Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal: October 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Rousseau and Broken Bridge

Forced to freedom by General Will

Broken bridge
Photo:Courtesy




Once an assorted group of travelers assembled at one end of the bridge on a river of backwater. It was essential for them to cross the bridge to reach their destination. To their utter dismay, they found that the gatekeeper  at the bridge has stopped them from crossing the bridge. He said that bridge is in dilapidated condition and it would be dangerous to cross the bridge. The bridge may collapse and they may die. Apparently the bridge was intact. These people were desperate to cross the bridge. One of them was an elite, one bourgeois, one peasant and one looked like a scholar.

They had nothing in common except their goal to cross the bridge. They saw gatekeeper as an obstacle. The gatekeeper explained that he has orders from his superiors. If he permits and bridge collapses, he would lose his job. The gatekeeper gave them an occasional stern look. He was not armed, still he conveyed his authority. Moreover, he had locked the gate with a chain and filled the entrance with fallen trees. The travelers belonged to a sovereign democratic country which ensured them “freedom” as a fundamental right. They all had the freedom to walk in any part of the country. The state represents “general will”. General will is not necessarily will of all. In will of all individual selfish motives also work. The general will is the mandate of rational people for common good.

The scholar was the rational being and he was quick to understand the situation. He evaluated the pros and cons and postponed his journey and returns back. He knew that to obey what is best for all is to maximize the freedom for each.

The peasant was born in slavery and for slavery. For him realism and idealism were two sides of the same coin. He had never argued with authority in his life. His slavery was  natural freedom in comparison to his master who was forced to freedom. He decided to cross the valley by long and arduous route.
The elite was of opinion that generally the people are stupid and do not understand what is good for them. The wisest did not govern many. General will is a farce and he is not bound by that. The representative of the masses had vested interest in all kinds of prohibitions. They were acknowledged by ban and prohibitions. It diverted the attention of people from real problems. People were forced to keep on demanding what is rightfully theirs. He summoned a higher executive.

The bourgeois suffered from a terminable disease. He had heard about a physician who lived across the bridge. He thought he had a right to risk his life in order to preserve it. The elite had gone to retire in nearby shrine. Bourgeois was alone with guard. He wanted to bribe gatekeeper to allow him to cross the bridge. He decided that first he would convince gatekeeper. He will pass his own disunity of soul to gatekeeper so that he agrees to lose his fullness of existence. Selfishness is servitude to sociability. Bourgeois was in fact a social man living in the social conditions with his artificial constitution.

He whispered in the ear of gatekeeper. The gatekeeper looked puzzled, checked that no one is around and nodded. After some time, he unlocked the gate of the bridge. Bourgeois passed on to the bridge.

Vipin Behari Goyal
President
English Literary Association
JNV University, Jodhpur

P.S.
Artists may kindly contribute relevant pictures for the essay.



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Waiting for Godot: An Absurd Drama by Samuel Beckett

How absurd is meaningful? 

absurd drama

It’s all about waiting. The waiting is the only talked-about activity. The waiting is endless! The waiting is crucial! The waiting is commitment! There is no alternative but to wait.

So here, in ‘Waiting for Godot’ waiting is an action.

Let us contemplate on a few verses from Geeta. Geeta is the only religious book which is purely philosophical in nature.

"What is action? What is inaction? Even the wise are confused in this matter. This action, I shall explain to you, having known which, you shall be released from evil” (4:16)."
"The real nature of action is hard to understand” (4:17)."
“One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.”(4:18)."

Science says every action has a reaction, but those actions that do not reproduce reactions are inaction. But there is one condition. The action is performed in a transcendental position.
Now, philosophically transcendental means “asserting a fundamental irrationality or supernatural element in experience.”


Waiting is a fundamental irrational experience not only for the characters on stage, but also for the audience. This is also evident in repetition of the same dialogue between two characters at the end of Act 1 and Act II, in reverse order.

At the end of Act 1 in "Waiting for Godot".

"Estragon says: Well, shall we go?
Vladimir replies: Yes, Let’s go.
[They do not move.]
While in the end of Act 2
Vladimir says: Well, shall we go?
Estragon replies: Yes, Let’s go.
[They do not move.]"

Both of them said“Let’s Go”, but did not move. To say is an action which does not cause any reaction. In transcendence action is inaction and inaction becomes action.
Many dimensions of waiting have been explored and many yet remain to be explored. 

The waiting is in reference to time.

"Vladimir: That passed the time.
Estrogen: It would have passed anyway."

French Philosopher Henry Bergson in his theory of duration(la duree) established that time can be grasped through intuition and imagination only since its is permanently in the state of  ‘movable and incomplete’.

"Estragon: Simply wait.
Vladimir: We are used to it.
Waiting is habit. It is a conditioning of mind. It is Comfort zone. It is an identity fixation since ‘billions are doing it everyday."

Waiting is passion, and whole human life is passion. Man starts his journey with ‘doubt’:

"Estragon: You gave me a fright.
Vladimir: I thought it was he.
Estragon: Who?
Vladimir: Godot.
Estragon: Pah! The wind in the reeds.
Vladimir: I could have sworn I heard shouts.
Estrogen: And why would he shout?
Vladimir: At his horse."

Through doubt man wants to reach a 'belief '. The faith is a miracle. Waiting is for that miracle to happen. There are some pseudo-references in all religion that miracle do occur.

"Estragon: I remember the map of Holy Land. Coloured they were. Very pretty. The dead sea was pale blue. The very look of it made me thirsty. That’s where we will go, I used to say, that’s where we’ll go for our honeymoon. We will swim. We’ll be happy."

Waiting is hope that everything will be better tomorrow. 

Waiting is for 'Second Coming’, that would solve all their problems, waiting is for salvation and that is why they repent. The repeated references from the Old Testament and the New Testament reminds us of Christian Existentialist, Soren Kierkegaard

Does man suffer despair for want of faith in God.
Waiting is an escapism from the struggles and the nothingness of life.

Waiting is a journey from essentialism to existentialism.

Meaningful phrases from the play and lessons they teach:

1. Vladimir: Be reasonable, you haven't yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle.
2. Vladimir: (He buttons his fly)Never neglect the little things of life.
3. Vladimir: Hope deferred maketh the something sick.
4. Vladimir: Blaming on his boots the fault of his feet.
5. Vladimir: The essential doesn't change.
6. Pozzo: Think twice before you do anything rash.
7. Pozzo: From the meanest creature one departs wiser, richer, more conscious of one's blessings.
8. Pozzo: I might just as well have been in his shoes and he in mine.
9. Vladimir: To every man his little cross.
10. Vladimir: Let us not waste our time in idle discourse.

T.S.Eliot in his poem "The Four Quartets" says


"I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting."


Faith,Hope and Love are in waiting. Not only in waiting but poet suggests a sort of perpetual waiting. In "Tall Man Small Shadow" this poem has been quoted from an existentialist point of view.

Use of Sex Symbols in Waiting for Godot:

Carrot:

ESTRAGON 
Fancy that. 
(He raises what remains of the carrot by the stub of leaf, twirls it before his eyes.) Funny, the more you eat the worse it gets.
VLADIMIR 
With me it's just the opposite.
 

Vladimir and Estragon have a relationship which seems to be more than friendship. Temperamentally they are different, but they are bound by some invisible bond which could be Sex. There are subtle hints for that.

Firstly, the waiting itself can be seen as an impotent act. Vladimir is sterile and suffers erectile dysfunction. His offer of carrot is symbolic . Estragon holds the stub of carrot and by the stub of leaf and twirls it before the eyes, is enough to demonstrate his opinion about Vladimir impotency.

Fly:

Estrogon's unbuttoned fly is not simple abrupt humour. It has some implications. It could be pain and suffering caused by sexual incompetence. T. S. Eliot has ridiculed sterile relationship and mechanisation of sexual act in The Wasteland'.Similarly, Beckett also makes a mockery of meaninglessness and uselessness of fly in sterile relationship.Vladimir seems to be suggesting something more when he said "Never ignore little things in life". It may be his pain or suffering for being ignored due to "little thing".

Pants Off:

In the end of the play the last conversation which usually concludes the theme of the play is:

Vladimir: Pull on your trousers.
Estrogon: What?
Vladimir: Pull on your trousers.
Estrogon: You want me to pull off my trousers.
Vladimir: Pull on your trousers.

As if the audience is also being asked to buckle up their pants since the show is over.



© Vipin Behari Goyal
Advocate, Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur, India 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Too Young For Nuptial Tie

Will Child Marriage be Again in Vogue? 




There is no difference in many advance and backward countries of the world so far as the law related to marriage and divorce is concerned. Just like every state in US can make its own law to decide the age of marriage, In India every religion is entitled to adhere to Personal Law.

The Personal Law deals with marriage, divorce, maintenance, inheritance and adoption laws. Despite repeated commands by the Supreme Court the Government in power is avoiding Uniform Civil Code. The main reason is minority status of all other religions in India except Hindu. Minority constitutes a vote bank to whom no political party in power wants to displease.

right age for marriageThe Gujarat High Court has decided that a Muslim girl can marry when she attains puberty or 15 years of age.

Almost every girl attains puberty when she is still legally minor. How a Muslim minor girl deservs to be married when girls of other religions are restricted?

According to a ReportThe onset of puberty varies among individuals. Puberty usually occurs in girls between the ages of 10 and 14, while in boys it generally occurs later, between the ages of 12 and 16. In some African-American girls, puberty begin earlier, at about age 9, meaning that puberty occurs from ages 9 to 14."

"Adolescent girls reach puberty today at earlier ages than were ever recorded previously. Nutritional and other environmental influences may be responsible for this change. For example, the average age of the onset of menstrual periods in girls was 15 in 1900. By the 1990s, this average had dropped to 12 and a half years of age.”

On one hand the age of attaining puberty has declined and on the other hand, there is a sharp rise in the cases of child abuse. In US 3 million cases of child abuse are reported every year out of which 49% or physical or sexual abuse. In India 53% of children face one or more forms of sexual abuse. If we include unreported cases the number is unbelievably high.

You may ask in what kind of society we are living? In India child marriage, which once was very common is now seen as a social stigma. There is a law prohibiting child marriage.

The prevalent practice is that after marriage the bride was not sent with the bridegroom and lived with her parents till she attained puberty and was emotionally mature to adjust to new life. The actual departure of the bride took place after a small ceremony of Gauna associated with the consummation of marriage.

This system remained in vogue for many centuries. It had certain logical advantages

1. Economy -  The women were assets in most of agrarian communities. They were generally more laborious and methodical than their male counterparts. Girls were best in taking care of cattle and milking animals. Cows and goats had more productivity when tended by girls.

The parents of the girl tried to postpone Gauna, even after she attained puberty. Though they kept a close watch on her activities and when they found her taking an interest in the boys of her age or eager to meet her bridegroom on one pretext or another, they thought it was high time she may be delivered to her rightful owner.

A lively story Empty Cocoon explains issues related to marriage and sex in rural India.

2. Auspicious Day - The ceremony of marriage has to take place on auspicious days. The astrologers and fortune tellers used to charge money for deciding the day. The Akha Teej is one such day when marriage can be performed even without consulting a priest or astrologer.

3. Advantages of Bulk Marriages - The marriages occurred in bulk on such days. Often all brothers and sisters of one family got married on the same date. It saved a lot of money. A huge feast to all the members of the community was most expensive affair in a marriage. That feast had to be given only once if all children were married on the same day.

4. Family Bondage - A marriage was seen as bonding between two families. In ancient time wedding in royal families was solemnised for strengthening the kingdom. By early marriage the clan was expanded to take care of any kind of emergencies in both the families.

5. Advance Booking - Now a days, in case of arranged marriage, it has become a Herculean task for the parents to search a suitable boy/girl. Most of the suitable bachelors are thronged and have a variety of options to  choose from depending on their taste and temperament.

The basic choice is between money and beauty as envisaged by Daniel Defoe in Moll Flanders. Moll says “ I have the money and I want the beauty, but as Times go now, the first will do without the last.”

Child marriage was used as an instrument to curb the desire of child abuse and sustain a sane society. In The Old Man and The Nymph a young girl who is a divine spirit brings a new ray of hope in the life of worn out old man. Such symbiotic relationships are exceptions, and society silently approves such discrepancies in which male is major beneficiary.

Child marriage is circumvent way of committing child abuse.

Poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, competition, consumerism and insecurity are some of the reasons of manic depression in youth of the world. The manic depressive youth finds an outlet in the child abuse. The elimination of  socio-economic causes is no more in the hands of society.

A male chauvinist may opine that any girl out of cradle is old enough to get married. The age difference between spouse is important biological and social issue. Is mature older husband more suitable for innocent, emotional girl? Please give your opinion about "ideal age difference" to expand the article.

Other related post


© Vipin Behari Goyal
Advocate, Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur, India 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

To Beef Or Not To Beef

Is Existence of Holy Cow in Danger


Can a whole country be caught in the frenzy of an issue as to what people should eat and what not? An election can be contested and won if cards are played properly on this issue.


Swami Yukteshwar Giri in his highly acclaimed book The Holy Science has scientifically drawn the inference  that human anatomy is similar to frugivorous animals. It is unnatural for human beings to be non-vegetarian.

Vegans are strict vegetarians who do not consume any animal product including all dairy products. They even do not use any products made of leather, fur or horns of animals.

Having practiced Veganism for two decades, I found it helped in synchronising my heart, mind and soul with Ultimate source of energy. Peace transcended and heart was filled with love for all animate and inanimate objects.

How one religion can ban pork and other beef, if the ultimate objective of all the religion is same. They have their logic to support the belief, which may even be true, but how one religion can dictate followers of another to copy them.

Sofiya Rangwala on her Facebook account pleads Pork is banned in all Muslim countries, no one has any objection. India is 80% Hindu country and if cow slaughter is banned here, everyone starts to object. Will beef consumers die if they didn't get beef to relish? It's high time that we started to respect the religious sentiments of the majority also, rather than always trying to appease the minority. Besides, banning cow slaughter from health perspective is also an invited decision by the Maharashtra gov. Same should be implemented all over India.

Hinduism is third largest religion of the world. Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism are also part of it. There is no Hindu nation in the world. Even Nepal has decided to be secular. Hinduism does not support and propagate conversion. All other religions have thrived on conversion by coercion or inducement.

Let us respect religious sentiments of all people. If Jain demand that during Holy days of Prajushan selling meat should be prohibited, then everyone should come forward willingly to cooperate. No intervention by court shall be required.


Shobhaa De has rightfully reacted I just ate beef, come and murder me.

Intolerance for others way of life is growing all over World. We cannot justify to accuse followers of one belief to appease others, who themselves have a history of fanaticism and vandalism.

Every Hindu has his own answer to the question "Why cow is holy? Why Hindu call her mother? Is only Indian cow holy or all cows all over world are holy?

Except States like Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand, 24 states have imposed ban on beef.

Kerala is the largest beef consuming state and India is second largest beef exporting country in the world after Brazil. Though that beef is said to be of buffalo and not cow.

There are not enough sheds to take care of ailing, nonproductive, aged cows. Even the milking cows are pushed in the streets by their owners. They loiter in the streets and main roads to eat leftovers and garbage thrown by households. Fatal road accidents take place not only in cities and but also on national highways due to these stray animals. Some people are injured or killed by sharp horns of cows in the narrow streets of towns of India.

When a cow dies the people of untouchable caste are summoned to remove carcass.

Due to huge import and high yielding hybrid cows, many native species of cow have become extinct and many more are rapidly becoming endangered. The milk of desi cows is far more superior in quality than imported or hybrid cows.

Though it is different issue how holy mother is treated in India.


 © Vipin Behari Goyal
Advocate, Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur, India 








Saturday, October 10, 2015

Why a Journalist is awarded Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

Journalism in Literature

Svetlana Alexievich


Svetlana Alexievich 67 years old Journalist from Belarus is now the first female Non-Fiction writer to win Nobel Prize in Literature, 2015.
In  Last Witnesses: The Book of Unchildlike Stories she compiles stories of second world war survivors, who were children at that time. Journalists always know how to create a sensational story out of a human tragedy.
In Zinky Boys (the title refers to zinc coffins in which bodies of dead soldiers were sent), war widows, soldiers, doctors and children narrate their stories of suffering caused by Russian occupation of Afghanistan.
In Voices from Chernobyl stories are of victims and eyewitnesses of one of the biggest tragedies in the history of mankind.
All the three books are the chronicles of failure of the Russian Government. In a way they are anti-Russian. The Journalists are often trained in the skill of anti-government reporting.
While Journalism is the art of creating 'monument of suffering', Literature is 'creating a monumental masterpiece by undergoing that suffering'. What is more vital is not important, they are just two different disciplines.
The Literature lovers of the whole world are stunned. Who Svetlana? A journalist? Is world short of good authors? Why don't you stop writing fiction? It's no more required. Join some Newspaper, do some reporting, collect some stories and aspire for more fame.
Sara Danius permanent Secretary of Swedish Academy is defensive, even while making the announcement. "It's not really about a history of events. It's a history of emotions." She says. "She's (Svetlana Alexievich) devised a new kind of literary genre. It's a true achievement, not only material but also in form."    
The form is Polyphonic.
In reference to music it is "having two or more harmonized voices", and in reference to Phonetics it is "voiced and unvoiced phonetic values".
The later definition is more suitable here. Some voices you read in the book, but many voices remain unheard. The unheard voices serves the ulterior objectives of benefactors, who are creators and appreciators.
According to Svetlana "Art has failed to understand many things about literature."
If Non-Fiction can represent human emotions in a better way than Fiction, it is doomsday of human civilization.
The journalist may deserve applause by Noble Committee, but not at the cost of Literature.
May be we all need a paradigm shift so far as spectrum of literature is concerned.


© Vipin Behari Goyal
Advocate, Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur, India