Friday, 25 September 2015

India in Virginia Woolf's Lighthouse

How is India represented in ‘To The Lighthouse’?

India is referred 6 times in the novel. (The blog is a draft. . .  will be updated soon with detailed interpretation of the representation of India in the novel)

Here are the lines and the context in which they are mentioned:

Apart from the habit of exaggeration which they had from her, and from the implication (which was true) that she asked too many people to stay, and had to lodge some in the town, she could not bear incivility to her guests, to young men in particular, who were poor as church mice, “exceptionally able,” her husband said, his great admirers, and come there for a holiday. Indeed, she had the whole of the other sex under her protection; for reasons she could not explain, for their chivalry and valour, for the fact that they negotiated treaties, ruled India, controlled finance; finally for an attitude towards herself which no woman could fail to feel or to find agreeable, something trustful, childlike, reverential; which an old woman could take from a young man without loss of dignity, and woe betide the girl—pray Heaven it was none of her daughters!—who did not feel the worth of it, and all that it implied, to the marrow of her bones!
Reference: India is ruled by the men-folk.

2) She was now formidable to behold, and it was only in silence, looking up from their plates, after she had spoken so severely about Charles Tansley, that her daughters, Prue, Nancy, Rose—could sport with infidel ideas which they had brewed for themselves of a life different from hers; in Paris, perhaps; a wilder life; not always taking care of some man or other; for there was in all their minds a mute questioning of deference and chivalry, of the Bank of England and the Indian Empire, of ringed fingers and lace, though to them all there was something in this of the essence of beauty, which called out the manliness in their girlish hearts, and made them, as they sat at table beneath their mother’s eyes, honour her strange severity, her extreme courtesy, like a queen’s raising from the mud to wash a beggar’s dirty foot, when she admonished them so very severely about that wretched atheist who had chased them—or, speaking accurately, been invited to stay with them—in the Isle of Skye.
Reference: India is exotic place where lies great romance, adventure and happiness

3) Holding her black parasol very erect, and moving with an indescribable air of expectation, as if she were going to meet some one round the corner, she told the story; an affair at Oxford with some girl; an early marriage; poverty; going to India; translating a little poetry “very beautifully, I believe,” being willing to teach the boys Persian or Hindustanee, but what really was the use of that?—and then lying, as they saw him, on the lawn.

Reference: Augustus Carmichael’s going to India is considered as some sort of achievement.

4) There were all the places she had not seen; the Indian plains; she felt herself pushing aside the thick leather curtain of a church in Rome
Reference: India is referred as place of desire. . . a desire to visit.

5) They had all the trays of her jewel-case open. The gold necklace, which was Italian, or the opal necklace, which Uncle James had brought her from India; or should she wear her amethysts?

Reference: Made in India jewelry is a thing to be possessed – owned with pride

6) The autumn trees, ravaged as they are, take on the flash of tattered flags kindling in the gloom of cool cathedral caves where gold letters on marble pages describe death in battle and how bones bleach and burn far away in Indian sands.

Reference: Some land which is far away – unknown land, the exotic land.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Just Poems


Justice is the bread of the peopleSometimes is plentiful, sometimes it is scarceSometimes it tastes good, sometimes it tastes bad.When the bread is scarce, there is hunger.When the bread is bad, there is discontent.Throw away the bad justiceBaked without love, kneaded without knowledge!Justice without flavour, with a grey crustThe stale justice which comes too late!If the bread is good and plentifulThe rest of the meal can be excused.One cannot have plenty of everything all at once.Nourished by the bread of justiceThe work can be achievedFrom which plenty comes.As daily bread is necessarySo is daily justice.It is even necessary several times a day.From morning till night, at work, enjoying oneself.At work which is an enjoyment.In hard times and in happy timesThe people requires the plentiful, wholesomeDaily bread of justice.Since the bread of justice, then, is so importantWho, friends, shall bake it?Who bakes the other bread?Like the other breadThe bread of justice must be bakedBy the people.Plentiful, wholesome, daily._______________________________________________________________________How to Tame a New Pair of Chappals
(A Poem by Gopal Honnalgere)
don't leave them together
don't allow them to talk to each other
they may form a trade union
don't at anytime leave them near
a wall clock, law books, a calendar, the national flag,
gandhi's portrait, or a newspaper
they may hear about
independence, satyagraha,
hodidays, working hours, minimum wages, corruption
don't take them to your temple
they may at once know you are weak
your god is false and they may bite you
don't let them near your dining table
they may ask for food
or cast their evil eyes on your dinner
first use them only for short walks
then gradually increase the distance
they should never know the amount of work they have to do
pull their tight straps loose
let them feel happiness
they are growing bigger
smear some old oil on the rough straps
let them feel they are anointed
now they are good subdued labourers
ready to work overtime
for your fat feet
[Honnalgere (1942-2003) published at least six books. They include Zen Tree and the Wild Innocents (1973), Gesture of Fleshless SOund (1975), Wad of Poems (1975), The Filth (1980), and Internodes (1986). Now mostly forgotten, he was an enigmatic figure who corresponded with some of the majot poets of the time. (from 60 Indian Poets, ed. Jeet Thayil, 2008)]_____________________________________________________________________
One-eyed (A Poem by Meena Kandasamy)the pot sees just another noisy child
the glass sees an eager and clumsy hand
the water sees a parched throat slaking thirst
but the teacher sees a girl breaking the rule
the doctors sees a medical emergency
the school sees a potential embarrassment
the press sees a headline and a photofeature
dhanam sees a world torn in half.
her left eye, lid open but light slapped away,
the price for a taste of that touchable water.
The Three Oddest Words
When I pronounce the word Future,the first syllable already belongs to the past.When I pronounce the word Silence,I destroy it.When I pronounce the word Nothing,I make something no non-being can hold.By Wislawa SzymborskaTranslated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

Copyright © Wislawa Szymborska, S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh
_____________________________________________________A MYSTERIOUS MARRIAGE
Once upon a time
A boy and girl were
Forced to leave their home
By armed robbers.
The boy was Independence
The girl was Freedom.
While fighting back, they got married.
After the big war they went back home.
Everybody prepared for the wedding.
Drinks and food abounded,
Even the disabled felt able.
The whole village gathered waiting,
Freedom and Independence
Were more popular than Jesus.
Independence came
But Freedom was not there.
An old woman saw Freedom’s shadow passing
Through the crowd, leaving by the gate.
All the same, they celebrated Independence.
Independence is now a senior bachelor.
Some people still talk about him,
Others take no notice.
A lot still say it was a fake marriage.
You can’t be a husband without a wife.
Fruitless and barren, Independence staggers to old age.
Leaving her shadow behind,
Freedom has never returned.
© 2009, Freedom T.V. Nyamubaya
I ’M nobody! Who are you
By Emily Dickinson

I ’M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Oh Jerusalem, the city of sorrow
A big tear wandering in the eye
Who will halt the aggression
On you, the pearl of religions?
Who will wash your bloody walls?
Who will safeguard the Bible?
Who will rescue the Quran?
Who will save Christ, From those who have killed Christ?
Who will save man?
(Nizar Qabbani: “Jerusalem! My Love,My Town:)

A big tear wandering in the eye
Who will halt the aggression
On you, the pearl of religions?
Who will wash your bloody walls?
Who will safeguard the Bible?
Who will rescue the Quran?
Who will save Christ, From those who have killed Christ?
Who will save man?
(Nizar Qabbani: “Jerusalem! My Love,My Town:)

Javed Akhtar reciting a few of his poems:
Do not miss these two poems:
1) Naya Hukmanama - New Ordinance - at 4:20
2) Yeh Khel Kya Hai! (A poem on the game of Chess) - at 8:10

Saba Naqvi performs 'Meri Saree'

Unerase Poetry: Mere Kavi Dost

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Being Human in Cyberabad

Kasoomble: Youth Festival 2012

Being Human Amidst Cyber Matrix

This video is about the tableau on 'Being Human amidst the Matrix of Cyber World'. This tableau was presented during Youth Festival (Kasoomble) 2012 organised by Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University, Bhavnagar (Gujarat - India) at Botad (town) on Oct 21, 2012. It was presented by the students of Department of English, M.K. Bhavnagar University. This presentation is prepared by Yashpalsinh Gohil with the help of Bhagirath Khuman and other students.

The local newspapers highlighted this tableau in their news reporting on Youth Festival. Here is the photograph from Divya Bhashkar Gujarati News Daily

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Dryden's Essay: Of Dramatic Poesy: Short Video Lectures and Quiz

Short Video Lectures on 

Dryden's Essay Of Dramatick Poesie, 

Quiz and Tasks to 'Think and Write'

1) Short Video Lecture on Dryden as Father of English Criticism, Neo-Classical Critic and definition of Play:

2) Short Video Lecture on Dryden as Critic & Title of the Essay:

3) SVL on Dryden's Definition of Play:

4) SVL on the comparative criticism of the Ancients, the Moderns and the French Playwrights:

5) SVL on the debate regarding appropriateness of rhyme and blank verse:

6) SVL on the controversy regarding the Rhymes lines vs the Blank Verse:


1) Sir Philip Sidney's An Apology for Poetrie:

After viewing these videos and presentation, check your understanding about Dryden's Essay. 

Quiz: Dryden's Essay and Sidney's Apology


Please give your response as a COMMENT below this post:

1) Do you any difference between Aristotle's definition of Tragedy and Dryden's definition of Play?
2) If you are supposed to give your personal predilection, would you be on the side of the Ancient or the Modern? Please give reasons.
3) Do you think that the arguments presented in favour of the French plays and against English plays are appropriate? (Say for example, Death should not be performed as it is neither 'just' not 'liely' image, displaying duel fight with blunted swords, thousands of soldiers marching represented as five on stage, mingling of mirth and serious, multiple plots etc.)
4) What would be your preference so far as poetic or prosaic dialogues are concerned in the play? 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Drishyam - Hindi Film

Hindi Film Drishyam Poster

Drishyam is one of the best scripted movies of recent time. It is no surprise that the film has been remade in Kannada, Tamil, Telegu and Hindi from the original Drishyam (English translation: Visual/The Sight). It is is a 2013 Malayalam language Indian drama thriller film written and directed   and starring Mohanlal and Meena in the lead roles.

Aristotle and subsequent literary theorist went on harping that ‘Plot is the soul of the play’. For films, script is the soul of the film. All that is said about plot applies to script. There should be not a single scene (frame), character or dialogue which is unnecessarily present in the play or film. Even if a dialogue or character or scene is deleted, the play / film seem to be incomplete. In Drishyam, all characters, dialogues, scenes are harmoniously arranged. All the events are so well chosen and so meticulously arranged that one has to watch this film time and again to find any sort of improbability. All the laws of probability are tried and tested; and all stands strong to give robust and resilient scaffolding to the script/plot.
Some questions are obvious. Say for example,
·         Why is the protagonist’s profession cable operation? Why is he so obsessed for Bollywood films?
·         Why the protagonist is the father of two daughters and no son? Why is one daughter a teenage girl and another small kid?
·         Why they (husband and wife) are not formally educated? (Hmmm . . . Education ruins mind’s ability for divergent thinking . . .  and does films, which gives exposure to art and literature, sharpens divergent thinking? Interesting to think so. . . .)
·         Why does the protagonist have bad relations with one cop and decent with all others?
·         Why was the new construction of Police Station so importantly present as a recurring motif? This was the master stroke idea of the director.
Well, one can argue that it is not fair to apply theory of play on film. Films are not only performance like plays, it has something of narratology as well. Films have elements of play as well as novel and something more than that. So, it becomes necessary to see if the said film qualifies to be of some quality so far as narratology is concerned.

Well, this film (Drishyam-2015) is directed and scripted so well that it can be a beautiful case study of Gerard Genette’s Narratology. The five main concepts used by Genette in Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method are:
1)      Order
2)      Frequency
3)      Duration
4)      Voice
5)      Mode (will write in detail with illustrations from film when I will can have some time)
Films make extensive use narrative techniques like ellipses and flashback. Drishyam has near perfection in the use of both ellipses and flashback. They are used so well in the film that one cannot think of better timing for it that found in the film The ellipses when
·         Sam is showing clippings in mobile to Anju
·         Sam demands Nandini in liew of Anju
·         Reconstruction of entre episode to make people remember dates of event
·         the replacement of dead body
·         and above all, burial of the body in the police station!
is marvelously mingled with the flashback. The timing and frequency of events along with changing focalization are so well scripted and directed that one not only gets glued to the screen but feels the real thrill. A very well made family thriller!
Yes, the film is typical Bollywoodish masala movie which lacks realism. But it is bound to be as the protagonist is voracious watcher of Hollywood – Bollywood masala movies. What else can he think of if not filmy ways to solve family crisis!
Performance wise, the film is average. None of the actors were able to rise above the script. Credit may be given to script for being so that actors are overshadowed. I have not seen Mohanlal in Malyali and Kamal Hasan in Tamil version of this film. But one can sense that they would have done something better than Ajay Devgan who seems dull, stale and flat in Hindi version. It was surprising to see Tabu failing to deliver powerpack performance. Is it the director who failed to extract best performances from these experienced actors? May be. The ultimate crefit goest to Jeetu Joseph - the original writer / director of this story and script.
Drishyam - Malayalam Version - Film Poster

Drishyam - Tamil Version - Film poster

Philosophically speaking, the concept of the discourse analysis between ‘seeing is believing’ and ‘seeing is deceiving’ would have been exploited fruitfully. But it goes in vain. It just remains at superfluous level.

Last word . . . a film is worth watching and has got some interesting material for academic discussion on plot structure, character portrayal and recurrent motifs.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Postcolonial Studies: Film Screening: Midnight's Children and The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Screening films related to the themes of Postcolonial studies with a task to review these films

1) Midnight's Children: 

From one of the most acclaimed novel Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, emerges this drama Midnight's Children 2013 film highlighting the lives of two individuals born at the stroke of midnight when India achieved its independence from the British. The legendary yet dramatic Midnight's Children movie features a great story that marks it as an epic saga of the decade. This movie takes us through all the ages beginning from the grandparents to the grandchildren. Switched at the time of birth by a nurse at a Bombay hospital, the lives of the two individuals are mysteriously intertwined. As fate would have it, one (Saleem) is a son of a beggar woman whereas the other child (Shiva) becomes the destined son of a wealthy couple. Over a period of time, their fate makes them face each other on the field of rivalry, politics, romance and class.
The Midnight Children film is a controversial potboiler that has tragedy, romance and comedy. A journey of two individuals through the tragic disasters, trials and triumphs gives you an incomparable experience of watching India in the early years of Independence. It offers an astute view of the divide when the rich become poor and poor rise to power. Brilliantly directed and compiled by Oscar nominated director Deepa Mehta, the movie features some unforgettable moments that make your heart bleed and then there are those that bring a smile to your face. Midnight's Children English movie has a dramatic and mysterious touch that gets you an entire picture of India's journey through all its trials. Offering some fodder for thought and complete visual delight, this Midnight's Children DVD is a story that touches your soul. (This blurb is taken from Amazon product details)

The problem is that some - in fact a good many - of the events of Midnight's Children actually happened. it is not a historical novel in the conventional sense, but what Timothy Brennan has called "patches of straight history" are woven into the extravagant, nonlinear, fictional narrative of the novel's hero, Saleem Sinai. This "baggy monster of a book", as Rushdie has described it using Henry James's phrase, contains a detailed, chronological survey of the major events in India from the Amritsar massacre of 1919 to the end of the Emergency in 1977. In fact, Rushdie himself has said on several occasions that the novel is actually 'about' history and the way in which memory recovers and recreates the past. Not many critics, however, have chosen to pursue this approach to the book.

Rather than explore the novel's relation to history, the Academy has discussed it as a 'postmodern epic', a work of magic realism (or not), and a hybrid text that crosses elements of the Indian oral tradition with a critique of earlier British writers such as E. M. Forster and Paul Scott. 
From - Katherine Frank's  'Mr. Rushdie and Mrs. Gandhi' (


2) The Reluctant Fundamentalist: 

A young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street where he finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family s homeland.  It is a 2012 political thriller drama film based on the 2007 novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist byMohsin Hamid, directed by Mira Nair, starring Riz Ahmed and Kate Hudson in lead.[4] The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a post-9/11film, a movie about the impact on one man of the Al Qaida attacks and the American reaction to them. (Wikipedia)

3) The Black Prince:

The last King of Punjab, Maharajah Duleep Singh's kingdom was one of the most powerful and prosperous kingdoms of the 19th century before it was annexed by Britain. Placed on the throne at the age of five, he was robbed of his legacy by treason at the hands of trusted courtiers. He was then torn away from his mother and taken to England by the British at the age of fifteen. While in England, he was introduced to Queen Victoria, who took an immediate liking to him, calling him The Black Prince. Meeting his mother again after thirteen years, the Maharajah is awakened to the realities of his former life in Punjab. He then begins the arduous journey to regain all that was lost, and re-embrace the faith of his birth, Sikhism. As the character of Maharajah Duleep Singh evolves, is torn between two contrasting cultures - his royal ancestry from the Kingdom of Punjab as its last King, set against his upbringing in the UK as he embarks in a new journey of exile, away from his mother. Duleep Singh's lifelong journey to regain his identity, dignity, and Kingdom took him across the world but his struggle was not met with success. He never won the chance to set foot again in his own land of Punjab.(CBFC/DIL/2/62/2017-MUM)

How to Analyze a Film:

Points to remember while reviewing a film:

  • A film review should have a number of purposes:
  • To inform. The review needs to tell people who is in the film, who it is by and where or when readers can see it.
  • To describe. The review should describe the story, characters and some of the action - without spoiling the plot or giving too much away!
  • To analyse. A good review gives an opinion on whether the film is good or not and why.
  • To advise. Finally, the review should tell the reader whether or not to go and see the film.. .  Read BBC link from the below given links for further study.
  • A good movie review should entertain, persuade and inform, providing an original opinion without giving away too much of the plot. A great movie review can be a work of art in its own right. Read on to learn how to analyze a movie, come up with an interesting thesis and write a review as entertaining as your source material.
  • Method 1 of 3: Studying Your Source Material
  • 1. Gather basic facts about the movie
2. Take notes on the movie as you watch it.
3. Analyze the mechanics of the movie
Method 2 of 3: Composing Your Review

1. Create an original thesis based on your analysis.
2. Follow your thesis paragraph with a short plot summary.
3. Move into your analysis of the movie.
4. Use plenty of examples to back up your points.
5. Give it some personality.
6. Wrap up your review with a conclusion
Method 3 of 3: Polishing Your Piece
1. Edit your review.
2. Proofread your review.
3. Publish or share your review (in form of COMMENT under this blog and also on your personal blog) . . . read more on wikihow link given below.

Some examples of reviews:

  1. To do cinematic justice to Salman Rushdie’s novel “Midnight’s Children,” it would take a razzle-dazzle entertainer with Bollywood flair and a literary bent, someone equally at home with comedy and allegory, ghosts and little snot-nosed boys, Indian history and Indian myth. (
  2. Though a bit literal for a film that traffics in magical realism, Deepa Mehta'sMidnight's Children is both dreamy and dramatic, a fascinating view of Indian history seen through the prism of a personal -- and occasionally twinned -- story. (
  3. The film, directed by Deepa Mehta (“Water”), is stunning to watch. Between the colorful textiles and the lush landscapes, the elephants on parade and the stilt walkers, “Midnight’s Children” is a visual treat. (
  4. As a result, Midnight’s Children has neither the magic nor the realism of the magic realist narrative it regurgitates into soft, digestible pablum for a Western audience it clearly expects little but cooing approval from. (

Some examples of reviews of 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist':

  1. Relations between east and west, and the experience of the subcontinent diaspora in Britain and North America, have been the predominant concern ofMira Nair. Her perceptive, generous, inquiring films have pursued issues that the older, more reserved, less politically engaged Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala team held back from. Based on a well-regarded novel by Mohsin Hamid, this schematic film interweaves two narratives in 2011 Lahore. (
  2. In his slim 2007 novel, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” the Pakistan-born writer Mohsin Hamid takes these two words and rubs them together until they throw off intellectual sparks. Written as a monologue, it is a somewhat claustrophobic blurt of a book that, given world events, continues to feel eerily timely. (
  3. The story is recounted in flashback by Changez, now an academic back in Lahore, to an American journalist (Liev Schreiber) on the trail of a kidnapped professor. How deeply is this reluctant fundamentalist implicated in anti-American insurgency? Nair, adapting from the 2007 novel by Mohsin Hamid, draws a terrific performance from Ahmed as the divided hero, mild-mannered then warier by degrees. (
  4. But Khan's challenge comes less from without and more from within. He questions his identity, while his conscience struggles with his ethical choices. He is a Third World man rising to the heights of an imperialist nation. As an American, he benefits from our foreign interventions exploiting his "own people." Further, he contributes to the problem: In arranging mergers and acquisitions, he himself drives thousands of people into unemployment. (

A few Reviews of The Black Prince:


Reading resources on 'How to review film?'