Staff Reporter

VISAKHAPATNAM: Former Vice-chancellor of Andhra University and Head of the Department of English K.R. Srinivas Iyengar was a scholar extraordinary with a passion for knowledge and transmitting it to generations of scholars and students across the globe, said C.R. Visweswara Rao, former Rector and Professor of English, Sri Krishna Deva Raya University, Anantapur.

He was speaking on “The search for organic community: 20th century critics on culture,” the second in a series of lectures organised by the Department of English of Andhra University to mark the birth centenary of Prof. Iyengar here on Wednesday.

Referring to his magnum opus “Indian Writing in English” and said he was a ‘sahrudaya’ critic not enchained by colonial spirit and brought to light many young Indian writers. Prof. Iyengar was a multifaceted literary genius with Aurobindean knowledge and ideas of culture and renaissance in the country. Describing him as one who pursued nishkama karma, he said he focused on unification of ascent of man and descent of god.

Prof. Visweswara Rao dwelt at length on the various dimensions of culture in an age of fragmentation and culture that would ensure homogeneity and ensure organic communities to prevail. Beginning with S.T. Coleridge and Mathew Arnold, he elaborated on T.S. Eliot’s views on culture as reflected in “The Idea of a Christian Society,” the themes that run through his works including “The Waste Land,” “The Cocktail Party” and “Four Quartets.”

While Eliot stated that nucleus of culture was family F.R. Leavis felt that organic society was lost in industrial revolution.

He also touched upon Raymond Williams and the prophets of counter culture like Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.

Head of the Department of English B. Parvathi said Prof. Visweswara Rao had covered centuries of thinking in his lecture.