Responsesto Prompts on Indian Literature
Responsesto Prompts on Indian Literature
Differencesof Conclusionby Tagore and Annayya`sAnthropologyby Ramanujan in approaching the encounter between traditional Indiaand the West
TagoreRabindranath and A.K. Ramanujan are authors of short stories thatlink both traditional India and West cultures. The authors usedifferent advances to come upon these two cultures. In the shortstory "Conclusion" by Tagore, the author-employees forcedidentity and dwells on education and marriage to approach theencounter between traditional India and the West. The short storyshows the difference between the Western and the Indian move towardspersonal training and marriage. The author looks at the West andIndia as nations with distinct differences in the way of establishingand shaping an individual regarding attitudes and skills. For theIndian culture, the women’s primary role revolves around learning,growing to treat a husband well, and taking care of the children. Thewomen and girls, therefore, do not receive education save may be forcooking and sewing lessons. The Indian men, on the other hand, aremore valuable and best suitors after pursuing education.
Eventhough Apurba is Indian, the education he pursues positions him tobehave like the Western. For example, he gets attracted to Mrinmayibecause of her exposed hair just like the West adult males would.Mrinmayi, the protagonist of this short story, is a tomboy and has nointerest conforming to the proper Indian woman behavior. Forinstance, she is not troubled remaining single when her peers haveentered into arranged marriages. This scenario matches with theWestern young women who relatively grow more independent without theneed of men in their lives. Tagore illustrates how marriage in Indiais a valued rite of passage as well as involves the community unlikein the West where it just a ceremony. While other women tie theirhairs back and put on a veil as required, Mrinmayi does not (Tagore,1997). Mrinmayi’s way of dressing compares similarly to the Westernfemales who seem liberated in way of clothing. Gossiping with boys,playfulness, loud laughter and eating when angry are not part of theIndians woman behavior, and she has to conform to that in her forcedmarriage. Through Mrinmayi, Tagore paints the Indian culture havinglittle value for women’s position in the society especially inforced marriages and education unlike the West where women marrypartners of choice and attend school. In addition, Apurba is arepresentation of the Western system of education in India.
InRamanujan’s short story the "Annayya`s Anthropology”, heapproaches the encounter between the traditional India and the Westfrom the irony twisted in the rich cultural perspectives especiallythe ritual practices. In this story, the protagonist, Annayya, who isa graduate student from South India Brahmin village, arrives in theUnited States to extend his studies on anthropology (Krishnaswamy &Srilata, 2008). The author presents this encounter by positioningAnnayya as a lost identity. While still in Mysore, Annayya read a lotabout the Western subjects however when he arrived in the UnitedStates it becomes the opposite. The study of Indian anthropologytakes over him, and since the West libraries are not only efficientbut also up-to-date with information, Annayya lands into the mostrecent journal on Hinduism: Custom and Ritual. Paradoxically, thepeople photographed in this journal belong to his family.
Thestory uses the Western wealth status of the available source ofknowledge as mirror or platform in which it presents the connectionbetween the Brahmin and the West cultures. The West have the mostdetailed and accurate information about various cultures, some ofwhich the natives are not aware. Previously, he was amazed at howaccurate the Western had documented even the darkest perhaps theunreachable secrets of their practices. The story also incorporatesAnnayya as a measure of confirmation of the beliefs discussed in thejournal he reads in the library. The protagonist verifies thecultural practices from his native surprise having come across thesame information across ten thousand miles.
Theauthors use the main characters in the short stories to connect twoparts of heritage. Tagore brings out the Indian native culture andpractice through the talks and reactions from the neighbours andrelatives of Mrinmayi. He uses Mrinmayi to connect to the Westculture through her non-conformity of the Indian culture. She doesnot follow the conservative Indian way of dressing and intends toremain single like some of the Western females. Ramanujan on theother hand, makes a point about the ironies of self-discoveriesthrough a reflection of the Western knowledge in regards totraditional India. He portrays two cultures in one person. TheWestern Annayya drinks beer, whisky, used toilet paper, ate beef,interacted with skimpy dresses females and read Playboy magazinesthat had images of naked breasts, navels, and thighs. The IndianAnnayya intrinsically conforms to the details of the Brahmin culturediscussed in the journal authored by a Western. In this regards,while one story provides the encounter between West and traditionalIndia through non-conformity and disdain, the other shows theencounter through association.
Howis Vachana poetry different from Indian classical poetry? Discuss interms of themes, form, techniques, tone, and language.
TheVachana poetry is a form of poetry that is full of deep meditation,as well as, contains true sublimity, pure morality, and exquisitebeauty. It sees the Lingayat idea as its core thus takes areligious nature that explicates the ideas of Lingayatism(Ayyappapanicker, 1997). Examples of Vachana poetry that advancesLingayatism include devaranamasand padas.On the other hand, Indian classical poetry does not align to aspecific devotional nature but develops as different conventions witheach poem cultivating a different worldview. It is essential to notethat one can identify the styles of poets or authors of Vachanapoetry by their supplication of God. For example, Akkamadevi entreatsChannaMallikarjuna,Basveshvara beseeches KudalaSangama Devawhile Siddhrama invokes KapilasiddaMallikarjuna.Thus, it is important to note that Vachana poetry relates to religionand aligns to devotions, unlike pure Indian Classics that dwell on arange of views. The focus on devotion and religion means that Vachanapoetry focuses on themes relating to human nature, religion,inspirations, ideals, and human emotions while Indian classicalpoetry has an extensive focus and intensity.
SinceVachana poetry dwells on religion and invokes God, it is usually inbrief paragraphs and devotional in nature. The style used in thepoems is parallelistic, epigrammatically elusive, dwells on spiritualimplications of worshipping, and dwell on the vanities of riches(Ayyappapanicker, 1997). Moreover, Vachana poetry focuses on theinconsequentiality of mere rites and uncertainty of life by callingon people to give earthly yearnings and wealth and live lives ofdetachment and sobriety. For example, Thebody and the Templeby Basava, a Vachana poem talks of the vanities of wealth in aparallelistic and indefinable style
“Therich will make temples for Shiva.What shall I, a poor man, do?
Mylegs are pillars, The body the shrine, The head a cupola of gold.
Listen,O Lord Kudal Sangama deva, Things standing shall fall, But the movingever shall stay. ?”
Onthe other hand, classical poems are subtle, discuss a single theme inone stanza, and contain an entire series of stereotyped aspects.Moreover, most Indian classical poems are long with standardized, butlong paragraphs. Vachana poetry is usually brief usually ranging fromtwo lines to three pages. However, both forms of poetry utilizesymbolism and may dwell on similar aspects depending on the theme ofthe poem.
Vachanapoetry takes a prose aspect, although some poems have a musicalcomposition. Vachana poems with musical compositions are set to aspecific musical tune, for instance, Kirtanaand ugahoga.Thus, Vachana poetry is usually sung or spoken unlike classicalpoems, which are superseded by a narrative mode. Vachana poetry isadvanced for self-expression and as such imparts itself to recitationand singing (Ayyappapanicker, 1997). Unlike classical poetry thatemploys a rhyme scheme, Vachana poetry does not employ consistentrhyme, but its language is manifested by internal assonances andcompositional parallelisms. In this regards, unlike classical poetrythat follows a standardized rule, Vachana poetry is free from fixedrules on meters, which gives the poetry a range of rhythmicconfigurations
Justificationof the consideration of Kalidasa as the Shakespeare of India withreference to the poetic and dramatic qualities of Shakuntala
Whypeople consider Kalidasa the Shakespeare of India
Kalidasawas a well-educated Hindu playwright and poet with an intricateunderstanding of far way regions (Kawachi, 2012). Critics and readersalike acclaim Kalidas as the greatest playwright and poet inclassical literature. His poems such as Kumaarasambhava(‘Birth of Kumaara’) and Meghadutam(‘The Cloud Messenger’) and plays such as Malavikaagnimitra(Malavikaa and Agnimitra) and Abhijnanasakuntalam(‘The Recognition of Shakuntala’) are subliminal, transcendental,and splendid. As such, he was a well-traveled individual, ardent tothe Hindu religion. His knowledge of the religious symbolism,rituals, and mythologies in the Vedic, as well as the Sanskritlanguage, has compelled modern day literally critics to liken him toEngland’s Shakespeare (Kawachi, 2012). Peopleconsider Kalidasa as the Shakespeare of India because of his greatestliterature works of all times. Like Shakespeare, he is known forremarkable poetry and drama in classical Sanskrit literature.Kalidasa and Shakespeare adopt the same approach in poetry and dramathat contribute to the modern day literature. Kalidasa has a powerfuluse of language and gives vivid descriptions of the atmosphere,characters and background contexts in a way that resemblesShakespeare works. For instance, both of them have a similar way ofglorifying nature in the poetic works. For example, Kalidasa mentionstarns, saffron plant, deodar trees, flora, fauna, and glades in arange of his Kashmir descriptive poetry. Similarly, Shakespeareemploys imagery in the poems, Shall I Compare Thee to Summer Day andThe Green-Eyed Monster. Assuch, he is undoubtedly the Shakespeare of India.
Whetherthe comparison is justified
Althoughboth lived miles and ages apart, Kalidasa’s comparison toShakespeare is indeed justified. It is essential to note thatKalidasa was a great playwright and poet whose work is remarkablyimaginative, felicitous, and refined. Shakespeare was able to projectthe intricate aspects of Middle Ages England due to his ability toemploy finesse in describing complexities of English society usingthe English language (Kawachi, 2012). As much as the Sanskritlanguage is so complex that there tend to be some clear differencesbetween spoken and written forms, his poetic side made it easy forhim to employ dramatic theory and rhetoric in a manner quite similarto Shakespeare (Kawachi, 2012). Kalidasa and Shakespeare appear toemploy the dramatic technique in prose and in verse in a very similarway. Like Shakespeare, Kalidasa’s work is elegantly expressive,artistic, descriptive, and literary. Kalidasa majorly centers histheme between the positive and the negative natures of a human beingjust like Shakespeare. His works highlight human experience throughloss, love, tragedy, betrayals and war. Kalidasa famous dramasAbhijnanasakuntalam,Malavikagnimitraand Vikramorvashiyaand Shakespeare`s play CymbelineTheWinter’s Tale,Romances,Princeof Tyre,Periclesand The Tempestillustrate their powerful way of achieving dramatic purpose byfocusing on nature in their works. Kalidasa’s characterisation, aswell as Shakespeare, evokes feelings of wonder having the effect tocapture the readers’ imagination through their use of semi-divineand divine characters. The similar way of powerful language use,thoughts and style close to Shakespeare’s work along with theeffect it leaves on readers makes Kalidasa the Indian Shakespeare.
Considerationof Shankutalaas one of the great classics of world literature
Literally,scholars from all over the world have marveled upon the Shankutaladrama. It is regarded as the most widely replayed Sanskrit drama inhistory and as such, has been translated into numerous other dialects(Johnson, 2013). The Shankutalais in essences regarded as one of the greatest classics of worldliterature as it serves to compel audiences to exhibit a variety ofresponses to tragedy, whether through fear, pity, or a host of otheremotions. More so, the Shankutalaserves to offer vital information to the overbearing questionsreaders tend to project upon reading the Mahabharata,an epic story, which portrays the majesty of ancient Hindu monarchs(Johnson, 2013). People usually consider the drama as the greatest ofKalidasa dramas and, by agreement the exemplary play, a complexstructure and a work of poetic intelligence. Moreover, Shankutala hasobtained a cultural prestige comparable to that related withShakespeare’s Hamlet because of its aesthetic and poetry. Mostreaders see the drama as a principle form of Sanskrit poetry.
Referenceto the poetic and dramatic qualities of Shankutala
TheShankutalais, in essence, a skillful play with a unique plot of frustratedlove, which despite insurmountable challenges is finally redeemedmuch to the delight of its audiences the world over (Johnson, 2013).The play, comprised of seven acts, begins with comic relief rightfrom its prolog through to the two subsequent acts prior todisintegrating to a tragic tale in the final three acts. The prolog,however, serves to show an illusionary picture that true love alwaystriumphs. Given that the play is basically an imaginative endeavortowards creating some form of fictional reality, the application ofelaborate poetic imagery is used. For instance, at the beginning ofthe play prior to meeting Shankutala,the king is apparently stopped from hunting a deer for sport which heobliges (Johnson, 2013). This scene sets the ball rolling to the playwhere the erotic scenery of the Hermitage, realms of the Hindu godsand the ruler’s pleasure garden are expressed in richly descriptivelanguage.
Relationshipbetween the themes, values and world views expressed in theUpanishads and the Bhagavad Gita
TheUpanishadsand the BhagavadGita aresome of the two pieces of Hindu literature that have served to offerthe world insights into the rich Hindu heritage (BBC, 2009). TheUpanishadsare found in the sacred Vedic scriptures while the BhagavadGita comprisesof excerpts of the longest poem ever told, the Mahabharata(BBC,2009). The Upanishadsattempt to offer the hidden meanings of world reality with regard toreligious texts but in a largely philosophical manner. On the otherhand, the BhagavadGita isIndian scripture told in poetic forms. It is imperative to note thatUpanishads outline the Jnana Kanda of Vedas while Bhagavath Gita isan essential scripture by Veda Vyasa from Lord Krishna. However, theBhagavath Gita follows the etymology of Upanishad, usually aconnotation of receiving instruction from a teacher. Moreover, aftereach section, Veda Vyasa concludes by calling the Bhagavath Gita,Gitaupanashid. In fact, Bhagavath Gita summarizes the principles ofthe Upanishad in the form of statement by the identity of LordKrishna. In this regards, the Bhagavath Gita restates thetestimonials of the Upanishads, but does so in focusing on thefundamentals of the Vedanta principle briefly. Moreover, BhagavathGita standardizes the numerous routes to attaining the commitments ofhuman actuality as instructed in the Upanishads.
Asignificant component of the BhagavadGita isthe dialogue occurring between Krishna, an incarnate god with thecapabilities to transform into other gods and Arjuna, a prince of theroyal family (BBC, 2009). In this ancient text, the incarnate godencourages the stately prince to understand that it is his place inlife to go through difficult situations in seeking the path tosalvation. As such, being a warrior, Arjuna is encouraged to play hisrole in ensuring his family’s status in the kingdom is protected.The main theme here appertains to being duty bound to perform whatone is tasked to do regardless of the challenges that may arise alongthe way (Sharma, 2014). This view is also common in other worldcultures and as such, the religious inclination of the theme suggeststhat every human being is duty bound to exhibit loyalty to his or hercreator.
TheHindu religion is awash with numerous rituals such that they may attimes seem overbearing among its devotees. The Upanishadsseek to enable such devotees to have a philosophical approach towardsthe deeper and complete understanding for the need for such rituals(BBC, 2009). As such, the information contained in the Upanishadswas previously restricted to the priests in Hindu society as it wasonly the Brahmins or priestly class who were privy to its teachings.The Upanishadsallowed for other castes to access knowledge towards greaterknowledge of what the universe entails. These values are common todaysuch that, information is shared among all in an effort to upliftvalues that allows for the social and spiritual development ofhumanity (Sharma, 2014). It is important to note that both worksshare a relationship especially regarding themes and values developedwithin. The Bhagavath Gita follows the themes of devotion and humannature, which are drawn from the Upanishad. Both scriptures provideinstructions to the devotee and offer the principles of the Vedas inthe form of statement by the identity of Lord Krishna. Moreover, theyprovide the Vedanta principle and the numerous paths to attaining thecommitments of human actuality as instructed in the Upanishads. Thus,the two scriptures bear similarities in the way they report on theirthemes and values as Bhagavath draws its statements from theUpanishad, but in a summarized manner.
Ayyappapanicker,K. (1997). MedievalIndian Literature: Surveys and Selections (Vol.1). Sahitya Akademi.
BBC.(2009). Hinduism. TheBBC.Retrieved 11 May, 2016 fromhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/texts/texts.shtml
Johnson,W. J. (2013). Playing around with Śakuntalā: translating Sanskritdrama for performance. AsianLiterature and Translation (ALT): A Journal of Religion and Culture,1(2),1-10.
Kawachi,Y. (2012). Shakespeare: The Indian Icon. MulticulturalShakespeare,9(24),86.
Krishnaswamy,S. & Srilata, K. (2008). Shortfiction from South India.New Delhi: Oxford
Sharma,R. (2014). Holistic Living in Globalized World: An IndianPerspective. Purushartha:A Journal of Management Ethics and Spirituality,6(2).
Tagore,Rabindranath. (1997). Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson, eds. “TheConclusion.”
RabindranathTagore: An Anthology. London: Picador, 268-287.