Tag Archives: Literature

…part of sixthness

“h equals ten raised to the power of minus twenty seventh part of 6.6thness” With similar mathematical abstractions weaving near-concrete images, Taj Masood continues the oral tradition of poetry. He holds that poetry, born in head should reside there till other heads are ready to lend an ear. The images form and dissolve to reappear; they resurface, honed and enriched by flow of life meanwhile.

Orality carries an authenticity not found in the paper-rigid fixity of the material world. It is authenticated by life itself. The Classical traditions aim to capture human achievements; the oral traditions merely allow them a playground.

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Heart of light…

Chandrabhushan Varde

Looking into the heart of light, the silence. (Eliot. Wasteland)

Greene’s characters are what Fredrick Karl calls, the ‘demonical heroes’, who by turning all accepted values upside down have come to understand God through the knowledge of the devil.  Literary characters are a source of serious, humorous pursuits of satire and parody – find your own place in Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Characters created by Saul Bellow are a superb gallery of self-doubting, funny, charming, disillusioned, neurotic, and intelligent observers of the modern American way of life that seem to warn against impending doom. Title phrase of Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ ironically parody an irony – an excited Miranda welcoming possibilities of human form after being brought up in company of servants and slaves.

Greene’s Pinkie in ‘Brighton Rock’ arrived at his conceptions and convictions about life through contact with the darker side of life — sin, shame, misery and squalor, as was the case with Greene himself who learnt more about the dark and the evil, the primitive and hellish, in his formative years, than the sunnier side of things.

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Indian Poetics — Theorizing the Creative Principle

A. K. Awasthi,
Professor of English & Chair,
Dr. Hari Singh Gour Central University, Sagar (MP)


When wise men affirm that spirituality is an experience, they assume that they are dealing with the abstract and metaphysical. They claim that mental activity is only a condition. They also distinguish spirituality from materiality. But what intrigues the rational judgment is that any experience, realization, attainment or becoming happens only in the mind, never outside of it. But mind is a material reality and anything taking place there will carry its property along. However, any production of the mind may contain any degree of fineness but it would be born of material entity nevertheless. Mind is only an enclosure in the material body. The mind feels anything in the form of ideas (dhyan). This is what mental activity is. The question arises, what is that phenomenon, which fills in the mind just to make mental activity possible? What is its nature? Continue reading

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Poetry as App

How deeply does Eliot grieve passing away of all treasures civilization amassed, nursing the random fragments he has shored against ruins. The loss was felt by Arnold when he found that sea of faith had receded and it was no longer possible to find trust. The Bard himself had a lot to mourn, though none ever made him feel helpless.

Poetry had been identified as spanner in the works by Plato, “there is an old quarrel between philosophy and poetry”. (Republic, 607b5-6) And the writer of  How to Read a Poem, Terry Eagleton finds that things are no different today:

Poetry is the most intimidating of all the literary arts. Even students of literature tends to give it a wide berth these days, preferring a rattling good Conradian yarn to the perils of Paradise Lost. Most could spot a sexist stereotype in a poem, but not many could pick out an example of bathos or understatement. This is not because they are obtuse. It is because a lot of their teachers, not least the younger generation of them, couldn’t either. Poetry is rapidly becoming the bad fairy at the literary ball. And good poetry criticism among students is becoming as rare as clog dancing.

Appears as the death-knell of this devious art has been sounded. It exists in pages of history, alone. Poetry has spoken volumes in a few syllables; has been unfurled in voluminous generational works; given new dimension to music; been invigorated through musicality; it has been counter-foil to prose and also been expresses in un-poetic prose. It is something that works in devious ways,   something that doesn’t like a ‘wall’. It is a skylark of imagination; a cat o’ nine tails.

So in an age, burdened with grand observations of grand deaths (god, narratives, word) what chance does it hold. In a world full of visuality, would the invisible, intangible spirit of indomitable human expression survive?

Not long ago, while people were still not uncertain about literature turning a thing-of-past, they wanted to protect sanctity of its expression from the numbing, stifling cage of visual representation. Poetry can never be expressed  on celluloid, even though ‘poetry of celluloid’ could well exist. Poetry films, today are a recognized film-genre; they may not be a genre of poetry though.

Scholars and critics have spent more time in defining poetry than giving some, like the lay man, to its enjoyment. Like the human form that has dressed itself in countless garbs, poetry too remains equally alive and vibrant. Words are greatest of human inventions and thus the sacred most one is God’s; but the inventive spirit still lives. It may often neglect the genius of past due its engagement with constructing a future, but neither imagination, nor innovation, nor romance has withered away.

While Joyce finds a new Avatar as twitter boils down Ullyses, a greater serious treatment is accorded to Eliot by Faber who launched a video app of Wasteland.

Faber launches The Waste Land app – video | Books | guardian.co.uk

This is sacrilege to some, reassuring to others. The classics may just have got themselves a wedge that ‘book-marks’ them on ipv6. That poetry is another name to instinct of expression is well supported in Dougiedownunder’s comment on the Guardian post.

The i.tune of J Alfred Prufrock

Let us go then, you and I,
To the Apple store and buy, buy, buy
Like an addict stupefied by news`from Faber;
Let us go, like certain half – demented geeks,
Who mutter on for weeks
Through restless nights of world wide web soft sells
Of awesome Apps of which the Guardian tells:
Geeks who need no facile argument
Of insidious intent
To lead me to an overwhelming question …
I need not ask “What is it?’
I’m hot to trot and make my visit.

While it may offend the chaste tastes of a word-master to call application an ‘App’, abbreviating is an act of simplification; poetry has often been accused of simplifying life – but that is its charm, is it not?

So, O Prophet of a wasteland where ideas vie with each other in mad rush towards oblivion, the fragment, you shore against your ruin might save a geeky soul from drowning in his y/i/pad/pod. Yes, Lazarus comes to speak again.

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Grim’s Chore

A poem by Terence Tuhinanshu, from Lifetime

My time has come, dear boy
The time for me to die.
And quick and fast
And long at last
Life has passed me by.

Die, I must.
Not of age, no.
Nor of hunger, thirst or sorrow.
But for my frustration.
Old I may be, yet still a man
With fading dreams, drowsy desires
A far out field sub-station.

I never was as expected.
All my deeds should-have’s than well-done.
But at the lowest last few moments of my life,
How am I worse than anybody else?
We all share the same fate,
Being instances of the same group.

Life is wasted on an old man
And death too, I suppose.
Old men have to die. It is their purpose.
Were it not been so, even death would pass us by.
For nobody wants an old man
With expired solutions but evergreen problems.

I have known many friends
And lost every one.
And I said to myself each time
With exceptions none
‘The most we can do is walk alone in the moonlight…’

Well, the moon has set.
The stars have left
And the sun shall never come.
Darkness lies behind me, and darkness lies before me.
I sense the Grim come reluctantly closer as I feel my way through.
And now I wonder, flattered,
If indeed my life is worth bothering the Reaper?

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Higher Call of Education

A prayer, a wish

Anand Kumar Awasthi

O Prime Minister wise!

You need to rise.

Strength of reason, your possession,

Intellectuality, your vocation;

Then, why should Higher Education writhe in pain,

Sycophants, pseudo intellectuals gain;

Vision, industry, aim — all put to shame,

The potential attitude — creative, positive —

All reduced to meaningless game?

A University functions well?

Following The British version — ‘India was a country of snake charmers’

So teach all borrowed from the West

Devoid of values, culture and spiritual zest,

Mechanical teacher, student, a moulded cast;

Students pass — sans teacher class, voiceless mode, teaches all.

Office tables keep a snail, the actionless aims no goal;

Procedures rule, Deans look cool, see five-day wonder

Dealers deal the university seal,

Officials change but system goes,

Money rolls, centralized strategy, it clinches deal.

Some are vital, most important!

Only few — tactful and ‘efficient’,

Vacant posts — never mind — tagged with one,

Others can do? Oh, none!

They deal ‘No Deal’ but do tell,

‘Where angels fear to tread’, they let loose hell.

A group of three or four everywhere, one of them, a grave-digger,

A prejudice rules head and heart, the end-result is seldom sought,

A code runs — go blank, delay and stay motionless,

Most V-Cs are but guided children — innocent folk, think little, act still less.

If they can put IDEA supreme, Observation as their working mode,

Comparative judgement- their methodological tool,

And also get signal ‘GO’, could they remain far from goal?


A voice of sanity or dissent suffocates

For a charge follows —  politics of jealousy calls shots- how dare you rail?

A choir ensues — beware, he is a detractor! he will fail!

Ah! Indialooks to you! Entreats you to address its dire need,

Like the ancient sages did indeed.

All time is good, why wait for some,

Delay no further, you’re welcome;

O Prime Minister wise!

It’s time to rise!

([Anand Kumar Awasthi is Professor of English & Chair & Director, Centre for Canadian Studies, at Dr Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar (MP)-470003]

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