Friday, 18 June 2021

Artist Floating World

 An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro

An Artist of the Floating World (1986) is a novel by Nobel Prize- winning British author Kazuo Ishiguro. It is set in post-World War II Japan and is narrated by Masuji Ono, an ageing painter, who looks back on his life and how he has lived it. He notices how his once great reputation has faltered since the war and how attitudes towards him and his paintings have changed. The chief conflict deals with Ono's need to accept responsibility for his past actions, rendered politically suspect in the context of post-War Japan. The novel ends with the narrator expressing good will for the young white-collar workers on the streets at lunchbreak. The novel also deals with the role of people in a rapidly changing political environment and with
the assumption and denial of guilt.
The novel is considered as both historical fiction and global literature
(Weltliteratur). It is considered historical fiction on account of its basis in a past that predates the author's own experiences, and it draws from historical facts. It is also considered global literature on account of its broad international market and its thematicization of how the world today is interconnected. (Source)

Reading Resources

Online Test - Check your understanding

Video Resources

Wednesday, 16 June 2021


 Nineteen Eighty-four - George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-four, also published as 1984novel by English author George Orwell published in 1949 as a warning against totalitarianism. The chilling dystopia made a deep impression on readers, and his ideas entered mainstream culture in a way achieved by very few books. The book’s title and many of its concepts, such as Big Brother and the Thought Police, are instantly recognized and understood, often as bywords for modern social and political abuses.
Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-four as a warning after years of brooding on the twin menaces of Nazism and Stalinism. Its depiction of a state where daring to think differently is rewarded with torture, where people are monitored every second of the day, and where party propaganda trumps free speech and thought is a sobering reminder of the evils of unaccountable governments. Winston is the symbol of the values of civilized life, and his defeat is a poignant reminder of the vulnerability of such values in the midst of all-powerful states. (Source)

Reading Resources

Online Test - Check your understanding of the novel

Video Resources


Crash Course - 1


Crash Course - 2




Video Summary


Summary of the novel


1984 - BBC-Why it still matters?


How to recognize a Dystopia?


What is Orwellian?


Introduction by Students


Orwellian Explained


Monday, 14 June 2021

Great Gatsby

 The Great Gatsby - by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby, third novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1925 by Charles Scribner’s Sons. Set in Jazz Age New York, the novel tells the tragic story of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, and his pursuit of Daisy Buchanan, a wealthy young woman whom he loved in his youth. Unsuccessful upon publication, the book is now considered a classic of American fiction and has often been called the Great American Novel. (Click here to read more)

Reading Resources

Online Test

Video Resources

Introduction and Analysis of the novel 'The Great Gatsby':

Summary and Analysis of the novel 'The Great Gatsby'

Character Study - Nick Carraway, the Narrator

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

TVF's Aspirants Web Series

 TVF's Aspirants: Pre... Mains aur Life

1"UPSC - Optional Me Kya Hai?"Apoorv Singh KarkiDeepesh Sumitra Jagdish7 April 2021
Abhilash entered the Old Rajinder Nagar, Delhi, to prepare for his UPSC CSE,
which is famous for Coaching institutes of Civil service examinations.
He is trying to change his optional subject but the things become difficult as it is his last attempt.

2"Teacher Sahi Hona Chahiye"Apoorv Singh KarkiDeepesh Sumitra Jagdish14 April 2021
Abhilash became dissatisfied with his teacher in the institute eventually decided to leave his coaching
institute as he is worried about his examination.

3"Positive Approach Rakh Yaar"Apoorv Singh KarkiDeepesh Sumitra Jagdish21 April 2021
After being taunted regarding his negative approach, Abhilash went to study at the library, where Dhairya
enters his life after which things turn positive. But, things turns out impotent.

4"Plan B Kya Hai?"Apoorv Singh KarkiDeepesh Sumitra Jagdish28 April 2021
Finally, Abhilash realises that cracking UPSC is difficult, no matter how determined a candidate is.
He also realises that he needs a backup plan.

5"UPSC - Pre...Mains aur Life."Apoorv Singh KarkiDeepesh Sumitra Jagdish8 May 2021
IAS Abhilash Sharma struggles when the past meets the present. Things took turn when Sandeep
Bhaiya, his mentor cum friend from the past, returns as a colleague and advise him as he used to do.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

WBYeats Poems

 Poems by W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

1. The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Analysis of the poem - 'The Second Coming'

2. On Being Asked for a War Poem

I think it better that in times like these

A poet's mouth be silent, for in truth

We have no gift to set a statesman right;

He has had enough of meddling who can please

A young girl in the indolence of her youth,

Or an old man upon a winter’s night.

Analysis of the poem 'On Being Asked for a War Poem'

Check your understanding of these poems - click here to appear in an online test

Additional Reading resources:
2. Video recording of online class on 'The Second Coming'

3. Video Recording of Online Class on 'On Being Asked for a War Poem

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Memorabilia 2021

 Memorabilia 2020-21

The Memorabilia 2021 prepared by the Students can be accessed here

Video Recording of the Online event: Annual Day 2021

From the Desk of the Head of Department of English

#covid19 #coronavirus #corona #pandemic

Our last year, the academic year 2020-21, was entangled in these hashtags. Today is no better. The pandemic has turned India into quagmire. Officially, India is recording highest number of covid infected cases in entire world, for last several days. People are struggling to get oxygen cylinders, ventilators, hospital beds. The hotels are converted into paid-covid centers. Several academic institutes have started temporary covid care units. We are amidst second wave of covid19 pandemic and Indians are the hardest hit in entire world.

It is but obvious that Corona Pandemic is a natural calamity. Though some conspiracy theories try to convince us that this virus is man-made in Wuhan Virus Laboratory in China and it is a sort of biological war started by China to economically destroy India and enemy countries, yet we do not have ample evidences to believe in such theories. What is important for us to believe in, rather than these conspiracy theories, is that how such natural calamities are aggravated by human error of judgement. How, we the humans, are responsible for the tragedies that happen in our societies and in our personal lives – is something very important to be learned from this pandemic.

We are aware of the fact that India lowered its guard against the pandemic in the month of March 2021. Officially, it celebrated the victory against Corona Virus. The leaders got busy with election rallies; the people got busy with religious congregations. There was widespread skepticism regarding vaccination among common-men. All these human errors of judgement are equally responsible for the tragic situation in which we, the Indians, are today. We come into such a dire situation because people in power deny to accept the advises of the experts. At times, they are taking decisions based on intuitions or astrology instead of scientific evidences. And then we all suffer!

However, it is not only the natural mutations of the virus and the errors of judgement by human agency that is responsible. It is our immunity or lack of it, also, to be made accountable. We have rich heritage of Yoga, Pranayama and Ayurveda. But when it comes to make it a part and parcel of everyday life, we are the laziest lots. These precautionary life-style is neglected, I would say, criminally neglected, and then, when the house is on fire, we think of digging the well. Then, when the milk is spilled, what’s the use of crying over it.

We are supposed to keep one law of nature at our fingertips: A single rotten mango can infect all the healthy mangoes, but all healthy mangoes can not remove the rot from a single infected mango.

The point is, we all have to be hale and hearty. Even if a single person in a society is not taking care of his/her health, s/he is a danger to all human beings. If s/he gets infected by virus, s/he is going to spread and infect all healthy immune system. All healthy immune systems are incapable to transmit good health to a sick human. A sick human is capable to transmit sickness to all healthy humans. Isn’t this the crude and bitter reality of nature!

The life lessons we learn from the zeitgeist of our times are useful in our normal times also:

  1. 1)    When it comes to take decisions, which can affect innumerable lives and it may turn down to be the matter of life and death, believe in conclusions drawn out of logic and rationality. In short, do not take decisions based on intuition or irrational calculations.
  2. 2)    Never celebrate small victories. What seems to have ended might be just a small battle. The war might still be going on and we may be unaware about it.
  3. 3)    Always ask – ‘What next!’.
  4. 4)    Always remember – ‘Readiness is all’. Remember, so many sports persons got infected with corona virus. The Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) has been postponed because of several crickets got infected in the bio-bubble. So, even if you are keeping your immunity stronger with yoga, pranayama, Ayurveda or sports and outdoor games, be ready for the infection. So far as rotten mangoes are with us, we, the healthy mangoes, are prone to infection.
  5. 5)    Every thing is just a mind game! Keep your mind engaged with some sort of activities. Only keeping body fit is not enough for immunity. The mind, too, shall be engaged with something creative, constructive and beautiful. Keep your mind busy with the work you love to do!
  6. 6)    Learn to enjoy isolation! Practice individualism. It is not to say that do not be a part of community. Be ready to help the community but be self-reliant, Atmanirbhar! In short, do not give the remote control of your happiness or sorrow to others. Have a control over your remote control.
  7. 7)    Remember, immunity is the key to happy life! Health is heaven, and illness is hell! No better than corona pandemic can teach this simple lesson so effectively.

Writing for this very well edited Memorabilia 2021, I am indeed glad to see that almost of all students are safe and healthy in this time of illness. Baring a few students, all others are hale and hearty. It was great to see that in the Webinar Presentation Season 4, all students made their presentation and no body gave an excuse on the grounds of illness. This is something rarely found even in normal days. It seems you in good health because you all are keeping yourself creatively and constructively engaged with your studies and other work. Keep doing so! Never keep your mind idle!

Finally, I would like to say that this was a very good batch (2019-21) of students. Most of you were very eager to know more, your eyes were hungry to learn more and more, your sincerity in your work was very genuine, your habit of doing a little bit more than expected was something very rarely found these days.

The prime objective of our Department is to (i) develop literary sensibility, (ii) generate interest in academic & research writing, (iii) make students critical thinkers, and (iii) hone digital skills among our students. In this batch, I am glad to say that, the number of students who displayed these achievements are in large number than those who didn’t. Many of you have set a higher benchmark for the batches to come.

This year was a year of learning and doing so many new things. It was the year of disruptions. After teaching for two and half decades, the teachers start getting safe in their cocoon. In our younger days, we break the cocoon to get ourselves beautiful wings to fly like butterfly. The metamorphosis from caterpillar – to – chrysalis - to – butterfly

gets somewhere stagnant. We start believing that we have metamorphosed into butterfly. The corona year, for me, was a realization that there were I got stagnant was a phase of ‘chrysalis’. The challenges of teaching and also learning lot many things in this corona year was something like ‘becoming a butterfly’. This year was full of trials and errors, in short, of learning a lot – to teach in online mode, hybrid mode – to make lightboard, to try various innovative practices in teaching – learning to live stream events – was like getting new wings to fly.

All that was done during this pandemic year – is documented here .

Best wishes to all the students to shine out in real life situations. Never let your guards down. Keep on honing new sills. Never think that you have already metamorphosed into butterfly. Always keep in mind that you may be still in your cocoon and keep on breaking the self-imposed limits. The tough times make us tougher. The bitter times make us better. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Friday, 2 April 2021

Fantasy and Religious Vision in the Twentieth Century Literature

Fantasy and Religious Vision in the Twentieth Century Literature


The Chronicles of Narnia

If Huxley's fiction created utopian and dystopian words based on a vision of technology, the work of the Anglo-Irish C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) offered a fantasy created out of a more religious vision. Lewis, highly regards Milton scholar, medievalist(he was the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge) and critic, after a late return to Christianity (partly under the influence of his friend, J.R.R. Tolkien), created 'The Chronicles of Narnia' (1950-56).
The Narnia takes are in seven books - their order has been a matter of some debate - and deal with the adventures of a group of children who visit a magical island, Narnia. Though Christian in theme and intention, there are influences from Celtic and Greco-Roman mythologies. In 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first of the epic cycle, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie stumble into Narnia. The evil witch, called simply the White Witch, is thwarted as the children befriend the great lion, Aslan. In book II (Prince Caspian) an evil king has acquired control of Narnia. How the children help the good Prince Caspian to fight and win against Telmar is the main story here. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader takes Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, and their cousin Eustace Scrubb, on a voyage with Prince Caspian to find and rescue the seven lords. In The Silver Chair, Aslan calls Eustace and his friend Jill to help him find Prince Rilian and rescue him from the Emerald Witch. Bree (a talking horse) and Shasta plan to escape from their country, somewhere south of Narnia in The Horse and his Boy. The Pevensie children and Aslan thwart the attempts of the Calormenes to conquer Narnia. In The Magician's Nephew, Lewis maps the origin of Narnia, even as other children enter the place. In The Last Battle there is a false Aslan. The last volume ends Narnia itself. Just when the Calormenes are set to take over Narnia - the result of machinations by Swift the Ape and Puzzle the Donkey - Aslan, Eustace and Jill enable a fight against the Satanic forces. Aslan ends Narnia and selects all those loyal to him to another world. It is also revealed that Narnia is i fact England and that the 'travellers' in Narnia are actually dead and they have been reunited in a perfect world.
Controversies over the use of Christian doctrines and symbols (such as the lion image) and Lewis's problematic presentation of Susan Pevensie (whose unflattering portrayal that highlighted her interest in cosmetics and by extension, her physical appearance and sexuality, was critiqued by two of the major children's authors Philip Pullman and J K Rowling) have continued.

The Lord of the Rings

The most enduring fantasy work produced in 20th century literature is surely 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954-5), prefigured, at least in terms of its characters, in 'The Hobbit' (1937). JRR Tolkien (1892-1973), a professor of poetry at Oxford, was influenced by Greek and Finnish mythologies. The Bible (Tolkien admitted that his was a Christian work) and old English writings (specifically Beowulf, on which Tolkien lectured) are discernable influences on Tolkien's own work. 

Religion in The Chronicles of Narnia

CS Lewis did not originally set out to incorporate Christian theological concepts into his Narnia stories; it is something that occurred as he wrote them. As he wrote in his essay Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's To Be Said (1956):

Some people seem to think that I began by asking myself how I could say something about Christianity to children; then fixed on the fairy tale as an instrument, then collected information about child psychology and decided what age group I’d write for; then drew up a list of basic Christian truths and hammered out 'allegories' to embody them. This is all pure moonshine. I couldn’t write in that way. It all began with images; a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion. At first there wasn't anything Christian about them; that element pushed itself in of its own accord.

Lewis, an expert on the subject of allegory and the author of The Allegory of Love, maintained that the Chronicles were not allegory on the basis that there is no one-to-one correspondence between characters and events in the books, and figures and events in Christian doctrine. He preferred to call the Christian aspects of them "suppositional". This indicates Lewis' view of Narnia as a fictional parallel universe. As Lewis wrote in a letter to a Mrs Hook in December 1958:

If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in which Giant Despair [a character in The Pilgrim's Progress] represents despair, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality, however, he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, 'What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia, and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?' This is not allegory at all. (Wikipedia)


India in the Twentieth Century European Literature

 India in the Twentieth Century European Literature

a. Rudyard Kipling: Kim (1901)

b. E M Forster: A Passage to India (1924)

c. T S Eliot: The Waste Land (1918-22)

d. Herman Hesse: Siddhartha (1922)

e. Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse (1927)

f. H.G. Wells: Around the World in Eighty Days (1872-73)

Rudyard Kipling: Kim (1901)

Kipling’s ideal  of imperialism in India was that of a paternalistic, quasi-feudal imperial one. As “legitimate” and benevolent rulers, the British took a privileged position at the top of the social chain with a systematic mode of government . Kipling could have easily been influenced by the spreading ideal of social Darwinism, a societal spin on Darwin’s order of the natural world. For Kipling, hierarchy was natural and was determined by survival of the fittest. Imperialism could not be corrupt to Kipling, because social order is fated, therefore moral.

In Kim, it is obvious that Kipling did not see imperialism as any type of disruption, exploitation, or subjugation, but as economic development and moral enlightenment for India. In the novel, working as a spy for the British Empire and looking for spiritual harmony work side-by-side. British rule is never challenged; instead Kipling uses several minor characters strictly for the purpose of advocating British rule. Although Kipling shows a knowledge of a number of Indian languages and the capability of using many voices, there is no variety of viewpoint. All voices hold one style and one dominant point of view in favor of British imperialism. Kipling’s use of Indian words and phrases lacks any attempt to represent the their cultural specificity. 

(Gopen, Shina. 'Rudyard Kipling'.

E M Forster: A Passage to India (1924)
The story of A Passage to India hinges on a rape that never was. A white young woman accuses a charming Indian Muslim doctor of having assaulted her in a dark cave during a picnic, but at the trial of the accused a few weeks later, she goes to the witness box and says she cannot be sure and is withdrawing all charges.
Forster here boldly reverses many Raj stereotypes. The race-and-rape narrative had been common in English novels about India ever since the “Mutiny” of 1857 when several such incidents were believed to have happened. The trope of an oppressed ill-treated native raping a woman of the master race in a token act of revenge for the greater crime of the coloniser having raped his country had been inaugurated in English literature by Shakespeare in The Tempest (1611). (Trivedi, Harish. The rape that never was: Forster and ‘A Passage to India’)

Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse (1927)

Herman Hesse: Siddhartha (1922)

H.G. Wells: Around the World in Eighty Days (1872-73)

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Demographic Survey of Students of English Department MKBU

 Demographic Survey of Students of Department of English, Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University

The following links are about the demographic survey of the students studying in Masters of Arts programme in Department of English, MKBU.

For comparative analysis, refer to this report of Ashoka University:

Monday, 22 March 2021

JK Rowling Interview & Talk

 Harvard Commencement address 2008


Oprah Winfrey Show: Interview with J K Rowling

Viral Videos

In this video, an unripe and untutored girl questions religious guru the nonsensicality in cutting trees to celebrate Holika Dahan and misuse of milk in worshipping Shiva Linga. The religious guru teachers her lessons in religious reading of these rituals.