A.K. Ramanujan lecture discussed pertinent issues on literature
Literature, however profound and ancient, is a product of human experience. It should, therefore, be enjoyed in that manner and be open to critical thinking and not worshipped. Doing so would be fossilising living ideas, mummifying the ancient texts and basically bringing the entire gamut of Sanskrit literature to a “dead end”.
These were some of the issues discussed during the talk on “Alive at India’s Dead End” by Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former Governor of West Bengal and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, while delivering the second A.K. Ramanujan lecture at Ramjas College here on Thursday.
The background of the lecture made his words more significant. It was instituted against the Delhi University’s controversial decision to remove his essay Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translations from its syllabus in 2011.
“A.K. Ramanujan was a companion, a friend, perhaps, a disciple of Sanskrit, but he was never a slave to it,” he said, while talking about the poet’s passion as well as his scholarly irreverence towards his subject which made him what he was, one of those who chose to break this “dead-end”.
The history society of the college also had a special talk in the morning on “Speaking of the Hindus” by Professors D.N. Jha, Kunal Chakrabarti and Apoorvanand. The session was chaired by historian Romila Thapar.