Sunday, November 23, 2008

Literary Society Annual Inter-College Festival

WORDSMITH 2008
The Ramjas Literary Society Annual Festival

December 1st, 2nd and 3rd
at
Ramjas College,
University of Delhi.

1st December (Monday)
Spelling Bee (Prelims) 11:30 am
Prose Writing (Hindi and English) 1:30 pm
Film Screening 2:30 pm

2nd December (Tuesday)
Paper Presentation 11:30 am
Declamation (Hindi and English) 1:30 pm
Literary Quiz 1:30 pm

3rd December (Wednesday)
Spelling Bee Finals 11:30 am
Poetry Writing(Hindi and English) 1:00 pm
Film Screening 2:30 pm

Prizes for all events: 1st Prize: Rs. 1000.
2nd Prize: Rs. 500.

For registration* or any other query, contact:
Apoorva Sharma, Abhishek Ranjan Datta
Or mail to: litsoc.ramjas@gmail.com

*On spot registrations also accepted on the days of the events.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Aakhir Bhagwan Bhi To Mard Hai -Feminism of the Common Man

In repentance, to Mrs. Sushm Malhotra



“There’s just one more thing”, I said as I rose from the cushioned chair in the Senior Staffroom “Is Mrs. Malhotra really a feminist?”…

It was an ordinary day in the last term of my last year at school- which meant that it had been awfully boring. I had just finished chatting with my English teacher R.N.-which was my favourite pastime to enjoyably while away time on such ‘ordinary’ days-and was rising up to leave when suddenly something which a friend had told me some weeks ago came hurtling back and I blurted out with that question.

The answer was clear and concise- “Yes, I do think that she is.”

I was triumphant, my assumption had proved to be correct. Mrs. M was indeed a feminist- and a hard boiled on at that! Why, how often does one hear somebody, and that too an Indian Hindu woman, complain while teaching a class full of adolescents a chapter on women’s empowerment and liberation that it was actually futile, that she couldn’t really expect them-her pupils-to grasp the essential point of the matter, for, after all said and done, God too was a man-“aakhir bhagwan bhi to mard hai”?

Not too often!

The remark, of course, created a minor sensation of sorts in Bal Bharati’s twelfth standard society- or at least in that part of it to which I belonged. Mrs. M was quickly and unanimously condemned for what many considered as sacrilege and blasphemy. Even atheists like me conceded that it was a most indiscrete and insensitive comment to let loose in a classroom. For a week or so she became the topic of debates and discussions, unofficial and informal forums which always came to the same, inevitable conclusion- Mrs. M was the worst sort of a woman-a fire breathing dragon in fact!-who hated men completely, did certainly not enjoy happiness in her married life, had perhaps homosexual tendencies and said that provocative thing to just spite the male section of her students (and hence, indirectly, dangerously influence the female portion too!). Anti-social elements like her ought to be bundled off to the savages in some coral island in the Pacific so as to rid society of such raving lunatics.

Now, when I look back at that a year and a half or so later, I once again come to a single, inevitable conclusion- what muddle headed dolts, absolute idiots, complete chauvinists we were. As for me, I-I who had always prided himself for being reasonable, sensible and liberal-was the worst of them all for the simple yet now embarrassing fact that I actually had the audacity to go ahead and confirm-and that too long after the incident was dead and almost forgotten-whether or not that good woman was a feminist and had then prided myself for being the discoverer of that then derogatory fact.

What a muddle headed dolt was I!

When I now look back to my own school days, I see traces of misogyny-at times blatant, often subtle-spread all throughout them. From the now sepia tinted days of the “We Hate Girls Club” in fourth and the “Girls are Idiots Society” in sixth to the Pygmalion-ised, “Never Let a Woman in Your Life” days in twelfth, I had always been what I now, after a year as an undergraduate student of Literature, recognise and call a misogynist. It wasn’t as if I had been walking down to become a strict patriarch- no, I had always been a champion of women’s rights in my circles, had always written the best reports and articles on women’s empowerment in English exams and had always believed in the urgency of eliminating, totally wiping out from the face of this nation, the twin evils of female foeticide and dowry.

Yet, somehow, I never ceased to hold girls as my mental inferiors. That is not to say that I did not respect my intelligent female colleagues in school for their talents-and there were plenty all rounders who were my superiors-but it was just that I did all of this along with extolling a Henry Higginian sort of attitude towards women.

I’m surprised that it never struck me- I was such a hypocrite in that context.

But then, I suppose I am really not alone in this- this indeed is a class to which most Indian men-and a majority of the women too-belong. Our whole social structure is like that- two (or perhaps more) faced and duplicate, a monstrous edifice which on one hand waxes eloquent on women’s rights and such like humanitarian issues and on the other indoctrinates medieval patriarchal concepts and ideologies through the daily humdrum routine of life. For medieval it now seems to have wondered about Mrs. M’s married life- not just medieval but also completely disgusting.

It is one of India’s abiding paradoxes that while we in principle gave women all constitutional rights, we still unabashedly continue to consider them our inferiors. We may all vehemently and vociferously deny this, but nevertheless, there are very few men in whom misogyny has not found a safe haven. That I, a ‘liberal’, ‘enlightened’ and so called ‘forward looking’ mind right in the beginning of the twenty-first century could roundly criticise feminists as dangerous weeds to be plucked out of society is proof enough of this.

Political correctness is a significant factor which all of us ‘enlightened’ minds consciously or not take into consideration when publicly stating out support for so called ‘women’s’ issues (why ‘women’s’? why not ‘human’? why alienate them as things which do not affect men?). So, while many of us ‘officially’, ‘on record’ and ‘publicly’ speak out in favour of reforms and change (and thus unwittingly campaign for what traditionally have been feminist concerns!), we baulk at the very mention of the word feminist and, by dismissing them as either deranged or sexed up lesbians (very few can imagine, let alone accept, the idea of a ‘male’ feminist), betray our poor understanding of the subject. Indeed, the common man’s abysmal comprehension of the same can be gauged from the startlingly amusing fact that many confuse feminist for feminine and thus regard it as a grave affront to any ‘self-respecting man’s manliness’ to be connected in any way whatsoever with the same. I write from personal experience, for I have close friends who have aired exactly the same views.

We are all in some way or the other like the oh-so-admirable Professor Higgins- we all wish to create our own Galatea’s, our most, but not quite, equals in life. We may become accustomed to their faces-to our political correctness-but they’ll still remain the ‘baggages’ and ‘damn nuisances’ which they were right from the very beginning.

Oh Mrs. M, you were so right- ‘Bhagwan’-the Sculptor, the God-too, after all said and done, is naught but a ‘mard’.


Note-This document is an exact reproduction of the original manuscript written by the same author on the 9th of June, 2008.

BY: ANUBHAV PRADHAN, B.A. Hons (Eng) II Year.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Awakening

It was an ordinary day,
The sun rose,
Just as beautiful as it always does,
I sat down to describe its beauty,
Its warmth,
its splendor,
I felt it was my duty.
I could hear the birds chirping,
I could hear their sweet twittering,
There were those huge oak branches swaying,
As if dancing,
And the leaves rustling,
To the soft melody,
Of the gentle breeze.
Yes! It was just another ordinary day,
And as always there were the chirping birds,
But as I sat down to write,
I felt,
As if I had no words!!

What had happened?
All of a sudden!!
How could I lose my ability?
When all my life I’ve been writing poetry.
What had happened?
I could not understand!
So confused, so muddled,
My mind just wouldn’t apprehend!
And there I was,
Lost in my sea of thoughts,
Yet couldn’t produce a single word on paper.

But one thing I knew for sure
My mind was right, my heart- pure.
What was amiss?
I knew not.
But, I knew I had to find the reason,
And fast. Else it’ll be too late.
I threw my pen and cursed my fate!
Yet! Ah my life with its sorrows abound,
Poetry was where solace I found!
Now that was gone too -Oh God!
I need your help, My Lord!

I set to a hard day’s work,
Crossing many dangers,
Asking every stranger.
It was a long, tiresome task,
But I noticed something really strange-
Each man wore a different mask,
Different from its own identity.
“Was it some kind of enmity-?”
I questioned myself,“From their own soul and self?
“Which led them to live such a life?
They weren’t free- rather scared.
Asi f there were this huge knife,
somewhere close by, waiting to slice off their head,
While they waited and waited.
“Is this life all about?” I thought.
If yes, then I felt I was blessed.
I was free, I was careless
Of that I was sure.
And I started my journey back home.
Yet there was sorrow, and a piercing pain.
After all, what I had lost,
Was precious, not mundane.
The more I thought about it,
The more I seemed to regret.
What had happened was not my fault,
Yet I couldn’t forget.
“Is this what life’s all about?”
I asked myself,
But this time I got no reply.

As I was returning,
Walking in the rain to hide my tears,
I saw this innocent face,
Which knew nothing but fears.
“Is this what life’s all about?”
I asked myself yet again
And this time I got my answer-
‘Life, in itself, is one great pain”
All of a sudden, my words returned to me!
But this time,
I won’t waste them on things mundane,
I have a purpose now,
I am aimless no more,
Just one different day changed my life,
Made me see huger and strife,
Pain and loss, and anguish of the soul,
But- no more!
But- no more!

BY: Kriti Sharma, B.A. Hons. English 1st year.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wires and Veins



Throbbing, the life in my veins,
pulsing with data streaming unknown,
in wires buried bellow the dead man’s grave.
The corpse-like towers shouldering the power grid;
current surging overhead to light up distant suburbs,
bringing to life the lights, the ovens, the heaters-
while the dead still lie cold below.

A million voices raging in torrents
of silent telephone lines chaining continents;
cables under sea, fences on land.
Pain, joy and guilt mingling below stagnant waters
and strange the bond connecting wrong numbers;
The satellites whirling above have ears for all,
where then to pour my taboo silence?

Insipid stares judge me over pale corridors,
walking, running, falling, and walking again,
like involuntary sirens of the temple sounding the bell.
So many faces; some staring from the one eyed beast,
too many it seems, usurping my bedroom linen,
like the predicted storm breaking uninsured houses,
blowing away my distorted paperback identity.

The windows gaping curious at my grey baggage,
the blind weather dictating my daily wear;
my washing machine setting the shade of my white.
Deep inside this polluted air of indifference,
my lungs stain with blood the hanging curtains of rain,
yet I shy from the needles, and rather take the pen,
my ink bleeding over countless pregnant thoughts.

Throbbing, the silence in my veins,
charting freedom over dissimilar railway lines;
so many embracing the global emptiness.

By: Abhishek Ranjan Datta, BA English Hons. (IIIrd year)

"NIHILIST TOM"

SOMEONE IN THIS ROOM WILL KILL ME

SO CONSIDERATELY

FORGET MY NAME

AND POINT THE TABLE-KNIFE AT ME

JUST SO AS TO EXPRESS GIFT-WRAPPED SOLIDARITY

OVERBUILT SHADOWS

THESE FRIENDLY, WAVERLY SHAPES

DISTANT, ARE TISK-TISKING

THEIR MESMERIC PRYING EYES

THE CLAMOUR OF THEIR RANTING

BUT, AT THIS TABLE, THERE IS HOPE

IN SURRENDERED SOLITUDE THERE, EMBEDDED IN THE SEA

THERE IN THAT DAWDLING BOAT

OR PERHAPS IN THAT CAR CRASH

THE TASTE LINGERS ON

BUT, IM GLAD YOU COULD MAKE IT

WAVING LIKE A FRANTIC WHORE

SQUEALING LIKE A PUNCTURED TUBE

BUT, ALAS THEN I MAY HAVE,

I MAY HAVE DEAFENED YOU TO ME

SOMEONE IN THIS ROOM WILL KILL ME

I WANT TO BE TESTED

WHEN THE WHOLE WORLD IS PIGEON-CHESTED.


By: R. Ishaan, BA History Hons. (IIIrd Year)

Another forum for expression

This is the blog maintained by the Literary Society of Ramjas College. Members are welcome to publish their written work on this blog by mailing it to the Litrerary Society email address (litsoc.ramjas@gmail.com).