Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sri Aurobindo's Savitri is a landmark in Indian English writing

BHUBANESWAR Tuesday, February 20, 2007 The Pioneer 'Indian English writers have made great impact on world arena' Santanu Barad Berhampur

Indian English writing has made great impact on the world arena in present times; however, there is no room for complacency; hence the present generation writers have to sustain their efforts," opined Prof Prafulla Kumar Mohanty, while speaking on the recent trends in Indian writing in English at a national seminar, held recently at the Khallikote Autonomous College. Quoting from his survey, he said there were several inspirational writings in English by Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and Nehru. Aurobindo's Savitri was a landmark in Indian English writing. Later, some Indian writers like RK Narayan, Raja Rao and Mulk Raj Anand had strengthened this tradition, he added.

Viswabharati's Prof Niranjan Mohanty presented a paper on trends in Indian poetry in English. He observed that after Independence, Indian poetry in English evidenced a new trend. Instead of writing about myths, real-life situations drew the attention of the poets who had attempted to find out their own original voices. Such kind of regional identities subsumed their national identities.

Prof Mohanty expressed hope that the future direction which Indian poetry in English would take, is full of promises- promises to authenticate the experience, to minimise the gap between experience and expression and to authenticate one's identity without failing to project a valourous national identity. Sarat Chandra Roy, in his paper Tradition and Modernity: A Study of Indian and Indo-English Love Poetry, mentioned, "The best work of art is that in which tradition asserts immortality most vigorously."

He stated that the international exchange of ideas and the new mode of verse expression in world poetry influenced the style of expression. Though it took a new shape in Indian English poetry, the traditional and cultural ethos prevailed as an undercurrent of motivation and inspiration, he added. He quoted TS Eliot's remark that when new literature is created. "the past is altered by the present and the present is directed by the past."

Utkal University Professor Himansu S Mohapatra also presented a paper 'A fiction of our own?' in which he explained different stages of Indian English writing, starting from the 18th century to the present times, particularly about the hybrid genre of writers. Commenting on the new generation of writers, Prof Mohapatra stated, "VS Naipaul, one of the indisputable early pioneers of the hybrid form, explained the secret of nativisation in an illuminating comment he made on Narayan's achievement, saying that it consisted in writing about ordinary people and small places of India in English, which, freighted by its imperial baggage, was obliged to write only about big, epochal things."

"The fact of the matter, of course, is that the Diaspora writing of the 1980s and 1990s has gathered all the three phases of Indian writing in English, marked by colonialists in the 18th century, aestheticism in the 19th century, anti-colonialism and cosmopolitanism in the early and middle decades of the 20th century, into itself, as it has sought to create a rich, complex and ambiguous post-colonial discourse of both collusion and resistance, of commoditisation and decolonisation," Prof Mohapatra explained.

Speaking on the "fantasywallahs" like Vikram Chandra, Amitabh Ghosh and Arundhati Roy, Mohapatra said Salman Rushdie was the writer who inspired the young generation of Indian writers. felt the necessity to quote Rushdie, "These writers have gone on to find new literary voices through English, thereby taking India's encounter with the English language to a whole new level."

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