Friday, April 2, 2010

From Sangli to Bhopal: Via Chandigarh and Dahiwadi

The first quarter of 2010 was probably the busiest quarter of a year for me. It started with my trip to Sangli in early Jan as a subject expert to talk about the issues related to translation of poetry and ended with my trip to Bhopal  to read my poems at Kavi Bharti-5 organized by Vagarth, Centre for Indian Poetry at Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal between 19 th and 21st of March. In the mean time, I also went to Dahiwadi, a small town near Pune, to read my poems and deliver a talk on the Post Nineties Marathi poetry in Jan. I went to Chandigarh to attend the International Conference of Melus-Melow on the Contemporary Literature after the Eighties in Feb and to Ahmedabad to talk about the implications of the language vs. literature debate in the present context at Smt AP Arts and NP Patel Commerce college, PK Patel Vidya Sankul, Naroda . Phew! Never ran around so much. Plus I had to work towards moving our residence from the university quarters where I stay to our new house at Gorwa. So in all probability this might be the last of my blog entries from the quarters.The best part of it, however, was catching up with many new and old friends!The places I visited were also wonderful, especially, Chandigarh and Bhopal. The intellectual level of discussion at these places too was far better than expected. It was fun.

In all the seminars and conferences, my attempt was to think out the box. Though creative writing, critical discourse and translation are three different discursive domains, I feel that the basic thrust of all the three is very much the same: renewal of language which is nothing less than renewal of the ways of thinking, perceiving and being. Sounds too contentious and ambitious? Recall Shelley's slogan that the poets are unacknowledged legislators of the world. The people who find this proposition too Romantic, idealistic and outrageous read the word ` legislators' too literally. No, we dont make traffic rules or penal laws. What we do make is language, and all these things are made from it. Like the great inventors, innovators and discoverers, we invent, innovate and discover the things not discovered or invented before. However, its because we deal primarily with language, people feel that language is not a big deal as everyone uses it all the time. Hence, the word `unacknowledged'. 

Like Oscar Wilde, I think criticism is an art too, because it is also a ways of seeing, perceiving and thinking about art. When people start thinking, perceiving and talking about art in obvious and cliched ways, its the time for the critic to invent a new language, a new way of talking about art and a new way of thinking about it. It follows that the challenges before criticism are in many ways similar to those before creative writing. Like art, it has to be interesting and stimulating and fresh. 

Going back to more mundane matters, the exam season has started and I am now neck deep with examination work. I also purchased a new bike-Bajaj-Discover DTS-Si -today as I would have to commute a great deal from my new home and am enjoying my learning lessons. Actually, I rode my Bajaj Super for a decade. I am yet to get proper control over the gears using my foot. Neways, I am enjoying it.

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