Rereading Indian Literature: The White Tiger and Narcopolis

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  • 1.Rereading Indian Writing in EnglishThe White Tiger Arvind AdigaNarcopolis Jeet ThayilNation, Narrative & Novel Tue, 6th Nov., 2012 ASC, Uni. Of Mumbai, Mumbai Dilip BaradDept. of EnglishM.K. Bhavnagar UniversityBhavnagar Gujarat

2. Let us discuss . . . Creative writing vs/and criticism! Tagore and Gandhi: The idea of Nation Umashankar Joshi The Idea of Indian Literature E V Ramakrishnan Relocating Nation & Narration: Homi K. Bhabha Farrukh Dhondy nation and novel Terry Eagleton: Political Criticism Cultural criticism four goals Narrative structure - Memory Novels Rereading texts: Politics ofawards/rewards/western audience 3. Tagore & Gandhi Both Rabindranath Tagore and Gandhi wereagainst the nation-state Swaraj vs Suraj For Tagore, the concept of India was notterritorial but ideational i.e. India for him was nota geographical expression but an idea. His view of nationalism was more aboutspreading a homogenised universalism thanseeking political freedom for India. Gandhi our struggle for freedom is to bringpeace in the world. 4. Umashankar Joshi The Idea of Indian Literature Umashankar Joshi The Idea of Indian Literature Indianness is rather an ongoing search for, a vision of, apattern of Indian literature and culture to which theliterature and culture in every part of the country is moreor less converging. We shall always be viewing the composite identity ofIndian literature within the parameters of the compositeculture of India. True Indianness transcends India and genuineIndianisation is a synonym for humanization. Indian ethos is one of synthesis rather than exclusiveness plea for swaraj in ideas. K. Satchidanandan Umashankar Joshi and the Idea of Indian Literature Indian Literature 268) 5. E. V. Ramakrishnan relocate Indian literature relocate literature in the context of caste,religion, region, gender etc issues ofeveryday struggles Literature is shaped bythe material condition of society. 6. Homi K. Bhabha: Introduction: Narrating theNation (Nation and Narration) Nation the modern Janus: the uneven developmentof capitalism inscribes both progression and regression,political rationality and irrationality in the very geneticcode of the nation it is by nature, ambivalent. Nation is narrated in terror of the space or race ofthe Other; the comfort of social belonging, thehidden injuries of class, the customs of taste, thepowers of political affiliation; the sense of socialorder, the sensibility of sexuality; the blindness ofbureaucracy, the strait insight of institutions; thequality of justice, the commonsense of injustice; thelangue of the law and the parole of the people. 7. Homi K. Bhabha: Introduction: Narrating the Nation (Nation and Narration) It is to explore the Janus-faced ambivalence oflanguage itself in the construction of theJanus-faced discourse of the nation. Nation is an agency of ambivalent narrationthat holds culture at its most productiveposition, as a force for subordination,fracturing, diffusing, reproducing as much asproducing, creating, forcing and guiding. 8. Homi K. Bhabha: Introduction: Narrating the Nation(Nation and Narration) The ambivalent, antagonistic perspective ofnation as narration will establish the culturalboundaries of the nation so that they may beacknowledged as containing thresholds ofmeaning that must be crossed, erased andtranslated in the process of cultural production. What kind of cultural space is the nation with itstransgressive boundaries and its interruptiveinteriority? 9. Farrukh Dhondy: The Nation and the Novel (3 Nov, 2012 ToI) How is South Asian writing in a universalhuman context to be evaluated? Perhaps as allliterature has ever been? The European shortstory was born of the parable and the fable. The novel in England, France, Russia andGermany was, in an important way, born of acrisis of religious faith. 10. F.D.: Nation & Novel when a culture ceases to live and assess itselfby the laws of Moses or Jesus, when Dorotheaof Middlemarch or Anna Karenina or EmmaBovary feel what they feel and do what theydo, they can call upon no strictly biblicaljustification. It takes George Eliot, Tolstoy and GustaveFlaubert to construct a form which capturesthose nuances of feeling and brings aninclusive sympathy to the possibilities ofhuman and social behaviour. 11. F.D.: Nation & Novel The novel in the European context was calledupon to supply in narrative the definition oflove, faith, loyalty, generosity, compassion,priggishness, snobbery, war, peace and everyother abstract noun in the dictionary. It took up where faith left off and did theopposite of what heroic myths used to do. SomeEuropean writing, the novels of Dostoevsky andthe philosophical works of Nietzsche took thiscrisis of faith and the death of myth head on,asking and explicitly answering questions. 12. F.D.: Nation & Novel And South Asia? Of which necessity was South Asian writing inEnglish born? The obvious answer is nationalism and thestruggle for Independence. The influence of the writing, though widelytranslated, suffered from the limitation ofbeing in English. 13. F.D. At the same time as this contribution tonationalism was formulated, a far moreinfluential media was coming into its own. Film became the lingua franca of India and itexclusively dedicated itself to the variouspurposes and themes of nationalism,asserting Indias great past (RajaHarishchandra), and following a Gandhianagenda in attacking untouchability (AchhutKanya) and elevating the status of women(Razia Begum). 14. F.D. The cinematic definitions created and werebound by myth. Modernity, the urbanisationof India, new institutions, industrialisation,global imports, rampant capitalism andcorruption (whew!) were changing India andthough the myths persisted, were modifiedand increasingly seen to be fantasy orescapism. 15. F.D. The task then of the new cinema and of SouthAsian writing was to distance oneself from themyth and describe and dissect thepersonalities and possibilities of existence thatemerge. 16. Terry Eagleton: Political Criticism There is no need to drag politics into literarytheory(text), it has been there from thebeginning. This should not surprise for any body of theory(text)concernedwithhumanmeaning, value, language, feeling and experiencewill inevitably engage with broader, deeperbeliefs about the nature of human individuals andsocieties, problems of power andsexuality, interpretations of past history, versionsof the present and hopes for the future. Literary Theory: An Introduction 17. Cultural Studies Four Goals: First, Cultural Studies transcends the confinesof particular discipline such as literary criticismor history. Second, Cultural Studies is politically engaged. Thirdly, Cultural Studies denies the separationof high and low or elite and popularculture. Finally, Cultural Studies analyzes not only thecultural work, but also the means ofproduction. A Hand book of Critical Approaches to Literature Wilfred Guerin, Labor et all. 18. Narrative Memory Novel: Dipesh Chakrabarty One needs to understand the relation betweenmemory and identity, the shared structure of asentiment, the sense of trauma and its contradictoryrelation to the question of the past. Trauma is memory. One of principal arguments seems to be that thenarrative structure of the memory of trauma works ona principle opposite to that of any historical narrative. According to him, a historical narrative leads up to theevent in question, explaining why it happened, andwhy it happened when it did, and this is possible onlywhen the event is open to explanation. What cannotbe explained belongs to the marginalia of history.Memories of Displacement: The Poetry and Prejudice of Dwelling in Habitation of Modernity, pp 116-17. 19. The White Tiger Title: Symbol of White tiger in Chinese myth Reading text: Blurb Pg. 6, 8, 10,12. You see, I am in light now, but I was born andraised in Darkness . . . Please understand, YourExcellency, that India is two countries in one: anIndia of Light, and an India of Darkness. TheOcean brings light to my country. .. But the riverbrings darkness to India the black river. (readpg. 15) Pg. 19: Inside, you will find an image of a saffron-coloured creature, half man half monkey 20. Stories of rottenness and corruption are alwaysthe best stories, arent they? Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought. But this is your fate if you do your job well withhonesty, dedication, and sincerity, the way Gandhi wouldhave done it. I did my job with near total dishonesty,lack of dedication, and insincerity: Read pg. 63, 64. about caste The villages are so religious in the Darkness Democracy! Pg. 96-102 I am Indias most faithful voter,and I still have not seen the inside of a voting booth. Pg. 318:all the skin-whitening creams sold in the marketsof India wont clean my hands again. Conclusion: pg. 319-320 I will never say I made amistake that night in Delhi when I slit my masters throat. 21. Narcopolis Bombay: I found Bombay andopium, the drug and the city, thecity of opium and the drug Bombay. Drug literature Opium: symbolically represented as the idea of religion, films, sex, freedom, memory and dreams. The narrative is true to its subject matter opiated, hazy, viewed through foggy smoke, dream like sequences, stream of consciousness at another level. . . .Soporos book, within Lees fathers book (Zheng He), within the story of Lees life, as told to Dimple, within the pipes narration, as told to narrator Dom, within the book Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil. (Interview_2) 22. Dimple/Zeenat The story of eunuch Dimple / Zeenat: Pg. 11 & 289 Like Bombays, Dimples name does not remain fixed.She was originally (re)named after the beautiful DimpleKapadia, of the film Bobby (the plot of which rings withfamiliar themes). She is (re)renamed, again after a filmstar this time Zeenat Amanby Rashid, who takesher to a movie (Hare Rama Hare Krishna)