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Critics regret death of reading habit

Literary stalwarts regretted the diminishing habit of buying and reading books, a fact reflected in the lack of values among the youth of today.

patna Updated: Sep 02, 2012 16:03 IST
Aloke Chatterjee

Literary stalwarts regretted the diminishing habit of buying and reading books, a fact reflected in the lack of values among the youth of today.

Two of countryfs leading Hindi critics, Namvar Singh and Ashok Vajpayee, former CPI legislator and litterateur Rajendra Rajan, besides former head, department of English, Patna University, Shaileshwar Sati Prasad, who were in the audience, admitted the harsh truth.

They had gathered at A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies for the inaugural function of a two-day discussion on Criticism to mark the 75th birthday of noted literary critic Nand Kishore Nawal on September 2. Nawal is an highly acclaimed author of books on Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Tulsidas, Maithili Sharan Gupt, besides a book, Hindi Sahitya Shastra, to name a few. Setting the tone for the discussion, Namvar Singh said the English word critic fails in expressing the true intonation of Aalochak in Hindi. An  Aalochak has to be compassionate (Sahriday) to fully understand the finer nuances of the literary work he or she is about to discuss. This would not happen if the critic is not in a positive frame of mind, he added.

Nawal succeeded in graphically describing the evolution of Suryakant Tripathi Niralaas a poet. His description of trials and tribulations of Tulsidas, the author of linguistically superb works, from Ramcharitmanas to Vinay Patrika, when he came to live in Varanasi, is unmatched, Singh noted.

Vajpayee, on the other hand, maintained, that critics generally try to maintain status quo dictated by the pressures and pulls of the times. Coming down heavily on the trend of pseudo-consent, he wondered why the Hindi-speaking middle class has stopped reading books.

I wonder, whether peoplefs understanding of literature has really increased in the last 60-70 years and whether it is due to failure of criticism, as a literary discipline. Branding critics as intellectuals, he noted authors had the liberty to say,

We are not intellectuals, but noted critics like Namvar Singh could certainly be described as public critics.

Vajpayee regretted, that the reading public has failed to develop a resistentative taste with the result, that globally, pygmies were at the top everywhere.

Criticism should reflect the global crisesh, he added. Among others Prof Purushottam Agrawal, Balram tiwari, former head, department of Hindi, Patna University, Reto Raman of Muzaffarpur and Kedarnath Singh also participated in the discussion.


Strive to make CUB distinct: Namwar
A university is recognised by the culture developed on its campus. And, whatever problems come in the way the persons associated with it should take it as a challenge and do their best to make the university distinct, said noted Hindi critic Namwar Singh here on Saturday. He was addressing a function organised by Central University of Bihar (CUB) to mark it fourth foundation day. CUB vicechancellor Janak Pandey chaired the function.

Recalling the initial days of development of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Singh said CUB’s present state has great similarity with that of JNU where wild animals moved freely both in day and night. However, as JNU emerged as a distinct institution in later days, the CUB too would make its place in Bihar, he hoped. He also underlined the importance of teachertaught relation in a university.

Speaking on the occasion, former HoD of music and theatre art of Banaras Hindu University and a noted violin player RP Shashtri urged the CUB administration to establish a faculty of performing art.

HTC, Patna