கடிதங்கள் (ஆங்கிலம்) – நவம்பர் , 6, 2003
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I am a serious reader in Tamil. The recent article by Sankarapandi about Jeyakanthan ‘s speech was excellent and it throwed a lot of light on the truth.
Especially the caste background of the speech was something new that I learned.
He never made any comment when the death of Indira Gandhi was exploited by Congress or the death of Rajiv was exploited by ADMK.
I think he is purely politically motivated than wanting to say the truth as he claims.
Just like he stopped writing, he should better stop talking also if he wants to retain any respect among his readers.
I don ‘t know if anybody else in tamil literary circles is so political minded as Jeyamohan. It is so unfortunate for tamil literary world to have writers like Jeyamohan who constantly praises himself with all kinds of pseudo claims with no basis whatsoever.
THE NAMELESS FLAME BEHIND THEM ALL Vaasanthi
Samuel Johnson in his review of ‘A free enquiry into the nature and origin of evil ‘ says in his inimitable style: ‘Many of the books which now crowd the world, may be justly suspected to be written for the sake of some invisible order of beings, for surely they are of no use to any of the corporeal inhabitants of the world. Of the productions of the last bounteous year, how many can be said to serve any purpose of use or pleasure ? The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it. ‘
Johnson was essentially a literary critic, and therefore people accepted his vocation even if they did not agree with what he said, as one would accept the vocation of say a carpenter or a butcher. When fiction writers dare to be critics it is a different matter altogether. They at once become vulnerable as the likes of Johnson would never be. It is a dangerous venture and if the author risks treading on its path he or she better be prepared to get stuck on a bed of arrows till the end like Bhishma Pithama. A female author may not like the Bhishma metaphor. Bhishma was a timeserver, a coward, wasn ‘t he ? A man who remained silent when Draupathi was disrobed at the court of the Kauravas ? And also was insensitive to the Ambalika sisters ? Critics, who are also authors, are not rare. Most authors however prefer to remain what they are and not be critics though they may think that no writing other their own was worth reading. Plain critics according to me are mere professionals. Cold blooded, unconcerned by the reaction, havoc, or despondency their criticisms may evoke. Of course their views can be highly personal, but they go about their job with the freedom and protection it ensures. The mauled author may sulk for a while but will not think it worthwhile to challenge the critic with a futile question like ‘ ‘Let us see if you can write a better book!” A book that gets into the bestseller list in any case does not depend on the review. It will sell anyway. But the review will make the author lose his /her sleep for a while, to an extent of crippling any fresh efforts for a new book. Henry James , author and critic could write damagingly about fellow writers and get away with it. To him Balsac ‘s world was ‘dauntingly empty ‘ .Walt Whitman ‘s poetry ‘exhibited the effort of an essentially prosaic mind to lift itself, by a prolonged muscular strain into poetry. Like hundreds of patriots, Mr.Whitman imagined that a certain amount of violent sympathy with the great deeds and sufferings of our soldiers ,and of admiration for our national energy, together with a ready command of picturesque language are sufficient inspiration for a poet. We look in vain , through the work for a single idea. We find nothing but flashy imitations of ideas. We find a medley of extravagances and commonplacesஸ. ”
In Tamil Nadu a critic who is also an author better be careful. Especially if one is callous enough to be politically incorrect. More than thirty years ago, D.Jayakanthan, the well known writer who became an icon during his heydays, was able to make a speech, at the condolence meeting of C.N.Annadurai [ the first DMK chief minister of Tamil Nadu,] that was highly critical of the deceased leader ‘s politics and writing. One cannot imagine getting away with such a critique now. The Tamils are increasingly sensitive to such a blasphemy.
Now , why should a writer like Jeyamohan declare that the DMK president, former Tamil Nadu chief minister whose lilting alliterative Tamil prose has enchanted millions of admirers , the cadres, his blood of blood, is no writer at all ? And get it printed in every magazine ,big and small ? Jeyamohan says that he was appalled first of all by the encomiums that a few writers for whom he has had high regard as serious writers, showered on Karunanidhi, on the occasion of a book [authored by someone else]release function, when they found themselves sharing the platform with the celebrity. Jeyamohan should have stopped with that but alas, did not. He went on to explain why their act was despicable. Why did they, far superior writers than Karunanidhi , demean themselves so ? Didn ‘t they know that what they spoke was not true ? Didn ‘t they realize that they were being farcical in praising Karunanidhi ‘s writing which was nothing but less than mediocre ? Jeyamohan made a categorical statement. Karunanidhi can have no place in the history of serious Tamil literature. His writing is propagandist and nothing more.
Tamil magazines starved for something spicy to boost their circulation played ball with it.
All of them managed to be ‘fair ‘. They flashed Jeyamohan ‘s interview with his frank views on the writing abilities of ‘kalingar ‘ Karunanidhi, where in he dissected mercilessly its flaws, with the zeal of a missionary. It was a pitiless destruction of a myth,a legend much in the style of Henry James ‘ criticism of Whitman..The magazines followed it up with the defence arguments from the affected that descended to a language of slander with questions like ‘who is Jeyamohan , a Malayalee by birth,to judge Karunanidhi ‘s writing ?Who said Jeyamohan is a great writer ?Don ‘t we know that he is mentally afflicted ?” .Karunanidhi who, at seventy nine , one would have expected to ignore the entire episode, for his part wrote a scathing poem in Murosoli, in reply. Eulogies are not new to him He is used to being praised for possessing ‘an inexhaustible reservoir of literary wisdom, a powerful pen, an incisive mind, a silver tongue and an elephantine memory ‘. The Tamil web sites are having a field day , with articles of abuse that cannot find space in the print media. The personal cannot but become political. The mudslingers ask, ‘Don ‘t we know that Jeyamohan is an RSS stooge ?Is he trying to be blessed by Jayalalithaa by attacking Kalaingar ? ‘
In all this din the literary debate got misfired. How do you judge good writing ? And who is to judge that ? I remember that I grew up with books, lived and slept with them, with the comfortable feeling that a novel is a novel ,as a pudding is a pudding, something that should be devoured. Only later came the realization that literature lives upon experiment, upon curiosity, upon new visions of interior landscapes and outer spaces, upon language weaving an unseen tapestry glimpsed by the inner eye at a magical silent moment- something that can never be learnt from a manual. It is this quality that has made several titles of world literature to stand the test of time. For their universal appeal, for their capacity to touch the reader ‘s heart with a sincerity born out of experience and vision , no matter in which language it is .”In every great novel, who is the hero all the time ?” asked D.H.Lawrence. “Not any of the character, but some unnamed and nameless flame behind them all”. Many works that the critics hailed at some point of time have gone into oblivion because they did not ring true; Because they did not possess that nameless flame to ignite the readers ‘ imagination. I once asked the organizers of a literary trust that awarded a cash prize to a book that they considered best, what their idea of a good work was. They said they selected a book that they considered would at least hold good for another twenty years. Most of the books that have won their awards have not stood the test even for a couple of years. How can we come to think that there are certain things that people ought to like and that they can be made to like ? There are all sorts of tastes and there is space for all of them. Let us not forget that this freedom is a splendid privilege. There is no way you can suppress it. ”Everybody knows,” wrote Saul Bellow, ”There is no fineness or accuracy of suppression. If you hold down one thing, you hold down the adjoining”.
the article by kanchana damodaran in the current thinnai issue on human resources crisis in US and its need to have a comprehensive plan is a neat thought process. country like india having a big market can effectively utilise its market demand and human resources dehors foreign direct investments. The only problem in india the relevant Ministry is not synchronising human resources with the market demand international as well domestic. The entire benefit of science technology and economic growth get shared by a few in trading sector and large scale industry, On the contrary countries like china assess the world demand both on goods and service and shapes it human resources for it. In india instead of making such measures our system of governing spend time on communal and cast differences and trying find a solution to those fights without changing the system in the world trade order utilising the oppurtunity. Kanchanas article throws emphasis on these direction
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