of my

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All this was the day before, when I arrived and sleepily checked into the YMCA Hostel at around 8 p.m. in UK, but early into the next day for my body. But travelling westward and arriving late evening has an advantage; a real long night’s sleep! Now, I was inside the Imperial War Museum on Lambeth Road, strolling about as if I had all the time in the world! Though I had just one day in the city this time, I was determined to be very leisurely in my explorations. Earlier that day, at around 8.30 a.m., I had gone up to the Embankment tube station and, it being bright and pleasant, walked about gazing at the pier, the Westminster Bridge, the imposing Parliament buildings, and the Elizabeth Tower with the monumental clock on top, wondering when the Big Ben would decide to go gong, gong next. After that I had done a thorough tour of the Westminster Abbey, having finally decided to pay the £16 entry fee. The previous times I had been to the Abbey I was not sure whether to do this at all! May be it was good I had not, as on that day

with my resolve not to rush, I could leisurely walk through the imposing interiors of the Abbey which had witnessed the coronations of all the British monarchs straight from King Harold in 1066, and the spaces where so many legendary men and women were interred, listening to the stories on the audio guide. From the Abbey I walked along the embankment and took the Milbank road towards the Tate Britain art gallery to take a look at Millais’ Ophelia. It was after wandering a while in the gallery and then some refreshment at the McDonald’s in the busy Victoria Station that I had stepped out of the Lambeth North station and walked to the Imperial War Museum. It was nearly 3 p.m. when I had done fair justice to most of the exhibits in the museum, including the special holocaust exhibition, and thought it was time to leave, as I had just enough time to stroll back to the Lambeth North tube station. Having finished the last bits of exhibits I turned back to find my way down the stairs when

in a niche like part of a wall I caught glimpse of a bike. A trillion processes in my brain within a millisecond brought in flashes of old chum Lawrence of Arabia and his bikes! To my utmost goosebumpy delight, that was indeed T.E. Lawrence’s seventh Brough Superior SS100, the one he called George VII, and the one he was killed riding on. This was his seventh bike in the series. The eighth was pending delivery when he met with his unexpected death at 46, already a legend. I do not know how to explain my emotions during moments like that, but all I can say is that I saw the same emotions that day on the face of a woman of around my age who I noticed, once the rapture wore out a bit, standing near me looking at the bike. “Never thought I would see this,” I blurted out at her and she, beaming at the bike in the glass cage with a bright lit-up face, nodded in absolute agreement. I shook myself up and walked out, down the stairs and through the immense gardens surrounding the museum, to the tube station.

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Impressions

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Nets at Dusk: P.P. Ajayakumar

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“-ion” deficiency
Karthika V.P.

I tried to write a poem once but it was not that easy. For that first I looked into myself and its barrenness stunned me. then I looked outside I could see no divine sights I could hear no blissful sounds. then I tried to ‘dig’ with my pen but found it not that sharp, and then I realized I am suffering from “-ion” deficiency I lack all that “-ions”— imagination, intuition, inspiration, vision..........

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Writer

MO YAN — THE MAN WHO REFUSES TO BE SILENT

Vinita Teresa introduces Mo Yan, the Chinese writer who won the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature.

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or a writer whose pen name “Mo Yan” means ‘do not speak’ in Chinese, Guan Moye, the 2012 Nobel Laureate in Literature, sure does make his voice heard a lot. Post announcement of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature in October, Mo Yan has become a familiar name among the literature aficionados in the Indian Subcontinent. He is the first Chinese citizen to be awarded the Nobel Prize and his achievement has been much celebrated by the Chinese media and government. According to the Nobel Prize committee, Mo Yan has been awarded the prize for his writings which “with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.” Though Mo Yan writes only in Chinese, his works have been widely translated into English (mainly by Howard Goldblatt) and enjoys critical acclaim in the Western world. His most notable work is the novel Red Sorghum Clan (1987) which is set in his birthplace Dalan Township in Gaomi county and is fictionalised as ‘Northeast township’ in the novel. It consists of five interwoven stories and is narrated against the backdrop of Japanese aggression and agrarian crisis and deals with the fortunes of the Shandong family. Most of his novels detail the impact of social and political upheavals in China such as the Communist and Cultural revolutions. Other major novels include The Garlic Ballads (1995), The Republic of Wine (2000), Big Breasts and Wide Hips (2004), Life and Death are Wearing Me Out (2008), etc. Mo Yan’s novels are complex and employ elements of magical realism, epic, and black humour. Violent, graphic images, merging of life and

Some interesting facts about Mo Yan:
» Guan Moye, aka Mo Yan, was a
member of People’s Liberation Army of China and like several other writers, started writing during his early days as a soldier

» Mo Yan is a prolific writer and
he completed his novel Life and Death are Wearing Me Out in merely 42 days. He wrote the entire manuscript containing about 500,000 characters by hand, using ink and a writing brush

» Though Mo Yan is critical of the
Chinese government in many of his works, he is currently the vicechairman of the official Chinese Writers’ Association and draws his salary from the Culture Ministry

Mo Yan

» He adopted the pen name Mo
death, past and present are some of the distinctive features of his works. His is often touted as the Chinese answer to Franz Kafka and Joseph Heller. The bagging of the Nobel Prize by Mo Yan is considered as a symbol of the increasing international acceptance of Chinese culture and literature. Yan which means ‘do not speak’ because his parents used to advise him not to speak his mind outside since it was dangerous to do so in China’s tumultuous political scenario

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Snippets

CONTEMPORARY AWARDS
» Nenstadt International Prize for Literature:

Sreeranj Dinesen provides an overview of contemporary literary awards.

It is a biennial award sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and its international literary publication, World Literature Today. It is awarded not for any one work, but for an entire body of work. It is one of the very few international prizes for which poets, novelists, playwrights are equally eligible.

2012 winner: Rohinton Mistry

» Franz Kafka Prize
International Literary award presented in honour of Franz Kafka and co-sponsored by the Franz Kafka Society and the city of Prague, Czech Republic. A literary work is honoured with this award for its “humanistic character and contribution to cultural, national language and religious tolerance, its existential, timeless character, its generally human validity and its ability to hand over a testimony about our times.”

2012 winner: Daniela Hodrova

» Man Booker Prize for Fiction
A literary prize awarded to the best novel written in English by a citizen of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe.

2012 winner: Hilary Mantel, for Bring Up the Bodies
In 1993, to mark its 25th anniversary it was decided to choose “the best novel out of all the winners,” a Booker of Bookers Prize – winner – Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (the 1981 winner). In 2008 to celebrate its 40th anniversary – The Best of the Booker was awarded. Winner was again Midnight’s Children.

» International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
An International literary award for a work of fiction, jointly sponsored by the Dublin City Council and the public improvement company, IMPAC and administrated by Dublin City Public Libraries. One of the richest literary prizes in the world. The prize is open to novels written in any language and by authors of any nationality, provided the work has been published in English or has an English Translation 2 years prior to the year the award is given.

2012 winner: Jon McGregor, for Even the Dogs

» Dayton Literary Peace Prize
It is the only annual US Literary award “recognizing the poems of the written word to promote peace.” The award is given for adult fiction and non-fiction books published within the immediate past year that has led people to a better understanding of other peoples, cultures, religions and political views.

2012 winners: Fiction – Andrew Krivak, for The Sojourn Non-Fiction – Adam Hochschild, for To End All Wars
There is also a Lifetime Achievement Award (now known as Richard C Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award).

2012 winner: Tim O’Brien

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» Orange Prize for Fiction
Known from October 2012, as the Women’s Prize for Fiction, this is one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary prizes annually awarded to a female author of any nationality for the best original novel written in English and publication in the U K in the preceding year. Earlier funded by Orange, UK mobile network operator and internet service provider. Now sponsored by “private benefactors“ led by Cherie Blair & writers Joanna Trollope and Elizabeth Buchan.

2012 winner: Madeline Miller, for The Song of Achilles

» Pulitzer Prize :
21 prizes given — 14 in Journalism and 7 in Letters, Drama and Music. Pulitzer Prize for fiction is awarded to a work by an American author, preferably dealing with American Life. Prizes are awarded for works published during the previous calendar year. Entries submitted by January 25. In 2012 no prize was given in fiction because no book received a majority of the votes from the board members. The 3 novels shortlisted were:

David Foster Wallace – The Pale King Karen Russell – Swamplandial Denis Johnson – Train Dreams

» Saraswati Samman
Noted Tamil scholar Dr. A.A. Manavalan was conferred the prestigious Saraswati Samman for the year 2011 on September 19, 2012. The award recognizes his work Irama Kathaiyum Iramayakalyum, a comparative study of the epic Ramayana written in 48 languages.

» Jnanpith Award
One of the most prestigious literary awards in India presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, a trust founded by the Sahu Jain family, the publishers of the The Times of India newspaper. The 46th Jnanpith Award for 2010 was conferred on the Kannada writer Chandrasekara Kambara.

» Sahitya Akademi Award
An annual award given to outstanding writers in Indian literature. The 2012 award in English language literature went to Jeet Thayil’s poetry collection, These Errors are Correct.

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Writer

THE NOVELS OF HILARY MANTEL

Hilary Mantel rocked the literary world by winning another Booker. Madhumadhi acquaints us with Mantel and her work.

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he time-honoured novelist, Hilary Mantel is the first woman novelist to obtain the Man Booker Prize award twice. Wolf Hall (2009) and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies (2012) bagged the Man Booker Prize award for the years 2009 and 2012. Though she writes on all kinds of themes, she is best in historical fiction. Hilary Mantel entered into the literary scene in 1985 with the publication of her first novel Every Day is Mother’s Day. This novel set in the mid-1970s narrates the experiences of Isabel Field, a social worker, who is assigned to help the Axons family. The novel flows to show the problems in Isabel Field’s life and how she manages to help the Evenly Axon and her half-wit daughter. The novel has a hilarious end and a sequel called Vacant Possession. Eight Months on Ghazzah Street (1988) is a novel which exhibits the novelist’s ability to present the clash of cultures, especially in the Eastern countries. A crystal clear image of the struggles faced by the contrast in cultures is presented in this novel. Hilary Mantel very keenly blends her experience in Saudi Arabia and the misunderstandings between the Arabs and Westerners. Hilary Mantel’s talent for historical fiction is evident in her novel A Place of Greater Safety (1992). The novel ruminates on the French Revolution and describes the lives of many historical figures. Hilary Mantel delves into the ambitions of women in An Experiment in Love (1996). The novel picturises the lives of three girls who leave their home town to study at the University. The novel won her the Hawthornden Prize. Her next work is her memoir Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir. The shades of her life and her expeditions through the pains of life can be understood through this piece of work. Hilary Mantel handles the concept of life and existence of life after death in Beyond Black (2005) which explores the mind of Alison Hart, a medium. The novel penetrates the memories of Alison, who is traumatized by reminiscences and ghosts from her childhood days. The life of a medium, their world, their of power. An astonishing research and a presentation from a much different angle bring in the success of this novel. The sequel to this novel, published in 2012, called Bring Up the Bodies also won 2012 Man Booker Prize. Hilary Mantel is all set to a trilogy on Thomas Cromwell. The narrativitiy of her novels brings in more effect and solidity to her themes, be it her memoir or historical fiction. Though her early novels share life experiences from her own life, they are claimed to be nonautobiographical. The historical novels of Hilary Mantel share the world history of power and enlightenment. The completion of the trilogy of Thomas Cromwell will hopefully be another invaluable contribution to world literature.

Hilary Mantel
perspectives and claims is much surveyed in this novel. The Man Booker Prize winning novel Wolf Hall (2009) is on the life of Thomas Cromwell, Minster to Henry VIII. This historical novel was termed as one of the ten best historical novels by The Observer. The narrative of the novel portrays the entire life of Cromwell and shows his travel to the pinnacle

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Vampire Quiz
How well do you know Vampire literature? Prasara V.P. finds out.

1. Vampires in English Literature appeared for the first time in the _________________ era. (Renaissance / Romantic) 2. ______________ is considered to be the home of the vampires. (Transylvania / Luxembourg) 3. One of the earliest examples of vampiric fiction in English, The Vampyre (1819) was written by ____________. It was inspired by the life and legends of Lord Byron. (Heinrich Ossenfelder / John William Polidori) 4. Sheridan Le Fanu’s vampire fiction (1872) with lesbian overtones is titled _______________. Here, a female vampire seduces the heroine, Laura. (The Bride of Corinth / Carmilla) 5. Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was published in the year _________. (1857 / 1897) 6. In the movie Dracula made in 1931, Béla Lugosi stars as the suave, aristocratic, yet dangerous vampire from Polidori’s novel, named ___________________. (Jonathan Harker / Lord Ruthven) 7. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is set in ___________. (Whitby / Wales) 8. Dracula was inspired by 15th century Prince of Romania ________________. (Vlad Tepes / Janos Orszag) 9. The vampire hunter in “Dracula” is _______________. (Abraham Van Helsing / Jonathan Harker) 10. _______________ is a famous 1922 German Expressionist vampire film, directed by F. W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlock. (Nosferatu / The Golem)
1. Romantic 2. Transylvania 3. John William Polidori 4. Carmilla 7. Whitby 8. Vlad Tepes 9. Abraham Van Helsing 10. Nosferatu Answers

Extra Vampire Facts
» One of the first works of art to touch upon the subject of Vampire — the short German poem “The Vampire”
(1748) by Heinrich August Ossenfelder.

» Goethe wrote a German poem on Vampire —“The Bride of Corinth” (1797) » First mention of Vampire in English Literature — Robert Southey’s poem — “ Thalaba the Destroyer” (1797) » First vampire story published by a woman — “The Skeleton Court or The Vampire Mistress” (1828) by
Elizabeth Caroline Grey

» One of the best-known vampire fiction in recent years — Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame
— Smith

» The most frequently portrayed character in horror films — Count Dracula (He has over 170 film
representations to date)

5. 1897

6. Lord Ruthven

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Classics

MADAME BOVARY

Kalyani Vallath familiarises us with Flaubert’s classic

Type of work: Novel Technique: Psychological realism Setting: France in the mid-19th century First published: 1857 in French (English translation: 1886)

C

harles Bovary, a young doctor, had married Héloise, a widow much older than himself. She made his life miserable with nagging and baseless suspicions. A year later, Charles called on Monsieur Rouault, a farmer with a broken leg. There he met the farmer’s beautiful daughter, Emma, whose education in a French convent had given her a restless urge for broader experience. market town, Yonville. Emma was pregnant and longed for a son, dark and strong. But she gave birth to a daughter, whom they called Berthe. While Charles struggled to make both ends meet, Emma’s attention was turned to laces and ribbons for the child, who was being cared for by a wet nurse. Then she met Léon Dupuis, a shy law clerk bored with the town, and longing, like Emma, for an exciting Parisian life. The two met often and shared their interests, and as their acquaintance ripened, the people began to gossip. But Charles Bovary was unperturbed. Emma realized she is in love with Léon and did nothing to prevent it. She transformed into a new woman: outwardly devoting herself entirely to the house, her daughter and her husband; inside, consumed with rage and hatred towards Charles. However, she never confessed her love to Léon, who secretly desired her. To him, her virtue seemed so unassailable that he gave up hopes of possessing her and went to Paris to complete his studies. In his absence, Léon seemed more desirable to Emma. The sacrifice of her love made her more indulgent and extravagant; the grief of parting made her very ill. One day, Rudolf Boulanger, a squire of the neighbouring estate, brought a farm tenant to Charles for bloodletting. Rudolf found Emma attractive. He knew he could possess her easily with his charms, but the difficulty would be to get rid of her! He began courting her and Emma overcame her qualms of immorality by rationally convincing herself that nothing that is so beautiful as love could be sinful. Emma succumbed to Rudolf and they met regularly in secret. She allowed herself to be carried by the flood of passion. However, when he was sure of Emma’s love and commitment towards him, Rudolf became openly indifferent to her. Meanwhile, Charles was urged by the town chemist to perform an experimental surgery on a local boy with clubfoot. The surgery was an utter failure and the boy’s leg had to be amputated. Emma was ashamed

Héloise died suddenly, and Emma agreed to marry Charles, who was deeply captivated by her. They set up house at Tostes, where Charles had a doctor’s practice. He was a simple, quiet man who had never loved a woman before, and now thought the world of Emma. But Emma had desired the perfumed, passionate lovers of the romantic novels she had read, and very soon tired of her husband who reeked of medicines, and whose conversation was as humdrum as “a street pavement.” It was then that the couple was invited to a grand ball at Vaubyessard, where Emma danced with a dozen partners, drank champagne, and received compliments on her beauty. The memories of that ball left a perpetual longing in her. Back home, she soon lost interest in her household duties, gave up her hobbies, and languished all day in her room. She became irritable, a dead pallor came into her cheeks, and she had bouts of depression. Charles now had to take the difficult decision of leaving Tostes for the sake of his wife. They moved to the large

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and disgusted with her husband, and throwing all discretion to the winds, she began to meet her lover openly, lavishing expensive gifts on him. Charles, whose practice was considerably diminishing, was soon deep in debt. Emma implored Rudolf to take her away. He let Emma make all the preparations, and on the eve of their planned departure, he wrote a letter to her calling off their plan and hypocritically repenting their sins. Emma tried to throw herself from the window, but was saved by Charles; then she became seriously ill with brain fever. It was hell for Charles, who had no money to pay the bills, and who feared he would lose his dear wife. Emma did not die; she slowly recovered, and one day, when Charles took her to the opera house at Rouen, she met Léon once again. Léon had grown more confident from

his relationships with other women, and was now determined to possess her. Emma met Léon several times in Rouen, where Charles had naïvely sent her, first to procure a lawyer’s advice, and then to take music lessons. At Rouen, she abandoned herself into a debauched life of extravagant spending and illegitimate love. Her corruption was complete, and she now realized that she had brought her lover down to her debased level. She no longer respected Léon, and scorned him when he could no longer give her the money to pay her bills. Emma’s name was posted publicly for a debt of eight thousand francs. She knew that the bailiffs would now seize Charles’s property, and his career would be ruined. She desperately appealed first to the usurer, then to Léon and Rudolf,

but no one helped her. She realized that her only way out was to die a heroine’s death, and she consumed arsenic. Charles arrived just then, but too late to save his wife from a slow and painful death. Charles was wild with grief and died soon after, leaving a legacy of just twelve francs to support his daughter. This 19th century novel raised a storm of appreciation as well as protest. Never before had an author explored the art of fiction so well, with superbly realistic characterization, a fiercely honest handling of an unconventional plot, and an absolute lack of moral commentary on the action. Madame Bovary shocked the Victorian sense of moral righteousness that was as strong in France as in England at that time. Flaubert was prosecuted for producing such an indecent work that inaugurated a new era in fiction.

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A runaway dream
Stretching her hands to the gushing winds, She felt the dampness of the windowpane. Hugging those winsome smiles around her, She longed to make the moments linger. But desires trickle down from her In search of a better place to stay on. Her bangles are about to tell her tale When she steps into the rain Just to walk down the memory lane Filled with endless memories.

Hima J. Babu

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Writer

FEARLESS SECULARIST

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Sreeranj Dinesen introduces Orhan Pamuk.

erit Orhan Pamuk, the “new star” of the east as The New York Times would have it, gained international recognition with the publication of The White Castle (Pub: 1985, which won him the 1990 Independent Award for Foreign Fiction) and extended his reputation abroad. He was awarded the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (2003) for My Name is Red, which was translated into 24 languages. Later he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006 and his works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success ever since. All of his novels are originally written in Turkish and later translated into various other languages securing numerous literary awards. Pamuk was born on 7 June 1952 in Istanbul in a well-to-do family, the experiences of which colours his novels The Black Book, Cevdet Bey and His Sons and his memoir / travelogue Istanbul — Memories and the City. Pamuk tried his hand at painting, architecture and journalism while in college, but chose writing as a career when he was 23. The White Castle, The New Life, Snow and The Museum of Innocence are some of the other major works that brought him fame and recognition, The Naive and Sentimental Novelist being the latest addition. Pamuk’s conflict with the Govt. of Turkey and the ultranationalists led him to being put on trial in 2005 when he made a statement regarding the Armenian Genocide and mass killing of Kurds in the Ottoman Empire. His intention was to draw attention to the issue of freedom of speech in Turkey, which was taken up by the European Parliament and some of the worldrenowned authors of the present day. Pamuk describes himself as a Cultural Muslim, identifying himself with the cultural aspects of his nation and religion while keeping aloof from its binding ties and personal After his early experimentations with naturalism, Pamuk has moved on to the contemporary postmodern techniques as epitomized in My Name is Red. Pamuk’s books are characterized by a confusion or loss of identity brought on in part by the conflict between western and eastern values. His works are also redolent with discussion of and fascination with literature and painting. Pamuk’s works often touches on the deep rooted tensions between East and West and Tradition and modernism / secularism.

Orhan Pamuk
connection to God. His choice of the issue of women wearing headscarf as the central theme of Snow, looking at the controversial topic from different angles, reiterates his plea towards a secular Turkey. According to him, “the bloody years of war and all the atrocities in European history have taught the Europeans that secular politics, free of religious hatred is mainly a question of peace.” He argues that the same “concept is not anchored in the same way in the consciousness of Turks, which has to do with the fact that the secular was forced upon us by the army.” Not surprisingly, the recurrent theme in Pamuk is the conflict between Western and Eastern values, served by an array of complex plots and characters.

» Pamuk’s books broke a record
and sold 200,000 copies after the announcement of his winning the Noble prize in literature and he became Sweden’s best-selling recipient of the prize.

» Debut Novel — Mr Cevdet and his
sons (1982), won the Orhan kemal Novel prize in 1983

» His 4th novel New Life, published
in 1995 became the fastest selling books in Turkish history

» The New York Times listed Snow
as one of its 10 best books of 2004.

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Translation

SPIRIT WORSHIP AND A FOLK EPIC

Apoorva Rao throws light on the culture of Tulunadu in Karnataka, and offers a translation of a folk epic.

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he Bhuta worship or the worship of the spirits is a characteristic feature of coastal Karnataka in which a highly stylized variety of the ritual dance of the spirit impersonator can be seen. Bhutas are believed to be capable of shaping the welfare of votaries. The performance always takes place at night, commencing at about 9 o’ clock. An element of hierarchy among Bhutas can be found, which is a recent development. There is a close connection between the structure of Bhuta worship and the social structure of Tulunadu. People belonging to a particular caste or community develop a cultural identity which is reinforced by performances and rituals associated with the cycle of life and seasons. It also has a close relationship with pardanas (prarthana) and is a major oral epic of Tulunadu. The pardanas that narrate the origin of Bhutas, their adventures and diffusions, have the characteristics of an oral epic. These Tulu oral epics are longer than folk songs. Many shorter narrative poems fit into the category of ballads, but some go beyond that framework. Tragedy is a very convenient theme employed by the Tulu folk poets to uphold the moral values enshrined in the tuluva society. In social pardana, the tragedy results from the exploitation of the downtrodden and oppressed people by the feudal lords, like the sexual assault on helpless women under obligation; ill-treatment meted out to newly married brides by their mothers-in-law or sisters-in-law, the contrivances of a jealous girl to discredit the fiancée of a young man etc. The diction is very simple and we find only short idioms and phrases. During the Bhuta performance, womenfolk render the pardanas. Some of the Bhuta pardanas are sung in the paddy fields by the womenfolk. In the case of certain Bhutas, spirits of cultural heroes who met with tragic death are also worshipped. One such spirit is Kod’dabbu. Kod’dabbu was born into a low caste family and he is the cultural representative of Mundala community of Tulunadu. In spite of being powerful and highly talented, he was marginalized due to his lower caste status. The pardana given below narrates his story. It has been translated from Tulu language to English and a small excerpt is given here.

Kod’dabbu-Tannimaniga Paddana
Denna Dennana Denna Dennana Denna Dennanaye Kodange Bannar was living in Kachur Village Early in the morning Kodange Bannar Goes to a shed to bring a spade He takes the spade of Basrur He keeps it on his right shoulder. He sets himself off to water the fields He reduces the level of water in the first field Raises it in another field. He closes the old channels and Opens the new ones in the field.

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From a far place He listens to a cry and assumes it to be a child’s. He keeps the spade on the ridge of the field and curiously Goes to the courtyard of the hut The door is locked. A crying sound emerges from the room Clear and sharp That was an infant Bannar breaks the door by kicking it with his legs. Broke the door by kicking it with his legs. The infant is crying, lying on its mother’s chest The mother seems to be dead. The mother is Yelyabari Kunduru The father is Beera Bakuda The father had died a long time ago Now the mother is dead He brought the infant At the end of the spade To the Kachuru Village Kavadooru Manor house The great landlord Brought the infant to the paddy pounding shed His wife Sirigonde landlady Wishes to look after the infant with a lot of love and care In the paddy pounding hut, They create a creeper cradle They name the infant as Kachru Maldi They nurtured the child by giving cow’s milk When cows stopped giving milk They gave wheat and nourished the child…. (Translated from Tulu by Apoorva Rao)

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Shadow of Fear
I grew up under the shadow of fear It frightens me at first….. But it becomes my dolly, my ditty, my friend Then why should I disgust him? No… I love him, I admire him He is… he is… he is my lover He is mine, because I venerate death, the possessor of all dreads…..

Jyothsna T. V.

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Study

CASTLES & GHOSTS

Sreeja S. introduces the genre of Gothic fiction.

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o know more about Gothic literature, we must go back to the past, that is, to the Gothic Civilization. The Goths were a set of people who originated in southern Sweden and they were divided into two sects. They conquered many lands, including parts of Rome and Spain. villain may have fallen from grace due to pride. A divine punishment may befall the protagonist of the novel. The plot itself may represent a ruined world. Terror, both physical and psychological, mystery and the supernatural, ghosts and haunted houses, Gothic architecture, castles, darkness, death, decay, doubles, madness and so on are the features of Gothic fiction. Other ideas of the Gothic include anti-Catholicism, depiction of a medieval past, romanticism, melodrama and selfparody. George Haggerty remarks, “the Gothic novel is a liberating phenomenon, which expands the range of possibilities for novelistic expression.” The resistance potential of the Gothic has found significance in feminist, postcolonial and postmodern literatures.

Gothic fiction took shape in the United Kingdom and it falls within the category of Romantic literature. It is the reaction against the Romantic form of literature. It starts with The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole. It evokes horror and aims at emotionally affecting the reader. Gothic heroes are archetypal heroes, that is, there is a pattern to their characterization. Most of the protagonists are isolated, either voluntarily or involuntarily. The

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Passion fruits
Those passionate fruits fill my hungry heart, as I look at the clusters of ripe passion fruits across the fence, in the neighbour’s orchard. My soul longs for the sweet and sour taste from sunrise to sunrise. My eyes clasp those boughs together with the winding creepers. A feast on the succulent bulbs, that often fill my barren nights with bursts of dawny delight. Over the days and months, I have become an addict, to those balls that cling to my life and lit my past I’ve never trodden before. For sure, I’ll never get used to living without those passionate fruits.

Sandra Oommen

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Snippets

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Milestones in the Indian Constitution
Chandrika Raju compiled this data on the Constitution of India. 1946 1946 1952 1953 1962 1963 1976 1989 1991 1992 2000 2002 Dec. 9th, The Constituent Assembly held its first meeting. Dec. 11th, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected president of the Constituent Assembly. The first general election (1951-1952) to the Lok Sabha was held. The first linguistic state of Andhra Pradesh was created. First emergency declared. The first no confidence motion after independence was moved in the Lok Sabha. The Fundamental Duties of Indian citizens were incorporated in the Constitution. Reduction of voting age from 21 to 18 years for the Lok Sabha as well as Assembly elections. Creation of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Formation of present day Panchayati Raj. The creation of new states of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Uttaranchal. Right to Education for Children made a Fundamental Right in the field of free and compulsory primary education for children.

Presidential appointments
The President of India appoints: • • • • • • • • • • The Prime Minister, and on his advice, other ministers. Attorney General of India. Comptroller and Auditor-General of India. Chief Justices and Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. Governors of States. Lieutenant Governors and Commissioners of Union Territories. Members of Finance Commission. Members of the Union Public Service Commission. Chief Election Commissioner and other members of the Election Commission. Special officers for the Scheduled Castes and other Tribal areas.

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Impressions

Woman on the Cross: Devi K.T.P.

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Translation

NJORIVU AND VADIVU IN TRANSLATION

Reji A.L. makes an interesting point on translation.

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ranslation from one language to another means introducing the culture of a language to another. We know plenty of words that have minute meanings in one culture have no exact equivalent in another culture or language. Hence all the translations are imperfect in the larger sense, but cannot be avoided, especially in a diverse society like India. “Njorivu” does have a role to play in translation too. A translator should be able to create “njorivu” in the meaning-making process, by choosing the appropriate words, images, metaphors etc., where complexities ultimately blend into a simple experience of the text. When Sir William Jones translated the Sanskrit play Abhijnana Shakuntalam into English, a major departure he made from the original was to stop the tender lovelorn heroine from breaking into sweat every now and then. He would not have known that to sweat is quite common and traditionally appreciated in India and is also a visible symptom of sexual interest and arousal. In Jones’ translation Kalidasa’s “njorivu” is ironed out to make “Vadivu.” What happened to The Namesake, the title itself, when it was translated into Malayalam? “Ore Perukaran.” Isn’t it a straight, word to word translation? Here the translator should have chosen the main theme of the novel as its title.

Have you ever enjoyed “thayambaka”? Sometimes, Bhimsen Joshi’s or Balamuralikrishna’s rendering of ragas raise tides of emotions in our mind. Such an interlacing of emotions to create a simple, natural experience, or “njorivu,” is present in all Indian art forms. “Kathakali” is an excellent example of creating “njorivu” on the face. In India, everything — from the conversations of daily life and the gestures and language of the body, to the traditional dance forms and the Carnatic and Hindustani forms of music — have the beauty of “njorivu.”

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Birth of an Oracle
I tried to tease love out like an olive after draining out every drop of lust, it remained at the bottom punctured and torn, finally, when I tasted the drupe it was bitter-sour, sharp on my palette before I spat out the pit which stung my tongue like an epiphany!

Babitha Justin

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Review

THREE INDIAN NOVELISTS
CREATIVE NEW LITERATURE SERIES 142

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Chandrika Raju reviews a book on three prominent figures in Indian English fiction.

hree Indian Novelists integrates various critical articles on the novels of Githa Hariharan, Amitav Ghosh and Aravind Adiga — three renowned writers of Indian English fiction who explore current problems and issues in their works. Three Indian Novelists is published by Creative Books, New Delhi, and edited by P.D. Nimsarkar and Dharmapal Fulzele. Dharmapal belongs to the TES family as a previous student and contributor to TES publications. Githa Hariharan is concerned with women, their position and status in the contemporary modern society, together with the problems and hardships they encounter while asserting their identity in a patriarchal society. She also writes on communalism and the plight of the minorities. Her attempt is to create a new culture and an ideal world. The quest for identity is the underlying theme in most of the seven articles written about her. They also discuss the feminist sensibility and its onslaught on patriarchy, the gender crisis and liberalism vs. fundamentalism. Aravind Adiga’s emphasis is on the contemporary Indian society and how it is losing its grip on the ageold Indian ethos, morals, values and cultural heritage. His protagonists are the downtrodden who are struggling to find a space for existence. His work also highlights the dark side of the Indian democracy run by beastly musclemen and upstarts. The six articles on Adiga discuss various facets of the Indian society — caste system, power politics, police, corruption and the deplorable conditions of the poor. Amitav Ghosh takes us back to the beginning of the 19th century when the British rule had spread across the Indian subcontinent. He explores the political and racial underpinnings of British and Indian relations during the Raj, exposing the exploitative nature of British capitalist imperialism. He skillfully combines fact and fiction, chaos and order, myth and burlesque to relate the love story between Deeti, a high caste widow and an untouchable, Kalua, thereby revealing the underlying caste discriminations. He also deftly mixes different languages in order to develop varieties of pidgin / ship language / a hybridized form of English in his novels — a practice excelled in by Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth. The half a dozen essays presented in this book center on the colonizers, their opium trade and its repercussions on the Indian people. The essays featured in this edition contextualize Githa Hariharan, Aravind Adiga and Amitav Ghosh’s novels with various critical perspectives, equipping the reader with multiple points of view in the study and appreciation of these works, quite invaluable for those researching on these three stalwarts.

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The Wildest One
She Grew up Dreaming to be The brightest flower, amidst The thorny rough bushes Thanks! to everyone She became The wildest One!

Sheena K.P.

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Tribute

LIFELONG COMMITMENT

Suhana Sathar and Vinita Teresa commemorate the contributions of Eric Hobsbawm

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he Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012), a masterly writer of muscular, readable prose, and a scholar whose intellectual curiosity and range had few if any equals, was one of the last of an extraordinary generation of British intellectuals moulded by the Depression, the struggle against fascism, the faltering of the Empire and the hopes inspired by Labour coming to power after the war. pseudonym Francis Newton for ten years. He was also the president of the Hay literary festival, at which he appeared regularly in his last years. Hobsbawm continued to be an active writer despite his old age: his final book is set for release sometime in 2013. Aged 90, he published Globalism, Democracy and Terrorism and last year he published How to Change the World, an argument for Marx’s continuing relevance in the aftermath of the banking collapse of 2008-10. Though many on the right do not endorse or agree with his politics, he is universally admired as a good historian, particularly for his “great works” on the 19th century. There are few who can hope to do the same.

He wrote more than 30 books over a sixty-year career. Some of his bestknown works, The Age of Revolution, The Age of Extremes and The Age of Empire, focused on the ‘long 19th century’ from 1789 to 1914 and were followed by a famous sequel The Age of Extremes, about the 20th century. Fellow historian Niall Ferguson called the quartet “the best starting point I know for anyone who wishes to begin studying modern history.” His autobiography Interesting Times devotes much attention to the most controversial thing about him, his lifelong commitment to not merely socialist transformation but the tradition of the Communist Party, the great passion of his youth. He was born in Egypt, the son of an English Jewish family, and lived in Austria and Berlin before moving to London in 1933, the year Hitler assumed power. Hobsbawm studied at Cambridge before becoming a lecturer at Birkbeck College, London in 1947. Hobsbawm was a member of the British Communist Party from 1936 until it collapsed in 1989. He controversially stayed in the party even after the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, which prompted a huge number of members to leave in disgust.

Eric Hobsbawm
His writing on the future of the labour movement in Britain and his contribution to debates on the prospect of the Labour party made him a hero to most of the party. As an iconoclast, his ideas helped forge the spirit of change within the party that led to the formation of New Labour – though he was a fierce critic of Tony Blair’s government. Hobsbawm became a committed jazz fan after hearing the Duke Ellington band in London in the 1930s and in 1956 became the jazz critic of the New Statesman, writing under the

Bandits: a rare and interesting book by Hobsbawm
What is common to Mario Puzo’s Godfather, Walter Scott’s Rob Roy, and Robin Hood ballads? The answer can be found in the eminent British Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm’s path-breaking book Bandits. This book is an elaboration of th e social phenomenon termed ‘social banditry’ which was first introduced by Eric Hobsbawm (and since then, it has

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evolved into a separate branch of historical research altogether). In the wake of the death of the nonagenarian historian on 1 October 2012, readers and intellectuals have evinced renewed interest in Bandits which analyses the culture of banditry in different parts of the world. Bandits are not mere thieves or robbers; they often exist to serve a larger social purpose and the tales and legends of bandits and outlaws have dominated the world’s literary imagination for several centuries. Interestingly, it is possible to trace a common thread running through these narratives. And this is what has motivated Hobsbawm to delve into the history surrounding the complex and highly romanticised incidents of banditry and cull out observations. The book is at once academic and speculative as the author surveys

regions ranging from South America to Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh). The author draws on ballads, biographies, first-hand interviews, and other research papers to put together a convincing and persuasive argument regarding the cultural and socioeconomic significance of banditry. As is expected of a scholar, Eric Hobsbawm peppers his work with facts and references to provincial history and bandits and draws concise conclusions. The book is divided into different sections with each section exploring a significant aspect of banditry. The uneasy power relationship between bandits and state power, the influence of banditry on socialist and revolutionary movements, the socio-economic and administrative conditions that give momentum to banditry, etc., are some of the topics discussed in the book.

Also, (almost as an afterthought) the author has included a small section on banditry and women where the role of women as either the bandit’s lover or victim is dealt with. The author admits that there are very few ‘female bandits’ in the real sense of the term and mentions the names of a couple of women who were closely associated with banditry. Eric Hobsbawm is responsible for single-handedly elevating bandits and banditry to the status of a dynamic research area. His works have inspired several other historians to take up research on bandits who have spawned a whole gamut of literature and art ranging from the medieval ballads about Robin Hood to twentieth century gangster movies.

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Hope
Veiling my physical light I found an eternal bright Tender short dew of dawn Before the seven horse chariot was born. Sincere as a newborn smile Blossomed as perpetual love without guile In no steps proved wrong Dipped in age-old passions long Shrinking from the echoes of sighs and sorrows And weaving feathers from the threads of tomorrows Plunged desires twinkle those salty drops Reflecting tagged outcast in red silken clothes. Topped with fragments, Questing for the union of fractions, Shall I name you Hope And sometimes God?

Dhanya R.

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Snippets

LOSSES OF 2012
Date 3 Jan 4 Jan 12 Jan 1 Feb 11 Feb 27 Mar 15 May 7 Jun 5 Jun 22 Jul 31 Jul 19 Aug 18 Aug 29 Aug 6 Sept 9 Sept Name

Chandrika Raju lists personalities who passed away in 2012
Country America Costa Rica Britain Poland USA USA Mexico (born Panama) USA USA Chile USA USA Canada USA Spain (born Argentina) India

Charles W. Bailey (Seven Days in May) journalist and novelist. Carmen Navanjo, novelist, poet and essayist Reginald Hill, Crime Writer (Dalziel and Pascoe) Wislawa Szymborska, poet (Nobel Prize for Literature, 1996) Whitney Houston, recording artist, songwriter, actress, producer and model Adrienne Rich, feminist, poet and essayist Carlos Fuentes, novelist Robert L. Washington, comic book writer, co-creator of Static Ray Bradbury, Science fiction and fantasy author (Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes) Miguel Arteche poet & novelist Gore Vidal, playwright, novelist, political commentator and actor (Gattaca) Edmund Skellings, poet Shulamith Firestone, American feminist writer (The Dialectic of Sex) Dan O’Keefe, author and editor (Reader’s Digest) Inventor of Festivus. Horacio Vazquez Rial, novelist Dr. Verghese Kurian, engineer and social entrepreneur — the man behind India’s White Revolution / Operation Flood — the world’s biggest agricultural development programme — AMUL (Anand Milk Union Ltd.) T. Samuel, cartoonist and the pioneer of pocket cartoons Arthur Jensen, psychologist, educator and author Sunil Gangopadhyay, “the modern conscience of Bengal,” writer and poet Janet Berliner, science fiction author Jacques Dupin, poet and critic Warsame Shire Awale, poet and writer Han Suyin, Chinese- Belgian British writer (Love is a Many Splendoured Thing) one of the most powerful voices serving as a bridge between China and the West in the 20th century.

2 Oct 22 Oct 23 Oct 24 Oct 27 Oct 29 Oct 2 Nov

India USA India America (born South Africa) France Somalia UK

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Musings

WAS IT A DREAM?

Straight eyebrows and plain eyes once fascinated Saji Krishna

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our straight eyebrows and plain eyes somehow appeared differently to me. I never thought that they would make such an impact. They were quite harmless then; vague and remote. As time passed, something sparkled in your eyes. I couldn’t figure it out then. But those sparkles transfused into my eyes; slowly, steadily, miraculously. How did the bond between us develop? The messages that you sent through your eyes lay scattered before my heart. They lay there for a while and then I took them to my heart and locked them in.

The thin stream of exchanges became a deluge. I had to clean up my heart to make room for you. Do you remember those nights? Those were sleepless nights. The sun rose in my heart, refusing to set, and you were the horizon. Now I do not sleep and my sun has become a black hole; is your heart now dead that it has stopped showering me with light? How many nights have passed since you asked that nonsensical question over the phone. I answered “a lot.” My words floated over the midnight clouds and tenderly reached your ears. The moon might have laughed then; the stars might have blinked their eyes. We were like two feathers in the sky, floating forever together among flowers, valleys, meadows, under the starry sky. My love was tender than a rose, but harder than steel. Another night you called me and asked, “Shall we live together?” It was drizzling outside and a sweeping wind slapped the window panes. A drum was beating furiously. “Shall we live together?” your feeble voice repeated. I didn’t say anything and put the phone down. As I gazed into

the night, the rain stopped. I found your hair spread across the sky. Your lips turned blue and you implored me with the countless eyes in the sky. How could I answer you? Do you remember that day when you sat before me? I wanted to touch your fingers. I observed your eyes, weak, sleepless and intoxicated. The light had gone down. I insisted you leave, but you sat there paying no heed. “If I leave will you be sad?” I didn’t answer. I smiled. You turned your vacant eyes away. Then you left. You left, with a “good bye” soaked in blood. I have begun to bury you in the grave of my memory. Can I? I dig up the remains sometimes. And wonder if you ever existed; were you real, or just a shadow?

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Modern Haikus
Spring’s Sunshine, a worm digs slowly, into the sweet strawberry. Taste of sweat Salty salty salty Yet sweet Look to your left Look to your right Remember you are alone for the battle. I stood In front of the mirror And saw someone else.

Keerthy Sophiya Ponnachan

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Games

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Theorists—Know ’em?
Anna M. John has devised a game of matching theorists with the respective theories.

Theorist
1. ________________

EDUCATION Theory
Pansophism (Universal Knowledge)

Description

The idea that learning, emotional and spiritual growth are interwoven. Proposed teaching through stimulation of the senses, not merely through memorization. Considered the “Father of Modern Education.” The mind operates at different levels: conscious versus unconscious. He further subdivided the mind into Id (primitive motivations), ego (logical portion of the mind which acts to satisfy the id – when possible) and the super-ego (the conscience) The idea that individuals are “blank slates” on which teachers could “write” knowledge. A forerunner of behaviourism. Humans naturally strive to satisfy needs. The five levels of needs, from lowest to higher are : physiological, safety, love, esteem, self-actualization. Lower level needs must be satisfied before the individual can move on to satisfy higher level needs. Short term memory can only hold 5-9 “chunks” of information at a time. A chunk can be any meaningful idea like a word, an identifiable image, or a digit. The association of new responses with existing stimulus–response pairs. Classic example is pairing the ringing of a bell with presentation of food to dogs. After repeated pairing, the dogs will salivate upon hearing the bell (even if food is not presented). Original stimulus (S) response(R) pair is food-salivate. Now S-R pair is bell-salivate. Developmental stages of child development. 0-2 years: “sensorimotor” – motor development. 3-7 years : “preoperation” – intuitive 8-11 years: “concrete – operational” – logical, but nonabstract. 12-15 years : “Formal operations” – abstract thinking

2. ________________

Levels of consciousness

3. ________________

Tabula Rasa

4. ________________

Hierarchy of Needs

5. ________________

Information Processing Theory

6. ________________

Classical Conditioning (Behaviorism)

7. ________________

Genetic Epistemology

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8. ________________

Operant Conditioning (Behaviourism)

Learning is the result of changes in behaviour. As stimulus–response cycles are reinforced, individuals are “conditioned” to respond. Distinguished from connectionism because individuals can initiate responses, not merely respond to stimuli. Learners form associations or connections between a stimulus and a response. Through trial and error, rewarded responses would be strengthened. Social interaction is critical for cognitive development. Related to this is the idea of a “Zone of Proximal development” (ZPD). Some skills an individual can perform independently. Other skills can be performed if the individual has assistance. Skills that can be performed with assistance are said to be within an individual’s ZPD. The ZPD is the theoretical basis for scaffolding (support given during learning process to meet the goals of students).

9. ________________

Connectionism (Behaviourism)

10. ________________ Social Development Theory and ZPD

Answers:
1. John Amos Comenius 6. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov 2. Sigmund Freud 7. Jean Piaget 3. John Locke 4. Abraham Maslow 5. George A. Miller 10. Lev Vygotsky 8. B.F. Skinner 9. Edward Thorndike

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Madness—an Endless Battle: Saji Krishna

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Games

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Who wrote these?
Drisya K. made this matching game of some contemporary trilogies and fiction series. Identify the authors of these Trilogies / Fiction Series from the following box. Some have written more than one trilogy / fiction series. Austin Clarke William S. Burroughs Christopher Paolini Hilary Mantel Nuruddin Farrah Amitav Ghosh Douglas Adams James T. Farrell Robertson Davies Paul Auster Ken Follett Pat Barker Isaac Asimov John Dos Passos George R.R. Martin Mervyn Peake

Trilogy / Series
1. Thomas Cromwell Trilogy

◊ Wolf Hall; Bring Up Bodies; The Mirror and the Light (yet to be published)
2. Salterton Trilogy

◊ Tempest-Tost; Leaven of Malice; A Mixture of Frailties
3. Deptford Trilogy

◊ Fifth Business; The Manticore; World of Wonders
4. Cornish Trilogy

◊ The Rebel Angels; What’s Bred in the Bone; The Lyre of Orpheus
5. Toronto Trilogy

◊ The Meeting Point; Storm of Fortune; The Bigger Light
6. Ibis Trilogy

◊ Sea of Poppies; River of Smoke; third volume not published yet
7. Regeneration Trilogy

◊ Regeneration; The Eye in the Door; The Ghost Road
8. Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship Trilogy

◊ Sweet and Sour Milk; Sardines; Close Sesame
9. Blood in the Sun Trilogy

◊ Maps; Gifts; Secrets

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10. New York Trilogy

◊ City of Glass; Ghosts; The Locked Room
11. Nova Trilogy / Cut-Up Trilogy

◊ The Soft Machine; The Ticket that Exploded; Nova Express
12. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (a trilogy in five parts; a sixth added after the author’s death) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; Mostly Harmless; And Another Thing... 13. The Foundation Series

◊ Foundation; Foundation and Empire; Second Foundation
14. Gormenghast series

◊ Titus Groan; Gormenghast; Titus Alone
15. A Song of Ice and Fire

◊ A Game of Thrones; A Clash of Kings; A Storm of Swords; A Feast for Crows; A Dance with Dragons; The Winds of Winter; A Dream of Spring
16. Inheritance Cycle

◊ Eragon; Eldest; Brisingr; Inheritance
17. The Studs Lonigan Trilogy

◊ Young Lonigan; The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan; Judgment Day
18. Danny O’Neill pentalogy

◊ A World I Never Made; No Star Is Lost; Father and Son; My Days of Anger; The Face of Time
19. U.S.A. Trilogy

◊ The 42nd Parallel; 1919; The Big Money
20. Century Trilogy

◊ Fall of Giants; Winter of the World; third not yet published
5. Austin Clarke 4. Robertson Davies 3. Robertson Davies 2. Robertson Davies 1. Hilary Mantel 10. Paul Auster 9. Nuruddin Farrah 8. Nuruddin Farrah 7. Pat Barker 6. Amitav Ghosh 15. George R.R. Martin

Answers

14. Mervyn Peake 13. Isaac Asimov 12. Douglas Adams 11. William S. Burroughs

19. John Dos Passos 18. James T. Farrell 17. James T. Farrell 16. Christopher Paolini

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Games

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Identify these South Asian Women Writers
Find the authors from the following clues provided by Deepa KP and Padmashree G. Suniti Namjoshi Taslima Nasrin Sikeena Karmali Ruth Vanita Jhumpa Lahiri Namita Gokhale Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Meena Alexander Monica Ali Bapsi Sidhwa

1. Name the American book award winning personality who has been the president since 1991 of Maithri, a South Asian women’s service which she helped found in the San Francisco area. 2. Identify this versatile personality, one of the founders of Manushi: a journal about women and society, who was a faculty in Miranda House and the English Department, Delhi University. 3. Name the famous author who was on the advisory committee to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Women’s Development, and has been awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s national honour in the arts. She says from age eleven she “did nothing but read books, starting with Little Women.” 4. All the copies of her Bengali work titled “Amar Meyebela” (My Childhood Days) published in the year 1999 were seized in Calcutta. Name this author who is a citizen of Sweden. 5. Name this Bombay-born Canadian citizen who has written fiction and works as an officer in the Indian Administrative Service. She promotes writers, particularly women, to use the World Wide Web as a means of broadcasting and interacting with other writers and readers of poetry. 6. Her autobiographical cycle of poems reflects the surrealism of life, and is shot through with the frissons of pleasure and pain, of beauty and tension, that mark a truly global identity. Name this writer who is particularly interested in the “fault lines” of memory. 7. Her work reflects the trauma of self-transformation through immigration, which can result in a series of broken identities. The stories she has written show the diasporic struggle to keep hold of culture as characters create new lives in foreign cultures, especially America. Identify the author. 8. Her debut novel is about a young woman’s quest to reconcile her nomadic spirit with an inner longing for a home. She is a Kenyan born Indian and the present director of a human rights agency in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Identify the author and the work. 9. She is the author of six novels including Paro: Dreams of Passion, The Book of Shadows, and The Book of Shiva. She is also a publisher and has contributed immensely to the founding of literary events such as the famous International Festival of Indian Literature, Neemrana 2002, The Africa Asia Literary Conference, 2006, the Jaipur Literature Festival which started in 2006, etc. Who is she?

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Games

10. The first novel of this Bangladeshi-British writer was published by Doubleday in the summer of 2003 and was a great success. The film made from this novel caused controversy among numbers of the Bangladeshi community in London. Who is the author?

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Hallmarks of Indian Literature
Sambhaji Manoorkar has devised a game on major novels by Indian writers in English

Arrange these novels chronologically
» The Moor’s Last Sigh; The Glass Palace; An Equal Music; The Great Indian Novel; English, August » Rich Like Us; Nectar in a Sieve; Heat and Dust; Cry, the Peacock; Small Remedies » The Inheritance of Loss; The God of Small Things; The White Tiger; River of Smoke; Red Earth and Pouring
Rain White Tiger (2008); River of Smoke (2011)

5. Suniti Namjoshi 4. Taslima Nasrin 3. Bapsi Sidhwa 2. Ruth Vanita 1. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

» Red Earth and Pouring Rain (1995); The God of Small Things (1997); The Inheritance of Loss (2006); The

» Nectar in a Sieve (1945); Cry, the Peacock (1963); Heat and Dust (1975); Rich Like Us (1985); Small

» English, August (1988); The Great Indian Novel (1989); The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995); The Glass Palace

Answers

Remedies (2000)

(1999); An Equal Music (2000)

Answers

10. Monica Ali, Brick Lane 9. Namita Gokhale 8. Sikeena Karmali, A House By the Sea 7. Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies 6. Meena Alexander, Raw Silk

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Pair them Right
Namitha V.S. and Anju Mary George made this game on relationships.

Identify the relationship between the terms in the first pair and fill in the blanks:
1. Pathetic Fallacy : John Ruskin :: Ideology : _____________________ 2. Elizabethan Age : 1558-1603 :: Victorian Age : ____________________ 3. Mo Yan : 2012 :: Orhan Pamuk : ________________________ 4. Paradise Lost : Blank Verse :: Epithalamion : _______________________ 5. O Henry : William Sydney Porter :: Kingsley Amis : _________________________ 6. “Sunday Morning”: Wallace Stevens :: “Sunday Afternoon”: ____________________ 7. Clarissa : The History of a Young Lady :: Waverley : _________________________

8. Bristol Trilogy : Angela Carter :: USA Trilogy : ______________________ 9. Mario Vargas Llosa : Peru :: Gloria Anzaldua : ___________________ 10. Pequod : Moby Dick :: Walter Scott : ____________________ 11. abab cdcd efef gg: Shakespearean Sonnet :: abab bcbc cdcd ee: ____________________ 12. D.H. Lawrence : Rainbow :: George Eliot : ________________________ 13. Midnight’s Children : Saleem Sinai :: The Moor’s Last Sigh : _______________________ 14. Prioress : Eglantyne :: Wife of Bath : _____________________ 15. Gravity’s Rainbow : Second World War :: For Whom the Bell Tolls : _________________ 16. “Adonais” : Shelley :: “In Memory of Sigmund Freud” : ____________________ 17. The Picture of Dorian Gray : Oscar Wilde :: The Last Puritan : _______________________ 18. “Venus and Adonis” : Earl of Southampton :: “Lapis Lazuli” : ________________________ 19. Nottinghamshire : Sons and Lovers :: Highbury : _____________________ 20. The Sound and the Fury : Shakespeare :: A Raisin in the Sun : _______________ 21. Hugh Selwyn Mauberley : 18 poems :: Sonnets from the Portuguese: ________________ 22. Stanley Kowalski : A Streetcar Named Desire :: Clay : _______________________ 23. Englishman : Richard Steele :: Watchman : ______________________ 24. The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian : Nirad C. Chaudhuri :: My Dateless Diary :___________ 25. Paul de Man : Yale School :: Jurgen Habermas : ________________

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Sin
The stones that hit me were Less hurting than the eyes that Attacked me in the nights, Like a prey I curled with fear— At night pelt their sweltering bodies, Now stones! A long way have I gone, again I run, At my back the monsters, they never stop… I fell, the red wet wounds embraced my sweat I turned for a helping hand Found gnarling teeth and blazing eyes, My fragile body squirmed in vain Then came larger stones, I screamed in pain, Then I saw Him, the God, my Saviour; He looked not at me, but when His eyes turned away, showered A cascade of Love That transforms. He judged truly, “The one who is free from sin can throw the first stone.” Yes, I have sinned, but never more Not because of the stones hurled at me But because He forgave me.

Vineetha Anna Thomas

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Answers
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Destutt de Tracy 1837-1901 2006 Canzone Robert Markham Philip Levine Tis Sixty years Since John Dos Passos Mexico The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Spenserian sonnet Adam Bede Moraes Zogoiby

14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

Alison Spanish Civil War W.H. Auden George Santayana Harry Clifton Emma Langston Hughes 44 poems Dutchman Coleridge R.K. Narayan Frankfurt School

Impressions

Pieta: Anna M. John

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Constitution Quiz
Chandrika Raju composed this game on the Constitution of India.

Fill in the blanks
1. The first Vice-President of the Indian Union was ________________. 2. ____________set forth the main objectives of the Constituent Assembly in the form of the Objective Resolution. 3. There are _________________ schedules in the Indian Constitution. 4. At the time of formation of the Indian Constitution there were 395 Articles. At present there are ________________ Articles. 5. _______________ Fundamental Rights have been guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. 6. As citizens of India ________________ Fundamental Duties have been assigned to us. 7. The President of India is elected by ____________________. 8. The total number of members in the Lok Sabha is ____________________. 9. The number of elected members in the Lok Sabha is ____________________. 10. __________ members constitute the Rajya Sabha. 11. The Supreme Court constitutes of ________________ judges. 12. “Freedom of the Press” is guaranteed under Article ________________. 13. Under the 8th Schedule ___________ languages have been recognized by the Constitution of India. 14. ________________ is the highest legal adviser to the Government of India. 15. The Article which was described as the “heart and soul” of the constitution by Dr. Ambedkar was __________________ .
(1) Dr. Radhakrishnan (2) Jawaharlal Nehru (3) 12 (4) 444 Articles (5) Six (6) Ten (7) By Electoral College (8) 552 (9) 530 (10) 250 (11) 26 Judges (12) 19 (1) (13) 22 (14) Attorney General of India (15) Article 32

Answers
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True or False?
Chandrika Raju composed this game on the Constitution of India.

1. The Constitution of India was adopted on 26 November 1949. 2. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the permanent Chairman of the Constituent Assembly. 3. The Constituted Assembly met for the first time on 9 December 1946. 4. The Constituent Assembly ceased to exist on 26 November 1949. 5. The Constitution of India is divided into 22 parts. 6. Articles 5 to 11 of the Indian Constitution relate to Citizenship in India. 7. Articles 12 to 35 deal with Fundamental Rights available to Indian citizens. 8. Seventh Schedule contains the Union list, State list and the Concurrent list. 9. Article 343 specifies Hindi as the official language of India. 10. President’s rule in a state is imposed under the provisions of Article 356. 11. Article 356 provides for a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 12. Directive Principles are stated in Article 51 A of the Indian Constitution. 13. The National Integration Council is chaired by the President. 14. The time gap between two sessions of the Parliament should not exceed six months. 15. The voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 in India in 1989.

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(1) True (2) False (3) True (4) False (5) True (11) False (12) False (13) False (14) True

Answers

(6) True (7) True (15) True

(8) True

(9) True

(10) True

Games

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How the Vernacular Affects Us!
Common mistakes made under the influence of the vernacular—that is what Chandrika Raju presents in the following table and game. No: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 What we say The student gave his exam. I haven’t seen him today morning. The Principal will arrive just now. His uncle is presently in London. Stand in the middle of the circle. That grocer has plenty of clients. That lawyer has plenty of customers. Is there place for me on the bus? It’s better to say The student took his exam. I haven’t seen him this morning. The Principal will arrive soon. His uncle is in London at present. Stand in the center of the circle. That grocer has plenty of customers. That lawyer has plenty of clients. Is there room for me on the bus?

What’s wrong with these sentences?
1. When I sleep I take out my shoes. 2. He works in the office since five years. 3. How you are going with your piano lessons? 4. It’s two years now since she left from England. 5. Myself and my sister will not be present. 6. He got down from his bicycle and spoke me. 7. The two first pages of my book has been lost. 8. When I went to home I found that the money was disappeared. 9. I and he intend to leave to England after two weeks. 10. When he will return back, I shall say him everything. 6. He got off his bicycle and spoke to me.

Answers

5. My sister and I will not be present. 4. It has been two years since she left England. 3. How are you getting on with your piano lessons? 2. He has worked in this office for five years. 1. When I go to bed, I take off my shoes.

10. When he returns, I will tell him everything. 9. He and I intend to leave for England in two weeks. 8. When I went home I found that the money had disappeared. 7. The first two pages of my book are lost.

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Review

NARCOPOLIS

Gigy J. Alex highlights the artistry of the 2012 Sahitya Akademi Award winner

J

eet Thayil is best known as a performance poet and musician. The poetic vigour and metaphors he employs in his verse pieces are mirrored in his début novel also. Having worked as a journalist in Mumbai, Bangalore and New York, Thayil is familiar with all sorts of people and their lives. It might have helped him in giving a real picture of the city, its secrets and history. Narcopolis, shortlisted for Man Booker Prize 2012, is based on his life and experiences in Mumbai city. This novel, which attacks, shocks and subverts conventional perceptions, is the realistic portrayal of a metropolis caught in the tentacles of narcotics, crime, lust and murder. The story of Mumbai metropolis is paralleled with that of eunuchs and sex workers. A eunuch--Zeenat aka Dimple--bridges the narcotics sale and the polis. One of the most interesting features about Narcopolis is that the heroine in the novel is a eunuch. She witnesses the pain, agony and mental anguish involved in the drug business and in her own body as a result of hormonal changes, and ultimately becomes an opium addict. Shuklaji Street becomes a major persona in the novel. It is the microcosm of the Mumbai metro where we encounter people from all parts of the world, giving it a cosmopolitan aura. In this cosmopolitan world, sojourners from various places, such as Xavier Newton and Mr. Lee, visit and vanish without leaving behind their marks on the city. The novel is a bundle of stories, dreams and histories, and moves cyclically, reminiscent of the gyrations of a narcotic experience. Narcopolis is divided into four books: Book One, “The City of O,” Book Two, “The Story of the Pipe,” Book Three, “The Intoxicated” and Book Four, “Some Uses of Reincarnation.” It begins with an epilogue taken from the Holy Koran (78-6-9), which speaks about the creation of man and woman. The novel that deals with the deadly opium, death and destruction, celebrates life towards the end when Dimple says, “I knew what a lucky life I was given and I understood everything: the exact meaning of the sun in the infinite sky and the trees trembling around us and the people hungry of affection… .” Thayil concludes his novel by paying homage to the pipe (drug), “This is the story the pipe told to me. All I did was write it down, one word after the other, beginning and ending with the same one, Bombay. ”

Narcopolis
Beginning with the narrator’s (Dom Ullis) autobiographical account of the intellectual side of Mumbai, it portrays the painters, writers, poets and philosophers of the city who re-write and re-read the religious scriptures and epics, and moves back again to conclude the story of the metropolis. In the introductory chapter, Thayil presents an equation, memory=pain=being human, and the whole story revolves around this theme.

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Story

A MYTH

A short story from Ashish Joe’s collection, The Love Letter*

T

he lecture went on and on... Sitting in the back row, I was conveniently ‘hibernating’.

An ecology class after a good lunch can never be interesting. As the frequency of my nodding peaked, a foreign object hit my temple. My sleep was disrupted. It was nothing but a chalk piece. Prof. Sharma is a sharp shooter. “You lazy fellow, stand up.” I had no choice but to obey. “Come on, now, say, what is an ecosystem?” “Sir... eh... ecosystem is something which has living and non-living beings and eh...” my words dragged like a heavy log. “Is this what I have been teaching you for the past half an hour?” “Are you dreaming…? Which angel was in your dream…? You lazy idiot… now get lost from my sight,” The professor thundered. “I won’t, sir…” “What…?” “I… am… not… willing… to… go… out!!! I know the answer.” My voice was steady, hard and loud. Sharma was baffled at the sudden shift in my confidence level. “Ok, then, go on… but if you go wrong even slightly, then, mark my words, you won’t sit in my class for the rest of the semester.” “I do agree, sir.” The challenge was tough, but I was ready to take it up.

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It is said, “As the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” I started… “An ecosystem is an ecological unit consisting of both the biotic (living) and the abiotic (non-living) factors of the environment. The organisms and environment are separable and interactive in their nature.” I went on and on. “Animals which are holozoic cannot synthesize their food and hence depend upon plants either directly or indirectly. The plants, on the other hand, are holophytic and are capable of synthesizing their own food but are absolutely dependent upon the abiotic environment for the procurement of raw materials like water, light, carbondioxide and mineral salts essential for the preparation of food.” My eyes inspected each and every face; the entire class was absolutely glued to my scholarly discourse. Confidence surged as a warm current in my nerves. The next twenty minutes were the most memorable moments of my college life. When I stopped my little speech, I saw a wave of awe sweep across the faces that gaped at me. Prof. Sharma stood up in admiration, a huge burst of applause followed. I was speechless… tears poured down my cheeks. I had done it. The overwhelming joy was driving me crazy. I laughed. My laughter became a frantic, lunatic outcry. I felt my nerves tighten up, on the brink of an explosion. Tchak! Something hit my head. The laughter faded, nerves loosened. I stared in wonder at Prof. Sharma. “You crazy fellow… stand up!” The professor thundered. “Have you gone mad…? What is so funny that you laugh…? Do I look like a clown?” I stood dumb like a lamb led to the slaughterhouse. “Now, answer me, what is an ecosystem?” “Sir… eh… ecosystem is… eh…” I stumbled. Nothing of the little speech in my dream returned. All that came up was darkness.

* The Love Letter, published by Paridhi Publications, Thiruvananthapuram, in 2012.

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ISSN 0970-8049

New Delhi

An Indian response to Literatur

e

ber 1 June 2012 Issue 73 Volume 38 Num

s Theatre | M. Zahira h Plays: A Study | Asha Othello on Screen: A of Oisin: A Rasadhvani ongi’s Harvest | Sujatha hical Method of Girish onded Labour System hartha: Reflections on | Sarkar’s Evam Indrajit of Krishnan The Theatre Raj Abortive y Jalarajan r & K. Radhakumari Vijay n .S. Theatre in Transitio Angeles | Sivasankar S. an tumanoor P. Kann

ist Discourses | Santhosh ale ren | A.C. Sreehari Fem o iede Jelinek’s The Pian le Sengupta’s Mangalam | Latha Tampi ma’s Novels ta ayal of America in Chris s: Tom On Translating Icon ee Ice-Candy Man : A Pars | Kavya B. Brief Discussion er”: h Dialectic of the “Oth M. Unnikrishnan Malayalam

Littcrit is a refereed journal started in 1975 by Dr. P.K. Rajan, eminent academic who was Vice Chancellor of Kannur University in Kerala. It is published halfd yearly, in June an December.

An Indian response to Literature Issue 7 3 Volume 38 Number 1 June 2012
Fatima Noori Nostalgia tures and Messages in Fairy Tales • • Aparna Mahajan Motifs Half-Inch Himalayas • M. Dasan Perspectives on Post colonial literature d Ali’s The A Study of Agha Shahi of Exclusion in Bangla Dalit Litera and Displacement: ism, Ambedkarism and the Struc tures

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• Indranil Acharya Marx l / Textual Interplay in Shashi Deshpande’s “The Intrusion” • T. Sarada Sexua

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