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Updated: January 28, 2012 11:36 IST

Writers must serve a social purpose

Markandey Katju
Comment (74)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The Hindu

A look at the role of literature, in the context of the recent Jaipur Literature Festival.

I was in Jaipur when the Literature Festival was on, and intended to go there, but was dissuaded by some friends who said it would be a waste of time. So what I learnt about it was from newspapers, television and the Internet.

To put it in briefly, I was totally disappointed. Much of the time was wasted on Salman Rushdie, whom I regard as a very mediocre writer who would have been unknown to most people but for The Satanic Verses. Much of the ‘Literature' Festival was really a caricature. There were, of course, serious writers too whose work deals with the problems of the people but they received no attention in comparison.

That set me thinking: Where is serious literature anywhere to be seen? Why blame this festival alone?

There are two theories about art and literature. The first, ‘art for art's sake' and the second, ‘art for social purpose'.

According to the first theory, art and literature are meant only to create beautiful or entertaining works, to please and entertain people and the artists themselves, and not to propagate social ideas.

If art and literature are used to propagate social ideas, they become propaganda. Proponents of this view include Keats, Tennyson, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot in English literature; Edgar Allan Poe in American literature; Agyeya and the ‘Reetikal' and ‘Chayavadi' poets in Hindi literature; Jigar Moradabadi in Urdu and Tagore in Bengali.

Literature should serve people

The other theory is that art and literature should serve the people, and help them in their struggle for a better life, by arousing emotions against oppression and injustice. Proponents of this school are Dickens and George Bernard Shaw in English literature; Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Upton Sinclair and John Steinbeck in American literature; Balzac, Stendhal, Flaubert and Victor Hugo in French; Goethe, Schiller and Erich Maria Remarque in German; Cervantes in Spanish; Tolstoy, Gogol, Dostoevsky and Maxim Gorky in Russian; Premchand and Kabir in Hindi; Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Kazi Nazrul Islam in Bengali, Bharati in Tamil and Nazir, Faiz, Josh and Manto in Urdu.

Which of these should be adopted and followed by artists and writers in India today?

There have been great artists and writers in both schools. Shakespeare and Kalidas can be classified as playwrights of the ‘art for art's sake' school. Their plays serve no social purpose beyond providing entertainment and an understanding of human impulses and motivations. Shakespeare was basically a realist, but had no intention to reform society or combat social evils. Yet, he is an artist of the highest rank.

Poetry at its best

Kalidas' Meghdoot is nature and love poetry at its best. Depictions of the countryside that he gives are astonishing in their beauty. Even Wordsworth can come nowhere near it. Nevertheless, Kalidas has no social purpose.

Shaw wrote with a social purpose — to combat social evils and reform society. His plays represent a powerful denunciation of social injustices and evils. Dickens' novels attack the social evils in England.

Art critics often regard the two basic trends or tendencies as realism and romanticism. The truthful, undistorted, depiction of people and their social conditions is realism. In romanticism, the emphasis is on flights of imagination, passion and emotional intensity.

Passive & active realism

Realism and romanticism can be either passive or active. Passive realism usually aims to depict reality truthfully, without preaching anything. The novels of Jane Austen, George Eliot and the Bronte Sisters are examples. In this sense, they are socially neutral. However, sometimes passive realism preaches fatalism, passivity, non-resistance to evil, suffering and humility.

Dickens, Victor Hugo, Gorky and Sarat Chandra belong to the school of active realists. They oppose fatalism, passivity and non-resistance to evil, and inspire people to fight social evils.

The strength of passive realism lay in its exposure of human motivations and social evils, and its weakness in its lack of positive principles or ideals. With its truthful approach to reality, it concentrated on describing the visible and real, but showed no way out. It criticised everything but asserted nothing. It often viewed man from a fatalistic point of view, as a passive product of his surroundings, helpless and incapable of changing social conditions.

Social purpose

Passive and active realism can both serve a social purpose. But while passive realism often preaches fatalism and pessimism and the futility of trying to improve society, active realism is optimistic, characterised by solicitude and concern for the people. It inspires them to strive against their plight and improve their conditions.

In Shakespeare, Balzac, Tolstoy or Mirza Ghalib, it is difficult to see if they are romantics or realists: both trends merge. In fact, the highest art is often a combination of the two.

Romanticism

Romanticism, like realism, can be passive or active. Passive romanticism attempts to divert people from reality into a world of fantasy or illusions, or to a fruitless preoccupation with one's own inner world, with thoughts about the ‘fatal riddle of life,' or dreams of love and death. Its characters may be knights, princes, demons or fairies who exist in a make-believe world. Passive romanticism hardly serves any social purpose.

Active romanticism, on the other hand, attempts to arouse man against societal evils, for example, Shelley's ‘Prometheus Unbound', Heine's ‘Enfant Perdu', Gorky's ‘Song of the Stormy Petrel,' and the poems of Urdu writer Faiz. It serves a social purpose. This genre rises above reality, not by ignoring it but by seeking to transform it, and regards literature as having a greater purpose than reflecting reality.

‘Art for social purpose' may be expressed not always in a direct way, but also in indirect, roundabout or obscure ways, for example, through satire. Look at Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels or A Tale of a Tub, Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland, Cervantes' Don Quixote, and Voltaire's Candide and Zadig. Much of Urdu poetry which serves a social purpose is expressed not in a direct, but in an indirect way. Mir, Ghalib and Faiz are examples.

Should artists and writers in India follow the school of ‘art for art's sake' or ‘art for social purpose'? What we have to consider is, which would be more beneficial to India's historical situation today. Thus, the question of who is greater as an artist, Shakespeare or Shaw (I personally think Shakespeare is) is not relevant in India today.

In such a poor country, ‘art for social purpose' alone can be acceptable. India faces tremendous challenges; artists and writers must join the ranks of those struggling for a better India. They must inspire through their writings, writing against oppression and injustice.

Lack of good literature

However, there is hardly any good art and literature today before us. Where are the Sarat Chandras and Premchands? Where are the Kabirs, the Dickens? There seems to be a vacuum in artistic and literary terms. Everything seems to have become commercialised. Writers write not to highlight the plight of the masses but to earn money.

Today India thirsts for good literature. If someone writes about the people's real problems it will spread like wildfire. But are our writers doing this? If they are not, why do they complain that nobody wants to read them? Art and literature must serve the people. Writers and artists must have genuine sympathy for the people and depict their sufferings. Like Dickens and Shaw in England, Rousseau and Voltaire in France, Thomas Paine and Walt Whitman in America, Chernyshevsky and Gorky in Russia and Sarat Chandra and Nazrul Islam in Bengal, they must inspire people to struggle for a better life, what can be really called human existence, and to create a better world, free of injustice. Only then will people respect them.

(The author is the Chairman of the Press Council of India, and a former Judge of the Supreme Court)

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Well i Totally Agree with the ideas of Sri Katju because if the literature doesn't carry any social purpose then for what it is? science, art, literature have been developed to develop a person or the society from one stage to another. In India now we have a modern capitalist society not feudal system so we(writers)help the society for Democratization in ideas through writings, tales, stories, poems. In this situation if i have written regarding the feudal thought representing kings, etc . What purpose it will carry? What is the need or use of such writing for the society or the individuals in the society? so i request you do consider about this article and take proper lessons and carry forward the good values in the society through our writings and make the emotions of our people strong. Don't confuse them(people) merely for our individual interest or for money. Help people for better struggling to create a new society having no Exploitation of man by man.

from:  Sobhan Dasari
Posted on: Feb 1, 2012 at 14:18 IST

Well his opinion about literature is very prejudiced. I think he would have surely read The Art of Fiction by Henry James which clearly says that there aren't certain rules for writing a novel, it equally applies to all other art forms(a writer shouldn't be under any pressure while he is writing). As a literature student I disagree with him as we are always reminded in our classes that art and literature is to "teach" and "delight".
And the view that Indians are in the need of social issue based novel is correct but what about other genre writers?

from:  Akshaya Rajanikant
Posted on: Jan 30, 2012 at 23:50 IST

Justice Katju is 100 per cent right. What media propagating about Rushdie is nothing but non sense. People are reeling under many problems like price hike, unemployment, corruption, formers suicides so on and so forth. But this media and so called literary personalities are writing so much junk which is not at all useful to the well being of people and society. Justice Katju's analogy on art's purpose is scientific and objective. Without social purpose, art is for whose sake? Whatever created in the society like agriculture, pottery, navigation, industry, science, art and literature everything, its all happened due to the collective efforts of mankind through ages. When we learn something from the society, its a obligation to contribute something in return to the society. There lies real responsibility. Even the literary personalities also dont fall from heaven directly. They also the products and part & parcel of the society. They must serve the social needs. Nobody is exception.

from:  Nagaraj
Posted on: Jan 30, 2012 at 20:45 IST

Art and literature arousing the people to work for solidarity, co-humanity, fellow-feeling, community-building and Planet-shaping is getting more and more audience and acceptance in our post modern times.

from:  Dr.Cajetan Coelho
Posted on: Jan 30, 2012 at 16:04 IST

@VMN Sharma: very true, I really hate to see people live in ignorance and continue living the same way instead of realizing the truth using some reason. Most Indians have lost their values let alone Gandhian values. This is one of the best replies to all the Critical people who say that Rushdie should have come to JLF. All these Rushdie and communal hate fans have lost their bearings. They should get a reality check. It is not anyone's right to dishonour any religion.

from:  Syed
Posted on: Jan 30, 2012 at 14:23 IST

By juxtaposing his comments on Salman Rushdie and his plea for socially aware literature and art in the context of the Jaipur fiasco, Mr.Katju is making a very troubling point. He implies that because (in his opinion) Rushdie is a mediocre writer, it is no great loss that he couldn't be heard. He completely misses the point. As chairman of the Press Council he should have been out there defending everyone's right to be heard - including that of mediocre writers. The right to free speech isn't given just to great writers. It belongs to all of us. And after all who's to decide who's a great writer - Muslim fundamentalists? Hindu fundamentalists? If Mr.Katju doesn't see this fundamental point, he should resign from the Press Council.

from:  H. V. Ravinder
Posted on: Jan 30, 2012 at 01:31 IST

Sir, I really bow to your ideas. I have not read Rushdie's any work so far, but one thing is crystal clear here is that he must not had been prevented from his expected visit. Even his proposed video link was forced to be suspended. It was really an undemocratic act..! All your article dealing with lack of serious litrature was superb. Here this is an issue of serious debate, which is not seeming to be the case...

from:  Aditya Shukla
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 22:41 IST

Mr.Katju is in the mould of many senior bureaucrats. Having achieved a lofty position in one area they seek to use that perch to expound on anything and everything. It is not clear exactly what qualified him to be chair of the Press council. But as the chair you would think his sympathies would have been with the people who weren't allowed to speak at the Jaipur festival and with those who weren't allowed to hear them. Where is the indignation? Instead he chose to tilt at a non-issue and make a sterile argument against 'art for art's sake.' All art is for art's sake. If we discern a higher meaning in art that is up to us and not for Mr.Katju to mandate. But Mr.Katju embodies the sad state of artistic expression in India. With guardians like these who needs enemies?

from:  H.V.Ravinder
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 22:22 IST

The writer's dogma surpasses his unbearable ignorance to form this cumbersome collection of cliché.

from:  Fauzia Rafique
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 21:12 IST

If today's writers are writing for money, what are today's politicians working for, for their sense of satisfaction, for charity, just for the welfare of the poor? Then why all these scams that are surfacing? Why doesn't Mr. Katju write a piece on how the politicians of today should behave and function? Mr. Katju exudes so much of arrogance which is definitely not in tune with what he tries to espouse in this writings. His articles smack of a high degree of assumed sense of superiority.

from:  Akshaya Kumar
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 19:02 IST

Social problems could be solved only by the society as a whole. Again the problems of poverty could be great extent by the richer people in our society.They should have the heart to share somewhat the extra money they have.For society to bring in social transformation in a big way,the whole society should become cultured and their hearts should be changed into fertility from dry thinking.Arts and literature have been developed by greats only to achieve this.If we read 1330 Tirukkurals in 133 headings we would know that their aim is only to change the people's thinking.There are literature highlighting the problems of the oppressed.But they have failed miserably to transform people.Let us introduce literature in a big way from the school level to see whether we get the desired result.

from:  seshachalam gopalakrishnan
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 17:59 IST

Justice Katju seems to be representing the school of thought attended by the wise-of-the-yore. The society has however undergone changes where healthy living has been redefined to suit one's interests. Money invariably drives ethics now. Thinking about the glories and principles of the past is considered a criminal reluctance to change. 'Flow with the river' and 'Make hey while the sun shines' are the guiding principles of today's Indians. People give two hoots to those who talk of nationalism and family values. Every thing has become fair in every thing - marriage, sex, cinema, art, science etc. Why talk about Premchand when people want Munna bhais who do not even know who Gandhi was?! 'Shameful' is the word that describes Indianness best now. Justice Katju, you are crying before the blind, risking the loss of your eyes ('andhon ke aage rona, apna deeda khona' is the Hindi proverb). You are stating bitter truths, Sir, most of the times. Why hurt others with them?

from:  VMN Sharma
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 11:58 IST

When a writer is prevented from attending a conference, the crux of the issue is the freedom of expression but not the degree of artistic quality of a specific author. There is no need to devise a gap between beauty and truth.Art does serve society in its own way and it need not be always explicit. By any standards, Salman Rushdie through his novels like Midnight's Children,The Moor's last Sigh, Shalimar, the clown , and the Enchantress of Florence has made a tremendous impact on many readers through his mode of magical realism, creative and fantastic use of language and contemporary issues of history, nationalism, religion etc. as an Indian English writer. He is on par with the likes of other great writers like Marquez, Naipaul, Gunter Grass etc. He deserves the highest honour in the world of arts not withstanding the political and religious considerations which move some people or groups.

from:  J.Ravindranath
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 09:34 IST

Sir, you ask where are the "Kabirs and Premchands". The answer is that they are right before you, but you choose to dismiss them as "mediocre writers" just because they lack the antiquity of the writers you mentioned. I find it telling that among the writers you mention, all of them did their best work before the 70s. The "Kabirs and the Premchands" are among the Rushdies, the Seths, (and to go a bit back in time, but not as much you did) in Mahashweta and Mahadevis). But I presume till these have aged enough for your taste, they will just remain "mediocre writers" for you.

from:  Piyush
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 08:10 IST

A few facts in attention of respected jurist Katju:
Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children' ranks 90th in the list of Top 100 English-language novels of the 20th century apart from being in the Booker prize list.
Arudhati Roy's 'God of Small Things' won a Booker for the celebrated author.
Arvind Adiga's 'White Tiger', another Booker winner.
Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Namesake’ is a socially relevant novel from the Pulitzer Prize (won for her earlier book entitled ‘Interpretation of maladies’) winning author. Taslima Nasreen’s ‘Lajjya’, a contemporary relevant novel, earned her wrath from the fundamentalist and the fear stricken central and state governments in India. Mahasweta Devi’s ‘Hazar churasi ka Maa’ is one of the many writings on social issues on ostracization of the backward rural people from the Gyanpith award winner.
Regrettably, a vast majority of Indians spend viewing sensational TV programs, resulting in the sharp decline in number of readers of books; the savings of greens, that is!

from:  Kalyan
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 07:22 IST

Though the article is indeed informative and gives some insight into the
breadth of artistic creations and their purpose, the writer should not
be actually 'guiding' what 'type' of art should they be involved in.
To have an impression about how art should be is in itself a restriction
on the art and its domain.
We still need thinkers and artists to open new dimensions of thinking.

from:  Ashish Pant
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 00:04 IST

well most of the people here support that Mr.Rushdie should have been allowed in India even when they are aware of his work which tries malign Islamic beliefs.I would want to know why were they quiet when MF Hussain was left with no choice than to leave India?

from:  samir
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 23:45 IST

Now that Chetan Bhagat is officialy the "Literature" fesival fixture, i think the elitist english speaking "Literature" have a new mascot I fully agree with Justiec Katju. I wonder how many supporters of free speech crying hoarse in the posts above would allow me to write a story where i depict a brothel with characters having names of their daughters/wives/sisters then come to narrate it in their colony mela ? Or, how would other champions of "fundamental rights" react, if i decide to organise an exhibition of their nudes ?Its pure elitist hypocracy !
Salman Rushdie may be a God of writing, may be even Shakespeare, providing the "chief delight" of "ineffable process of discovery" to some, but he has no right to cause affront and rape sentiments in a manner he did. An artist is not an anarchist he raises pertinent questions in a manner which ought to make people think feel indignant ! I just hope my post with "objectionable content" sees the light of the day.

from:  Zakir
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 23:37 IST

Though India still has much to do, it is the industriousness and integrity of the Indian people, not endless sob stories on India's various social plights, that will cause her to reach new heights of achievement. I do not mean to trivialize or dismiss the suffering that millions of Indians go through every day. My point is that to constantly drill this reality into people's heads through every conceivable form of media, at the expense of all other messages, is immature and irresponsible. The notion that suffering must be an essential ingredient in all Indian writing is frankly, dangerously myopic. In Justice Katju's warped utopia, Indian's literature would be tinged with pain and pessimism, as if such things were the hallmark of Indian society, and anyone who dared write about anything else would be immediately branded anti national. To bind Indian literature in such a depressing straight jacket just stifles the creativity and innovation necessary for growth in the artistic sphere.

from:  Sasank
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 23:19 IST

Literature or the publication of literary works itself has become clay in the hands of a vested few among the elite in the publishing world. We cannot deny that it is what is written and against whom that has come to mean whether a book or work will get the nod from an eminent publisher or not, rather than only merits of the work. Partly major publishing houses are to blame for this sorry state of affairs. It is common knowledge that prominent houses will not touch a work that will speak about Jews or Judaism or Holocaust as does Rushdie's Satanic Verses upon Islam, just as they will not anything else bordering on that premise. That being the case why would any other ethnicity or community or religious order humor the literary world by opening its heart out for the sake of Art when those holding reins of that world do not themselves do so for Literature's sake?

from:  Massoud SK
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 22:13 IST

MK was right about his theories regarding art and literature.
Personally I feel both "art for art's sake" & "art for social purpose" should co-exist in any society. To argue that either one of these theories alone should exist and the other should not, is futile. Because both these theories serve towards a greater purpose of enrichment and awareness of human mind. Undoubtedly in a corrupt society like ours, there should and will be more weightage for the 'art for social purpose'. But that does not mean 'art for arts sake' should not exist. During any era which theory gains pre-dominance over the other in a society is a reflection of the requirement of that society. Hence the quality of art can never suffer. In one form or other, it will certainly reach out to it's people.

from:  Ajith Raman
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 21:36 IST

This article well shows the considerable decrease in the intensity of
literary sensibility and literary understanding in today's India. Just
to remind the author I must add here that most of Nazrul's songs and
Saratchandra's novels were fruits of 'commercial endeavour'(pardon this
downright insulting phrase). And Tagore belonging to the 'art for art's
sake' school? This compels one to ponder over how much Tagore the author
has actually read.

from:  Judhajit Sarkar
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 20:06 IST

Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" is considered as a masterpiece in modern literature and was published several years before the controversial "Satanic Verses". The book not only won the Booker Prize on its year of release but was also adjudged "Booker of Bookers" ie., the best ever book to win a Booker Prize a few years ago. To call a writer of such recognition as "substandard" is not very becoming of a self proclaimed intellectual like Justice Katju.

from:  Johnny Arokyaraj
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 19:54 IST

As a layman not familiar with the nuances of literary genres, I may not qualify to pass comments on articles by so-called learned men of the land. However, let me say this - one has to choose words wisely, especially when it is a matter of literature. The very title smacks of authoritarianism, condescension and a proclivity to hoist narrow views on the populace at large. "Must" "serve", sir? Do you have the courage to utter the same words to those whose function it is to do that, yet have managed to run this country down for the last 60 odd years? Please enlighten us as to whether this country suffers from 42% malnutrition in young kids, 630 odd million people defecating in public on a daily basis, etc. because of writers? We don't care whether Rushdie is of a high, mediocre or no calibre. He has the right to say and write what he wants. As Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) so rightly put it, "The right to offend is far greater than the right not to be offended".

from:  Aravind Nair
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 19:27 IST

I definitely agree with Mr. Markandey Katju about the unnecessary and undue attention paid to the controversy over Mr. Salman Rushdie's presence at the literature festival. Presence of other notable authors from all over the world and book reading events and discussions could have served as a platform for spreading awareness and disseminating valuable inputs received from them. It's not a mere co-incidence that no one raised any objection during Mr. Rushdie's earlier outings in India. There is no denying that the elections had a lot to do with it. Anyway, I strongly disagree with Mr. Katju's suggestion of restricting the Indian art and writing to the realm of social service. If only artists could be defined in such a narrow manner! How can anyone even think of determining beforehand as to what an author or an artist feels passionately about and what his next piece of work would most likely be about?

from:  Alok Shubham
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 19:05 IST

This is a hilarious, if slightly sad, piece - the author has very little idea about
literature and most of that very little is way off the mark (as his use of 'romanticism'
and 'realism' show). Why is The Hindu publishing this nonsense?

from:  Upamnayu Mukherjee
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 18:15 IST

Art for art's sake is a dictum of the last decade of the 19th century
and has often been used by literary critics while judging works of
literature but has never been the touchstone for a valuable work. Mr.
Katju's using of this cliche in relation of Sir Rushdie's works is not
convincing. Jhon Dryden a famous dramatist, poet and critic of England
clearly mentioned that art never should be used for social reforms as
the main purpose of literature is to entertain. Direct preaching
should be left to the teachers and religious gurus, any work of art
meant for social reforms can never be useful. the great work of art is
that which entertains the senses and teaches as well at the same time
and coincidently Rushdie's works do. In an era of Postcolonialism
Rushdie's concept of hybridity and multiculturalism is very soothing.
To eliminate the trauma of colonial past it's very necessary to adopt
hybridity and pluralism which the major works of Rushdie propagate.

from:  Prafulla Kumar Rai
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 18:13 IST

If instead of simply decrying the crass commercialism of art and
literature in India, why not Mr.Katju use his considerable position
and experience to bring back bigger and better grants for meaningful
art to be produced? (such as National Film Development Corporation
grants in the 70s and 80s which brought out so much good quality
cinema in our country - and yes much of it with 'social purpose'). I
would argue that in India cinema is the primary artform that has the
greatest potential to reach the people, unlike Dickensian Britain
where it was literature - if at all Mr.Katju wants to do social
engineering to promote art perhaps he can make implementable
recommendations to central government to revive State support for this
artform. Our Dickens and Voltaire need not be writers, they can be
film directors.

from:  Rohan
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 17:27 IST

MK in his earlier articles on developments around was almost spot on, but not on this occassion. Nothwithstanding the quality of writers we have and notwithstanding the snobbery some represent, the issue here was that someone was barred from entering the land in order to please a section of the society and minorities in particular is a serious issue. The writer would do well to highlight that issue rather on focus his thoughts on evolution of writers and their classification.

from:  bhaskaran
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 16:05 IST

Justice Katju misses the point in the debate between art for art's sake and art as a means towards some consequence. Non-consequentialist arguments, such as the argument implicitly made by people who believe in art for art's sake, cannot be defeated by pointing out that no consequences are (or need be) served. And the mere fact that the works of some writers happen to serve a purpose does not prove that they write for a purpose other than art.
Even if one chooses to justify ones work by reference to the consequences it creates, it is a very blinkered mind that can think no further than one's nation. So what if my nation is poor - I define myself by reference to many identities, only one of which is 'Indian'. Unpopular as the sentiment may be, my work does not have to serve my country. Indeed George Bernard Shaw, who Justice Katju himself seems to idolise, said "Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it."

from:  Mark
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 15:09 IST

Justice Markandey's views should have been read well before criticizing
him. Merely getting emotional over anything other than our own view
isnot the right way. His perspective reflects the concern of many Indian
elders. The youth of today is loosing interest in social issues, it is
reflected in many ways and one among them is literature. Lets hope for a
change.

from:  Shaimah Abdul Kader
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 15:07 IST

I fully disagree with Justice Katju. The supreme artistic virtues were surprise and eclecticism.There is only one rule Astonish us.In all art we look and listen for what we have not experienced quite that way before we want to see to feel to understand to responding in a new way.
There is very good proverb in Marathi language "je n dekhe ravi te dekhe kavi" Means sun could not find out that poet show us. The chief delight of writing is the ineffable process of discovery.You don't have very choice in the matter.It is duty of philosophers social scientists,physical scientists serve their entire energy for social purpose. Duty of Artists is raise the questions inspire to thinkers of all field to increase their thinking faculty.Artists are of favorite God, their duty is give new understanding to mankind for living

from:  Ramesh Raghuvanshi
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 14:47 IST

The article dished out as a synopsis to literature to rationalize a
point of view, is self serving. Having been an honorable judge for a
long time, the author continues to judge everything, unsolicited.
Also, the author missed the main point in Salman Rushdie's recent
controversy, which is about the loss of an individual's freedom at
the diktats of the political class. By the way, the moment you put
restrictions on art, it becomes an occupation and looses it's charm.

from:  Ajay K
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 14:34 IST

shall we say good literature is the mix of all the views expressed above. No one can have a water tight separation of literature with social responsibility and with the one which remains for the sack of itself. If we see things in a wider panorama one will find that all the literature do poses a societal backing-yes all. It need not be so explicit. Even the science fiction do contribute immensely for a societal cause. An iota of imagination gained from fiction can lead to inventions ,to the least it can kindle a spark of imagination in the mind of the reader-it applies in every art and literature. The problem lies in the fact that we Indians are preoccupied with the notion that when we say societal cause it need to be issues like dowry, corruption, unemployment, inequality and what not. In short the readers and the writer still grop in the tip of the iceberg and need to go deep down to it to see that there is no lakshmanarekha for literature-imagination is the only limit.

from:  Bose A Panicker
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 14:07 IST

With all due respect to Mr. Katju, I really appreciate all his view but
he mention the the good literature coupled with social cause will go into people's life like wildfire. But ,due to this neo-liberal devil, the half india is trying to get a loaf of bread. The other half are making fat bellies and going for entetainment of Some idiotic author's books and movies with titles "Idiots and Stupids". I feel the latter are the major chunk of indian readership, who cares pretty less about the real social causes, while the former very busy in filling his half-stomach.
Before this devil of neo-liberal steps into our country, there were instances when people were passionately reading the Super-active realist peotry of SREE SREE of telugu literature. This was the man who turned the age-old telugu(art for art's sake) peotry into a sword in the hands of destituted and oppressed masses. He waged a war against evils in the society.
Hope the days of struggle for social equality will come soon.

from:  Praveen Kumar M
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 12:29 IST

"Much of the time was wasted on Salman Rushdie, whom I regard as a
very mediocre writer.."
The Rushdie affair was about free speech and not about the quality of Rushdie's books. Is Justice Katju saying that if he rated Rushdie as a great writer, then the time would have been better spent defending him? If Justice Katju wants to make a broader point about the role of literature and the Jaipur festival then so be it. But by dismissing the Rushdie affair, which is really about the desecration by the government and by right-wing goons, of our constitution-guaranteed right to free speech, he betrays a poor understanding of the real issue. As a Supreme Court judge, he should know better.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 12:11 IST

Refreshing, to say the least ! Congratulations on calling a spade what it actually is, and not something glossy, as is the trend in this era of increasing commoditisation .
Like you, i too was in Jaipur during the festival and decided to give it a miss when i realised that it is just another Mela ( as the organisers advertise it) where i' more possible to bump into wide eyed authograph hunters and pop-corn literati than serious writers. A gulzar is introduces as India's greatest poet, come to it !I was not disappointed though, for i do not expect much from a mela. But what i protest to is, the Government of India using my money to sponsor an event where no talk was organised to pay tribute to Late Sri Lal Shukla, the giant of Indian Literature who had just passed away. Evidently he did not fit into the champagne-sipping, Armani clad ilk of the "writers" this Mela considers presentable !Sad, very sad !

from:  Sahir
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 12:05 IST

Rushdie is one of the best writers of our times and for someone like Katju to label Rushdie's work as mediocre is a joke. Being a judge (not a literary critic but a court judge) gives him no authority whatsoever! I agree that there was probably too much attention on Rushdie but don't blame the writer for it; blame the lack of tolerance in the society and spineless state and central governments who shied away from their responsibility to protect people and were involved in false fabrication. Shame on them. Shame on The Hindu for only publishing comments supporting this author.

from:  Ram
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 11:37 IST

It is a splendid analysis on Art and literature of its purpose.But
dissecting the literature with the motive of social change doesnt seem
right.I feel the purpose of literature is to make us all think and
broaden our horizon.let it be shakespeare,camus,keats,wordsworth kafka,J
krishnamurti,emily bronte.

from:  Amar
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 11:03 IST

If fear is what drives man to behave well , as Justice Katju believes, God save the intellect; religion uses fear to contain man and stifle his creativity. One wonders if his intellect itself is in question if he says Fear should keep us under check!Having said that, journalists have failed in reporting things that matter, they are lacking leadership and moral responsibility.

from:  P.N.Shreeniwas
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 10:55 IST

I totally concur with the writer's word. I Think the whole episode of salman rusdie was so much hyped, that the real story behind the sceen cannot be understood.Media forced us to swalow things and to think unidirectionally. today world move on the same formula "be controversial be famous".But today the people of india are far more ahead of these things.

from:  Ismail Shadman
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 10:13 IST

MK sincerely attempted to explain literature from a scientific perspective and he has succeeded in doing so. However, when it comes to writing in Indian languages, it can fairly be assumed from the conclusion of the passage that MK is reluctant to look beyond what is easily accessible to him. He seems to be oblivious to the fact that besides Hindi,Bengali,Tamil & Urdu, there are many more beautiful languages spoken in our country and at least some of those languages are fortunate enough to have excellent authors producing wonderful pieces of work that entertain as well as inspire the reader to commit to a positive role in the society he or she belongs.

from:  Bala Nair
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 10:13 IST

Art and literature comes to a stop when humans are colonised by religious dogmas. Activists like Rushdie, Ramanujam, Hussain and not alone in their understanding of the plight of humans, as hundreds of other lesser known mortals have taken art and literature to great heights. In common sense, one recognises the statement that "it takes a jeweller to realise a jem". Those who can't have miles to go to reach the state of mere realisation - leave alone its production.

from:  Gayathri Devi
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 10:12 IST

very nicely said.Literature should serve a purpose.rather than just
sparking violence and unrest among people...

from:  Rahul Kumar Jat
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 10:06 IST

Mr. Markanday, I would like to clarify few things with you regarding your views over literature and especially Mr. Rushdie. You say literature must serve social Purpose, I am in agreement when you say Rushdie's work has nothing to do with current scenario of world or India. But you should not neglect his writing prowess, Fiction is a style of literature and it is and must not be bound in realm of social serving purpose. There are many good writers of this age who follow Mr. Rushdie's writing style, Like Orhan Pamuk and Khaled Houssaini.
And if you are talking about literature which must serve social purpose, then you must be having impression of Shakespeare being a mediocre writer too. I don't remember he ever wrote for social purpose. It's not that I am comparing Rushdie with Shakespeare, I cannot. My view on literature is that it must be read and written with a broad perspective.

from:  Manish Sain
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 09:56 IST

By that logic, all the love poetry written by Faiz, Ghalib etc should
never have been written as it doesn't match up to your ideas of
usefulness to society. Same goes for Shakespeare, and a number of
other artists mentioned by you. Probably any artist more than a 100
years ago would have been living in a society faced with acute
problems, be it in the West, or in the East. Your arguments
would suggest they all should have stuck to boring realist literature.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 09:48 IST


‘A poet’s work,’ he answers, ‘To name the unnamable, to point at friends, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it from going to sleep.’ And if rivers of blood flow from the cuts his verses inflict then they will nourish him.
From ‘The Satanic Verses’ Let writers write; and let the others waste time thinking about what purpose it should serve.

from:  Arjun
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 09:26 IST

Judge Katju has appointed himself as the judge of what constitutes
good literature and what kind of literature Indian writers should
write. As for Rushdie, he has judged him to be mediocre, but does not
classify his work as art for art's sake-type or art for social cause-
type. I assume he thinks that he belongs to the first category. He is
wrong to think that he will be less well-known, but for Satanic
Verses. His debut novel Midnight's Children did not receive the Booker
Prize for no reason. It set a new trend in writing and writers
inspired by that work are legion, Judge Katju's opinion
notwithstanding. He asks where are the people who "writes about people's real problems".There is at least one: Arundathi Roy. Her eloquent writing about real problems of real people in India is met with disdain from the middle class and harassment from the bureaucracy for treason under British colonial ear legislation.
Judge Katju: where is justice in your remarks?

from:  K.V. Nagarajan
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 08:47 IST

Mr Katju, you are an intellectual but you got it all wrong here. Mr. Rushdi may not be the best writer but he has the right to speak...

from:  suneel
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 07:19 IST

If we, the reader, took a step back a moment, looked at the context of events over the last few days, I'm sure we would all find this very article a work of "Passive romanticism". Justice Katju would have us believe that were no violations of fundamental rights in Jaipur (only the non event his friend told him not to go to). He would have us believe that Salman Rushdie is not a victim of regressive politics- he would have us believe Mr. Rushdie himself is the perpetrator of these acts, by committing the sin of being a "sub-standard writer", that too, "living on the Thames". Alas, the wool cannot be pulled over the readers eyes that easily. In one mans injustice, we see ourselves suffer a thousand cuts- this is our democracy after all and it's not under the control of fanatics last I checked. Will Dikens and Gorky stand guard at the doors of our constitutions provisions of free speech? Because it certainly doesn't look like Justice Katju plans to...

from:  Hema
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 05:52 IST

"Social engineering through state mandated literature: Nothing else that Mr. Katju has suggested has been quite so nakedly Soviet in its desire to manipulate the human intellect into docility” - Whatever Justice Katju is trying to get at, he can't escape the fact he is passing judgements in a climate of fear mongering. Fear mongering that prohibited the free exchange of ideas at the Literary Festival. Now, rather than confronting the fear created by the threat of violence against an author, he brings us an alternate, acceptable list of 'accredited' authors to read instead. This is rather presumptuous of the good judge.

from:  Aakash
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 05:35 IST

Mr. Katju complains that there is no socially relevant literature being produced.He has obviously not read any Dalit literature or other literatures of resistance such as African American literature, Aboriginal literatures and feminist literature. I would recommend that he start with Dalit literature and read writers such as Sivakami, Bama, Omprakash Valmiki and Sharankumar Limbale, all available in English translations.

from:  Arun Mukherjee
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 05:33 IST

More to add to Author - In our vernacular languages there is drought of creative writings (Personally I observed in my Marathi literature). But sir, did you notice one change in last 20 yrs? We have lots of english books on career, love & women and all these are by young writers. Youth read them not old people do. At one side you may say that we are missing Kalidas, other view is - but we have today a romaticism of literature which reflects aspirations of youth.. which was missing for a long time. Let this stream get mature, it will be more colorful. Arvind Adiga's White Tiger is a good example.

from:  Mahesh J
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 05:20 IST

Justice Katju has skirted, once again, the central concern that the Literature Festival (which he didn't attend) has brought to light. I'm shocked he has simply brushed aside any mention of our fundamental rights being trampled on. You see, I DO agree with him. India is a country with so many difficulties yet how are we to proceed, if the values enshrined in our Constitution by our founding fathers are still NOT recognized as Supreme? The constant quoting of IPC sections is a bureaucratic answer to a question of principle. Justice Katju Sir, do you believe in Pandit Nehru's vision of a democratic India? If so, how do we reconcile your taking the side (for all purposes- that's how it seems) of an Islamist fringe groups in Jaipur? The quality of a book is hardly the question, the law of the land is. Where do you stand? I for one, believe India is better than this. Maybe it's naive but a man should stand for something, or he will fall for anything.

from:  Asif
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 05:15 IST

The trappings of nostalgia provide an easy space for the mind to
reside in. While in moderation nostalgia provides for a poignant
reflection of our times, a pathological desire for it clouds our view
away from the beauty of the present.While the question of whether art
should or should not serve a social purpose is an interesting
question, I disagree with the writer's perception that art and its
role in society has stagnated since the times of Dickens or any of the
other literary figures mentioned all of whom date back by at least 50
years if not more.It ranks at best as a shallow opinion of what
contemporary art has to offer. Art is always a reflection of our
society and our times and in some sense framed by the writers
imagination and perception. And by this very definition art should
adapt to changing times. In no way do I take away from Mr.Katju's
opinion to call Rushdie's writing sub standard though I would disagree
with this statement at a personal level.

from:  Kaushik Ragunathan
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 05:12 IST

I have the highest respect for Katju as a great jurist and as a man of great knowledge in Literature and religions. I hold him in high esteem for correcting the fourth estate as the chairman of the PCI, and for showing them the path for the maintenance of high standards in journalism in India.
But, I find it rather difficult to join hands with him to subscribe, that the Jaipur festival was A waste and that the meet did not serve a purpose this time and that the whole exercise was a caricature. His view that Rushdie is a mediocre writer has shocked me, and I feel, that very many in this land and outside also will share my views. At the Jaipur session, the organizers had a big setback from the beginning to end, and it is My humble view, that the distinguished jurist should have taken into consideration, the pathetic position of all those present at the festival, facing the threat from the local govt, And the hostility all round to spoil a literary event.

from:  C.p.Chandra das
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 04:59 IST

Justice Katju is advocating propaganda (even if he doesn't know it himself). Art and Literature are not meant to have a comfortable relationship with the State (not unlike the Supreme Court) & need not be grandiose to inspire change in society. Many peoples lives are changed for the better through literature, even when such works are not carrying an overt social message. To put it more simply for Katju, the autonomy of each individuals mind is central to change. A private inspiration which leads to an individuals inner happiness is change, even if not in the tidal waves which revolutions incite. Indeed, an idea planted by ones own choice has a better chance of lasting the test of time- than one planted through the concerted efforts of State and Agents on behalf of the State (fulfilling the 'National Duty'). Idealist though Katju sounds, the fallacy of his article is to repeat the same mistake from History. There can be no 'ONE' acceptable theory for India's circumstances.

from:  Priyanka
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 04:58 IST

If all conferences discuss books written ages ago, then why have them at all? Mr. Katju likes a few authors and would like to exalt them above all and that is fine. It is his opinion. He can hold several conferences where he and other like minded people, can discuss these authors over and over again. It is not like they will run out of material. He talks about his criteria for judging authors as if they were the laws of thermodynamics. People can like different author for many reasons. Rushdie's Midnight's Children was such an enjoyable read and that book alone makes Rushdie one of the finest authors in the English language. It is a shame that an Indian cannot return to India due to the Government's inability to maintain law and order. That Rushdie wrote some books that some offended some people is beside the point. Can the world expect the Government of India to maintain a country of laws - that is the question.

from:  shyama sastri
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 04:56 IST

Reading books or writing books or even selling books is a sign of
civility that is present in less numbers in India. Indian people are
mostly interested in viewing. If one observes the number of hours
Indians spend in watching films and television versus the hours spent
in reading, certainly books will be far far behind. A highly developed
mind reads books and those with an inferior intellect gravitate
towards the easy medium of movies. To read a book one needs a long
stretch of silence and a devotion to thinking. India has very little
literary diversity not withstanding its great past. Alas! the
greatness of India lies only in its past. Many who tire themselves in
thinking about India come to the same conclusion that "India is an
ancient civilization in an advanced state of decay" (Shashi Tharoor). Books are symbols of civility & erudition and they occupy the lives of people with a higher intellect. The common Indian is not of high intellect and promptly he moves away from books.

from:  Sonja
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 04:47 IST

I would like The Hindu to do some investigation into Justice Katju and the Government of India. It is deeply troubling that the man charged with supervising our free press has almost appeared to be working in the direction of the GOI's objectives, all be it, in a convoluted manner. He is fast loosing traction with a lot of people which initially thought well of his intentions. Might he be coordinating his moves with senior members of the Congress party? I request The Hindu, in the spirit of good journalism, to uncover any such links (if they exist), lest we discover the Press is under the thumb of a retired judge working in cahoots with the ruling party. That would certainly make the Rushdie affair pale in comparison.

from:  Apeksha
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 04:37 IST

First of all, art is subjective in nature. For example, I enjoyed Midnights Children and I can say with some assurance, many other readers did too. That Justice Katju finds a particular author mediocre, cannot justify his legal rights being stripped from him. By all means, the public may choose to protest what they do not like, indeed they may write a book condemning Mr. Rushdie and he would have to live with that. The cure to freedom of speech, is more freedom of speech. I hope the public is galvanized into confronting soft terror before it becomes hard terror. Have you never heard, "first they burn the books, then they burn people"? It is exactly because, as Justice Katju says, India is going through a period of fire, a turbulent period, that we must mold our principles onto society firmly. It is in uncertain times we find a voice and in uncertain times we remember just how vital our Constitution is for individual liberty.

from:  Alvin
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 04:27 IST

It a great peace of criticism. We need more critiques like Justice Katju in our society to upheld the professionalism in every field. I do strongly believe that not only writers, every professional should try their best in doing something meaningful and also for the betterment of every individual.

from:  Sachi Mishra
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 04:16 IST

I'm now utterly convinced Justice Katju is playing tag with the powers that be in New Delhi. Yesterday, Rushdie was considered great by us 'so called educated Indians' (because he's based abroad), today the same Indian writers he wanted us to like yesterday, have joined Rushdie in being 'sub standard & commercially minded'. All the while, Katju evades the question of the State's capitulation to mobs in Jaipur. It appears the whole exercise in his intervention, is aimed at moving the sights of the public away from the breakdown of the rule of law (something one might have thought a retired judge would have views on) to the plight of literature in India. *Call me cynical but I'm not buying what he's selling, folks.

from:  Pragati
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 04:08 IST

It is strange to encounter a person who is so certain about things like literature. Especially as it appears that his main qualification is that he is a judge and now a govt bureaucrat. How does that qualify him to judge one writer as "sub-standard" and another as wonderful?? Many of the comments in this article sound like things said in communist countries who violently repressed their writers and intellectuals. People like Stalin regularly called for "socially relevant" literature only (and killed those artists who ignored them). The Chinese communist party also does the same today, only with more sophistication. Is that supposed to be the vision for india?? That is really bizarre in my opinion....All art requires freedom of expression for the artist. The degree of freedom may vary from society to society but freedom is required nevertheless. I notice that idea is missing from the article!!

from:  alberuni
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 03:54 IST

If Justice Katju is to become a literary critic, one might rightly ask, what exactly are his credentials? Before he comments on matters concerning us writers, Justice Katju would do well to clarify his position on our freedom to interact with fellow writers and readers (of varying talents!) without fear of violence being unleashed upon us (unlike him, we did not move around Jaipur city with a Police escort). We are private citizens who expect the rule of law to operate regardless of how 'well read' we are or based on how much 'money we earn' selling books (I believe he's sold/published a few himself). In other words, Justice Katju, all this talk of sub standard commercially minded writers in India and noble figures from the past is a diversion from reality. To evolve, a writer must experiment and to do so may entail offending some in the process. If you're blown to bits (like Mr. Rushdie Japanese Translator was) you'll never get that far.

from:  Clara
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 03:46 IST

Katju joined the public debate on the Jaipur Literary Festival by ignoring completely the circumstances surrounding Mr. Rushdie's controversy- is Katju suggesting the eminent author asked mobs to gather outside the premises and threaten violence? We are simply appalled by his choosing to ignore the key concern for many of us- how do we operate in an environment which may erupt in violence? Do we receive a 'get out of jail' free card, if the Press Council of India says our work is of a 'high enough' standard? Will the law only defend us if the powers to be have accepted us as 'great artists'? Justice Katju laments well but in doing so, it is he who has trivialized the debate over free speech. 'No right is unfettered'- I'm sure Justice Katju will lament again- yet I ask you this- has any court of law held Mr. Rushdie guilty of breaking the law? The customs act bans import of Satanic Verses, no further. When human beings are ostracized based fatwas and the like- we should be concerned.

from:  Sherly
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 03:25 IST

I strongly disagree with the view "In such a poor country, ‘art for social purpose' alone can be acceptable." That is the sort of narrow thinking that hampers true artistic development and argues against the pursuit of pure sciences. Art can and often is great without having any resemblance to reality: think Borges' literature, Tchaikovsky's music, Serra's sculpture - the list goes on. Why is Borges in any way a less brilliant author than Shaw or Paine?

from:  SP
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 03:19 IST

Though I have mostly defended Justice Katju for his divergent views about media, society and ethics, in this debate his argument sounds exaggerate & bit ignorant.. There is a difference between classic and contemporary literature. The examples he quotes are all universally critiqued classics. While the main philosophy behind the literature festivals is to promote contemporary art, which could connect more with today's readers.
And who says present authors don't discuss human conditions or societal issues? We had Arudhati Roy's "God of Small Things" which portrays the entanglement between ideologies & life style of individuals. Similarly, the work of Naipul portrays on societal causes. Also, Most of the notable faces in literature are winners of prestigious awards ranging from Nobel to Booker prizes. And their jury definitely know "literature" more thoroughly than a well-rounded scholar like Katju. We do need more fests but free of controversies, free of media celebs, free of hype!

from:  Karan Jani
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 02:42 IST

I don't completely agree with this article and the opinion of Mr. Katju.
It is a matter for speculation that how do you categorize social purpose? For me the poetry which does not directly have social message like that of Shakespear as you mentioned, it might to speak against injustice or social evils. but it still have social purpose. It makes me better aware of human emotions and nature, poetry of Keats or Shelly or even 'chayawad' inculcates within us love and respect for nature. Art for Art's sake is also very important.

from:  Soumya
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 02:38 IST

very well said. Whats the point in having a debate over Rushdie or even on such novels which serve no social purpose. We don't require the luxury of art for art's sake. Knowledge without utility is futile and literature which does not add any value to social improvement is a waste of time. Of course literature is an ultimate artistic expression but whats the point if it is not connected with society. "Sahitya samaj ka darpan hota hai" (Literature is the mirror of society). I feel a value neutral literature denotes an status-quoist or self indulging society. Our media is already a victim of commercialization, lets hope to have our literature maintaining some value.. may be we need both retrospection and introspection.

from:  pradeep singh
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 02:22 IST

I think the whole world don't need a certificate of excellence for Salman Rushdie from Justice Katju. This judge has appetite for grabbing the headlines. When he was in Supreme Court, he was giving judgements which showed his intentions for getting noticed. After retirement, he continued making bizarre statements i.e. demanding Bharat Ratna for Kalidas and Ghalib. He just love to give his unsolicited advice on every matter, from a delievery to grave. What we showed to world by restricting Rushdie by lying that there is a threat to his life in India (The statement given by Rajasthan Police). May be, we have given a message that a state can be get away by a handful of narrrow minded fundamentalists. Are we going the Pakistan's way? Minority pleasing policies of congress are same as that of British's Divide and Rule.

from:  krishan
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 02:00 IST

I cannot understand why MARKANDEY wants a social purpose for writers ? Whats use of giving the classification of artistry ? If i am a science fiction writer should i cease it and start writing about social issues ?
And about producing great revolutionary writers, If peacefull protestors can be beaten up mercilessly in the capital city by govt itself breaking all morals and ethics, how a person in his senses dare to expose the whole system. Everyone knows how system works in India..Question is Who will dare to break THE SILENCE

from:  Anup
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 01:36 IST

This article by Markandey Katju (MK) sounds like a blog post of a new generation (say aged mid-twenties) who criticizes everything around him just to be 'different' and 'cool'. Off lately MK has been analyzing India and its conditions too much. Let artists atleast pulsate in their own way to the prevailing conditions in India.

from:  Dilip Athreya
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 01:20 IST

Mr Katju mentions Ezra Pound as an english poet, which comes as a
surprise to me. America born Ezra Pound's most seminal work came after
he had denounced England. Does Mr. Katju even know about the part played
by the fascist party supporter Pound in the propaganda in Italy?

from:  Rajni
Posted on: Jan 28, 2012 at 01:18 IST
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