CONNECTING LITERATURE WITH POLITICS:
The colonial legacy and its impact upon the Indian history is considered as the most augmented aspect of the colonialism in India. The Valley of Words, International Literature and Arts Festival, Dehradun witnessed a session on the “Recuperating Narratives: The Raj and After”. The main themes of the session revolved around the ‘historical reconstruction’ of the colonial rule and other political developments in and after the British Rule in India. The conversation was conducted by Satish Aikant and Rahul Singh, which further enhanced the informative and critical aspects of the session. The session also followed the pattern of critical analysis of literary works in a definite political and social context.
The initial developments of the session saw the introduction of the book – Swerving to Solitude written by Mr. Keki Daruwalla. The author stated that whole aspect of the respective book revolves around the biography of the ‘Mother and Daughter’ in a definite political atmosphere full of conflictual situations. The emphasis was upon the political disaster of Emergency and the monstrous period of British rule in India. The author also emphasised upon the major personalities like M.N Roy and also stressed upon his inclination towards the USSR (Vladimir Lenin) and not Mahatma Gandhi.
The writer of 20 non-fiction and 6 fiction novels, Sudhir Kakar glorified upon the critical aspects of his book – “The Kipling File”. The writer of Tales of love and Sex and Danger emphasised upon the themes of extremism and racism, throughout the session. The author stated that the book elaborates upon the life of Rudyard Kipling and his 7-8 years in Lahore. The glorification of colonialism and imperialism by Rudyard Kipling was very well analysed by Sudhir Kakar. The author also created an interesting comparison between the Rudyard Kipling and V.S Naipul mainly because of the extremist political inclinations.
The event proceeded with the questions asked by Mr. Satish Aikant mainly about the growth of racism and colonialism in India. The main surfacing aspect of the talk was well defined by author as “colonialization of mind”. The event continued with the introduction of book- “Connaught Place and the Making of New Delhi” written by Swapna Lindle. The author emphasised upon the need for the Britishers to form the Imperial Architecture in New Delhi was to re-invent the colonial rule in the country. The major architects of New Delhi’s architecture were talked about in the session with the critical analysis of Lutyen’s Delhi.The technicalities of colonial architecture were highlighted by primarily giving the examples of Raj path and Viceroy’s House in Delhi.
The notions of ‘visual expression of power’ and its importance in the British Raj were given primary position in the session. The session laid the premise for the historical reconstruction of British rule in India through non-prejudiced study of literature.
Sabahat Ali Wani, St.Stephens