Are we heading towards an intellectual bankruptcy or it has already dawned
FREEZE FRAME BY SYEDA AFSHANA
We are but facing a ‘catastrophe’? A serious predicament? We are in quandary. Creative infertility. Ingenious plague. In¬tellectual emaciation. Ideological sterility. They say we cannot produce a revolution¬ary brain, a writer of repute, an intellec¬tual of first watermark.
A sense of barrenness has dawned on us. Not bad. Better late than never before! Nothing wrong in setting the tongues wag and minds joggle.
The issue is closely related to national character. The one that is a delicate magic. Difficult to penetrate, differently per¬ceived, it eludes a definition even when constantly inviting it. However, it is some¬thing that everyone in a nation carries along. None escapes its away. The writ¬ers or intellectuals stand no exception.
While breathing in a frightful freight of confusions and contradictions, any writer needs a certain kind of intellectual space to come to terms with seminal is¬sues. For, he/she has to face the ordeal of au¬thenticity within the fastness of his own heart, before he can establish his creden¬tials. To recall Henry James’ felicitous phrase, he has to belong first to certain ‘communities of honour’. But this seems awesomely tricky. Where ambiguities are likely to remain unresolved, a certain de¬gree of ambivalence is inevitable. Nearly all writers identify this to be the condition of the laboring muses when they run up against the rock-face of reality. This doesn’t, nonetheless, mean to turn a blind eye to what is going around. It rather un¬derpins the writer’s resolve: To stimulate all thinking individuals to acknowledge the gravity of the situation(s). Solutions or remedies are often beyond the control of writers, if not their ken. In any case, the various elements of a nation almost man¬age to create a Catch - 22 situations so that one is left arguing in a circle. Still, it’s the business of the embattled muses to work out strategies of salvation.
Writer quo writer and his role as an agent of imaginative possibilities within a field of narrowing exits needs to be viewed through what the geologists call as the angle of response. It’s that point in the slope where the rocks cease to roll and come to rest. In a literary parlance, it would mean the discovery of a state of mind where living in the midst of storms, one may, with effort and insight, arrive at a mode of acceptance and understanding. History, heritage, ancestry, religion—all combine to condition this angle of response in a writer’s imagination, especially if he belongs to any conflict torn area. He car¬ries in his work the genes of his race, and the memes of its intellectual and moral life. These cultural strains are a fact of his world-view. As such, the writer of our fancy is not only a creator of the con¬science of his race, to evoke James Joyce’s ideal, but also a creator of com¬modities, of shared perceptions, and of magnanimities of meanings beyond the putative texts.
Our writer cannot be placid. But he cannot even be stormy. He is jammed in a paradox. If he tries to be candid, he is sure to be discouraged. Not blows but the languages of bullets bully him. Cobwebs of suspicion ensnare his writings. Absurd vivisection rakes up. He is subtly intimi¬dated, and it means much more than stop¬ping only him. It slaughters many bud¬ding writers before a full blossom. The message is blunt: to stall free thinking and nothing else. And it hones out properly.
Do we still expect highbrows emerg¬ing around like mice from sneaky holes? Intellect is not manufactured in any indus¬trial plant. Neither ever put on discount sale. It is harnessed in institutions of sig¬nificance. But again, we cut a sorry fig¬ure. Our all such institutions have turned into dens of degradation. Who runs them? Not writers or intellectuals, at least.
The veracity that bites us is somewhat this--Potent transition (not change) tenta¬cles us, as of now. We are witnessing a formidable mutation. It is, infact, more com¬parable to a radical mutation of humanity, which transforms it into new species. We the homo sapiens are giving birth to Homo sapiens sapiens - for want of a better name. We as the former were able to know and knew we know. Our elders belonged to this creed. We as the latter know that we do not know. It is collec¬tion of our third generation. They think knowledge is not enough, and that even knowledge about knowledge is not enough either. They know there is an implacable wall ahead of them. They know there is no easy exit which ever. Disenchanted with their surroundings, they are baffled with the existing inconsistencies. Rheto¬ric charms them no more. Sermons bore them stiff whole hog. Ideological vacuum wilts them insidiously. Their falling prey to alien things is not shocking therefore.
Do we still expect visionary souls growing in our nation like apples on trees?
Miracles are not difficult to explain. They can happen. And they do happen. , However, misplaced optimism is not good for the health of any nation. It seems all improbable in a place where corruption is glorified and accorded recognition. Where mediocrity and not merit clutches the day. Where not minds but pretty faces get ad¬miration. Where hedonistic hang-ups rule the roost. Where success connotes plenty of moolah. Where luxury cars and palatial houses symbolize honour. Where mar¬riages are settled in gardens, canteens, classrooms, coaching centers, telephone booths and net cafes. Where holy men are hyped hypocrites; leaders dubious linchpins; politicians moral paupers; teach¬ers cultured cheaters; doctors qualified butchers; engineers expert robbers; clerks precarious parasites; shopkeepers crafty looters; and everybody else a masquerading character. The distinctive place where life sees through the tyrannical abyss.
It woofs insane. And bleeds endlessly.
Do we still expect miraculous breed¬ing of thinking brains here?
If yes…. Sorry! We are a gone case then. Asylums are meant for lunatics only. This is what I had heard last.
(The author teaches at Media Education Research Centre, MERC, University of Kashmir)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM SUNDAY SPECIAL
Srinagar, May 8: The Principal District and Sessions Judge Gous-un-Nisa on Saturday acquitted the Greater Kashmir Chief Editor, Fayaz Ahmad Kaloo, and former Associate Editor, Zahir-ud-Din, of all More
- Srinagar City
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, Mar 8: The famed Royal Springs Golf Course is giving some bad taste to the golfers who visit its restaurant at the picturesque greens. The RSGC members have complained of being provided More
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, May 8: Asserting that the state of Jammu and Kashmir was the epitome of secularism, brotherhood and communal harmony, senior National Conference leader and Chief Minister’s Political Advisor, Devender More
- South Asia
BIHAR TOLL RISES TO 57
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, May 8: Dust storm and heavy rains claimed 34 more lives in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, taking the death toll in the two states to 57 today. The high velocity wind and heavy downpour since More
- GK Business
Directs it to convene extraordinary general body meeting
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, May 8: The Court has castigated the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) for observing its Memorandum and Articles of Association in breach and directed it to convene the Extraordinary More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Jerusalem, May 8: Palestinian leaders today gave their nod to resume indirect peace talks with Israel over territorial disputes following US mediation.The decision by the Palestine Liberation Organisation More