Selections from Indian Writing: Cultural Diversity
BEGC 132 ASSIGNMENT FOR JULY 2021 & JAN 2022 SESSION
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1 ) I was in the beginning, I would be there in the end
Who could be wiser than me? None else is primed of this secret (Though) I know not who I am
Ans – The Last four lines state that the true Self has neither a beginning nor an and as it is eternal.
When he has listed the reasons as to why he does not know his true identity, he asks who else can know the secret of one bit , existence, and death.
To consider oneself something emanates from the sense of ego.
Such a person is still under the sway of inaya, and has not had a vision of truth so far.
One who has had such a vision comes to know his true Self and Gets liberated from the bondage of caste, religion and country.BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
There is numerous instances in the poem of bulleh shah, Which show that the soul, like the Lord, has no religion, no caste, no country.
All these distinctions are born out of time and space, but the soil is unborn and timeless.
It has neither a beginning, nor an and, nor is it bound by the limitation of caste and religion. Bullah recognizes only the primeval relationship of soul with God.
2) I am the boat, you are the sea, and also the boatman.
Though you never make the shore, though you let me sink, why should I be foolish and afraid?
Ans. The Opening line “I am the boat, you are the sea, and also the boatman* affirms the power of the sea and of the boatmen steering the boat across the sea.
The boat has no power of its own to move. It is propelled by the boatman who rows it through the waters. BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
It is often said neither the flute nor the harmonium knows how to make music, it is the player who plays the musical instruments to create the desired music.
So is the boat passive and rooted to its anchored position till the boatman paddles it through the waters.
The next line though you never make the shore thought you let me sink, why should I be foolish and afraid ? is a rhetorical question that has an in-built answer that we need not be foolish afraid as we are steered through by the boats create the desired music.
So is the boat passive and rooted to its anchored position till the boatman paddles it through the waters?
The sea is often used as a metaphor for the flow of life. In one single line, the song distills the meaning of how the boatman steers us through life as we neither have the power nor the skill to sail through life without His grace. BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
Implied in this line is that life is always in the forward movement and it never goes back to the past. Once the boat leaves the shore it docs not return even if it sinks in the sea.
So are we forever on the move from birth to death, but in our firm belief that He, guides us through life c, we need not be afraid even if we do not return to the shore.
The word ‘sink is not to be misread as something calamitous, sinking in the sea is merging with Him, as the next line reads: “Is reaching the share a greater prize than losing myself with you?
The phrase losing myself with you means merging with the Lord.
The rhetorical question has the answer that reverting nostalgically to the life left behind is not as worthy of seeking as becoming one with the Source one comes from.
Ans. The port mentions certain gods in this poem. Shiva, Kali, Isaki, as will as the devil and the ghost. BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
Both Shiva and Kali are known for their power of destruction. We have to remember the association of the ‘cobra ‘with the god Shiva as well.
The pact dissociates the ‘cobra ‘from Shiva and uses it as a medium of protest whereas ‘Denying Shiva “might signify his denial of mainstream cultural and religious narratives.
He also uses god Isaki (not part of the Hindu pantheon) and local deities to bring in the marginalized narratives. The port uses the symbol of the kite to signify the freedom of the oppressor.
The oppressed care not even touch the shadow of the kite which is flying freely in the sky,
The port says the kite is flying away not only because it is free but because it is afraid of the revenge of the oppressed.BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
Q4. These are the colours of destiny of immutable truth and the colours also with which warring pawns are daily decorating our towns.
Ans. The port says that both the colors are the colors of destiny and immutable truth. While the red of blood signifies life. black signifies death.
Life and death are the colors of destiny as well as truth.
But the port ponders over how these two colors are pawns in the hands of the warring parties who paint the town with these colors every day.
In the last lines, the port expresses how the common folk have to deal with life and death daily because of the clashes created by those who have power
Q5 ‘ The Mad Lover’
Ans. Sisir Kumar Das illustrates the mad Irenzy of total devotion and absorption in God through some of the well-known Bhakti poets of the medieval period.
As stated above, the characteristics of poetry are the intensity of emotion and beauty. Usually it is an expression of intensely felt emotions of the port.
Bhakti poetry is lyrical poetry that expresses personal emotions or feelings, typically spoken in the first person. BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
But here, we have two protagonists – the port i.c., the singer or the addresser and God, the addressee.
The port is presented as a mad lover, imagery that we come across frequently in medieval religious poetry.
As for the addressee, i.c.. God. He is no longer presented as an abstract god existing only in the mind, nonfigurative that the sages experienced in a state of trance and who therefore is neither visible nor comprehensible to the ordinary man,
but as a God who is close to the heart of even the common man. God appears to the worshipper as a figurative God, sometimes as a child, sometimes as a Friend, but more often as a lover desiring to meet his beloved.BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
Q6. The Bhakti movement and Sufi movements.
Ans. The Bhakti Movement was a Hindu religious movement of the medieval period that believed that Enlightenment was obtainable by everyone.
The movement advocated that a personal expression of devotion to God is the way to become one with Him. Mira, Kabir, Mahadeviyaka, etc. were the saint poets of Bhakti Movement. BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
The Bhakti movement was a movement of the common people who revolted against the shackles of social conventions and the authoritarianism of the Brahminical priests and scholars who ruled over the temples and thrust old.
Fossilized rituals and customs on the simple, nalve and ordinary men and women.
The song of the Bhakti poets became the song of a liberated spirit which expressed joyous emotions through song and dance.
The Saiva saints of Tamilnadu (worshippers of Shiva). Chaitanya and Mcera are good examples of poets who used dancing as a means to express their ecstasy Mccra, charmed by her lover Krishna, defied all social conventions as virtually
Q7. Why does one need to study Dalit literature?
Ans. ‘Dalit Lite rattire is not simply literature.
Dalit litsrattirc is associated with a movement to bring about change… at the very first glance, it will be strongly evident that there is no established critical theory or point of view behind them; instead, there is new thinking and a new point of view.
“The word Dalit literally means broken people. In the Indian caste hierarchy, the position at the lowest ning is known as the untouchable or the Dalit.
They lived a precarious existence, rejected. discriminated against and abused by the upper caste. BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
They were forced to work in degraded conditions, denied the right to acquire land and rendered almost to an inhuman state.
Thus, the literature born out of this suffering, injustice and inequality is a narrative of agony and protest. Protest and resistance become a way of expression in Dalit literature.
The medium of expression in Dalit literature is poetry, auto biographies, and short stories.
There is also a pertinent question on whether Dalit literature can only be written by Dalits since Dalit literature as mentioned above, is an expression of the lived experiences of discrimination and oppression.
Though the beginning of the Dalit movement/literature is associated with Maharashtra, today it has spread to different parts of the country where caste and class has been a medium to oppress a section of society.
As the caste system is a harsh reality in India, injustice and suffering bom out of this system is a fact one carinot deny.
Thus, Dalit literature is a voice of resistance against the marginalization, oppression, and discrimination faced on a daily basis in different areas of life by a major section of the society. BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
One needs to be extra sensitive while dealing with the aesthetics of Dalit literature. The meaning of Dalit in Hindi and Marathi is ‘ground down, depressed’.
And is now used by politicized untouchables in preference to any other designation.
The term is one of pride – untouchables have been oppressed by others; there is nothing inherently wrong with them.
Their insistence on the use of Dalit has been recognized officially, and the state governments of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh have issued orders that Dalit be the term used, rather than Harijan, Scheduled Caste, or Untouchable.
By now we have seen that ‘Dalit literature ‘is not written for entertainment or as a reflection of emotions and feelings but with a ‘purpose.
The purpose is to expose the age-old exploitation on the basis of ‘caste ‘in India and resist such atrocities while at the same time asserting the identity of the marginalized and dispossessed people. BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
Thus, Dalit literature is a literature of commitment. Through literature, the Dalits became a ‘speaking subject ‘whom the upper caste Hindus have tried to suppress for decades.
As Dalit literature is committed to upliftment, it is revolutionary and transformational in nature; it is also political.
The claim that Dalit literature is revolutionary and transformational is not based on the fact that all Dalit writers adhere to a radical ideology, such as socialism or Marxism.
Q8. What do you think women’s writing seeks to express?
Ans. Women’s literature has of ten been defined by publishers as a category of writing done by women.
Though obviously, this is true, many scholars find such a definition reductive. What makes the history of women’s writing so interesting is that in many ways it is a new area of study.
The tradition of women’s writing has been much ignored due to the inf crior position women have held in male-dominated societies.
It is still not unheard of to sec literature classes or anthologies in which women are greatly outnumbered by male writers or even entirely absent.
The onus of women’s literature, then, is to categorize and create an area of study for a group of people marginalized by history and to explore through their writing their lives as they were while occupying such a unique sociopolitical space within their culture.
The number of published women authors was greater in the nineteenth century than in any preceding century. BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
Women’s access to higher education increased exponentially during the century, providing them with skills that they could use to develop their art.
The growth of market economics, cities, and life expectancies changed how women in Europe and the United States were expected to conform to new societal pressures and made many women more conscious of their imposed social, legal, and political inequality.
Finally, the many social reform movements led by nineteenth-century women, such as religious revivalism, abolitionism, temperance, and suffrage, gave women writers a context, an audience, and a forum in which they could express their views.
While most scholars agree that many women writers expressly or tacitly accepted the separate sphere of domesticity that the age assumed of them, they also argue that as the century progressed,
an increasing number of women began to express, in their writing, their dissatisfaction with gender relations and the plight of women in general.
Throughout the Victorian era, the “woman question regarding woman’s true place in art and society was a subject that was hotly debated, spurred in large part by the rapid rise in literature by and for women.BEGC 132 Free Solved Assignment
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