Art Matters

To Shobhs *grin* and other literature teachers who know the value of literature and never gave up on the not-so-literati students like myself. 

A piece of writing I’ve been wanting to well, write (obviously) for a while now but never seemed to find the correct words to articulate. My muse still doesn’t seem to call, despite having (thought) been inspired by Nobel acceptance speeches I was reading all day. (I thought my muse called on then.) From Pamuk in Istanbul to Solzhenitsyn in Russia, these laureates wrote words and spoke meanings, self-assumed amateur writers like myself attempt everyday to speak, to write, to make the person sitting next to me to try and understand. While it is their creative genius that clearly distinguishes Us from Them, the good-natured simplicity and the ability to reach out to all readers and writers alike, can only be gaped at and marvelled upon.

It may have been one of ‘those’ deferred epiphanies, but I can only start by saying how under appreciated the domain of World Literatures is, at least in this part of the world. It will be one of the many things I will forever be in debt to India and of course my much loved Department of English. Those reading this, don’t get me wrong, I am not buttering anyone up (though I wouldn’t mind a pass for Popular Culture! Lols.) It’s just that among those many deferred epiphanies, I have begun to realise the value of a teacher, a good teacher at that. Sadly, most of us realise this only after leaving school. I think that is when tertiary education becomes important., even to non-academically motivated scholars like myself. Your interaction with teachers take a whole new level, it becomes personal (no not inappropriate) and your learnings, mutual. The joy of English Studies is having to take up papers such as ELT (English Language Teaching) becoming two-hour teachers, getting the life drained out of you and realising why teachers are, the way they are.

Literature has taught me many things. Many things I seem to articulate better at 3.35 am while giving out speeches to my empty hall as opposed to noting it down. Teachers of literature tell us many things, because it has inspired them as students of literature. Many things, I would want to tell my children and students, if I am to be a mother and teacher.

One of my earlier posts dealt with my inability to cope with the killings of the Holocaust. But oddly enough, I proclaim that I am normalised to the talks of war that happened back home. Yes the hypocrite admits. But now when I think of it, such sentiments may have stemmed from not having accessed as many writings on the ethnic conflict in SL, as opposed to my readings on the Indian-Pakistani partition or Holocaust? Perhaps, it is my responsibility as a citizen and as a self-assumed amateur writer to sensitise one another and hypocrites like myself of the ‘truth’ that befell my country. Perhaps, they need a perspective that is not dominated by human rights violations and the wrath of more powerful countries.

This post too, like many other posts, do not serve justice to the ramblings in my head. To the ramblings I listened to all day, to the thoughts I gathered all day after having (supposedly) realised the power of Art. Yet, we all strive, it is in our nature to do so.

My battle for humanities is not ephemeral. In my twenty-something naïvety, I think the world will be a better place, if we are all students of Humanities, Literature, in particular 🙂



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