Saturday 8 February 2020

Introduction to Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies

What is Cultural Studies?

Cultural studies, interdisciplinary field concerned with the role of social institutions in the shaping of culture. Cultural studies emerged in Britain in the late 1950s and subsequently spread internationally, notably to the United States and Australia. Originally identified with the Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham (founded 1964) and with such scholars as Richard Hoggart, Stuart Hall, and Raymond Williams, cultural studies later became a well-established field in many academic institutions, and it has since had broad influence in sociologyanthropologyhistoriographyliterary criticismphilosophy, and art criticism. Among its central concerns are the place of race or ethnicityclass, and gender in the production of cultural knowledge. (Britannica  Brian Duignan).
Cultural studies is a field of theoretically, politically, and empirically engaged cultural analysis that concentrates upon the political dynamics of contemporary culture, its historical foundations, defining traits, conflicts, and contingencies. Cultural studies researchers generally investigate how cultural practices relate to wider systems of power associated with or operating through social phenomena, such as ideologyclass structuresnational formationsethnicitysexual orientationgender, and generation. Cultural studies views cultures not as fixed, bounded, stable, and discrete entities, but rather as constantly interacting and changing sets of practices and processes.
Cultural studies was initially developed by British Marxist academics in the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and has been subsequently taken up and transformed by scholars from many different disciplines around the world. Cultural studies is avowedly and even radically interdisciplinary and can sometimes be seen as antidisciplinary. A key concern for cultural studies practitioners is the examination of the forces within and through which socially organized people conduct and participate in the construction of their everyday lives. (Source: Click to read more).

Four Goals of Cultural Studies

  1. Cultural Studies transcends the confines of a particular discipline such as literary criticism or history.
  2. Cultural Studies is politically engaged.
  3. Cultural Studies denies the separation of 'high' and 'low' or elite and popular culture.
  4. Cultural Studies analyzes not only the cultural work, but also the means of production.

Five Types of Cultural Studies

  1. British Cultural Materialism
  2. New Historicism
  3. American Multiculturalism
  4. Postmodernism & Popular Culture
  5. Postcolonial Studies

Cultural Studies in Practice

  • Reading 'Hamlet' - Two Characters: Marginalization with a Vengeance
  • Reading 'To His Coy Mistress - Implied Culture versus Historical Fact
  • Reading 'Frankenstein' - From 'Paradise Lost to Frank-N-Furter: The Creature Lives!
  • Reading 'Writer & Market' - Hawthorne, Chetan Bhagat & their Markets

 Limitations of Cultural Studies

Check your progress - online test

Points to Ponder

Friday 7 February 2020

Slow Movement

Slow Movement: A Cultural Shift towards Slowing Down Life's Speed

It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail's pace. It's about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.

The World Institute of Slowness

Geir Berthelsen and his creation of The World Institute of Slowness presented a vision in 1999 for an entire "slow planet" and a need to teach the world the way of slowness. The motto of the Slow philosophy is - 'The fastest way to a good life is to slow down'. This website explains this philosophy in these terms:

What it's all about?

Slowness is a new way of thinking about time...
The vision of The World Institute of Slowness is to slow the world down to create healthier, happier and more productive people.

Unlike chronological time, it is non-linear time, the here and now, time that works for you, extraordinary time.
So why be fast when you can be slow? Slowness is also about balance, so if you must hurry, then hurry slowly. “Festina Lente!”

In Praise of Slow - Carl Honore

Carl Honoré's 2004 book, In Praise of Slow, first explored how the Slow philosophy might be applied in every field of human endeavour and coined the phrase "slow movement". In Praise of Slow (U.S. title In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed) is a book containing his analysis of the "Cult of Speed", which he claims is becoming the societal standard all over the world. He discusses and gives praise to the Slow Movement and the various groups around the world representative of this movement.

TED-Talk on 'In Praise of Slowness'

Journalist Carl Honore believes the Western world's emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there's a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives. The transcript of the talk can be read here.

Baudrillard, Virilio & Beck - and the technoculture 

The dangers of speed which is an outcome of digital culture are perceived in a difference way by Jean Baudrillard, Paul Virilio and Ulrich Beck. This Slow Movement gives an interesting solution to the concerns raised by them. 

Jean Baudrillard describes the "simulacra" of postmodern life which have taken the place of "real" objects. Think for example of video games or music compact discs, for which there is no original in the way that reproductions are made of original paintings or statues. Virtual reality games add another dimension to the artificiality of postmodern life. Perhaps postmodernism is best compared to the emergence of computer technology. In the future, anything not digitizable may cease to be knowledge. For Baudrillard, postmodernism marks a culture composed "of disparate fragmentary experiences and images that constantly bombard the individual in music, video, television, advertising and other forms of electronic media. The speed and ease of reproduction of these images mean that they exist only as image, devoid of depth, coherence, or originality" (in Childers and Hentzi 235). Postmodernism thus reflects both the energy and diversity of contemporary life as well as its frequent lack of coherence and depth. The lines between reality and artifice can become so blurred that reality TV is now hard to distinguish from reality-and from television entertainment. (Guerin, et all.)

Paul Virilio's work on 'Dromology' - the Science of Speed - is an exciting reading of late twentieth century cyberculture. 

Dromos is an Ancient Greek noun for race or racetrack, which Virilio applied the activity of racing (Virilio 1977:47). It is with this meaning in mind that he coined the term 'dromology', which he defined as the "science (or logic) of speed“. Dromology is important when considering the structuring of society in relation to warfare and modern media. He noted that the speed at which something happens may change its essential nature, and that which moves with speed quickly comes to dominate that which is slower. 'Whoever controls the territory possesses it. Possession of territory is not primarily about laws and contracts, but first and foremost a matter of movement and circulation.'
Virilio also observed that Speed and technology replaces democratic participation, and undermine politics. Effective media politics diminishes the space of democratic political participation. Instantaneous communication actually reduces the time for detailed discussions, deliberations and consensus-building. This supports the culture of totalitarianism. This undermines the the values and spirit of democracy. Thus, speed of technoculture is very harmful to the democracy also. When we enter the 3rd decade of the 21st Century, the century of technology, we have already started to experience this undermining of democratic value systems by democracy itself.

Ulrich Beck propounded the influential 'risk society' thesis in 'Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity (1992). 

Risk theory for Cultural Studies reveals the extent that society / culture thrives on risk, providing information about potential risk, possible solutions and so on. Risk theory reflects on the psycho-social impact of technoculture where cultural responses to new devices are based upon an awareness that they create new risk. Beck tries to explain the risk theory by the concept that - while looking for the solution of the problem, we device the solution which it self turn down to be the problem. Just we get entangled in the web of problem-solution-problem-solution ... till infinity.
Becks's solution to this autopoietic risk culture is to find political potential 'outside' government. Politics must be about being able to communicate between systems - something that is becoming increasingly impossible today. Thus, the complete indifferent of the government to any criticism - is a mark of the autopoiesis of the political system, The representatives of the people are no more accountable to the people. They refer to 'each other' in debates that are increasingly disconnected from the needs of the people. Most of the systems - social, political, technological - including democracy - are now self-referential: they generate risks and provide solutions, the solutions generate problems - and on and one - they talk only within the system and rarely to the 'outside'.
There is an amazing possibility in the philosophy of Slow Movement to answer to this crisis of Risk Society. 


Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2016

It is no longer clear what role the University plays in society. The structure of the contemporary University is changing rapidly, and we have yet to understand what precisely these changes will mean. Is a new age dawning for the University, the renaissance of higher education under way? Or is the University in the twilight of its social function, the demise of higher education fast approaching?

We can answer such questions only if we look carefully at the different roles the University has played historically and then imagine how it might be possible to live, and to think, amid the ruins of the University. Tracing the roots of the modern American University in German philosophy and in the work of British thinkers such as Newman and Arnold, Bill Readings argues that historically the integrity of the modern University has been linked to the nation-state, which it has served by promoting and protecting the idea of a national culture. But now the nation-state is in decline, and national culture no longer needs to be either promoted or protected. Increasingly, universities are turning into transnational corporations, and the idea of culture is being replaced by the discourse of “excellence.” On the surface, this does not seem particularly pernicious.
The author cautions, however, that we should not embrace this techno-bureaucratic appeal too quickly. The new University of Excellence is a corporation driven by market forces, and, as such, is more interested in profit margins than in thought. Readings urges us to imagine how to think, without concession to corporate excellence or recourse to romantic nostalgia within an institution in ruins. The result is a passionate appeal for a new community of thinkers.

If there is one sector of society that should be cultivating deep thought in itself and others, it is academia. Yet the corporatisation of the contemporary university has sped up the clock, demanding increased speed and efficiency from faculty regardless of the consequences for education and scholarship.
In The Slow Professor, Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber discuss how adopting the principles of the Slow movement in academic life can counter this erosion of humanistic education. Focusing on the individual faculty member and his or her own professional practice, Berg and Seeber present both an analysis of the culture of speed in the academy and ways of alleviating stress while improving teaching, research, and collegiality. The Slow Professor will be a must-read for anyone in academia concerned about the frantic pace of contemporary university life.

Baudrillard, Jean. 'Simulations'. Trans. Paul Foss, Paul Patton, and Philip Beitchnan. new York: Semiotext(e), 1981.
Beck, Ulrich. 'Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. Trans. Mark Ritter. London: Sage, 1992.
Berg, Maggie, and Barbara Seeber. 'SLOW PROFESSOR: CHALLENGING THE CULTURE OF SPEED IN THE ACADEMY'. University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division 2016
Guerin, Wilfred L., Earle Labor, Lee Morgan, Jeanne C. Reesman, John R. Willinghan. 'A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature'. 5th Indian Ed. OUP. New Delhi. 2007.
Nayar, Pramod K. 'An Introduction to Cultural Studies'. Viva Books. India. 2011.
Virilio, Paul. 'Pure War'. Trans. Mark Polizotti. New York: Semiotest(e), 1997.
Virilio, Paul. Speed and Politics: An Essay on Dromology. New York: Semiotext(e), 1977 [1986]

Thursday 6 February 2020

Novels That Shaped Our World

100 Novels That Shaped Our World (BBC)

Stories have the power to change us. BBC-Arts asked a panel of leading writers, curators and critics to choose 100 genre-busting novels that have had an impact on their lives, and this is the result. These English language novels, written over the last 300 years, range from children’s classics to popular page turners. Organised into themes, they reflect the ways books help shape and influence our thinking. There was months of deliberation and reflection by the panel but what would you have chosen? Share the novel that's shaped you on their Facebook page or using #mybooklife on Twitter.

Identity — 

  •  Beloved — Toni Morrison
  •  Days Without End — Sebastian Barry
  •  Fugitive Pieces — Anne Michaels
  •  Half of a Yellow Sun — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  •  Homegoing — Yaa Gyasi
  •  Small Island — Andrea Levy
  •  The Bell Jar — Sylvia Plath
  •  The God of Small Things — Arundhati Roy
  •  Things Fall Apart — Chinua Achebe
  •  White Teeth — Zadie Smith

Love, Sex & Romance — 

  •  Bridget Jones’s Diary — Helen Fielding
  •  Forever — Judy Blume
  •  Giovanni’s Room — James Baldwin
  •  Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen
  •  Riders — Jilly Cooper
  •  Their Eyes Were Watching God — Zora Neale Hurston
  •  The Far Pavilions — M. M. Kaye
  •  The Forty Rules of Love — Elif Shafak
  •  The Passion — Jeanette Winterson
  •  The Slaves of Solitude — Patrick Hamilton

Adventure —

  •  City of Bohane — Kevin Barry
  •  Eye of the Needle — Ken Follett
  •  For Whom the Bell Tolls — Ernest Hemingway
  •  His Dark Materials Trilogy — Phillip Pullman
  •  Ivanhoe — Walter Scott
  •  Mr Standfast — John Buchan
  •  The Big Sleep — Raymond Chandler
  •  The Hunger Games — Suzanne Collins
  •  The Jack Aubrey Novels — Patrick O’Brian
  •  The Lord of the Rings Trilogy — J.R.R. Tolkein

Life, Death & Other Worlds — 

  •  A Game of Thrones — George R. R. Martin
  •  Astonishing the Gods — Ben Okri
  •  Dune — Frank Herbert
  •  Frankenstein — Mary Shelley
  •  Gilead — Marilynne Robinson
  •  The Chronicles of Narnia — C. S. Lewis
  •  The Discworld Series — Terry Pratchett
  •  The Earthsea Trilogy — Ursula K. Le Guin
  •  The Sandman Series — Neil Gaiman
  •  The Road — Cormac McCarthy

Politics, Power & Protest — 

  •  A Thousand Splendid Suns — Khaled Hosseini
  •  Brave New World — Aldous Huxley
  •  Home Fire — Kamila Shamsie
  •  Lord of the Flies — William Golding
  •  Noughts & Crosses — Malorie Blackman
  •  Strumpet City — James Plunkett
  •  The Color Purple — Alice Walker
  •  To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee
  •  V for Vendetta — Alan Moore
  •  Unless — Carol Shields

Class & Society — 

  •  A House for Mr Biswas — V. S. Naipaul
  •  Cannery Row — John Steinbeck
  •  Disgrace — J.M. Coetzee
  •  Our Mutual Friend — Charles Dickens
  •  Poor Cow — Nell Dunn
  •  Saturday Night and Sunday Morning — Alan Sillitoe
  •  The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne — Brian Moore
  •  The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie — Muriel Spark
  •  The Remains of the Day — Kazuo Ishiguro
  •  Wide Sargasso Sea — Jean Rhys

Coming of Age — 

  •  Emily of New Moon — L. M. Montgomery
  •  Golden Child — Claire Adam
  •  Oryx and Crake — Margaret Atwood
  •  So Long, See You Tomorrow — William Maxwell
  •  Swami and Friends — R. K. Narayan
  •  The Country Girls — Edna O’Brien
  •  The Harry Potter series — J. K. Rowling
  •  The Outsiders — S. E. Hinton
  •  The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ — Sue Townsend
  •  The Twilight Saga — Stephanie Meyer

Family & Friendship — 

  •  A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth
  •  Ballet Shoes — Noel Streatfeild
  •  Cloudstreet — Tim Winton
  •  Cold Comfort Farm — Stella Gibbons
  •  I Capture the Castle — Dodie Smith
  •  Middlemarch — George Eliot
  •  Tales of the City — Armistead Maupin
  •  The Shipping News — E. Annie Proulx
  •  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall — Anne Bronte
  •  The Witches — Roald Dahl

Conflict & Crime — 

  •  American Tabloid — James Ellroy
  •  American War — Omar El Akkad
  •  Ice Candy Man — Bapsi Sidhwa
  •  Rebecca — Daphne du Maurier
  •  Regeneration — Pat Barker
  •  The Children of Men — P.D. James
  •  The Hound of the Baskervilles — Arthur Conan Doyle
  •  The Reluctant Fundamentalist — Mohsin Hamid
  •  The Talented Mr Ripley — Patricia Highsmith
  •  The Quiet American — Graham Greene

Rule Breakers —

  •  A Confederacy of Dunces — John Kennedy Toole
  •  Bartleby, the Scrivener — Herman Melville
  •  Habibi — Craig Thompson
  •  How to be Both — Ali Smith
  •  Orlando — Virginia Woolf
  •  Nights at the Circus — Angela Carter
  •  Nineteen Eighty-Four — George Orwell
  •  Psmith, Journalist — P. G. Wodehouse
  •  The Moor’s Last Sigh — Salman Rushdie
  •  Zami: A New Spelling of My Name — Audre Lorde
The panel are Radio 4 Front Row presenter and Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell, broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, authors Juno Dawson, Kit de Waal and Alexander McCall Smith, and Bradford Festival Literary Director Syima Aslam

Saturday 25 January 2020

Culture and Anarchy

Culture and Anarchy (1869)  - Matthew Arnold

Culture and Anarchy is a series of periodical essays by Matthew Arnold, first published in Cornhill Magazine 1867-68 and collected as a book in 1869. The preface was added in 1875.
Arnold's famous piece of writing on culture established his High Victorian cultural agenda which remained dominant in debate from the 1860s until the 1950s.
Matthew Arnold's "Culture and Anarchy" is a cultural and political critique written in 1869 that addresses the state of England's cultural and political systems during the time. The essay explores the idea of culture as a means of promoting order and unity in society, while contrasting it with the chaos and disorder caused by a lack of cultural values. Arnold argues that the lack of a strong cultural foundation in England was leading to social and political unrest and that the cultivation of a broader, more sophisticated culture was necessary for the country's progress and stability. The essay is considered a classic of cultural criticism and remains relevant to discussions of the role of culture and values in shaping society.

According to his view advanced in the book, "Culture [...] is a study of perfection". He further wrote that: "[Culture] seeks to do away with classes; to make the best that has been thought and known in the world current everywhere; to make all men live in an atmosphere of sweetness and light [...]".
His often quoted phrase "[culture is] the best which has been thought and said" comes from the Preface to Culture and Anarchy:
The whole scope of the essay is to recommend culture as the great help out of our present difficulties; culture being a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world, and, through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits, which we now follow staunchly but mechanically, vainly imagining that there is a virtue in following them staunchly which makes up for the mischief of following them mechanically.
The book contains most of the terms – culturesweetness and lightBarbarianPhilistineHebraism, and many others – which are more associated with Arnold's work influence. (Wikipedia)

Culture and Anarchy, major work of criticism by Matthew Arnold, published in 1869. In it Arnold contrasts culture, which he defines as “the study of perfection,” with anarchy, the prevalent mood of England’s then new democracy, which lacks standards and a sense of direction. Arnold classified English society into the Barbarians (with their lofty spirit, serenity, and distinguished manners and their inaccessibility to ideas), the Philistines (the stronghold of religious nonconformity, with plenty of energy and morality but insufficient “sweetness and light”), and the Populace (still raw and blind). He saw in the Philistines the key to culture; they were the most influential segment of society; their strength was the nation’s strength, their crudeness its crudeness; it therefore was necessary to educate and humanize the Philistines. Arnold saw in the idea of “the State,” and not in any one class of society, the true organ and repository of the nation’s collective “best self.” No summary can do justice to Culture and Anarchy, however; it is written with an inward poise, a serene detachment, and an infusion of subtle humour that make it a masterpiece of ridicule as well as a searching analysis of Victorian society. The same is true of its unduly neglected sequel, Friendship’s Garland (1871). (Source:This article was most recently revised and updated by Kathleen Kuiper, Senior Editor.)

The published book on these essays in divided in following chapters:

Preamble. What is Culture?
Chapter I.Sweetness and Light
Chapter II.Doing as One Likes - Anarchy
Chapter III.Barbarians, Philistines, Populace
Chapter IV.Hebraism and Hellenism
Chapter V.Porro Unum est Necessarium
Chapter VI.Our Liberal Practitioners

(Click on the chapter numbers to read it is details.)

Culture and Anarchy is a controversial philosophical work written by the celebrated Victorian poet and critic Matthew Arnold. Composed during a time of unprecedented social and political change, the essay argues for a restructuring of England's social ideology. It reflects Arnold's passionate conviction that the uneducated English masses could be molded into conscientious individuals who strive for human perfection through the harmonious cultivation of all of their skills and talents. A crucial condition of Arnold's thesis is that a state-administered system of education must replace the ecclesiastical program which emphasized rigid individual moral conduct at the expense of free thinking and devotion to community. Much more than a mere treatise on the state of education in England, Culture and Anarchy is, in the words of J. Dover Wilson, “at once a masterpiece of vivacious prose, a great poet's great defence of poetry, a profoundly religious book, and the finest apology for education in the English language.”
Plot and Major Characters
Although Arnold does not create specific fictional characters to express his ideas in Culture and Anarchy, he does infuse his essays with a narrative persona that can best be described as a Socratic figure. This sagacious mentor serves as a thematic link between each of the chapters, underscoring the importance of self-knowledge in order to fully engage the concept of pursuing human perfection. This mentor also identifies and classifies three groups of people who comprise contemporary English society. The first group is the Barbarians, or the aristocratic segment of society who are so involved with their archaic traditions and gluttony that they have lost touch with the rest of society for which they were once responsible. The second group—for whom Arnold's persona reserves his most scornful criticism—is the Philistines, or the selfish and materialistic middle class who have been gulled into a torpid state of puritanical self-centeredness by nonconforming religious sects. The third group is the Populace, or the disenfranchised, poverty-stricken lower class who have been let down by the negligent Barbarians and greedy Philistines. For Arnold, the Populace represents the most malleable, and the most deserving, social class to be elevated out of anarchy through the pursuit of culture.
Major Themes
Arnold introduces the principal themes of Culture and Anarchy directly in the essay's title. Culture involves an active personal quest to forsake egocentricity, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness and to embrace an equally balanced development of all human talents in the pursuit of flawlessness. It is a process of self-discipline which initiates a metamorphosis from self-interest to conscientiousness and an enlightened understanding of one's singular obligation to an all-inclusive utopian society. According to Stefan Collini, culture is “an ideal of human life, a standard of excellence and fullness for the development of our capacities, aesthetic, intellectual, and moral.” By contrast, anarchy represents the absence of a guiding principle in one's life which prevents one from striving to attain perfection. This lack of purpose manifests itself in such social and religious defects as laissez faire commercialism and puritanical hypocrisy. For Arnold, the myopic emphasis on egocentric self-assertion has a devastating impact on providing for the needs of the community; indeed, it can only lead to a future of increased anarchy as the rapidly evolving modern democracy secures the enfranchisement of the middle and lower classes without instilling in them the need for culture. Inherent in Arnold's argument is the idea of Hebraism versus Hellenism. Hebraism represents the actions of people who are either ignorant or resistant to the idea of culture. Hebraists subscribe to a strict, narrow-minded method of moral conduct and self-control which does not allow them to visualize a utopian future of belonging to an enlightened community. Conversely, Hellenism signifies the open-minded, spontaneous exploration of classical ideas and their application to contemporary society. Indeed, Arnold believes that the ideals promulgated by such philosophers as Plato and Socrates can help resolve the moral and ethical problems resulting from the bitter conflict between society, politics, and religion in Victorian England. As serious as Arnold's message is, he elects to employ the device of irony to reveal his philosophical points to his readers. Through irony, satire, and urbane humor, the author deftly entertains his readers with examples of educational travesties, he wittily exposes the enemies of reform and culture, and he beguiles his readers with self-deprecating humor in order to endear them to his ideas. 
(Source: Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism, ©2003 Gale Cengage.) 

Concept of Culture

Culture - Sweetness and Light

What is anarchy in society?

Discuss 'Doing as One Likes'

Bring out the distinction and difference among Barbarians, Philistines and Populace

What is Hebraism and Hellenism?

Porro Unum est Necessarium

Out Liberal Practitioners

Critique of the essay - 'Culture and Anarchy'


1.    What is the concept of Culture according to Matthew Arnold? Explain the various factors which make ‘Culture’.
2.    “The whole scope of the essay is to recommend Culture as the great help our of our present difficulties; Culture being a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us – ‘the best which has been thought and said in the world’.” Explain with reference to the essay ‘Culture & Anarchy’.
3.    Discuss ‘Doing as One Likes’.
4.    What does Arnold mean by ‘Anarchy in Society’ in his essay Culture and Anarchy?
5.    Freedom of doing as one likes, according to Arnold, was one of those things which English thus worshipped in itself, without enough regarding the ends for which freedom is to be desired. Justify with reference to your reading of Culture and Anarchy.
6.    “Firstly, never go against the best light you have; Secondly, take care that your light be not darkness”. Justify with reference to Matthew Arnold’s views on Culture & Anarchy.
7.    Explain the concepts of ‘Hebruism and Hellenism’ as discussed by M. Arnold in his essay ‘Culture and Anarchy’.
Write brief note on class distinctions discussed in form of ‘Barbarians, Philistines & Populace’ by M. Arnold in his essay Culture and Anarchy.

Additional Resources:

Wednesday 1 January 2020

India Vision 2020

Rabindranath Tagore’s Vision

India Vision 2020 - as envisioned in 2002


In 2002, the Planning Commission of India, Government of India, published a Report on India Vision 2020. This poem was used to give direction. The report mentions:

"It is indeed a challenge to formulate a cohesive vision for India in 2020. Therefore, we thought it appropriate to seek inspiration from one who had a clear vision and possessed the gift to articulate it in a manner that has inspired the hearts and minds of countless Indians. The vision articulated by Rabindranath Tagore is all encompassing in every sense. In Annexure I, we identify eight components of the vision reflected in the following poem and attempt to translate them in operational terms for India Vision 2020." 

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments 
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way 
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit. 
Where the mind is led forward by 
Thee Into ever-widening thought and action.
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake
Rabindranath Tagore

The vision articulated by Rabindranath Tagore is all encompassing in every sense. It has laid down what he considered to be the basic constituents of the “heaven of freedom”. We can identify eight components of this vision reflected in the poem quoted earlier, which we can attempt to translate into operational terms for India’s vision 2020.

Where the mind is without fear – Peace and security, internal as well as external, is the first and most essential foundation for the nation’s future progress. Fearlessness can only be attained when this security extends to cover, over and above our physical safety, our social rights and economic well being, to eliminate all forms of vulnerability and discrimination.

Where the head is held high – Self-respect and self-esteem are the psychological foundations for the development of individuality and individual initiative, which are the means through which the nation builds its strength and fulfils its aspirations. The nation prospers through the development and flowering of all its citizens as individuals. Health, education and employment opportunities for all, and awareness of our rich spiritual and cultural heritage are the essential bases for fostering self-respect and self-esteem. 

Where knowledge is free – Development takes place when people become aware of opportunities for advancement and acquire the knowledge needed to convert those opportunities into practical accomplishments. Knowledge in the form of education, technology and access to a wide range of information is a catalyst for individual and social progress. The free flow of knowledge is the basis for a free and prosperous society. 

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls – The spirit of globalisation which is rapidly reshaping the world today cannot be better expressed. The accelerated flow and exchange of trade, capital, technology, information and people will create unprecedented opportunities for the progress and prosperity of all countries that can transcend the narrow confines of national boundaries. India can however realise its full potential in the wider world only when it is internally united, surmounting all the centrifugal forces that overlook our common heritage and accentuate our differences. 

Where words come out from the depth of truth — Integrity, honesty and trustworthiness are the essential foundations for a successful democracy and a prosperous society. Both good governance and commercial success demand rigorous standards of transparency, accountability and reliability in word and action. 

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection – Prosperity is the result of productivity and efficiency which require the highest level of productive skills, technological excellence and human effort. 

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit – Nations develop by choosing the best the future has to offer, while being willing to discard outmoded ideas and behaviours that retard future progress and even threaten to undermine the country’s unity and strength. 

Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action – Education, innovation and creativity are the ultimate driving forces for the continuous advancement of scientific knowledge and material accomplishment. These threads from. Rabindranath’s poem are the vital strands from which a fulfilling vision of India 2020 can be woven.

This is taken from Report of the Committee onIndiaVision 2020, Planning CommissionGovernment of IndiaNew DelhiDECEMBER, 2002
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