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Mar 27, 2017

Wanderer: A Tale of One Girl (Story)

Mahima Nanda

[A curious student of mine portrays the rags of misogynistic society wherein women deserves a place in the close walls to do the household chores. The modern and educated students are, in fact, breaking the prejudice and hence the society rejected them, if not directly then indirectly. To put in other words, the society or system, as well as, the leaders are afraid not of any revolution but of women. If you come to know what they stand for, then the rule of man will be a thing of past which could remain recorded in the older books. For the curtailment of their rights, they are bind with the shackles of family, tradition, culture and society. After reading this small piece, one has to conclude, whether it is biographical, autobiographical, social, political, exclusion, anti-prejudice, modern, or post-modern. Whatever be the answer, the readers are free to observe it, some in one sense while other in other.)

The text runs thus:
Wanderer: A Tale of One Girl (Story)

Who are you? I am a wanderer, a free thinker, a lover, a peace-maker, a rebel, a revolutionist, a seeker, a woman, a healer, a forgiver; Sheena's Radha. But I am not going to be this forever, neither ever I was all or any of these before. 

I clearly remember the how's and when's of the change in my persona. The shedding of my old being giving way to what I am today. I am still unsatisfied with my being which is always looking for growth from every aspect to be more humane. 

I was timid, coward, naive and a shy girl, say, five years from now. So, what happened and what brought a tremendous amount of improvement in the way I look at myself and others today? I realise it was the act of "forgiving". 

After years of dealing with the guilt, shame, fear and nightmares I finally took the courage to forgive myself and my father who crowned me with the title of incest. He, along with many other men, most of whom were closely related to me, abused not only my body but also my soul on different occasions. 

I hadn't known the depth of their actions then when I was the victim of their culprit actions and, thus, I stayed quiet for years. Later in life, I started suffering and dealt with intense depression, all alone. " 

When sleeping women wake, mountains may move", a Chinese quote relates to my journey of emancipation. There were times when I tried to commit suicide, become a pothead, look for real love from many unconscious men, look for somebody to answer my questions, look for a father and a family. 

There was also the time when I faced the bitter truth of being alone in this world which everyone of us deals with a lot of courage. That was the phase which brought me closer to myself, I knew then that nobody but I will have to be my own lover, my own father and my own family only if I forgive these men for their actions and myself for taking the blame. 

Slowly and gradually I pulled myself up and started noticing my surroundings, realising the fact that the world is such a beautiful place if we have a compassionate heart to feel it. I started travelling to look for more and more and more AND MORE of it. 

I found it all over India, my country. Today I have a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a dadi, a mami, a nana, a family in various regions of India and they all have blessed me by making me a small part of them and by sharing their unconditional love over and over again. 

In this awakened journey I also found a lover who fills the space, gives respect plus shares his conscious love which I also now have for myself. He encourages me to keep loving myself over anybody or anything. 

This, friend, is the Radha in me.

Mar 23, 2017

Karl Marx was a Fascist and Capitalist for 21st Century Left: An Ambedkarite’s Intervention



Since, Marx said Religion is the opium of the masses, Marxist presumed to be an atheist while precondition of consuming Opium gets popularity within the circle of the comrades. It seems quite funny, but it implies that a mind cannot live without intoxication whether it is inebriation of the ideas or the Opium. It was not that Marx did not pay any attention to the cultural exploitation but orthodox was stick to the dialectical materialist method with mechanical application. Criticism came with the purpose of considering cultural exploitation with class oppression. The success story of the Lenin is different while Mao has a different story to tell. He was an influential iconoclast who stood for the complete destruction of the culture and religion. It is also true that it was impossible for the rise of the Mao has a revolutionary idea in the society without creating space by destroying part of the culture. He also tried to destroy culture even after the establishment of the communist revolution.     

Marxist were criticized to consider cultural exploitation equally important to economic exploitation but they did reverse, they should have stood for creation of the egalitarian culture rather than defending and championing old feudal and religious culture. Present Marxist appears to be contradictory to the Marx and Mao. It is unfortunate that religion became the only mode of resistance of the International Marxists. A religion which opposes the modernity became the last refuge for Marxist in the 21st century. The feudal religious resistance to the capitalist modernity became the only pretext against the imperialism for International Marxist. Marxist support the religious fundamentalism and terrorism turn out to be a reactionary and it helped them to lose the support in the masses. The one of the primary reason behind the right-wing upsurge in the 21st century is that secular progressive intellectuals have not taken position against the religious orthodoxy while considering the progressive role of the capitalist modernity in the religious backward society. The Marxist position should have against the religion rather than supporting one of the single religious orthodoxy against all the liberals.

The success of the leaders like Mao where he declared “no Han chauvinism, no minorities’ fundamentalism.” It was an actual Marxist line by dealing with the religion. The resistance to the capitalist modernity does not make it progressive as long as it also automatically proved to be against the imperialist value expansion.  The Rise of the right in the present global context is on the single reason emerges which gave food to revival the all religious forces across the world. The primary argument against the classical Marxist was that they did not consider culture as a form of the oppression except economic exploitation but Marxist who tried to understand the cultural oppression ironically became the champion of the oppressive culture itself.

The Marxist who sunk for being mechanical following the dialectics not necessarily materialism was interesting to know the fact that they having no experience of concrete reality. The black movement and Dalit movement were prominent criticism of the Marxist movement. Marxist falls into the trap of the multiculturalism as they tried to understand the movement against cultural practice or they were criticized for being blind to the cultural exploitation. It was a tragedy that they need to be an iconoclast but turn out to be the defender of the cultural and orthodox religious practices in the 21st century. They opposed the capitalist modernity without knowing the fact that the society which is antagonistic to the capitalist modernity would also not entertain the communist egalitarian ideas. The cultural and religious oppression is more barbaric than the working class exploitation under the imperialism need to be explored by the present leftists. 

Marxists’ method to use the backward communities and religious communities against the advanced capitalist modernity inspired by the idea of ultimate truth to oppose imperialism and capitalism without giving even single thought to the qualitative difference between the feudal religious barbaric exploitative system. The capitalist exploitation is limited to only economic exploitation, but feudal exploitation is not just economic but cultural as well.  The culture which is the product of the feudal mode of the production is more oppressive than the consumerist-capitalist culture in the present society. It was not a wise move to have support for the feudal forces who are opposed to the modernity. Traditional identities are suffering more without capitalist modernity than the assault of the Western modernity itself. The methodology of present Marxist to check imperialism and capitalism turned out to be a backlash with the rise of the Christian, Hindu and Buddhist right wing as a counter to the Muslim right wing, loose their own base across the world.  The right-wing upsurge hampers the whole institutional structure of the UN and EU. 

Rise of Christian Right, Hindu Right and Buddhist Right across the World is the backlash of Left- Progressive-Liberals Intellectual's support to Islamic Terrorism/Fundamentalism. These liberal Progressive Intellectuals did not support Liberal Muslims But orthodoxy, is the paradox which masses could not digest. Intellectuals supported Terrorism/Fundamentalism and Masses did vote people who were speaking against this hypocrisy of Intellectuals and appeasement of Muslim by these armchair Intellectuals. These Intellectuals are did not have any test of experience of tyranny of Muslim fundamentalism and Brahmanical Casteism, they took stand against the western-capitalist modernity. Capitalist modernity which is very much secular did not make any sense to these ivory tower intellectuals as detached from the masses and not real experience of the culture and its conflict with other cultural communities.

It is not only limited to the rise of the nationalism in the countries having a history of a long time of global capital but also the backward countries with underdeveloped capital. The capitalist countries turn out to be nationalist and protectionist while the Left position in the third world countries is protecting FDI inflow of capital. How can Trump, the president of the capitalist USA and Marxist leader of third world countries have same interest and a similar strategy of the welfare of the society make furious about the left strategy of opposing Capital expansion in the third world countries? Chinese president asked the US not to go for the protectionist mode and need to follow the Washington consensus. The Washington Consensus overnight turned out to be benefitting for China and India. Nationalist Trump wants to control capital flow from the US to Third world countries while communists want to block the same capital coming in third world countries manifest that both cannot have the same purpose sitting opposite in the game or Trump and Marxists cannot have the same hypothesis for the welfare of the weaker sections of the society.  

Mar 18, 2017

Sea Breeze, Bombay: Adil Jussawalla

By: Bijay Kant Dubey

Partition's people stitched
Shrouds from a flag, gentlemen scissored Sind.
An opened people, fraying across the cut
country reknotted themselves on this island.

Surrogate city of banks,
Brokering and bays, refugees' harbour and port,
Gatherer of ends whose brick beginnings work
Loose like a skin, spotting the coast,

Restore us to fire. New refugees,
Wearing blood-red wool in the worst heat,
come from Tibet, scanning the sea from the north,
Dazed, holes in their cracked feet.

Restore us to fire. Still,
Communities tear and re-form; and still, a breeze,
Cooling our garrulous evenings, investigates nothing,
Ruffles no tempers, uncovers no root,

And settles no one adrift of the mainland's histories.
Sea Breeze, Bombay is one of those poems of Adil Jussawalla, the writer of Land’s End and Missing Person which can really take us by strike and woe as for the island imagery in the backdrop of the sea surging and the Partition scenario and the aftermath of it and can be reckoned together with Approaching Santa Cruz Airport, Bombay. To read the poem is to be remembered of J.M.Synge’s Riders to the Sea, W.H.Auden’s Look, Stranger!, Dylan Thomas’ Poem in October, John Masefield’s Sea Fever, Arnold’s Dover Beach and Wordsworth’s Upon The Westminster Bridge.

'Sea Breeze, Bombay' is a poem of Bombay telling about the Bombayan men and populace by a Bombay man, what was it in the beginning, how does it look together with in the wake of the camps of the refugees put up. A Bombay, metropolitan, cosmopolitan and almost a commercial hub which it has turned into ultimately, giving refuge and shelter to all, is the picture; the tragic partition of the sub-continent and the bloody aftermath of it shook it all what it was good in humanity and we could not think if men could be monsters. There had been refugees Punjab and its frontiers and adjoining areas. Now the refugees from Tibet too have found a shelter in. 
A poem of Bombay and its cosmopolitanism, Sea Breeze, Bombay is a city poem, telling about the capital which has shelter and refuge to all. The torn and separated people have found time to stitch their tales and redress their wounds.

A poem of five parts or call it break-ups, it has the movement of its own, as the narrative takes the stand. A Partition poem, it is about the Partition People seen in the stories of Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh, The Refugee by K.A.Abbas and The Peshawar Express by Krishan Chunder.

Sea Breeze, Bombay is a poem of the tragically dislocated and displaced people which is but the blunder of history which the time will never forgive it. For no fault of them, they suffer as for our political errors and misinterpretations. Against the backdrop of the sea breeze refreshing it always, the city of Bombay pulsates in its own way, giving calm and shelter to all, maybe they the Partition people, as wrecked and distraught humanity finds solace it here, stitching and patching the tales anew.

Sea Breeze, Bombay as a partition poem reminds us of K.A. Abbas’ The Refugee, Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan, Krishan Chander’s The Peshawar Express seen through the woe and pathos of the people partitioned and barricaded from entries, leaving their all but in the name of religion and nationalism. Just like a whirlwind or a cyclone, tornado or hurricane, they got uprooted and devastated.

On the one hand the talk of flags and nascent nationalism overtook them, the zealots of independence seeking freedom from while on the other hand the shrouds failed to cover up all. The flags served as the shrouds for those in need. Sind was scissored, Punjab was partitioned, Bengal was, resulting in the influx of the refugees, braving the odds, going on the ways, meeting their ends, dying on the paths, the shelterless people, the refugees.

Many of them went to Delhi, many to Calcutta, many found shelter and refuge in Bombay, the island city of commercial hub and navigation, with a history of its own in attracting people from all over the world through the corridor of history. The harbours, posts and ships will tell the unsaid story themselves how is it busy with bristling activity.

Again the same fate met the Tibetans coming as refugees to settle in Bombay and Dharamshala, H.P. In a different clime and situation, found they placed unaware of the seasons and the clothes needed for. 

Fire which is so sacrosanct purges it all. Let the communities re-knot their ties and strike the roots forgetting their past as Bombay has always welcomed the distraught people, the shipwrecked forlorn brothers.

The sea breeze keeps ruffling it all in a fresh way.

In Sea Breeze, Bombay, the poet also sees it himself, trying to locate and re-locate historically, genealogically. What the history of it where he is now. How was it Bombay it the beginning? What has it turned into? The communities may cross swords, but it retains the same accommodative spirit down the ages. The Sindhis, the Parsis, the Jews, the Christians, the Tibetans, the navigators, shipmen, mariners, it is a city of all those who come to live in here. The coasts and harbours of it have always alluded the foreigners; the beaches of it as the tourist spots. Instead of the scars and wounds of the Partition, the people try to stitch their histories and relationships to rebuild it. 


Mar 14, 2017

Dhauli: Mahapatra

By: Bijay Kant Dubey

Dhauli is one of the poems taken from the poetry-collection named Waiting written by Jayanta Mahapatra, a poet of note from Orissa and of an Oriya background, historicity, art and culture, but of physics as the subject of his study. Without knowing Orissa and Orissan history, one may not understand what the poet means to say herein as it is a poem of some historical background. Asoka, the battle of Kalinga fought and lost here matter it most and the bloody, gruesome aftermath of it which moved and motivated Asoka so much that he admonished the idea of waging wars at the cost of human loss and casualty, bloodshed and violence. The poet just recreates the scene with a flurry of ideas drawing from existential, nothingness and absurd domains. There is nothing as that to tell historically, but to describe from the light and darkness and the creation of the universe points of view.

Dhauli is actually in the mode of Wilfred Owen’s Futility, the horror and terror, futility and bloodshed of war which but Asoka not Jayanta is thinking. On reading the poem, we feel it whether Asoka is the protagonist of it or Jayanta. It is definitely not of Asoka, but of Jayanta as he keeps ruminating and reminiscing privately and personally.

When the Kaling war was over, the fields and fallows of Dhauli took a different outlook as there scenes would have been terrible, the landscape filled with dead and slain bodies blood-smeared and rotten. It would have cumbersome to cover up it all the gory scene and sight of the deadly bloody war whose images hinged on for posterity to reckon with at war and in peace.

The earth too planned for doing away with in its natural way, covering up slowly the remains and skeletons, burying the existent in due course of time. The wind, rains, heat and dust, rains and wind, birds of prey and animals, time and duration would have helped in coming out of the rut.

The place is the same but with a changed scenario. There is nothing like that as those the things of yore, the events and happenings of the past, only the scars survive it in terms of rock edicts telling of the battle as does he Tennyson in The Charge of The Last Brigade.

Jayanta Mahapatra as a poet is not for pleasure-giving, but instead of adds to our woe and misery, instead of lightening taxes our mood. Poetry should be for pleasure too, but rather than that he makes us somber and grim-faced.

The first stanza of the poem deals with the Kalinga war and the instant aftermath of it, what it happened thereafter when the war was over:

Afterwards when the wars of Kalinga were over,
the fallow fields of Dhauli
hid the blood-spilt butchered bodies.
The red-smeared voiceless bodies left attended or unattended would have been the scene to strike with awe and horror.

The second stanza tells of the natural process of the earth to dispense and do away with. Wind, heat, dust, rains, time, soil and grass play their part.

As the earth
burrowed into their dead hunger
with its merciless worms,
guided the foxes to their limp genitals.

The third stanza tells of what it stays and what not. There is nothing that lies written it here. Everything is but in the process of time and this time has a duration to follow in its trail. The evening  different with a mood of own to recreate. The waters of the Daya fresh and fine tickling over the edicts, singing of its murmur and flow rather than the rock edicts.

Years later, the evening wind,
trembling the glazed waters of the River Daya,
keens in the rock edicts the vain word,
like the voiceless cicadas of night:

The fourth and last stanza sums up as thus:

the measure of Asoka's suffering
does not appear enough.
The place of his pain peers lamentably
from among the pains of the dead.

Asoka’s suffering does not appear to be enough. What is more important was the loss and casualty inflicted upon the Odia psyche. What it devastated most is the Kalinga war and its consequences. The pains of the Odias there was none to nurture and heal, balm and bandage and it was only in course of time.






Mar 6, 2017

Summer: Mahapatra

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By Bijay Kant Dubey

Summer is one of those typical poems of Jayanta Mahapatra wherein he clutches along so many ideas and images to present his thesis and anti-thesis as George Bernard Shaw is in his talks and dramas of ideas and Samuel Beckett incorporating in the existential and absudistic things into the plays of his to dip into the absurdities of life and the world. What the purpose of life, who can but say it? Why are we here? A poet who is so private and personal, intricate and complex, linguistic and imagistic frolicking with word-play here in this poem takes to feminism, fatalism and palmistry, bare realism, rural landscape, Indian poverty and the gusts of summer ruffling it all with the scorching heat and dust, the sun falling so strong and the earth parching, people perspiring. Against the backdrop of all this, he portrays the life of the little girl seeing the lousy hair of her mother in the mango orchard, seeking for relief from the scorching summer. 

Poverty, illiteracy, underdevelopment and life under impoverished circumstances form the crux of his poetry and the present poem is no exception to that. Taking summer, he says many a thing, somewhere about the good wife taking a siesta by being unaware of the pyre burning far and the choric voices coming to, his sexuality and also about the passing of heat and humidity under the mango tree. Somewhere he has described the Vedic and Upanishadic chants doing the rounds in the rock-built classical temples seconded by the movement of the crocodiles moving deep into the waters. The pundits and the devotees take midday meal late into the afternoon after the temple worship reciting mantras and doing the holy rituals as for confession of guilt and purification and purging of souls, good days to prevail upon with a note of benediction and foreboding of good, seeking blessings for all, peace for all, shantih, shantih for mind, heart and soul.

Summer by Jayanta is just like A Summer Poem written by him, but is different in some ways. It is the specialty of the poet that he chooses very often the same title to express it differently and similar is the case with this poem. An Indian summer poem, it is more of rural life and the country, the hamlets and thorps burning in scorching heat and summer with mother and daughter sitting in the orchard and that too under the mango tree forms the scene of the poem under our scrutiny and perusal. The secluded country with the hamlets and thorps and the mango groves portrayed against the burning sensation, scorching heat form the scenic background of the poem.

In the midst of scorching heat and dust, ruffle and hot wind, he tells of mother and daughter, their passing of time, destiny and lot seconded with the dropping of the mango somewhere. Here the image refreshes the memory of Blake’s The Little black Boy, how she nurses him under shading against the odds of life. When the poet talks of the uncertain future of the little girl, he hints towards the monstrous dowry system and the resultant state of womanhood in India. R.K.Narayanin astrologer who seems to foretell her future is perhaps a thug, the great Indian thug. 

What it is in her destiny, who can but say it? What will the astrologer guess about? The crisscrosses of her fate only God knows it. Where will she end up becoming Sati, Savitri or Sita, Kunti or Draupadi, Surpanakha or Hididmba or Putana? Who is she? Patita or Punita? In search of purity where did we go to? We made stupendous temples just to house in gods and goddesses, not for ourselves. Even today the foreigners startle at seeing the architectural feat of the masons and architects, but they living in their poor hutments. While on the other hand the Sati system, child marriage, patriarchal hegemony tell the poor plight of ours, how maltreatment was meted out to them. The second question is, what have we done from the developmental point of view? What have we after the independence of India? What have we for the women, widows and children? Poor India’s poor tales, what to say about them? The slaps and beats of the loo, heat wave sizzling and sucking blood R.Parthasarathy has felt it in his poem Delhi against the backdrop of medievalism and foreign invasion of it while walking into tombstones and mausoleums.

The girl unaware of her lot is seeing the hair of her mother, the dandruffy and lousy hair of her mother. The astrologer, palmist and soothsayer cannot see her fate lines, the crisscrosses of her destiny rather than predicting their own. History tells it that they have subjected womankind to inhuman treatment and cruelty, domestic violence and bruise, putting and pushing behind the bars. But here a ten-year old village girl child oblivious of it all, her fate and destiny and good luck, keeps caressing her mother as well as lying in wait for the fall of the mango.

As a poem it brings to our memory so many things said and unsaid and the images conjure upon automatically. Summer is of the snakes and scorpions, jasmines and other fragrant flowers. The cool shades of the banyan, peepul and mango trees delight us giving shelter from heat and perspiration. The Indian rural homes made from mud and thatched add to the woes. The sun burnt earth blazes it during the summer time. It rains fire during the moths of Jyestha and Baisakh. At that time Eliot’s search for water, thunder and rains and the prayers to Indra appear endearing to us. Khushant Singh too starts searching for water melon and lassi, lemon water, salad and pudina chutney. Onion helps us in beating the loo. Cold water from earthen pitchers refresh us.

One should not forget it that summer is the season of cold drinks, sweet mangoes, black berries and dates.

To start the poem with, Not yet appears strange and non-conventional too. Does he mean to say that it is not totally about summer but something more inducted in? Does he want to take to sociologically delving into the rural and country space and landscape? How is life in the country round the years? How the living conditions and life of the people?

The lines are exquisitely beautiful when he says,
Under the mango tree
The cold ash of a deserted fire.

The idea may be archetypal taking back to The Retreat of Vaughan, but here the context is different. The poet means to say that the things keep swapping places and positions. What it is today will not be tomorrow, what it was is it not now and what it is now will be different tomorrow. The mass is the same, but the shapes keep changing.

When the poet talks of, he seems to be suggesting it something different from all these:
A ten-year-old girl
combs her mother's hair,
where crows of rivalries
are quietly nesting.

Here lie in the things of nestling as the crows and cuckoos do it after interplaying it all, here lie in the things of rivalry which the feminine self is unaware of. Where will life take to ultimately? How will it go trending? The things are much of D.H.Lawrence’s The Fox novella where Henry the soldier intrudes upon the solitude of March and Banford and disrupts their life completely as the support system collapses it ultimately.

Under the mango there was a hearth which the ashes tell of that somebody passed it, cooked under the cool shade of, maybe a gipsy or a vagabond or a picnicker sometime back.

Which way the things will spin, it is very difficult to say with regard to Mahapatra as he is very intriguing and coquettish too apart from being intricate, complex and tedious. 

Not yet.
Under the mango tree
The cold ash of a deserted fire.

Who needs the future?

A ten-year-old girl
combs her mother's hair,
where crows of rivalries
are quietly nesting.

The home will never
be hers.

In a corner of her mind
a living green mango
drops softly to earth. 

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