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IGNOU BAG BEGC 132 Solved Assignment Solution 2021 for Free
IGNOU BEGC 132 Solved Assignment Solution 2020-21
Selections from Indian Writing: Cultural Diversity
Programme: BA Gen (BAG)
Course Code: BEGC 132 | Max: 100 marks | Min Pass marks: 35
This assignment is split up into three sections: A, B and C.
Explain the following with reference to the context:
Q.No. 1: I know not who I am Neither among the sinners nor the saints I am neither happy nor unhappy I belong neither to water nor to the earth I am neither fire nor air.
Ans: A large amount of what is known about Bulleh Shah comes through legends, and is subjective; to the point that there isn’t even agreement among historians concerning his precise date and place of birth. Some “facts” about his life have been pieced together from his own writings. Other “facts” seem to have been passed down through oral traditions. Bulleh Shah lived in the same period as the famous Sindhi Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhatai (1689 – 1752). His lifespan also overlapped with the legendary Punjabi poet Waris Shah, of Heer Ranjha fame, and the famous Sindhi Sufi poet Abdul Wahad, better known by his pen-name, Sachal Sarmast (“truth seeking leader of the intoxicated ones”)
The verse form Bulleh Shah primarily employed is called the Kafi (Refrain), a traditional style of Punjabi poetry used by Punjabi Sufis and Sikh gurus (such as Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh). In Bulleh’s time, Sufi poets often did not adopt the classical languages of Persian and Urdu, instead choosing to write their verses in Punjabi, Saraiki, and Sindhi – languages of the common folk amongst whom they lived.
What is most striking about Bulleh Shah’s poetry and philosophy is his audacious, almost egotistical critique of the religious orthodoxy of his day, particularly the Islamic religious orthodoxy. His poetry is filled with direct attacks on those who claim control over religion, to the point of comparing mullahs to barking dogs and crowing roosters. Sufis typically spend their lives trying to penetrate the meaning of life while searching for God. Those among them who were poets articulated this exploration through their poetry. ‘Who is the Creator?’ ‘What is the truth?’ ‘What is the meaning of life?’ ‘How can one find God?’ ‘Who am I?’ These are some of the questions Sufis have tried to answer, by dissociating themselves from worldly activity, and moving onto a saintly field where they are no longer bound by conventionally interpreted holy or material boundaries.
Bulleh Shah studied Arabic, Persian and the Quran under his traditional teachers. After that, in an attempt to move to the next level (of mystic realization), he searched for a spiritual guide. Ultimately he found his murshid, in the form of Inayat Shah Qadri. Inayat Shah Qadri was a Sufi of the Qadri order, who authored many Persian books on mysticism. Much of Bulleh Shah’s verses about love are addressed directly to his spiritual guide, Shah Inayat.
Q.No.2: O good soldier, Know when you’re beaten. And now, that question Which we just referred to in connection with the so-called language battle, Let’s put it this way: Were we and those on behalf of whom we fought The same folk?
Ans: Raghuvir Sahay (1928-1990) is among the most significant figures on the modern literary scene in India. A Hindi poet who belonged to a poliltical current which while calling for decolonisation of Indian cultural world, did not fall into the dark world of nativism. While his comrades were fighting to dislodge English from its position of socio cultural power, his poem simply titled Hindi challenged them to think through their Hindi supremacists biases. The poem was translated from Hindi by Harish Trivedi and Daniel Weissbort.
His voice is an expression of much wider concerns in that his work transcends the world of Hindi, the language in which he wrote even as he belongs to it. Sahay belongs to a tradition of literature that looks forward rather than to the past for inspiration, for whom the golden age would come when the aspirations of all the millions of people are fulfilled. His concern for people was not romantic. It expressed itself in the voice of democracy and scientific temper. The baggage that he carried with him of the past was one of the heritage of composite culture and a rational expression whose roots lay within the movements for social emancipation in the struggle against colonialism. Like Tagore, Iqbal and Faiz, his is the voice of the entire subcontinent.
Sahay, like most literary figures of his generation was not merely a significant poet. He was a writer-journalist, a social commentator, a literary critic and a partisan for secularism. From late 60’s till the beginning of 80’s he was editor of Hindi weekly Dinman, whose status as the best political-social journal in Hindi is yet to be surpassed. He advocated the use of a language that preserved the heritage of Hindustani, the Hindi-Urdu synthesis. In 1990 the year of his death, he chaired a committee of the Press Council of India to look into the role of the press in the context of Mr. Advani’s rath yatra, the first attempt at destruction of the Babri Masjid and the ensuing antiMuslim riots.
He died in December 1990, without having compromised on any of his ideals, may be not a very happy man at the way things were some 45 years after Independence.
Q.No.3: At daybreak, hacked at the trunk You will be found lying prostrate. No longer will you respond To your mother’s call Nor a likeness of you Shall be found, when I survey The whole hillside. Who shall now relieve my grief?
Ans: The poem, ‘Don’t Wash’ is written by Lakshmi Kannan to honour and pay tribute to Rasha Sundari Debi’s extraordinary spirit and grit: a woman who even risked her reputation in her determination not to take anything lying down. Rasha Sundari lived in a society where educated women were considered a bad omen. ‘Don’t Wash’ helps us appreciate the intelligence, determination and daring with which Rasha Sundari embraced what was socially unacceptable and even sinful, to fulfil her dreams and live life on her own terms. Kannan uses the image of wash as the poem’s central metaphor. ‘Wash’ symbolises customs which are considered sacred and are not to be questioned. Water has an important significance in Hinduism where washing the place of worship, altar and statues of gods and goddesses is an integral part of religious ceremonies. In itself, water cleans filth. However, in the poem the poet persuades Rasha Sundari Debi to leave the walls of her kitchen unwashed so that whatever she may have scribbled on the wall remains intact and unerased.
The sooty writing on the walls underlines Rasha Sundari’s hopes and becomes a marker of her identity. Not washing the walls is like saying that you should not change yourself because society expects you to be different: your uniqueness should not be washed off because it is what will make the world a better place where everyone – man or woman – will have a fair chance to realise their worth. The kitchen walls in Rasha Sundari’s house, blackened with charcoal soot look dirty and the kitchen appears messy. But the poet insists that the walls are not to be washed as the akshara is written on them. If you think about it a little more, you’ll realise that the written word – akshara – is considered sacred in Hinduism. The poem argues that the akshara continues to remain sacred and is not defiled just because it is written by a woman.
Q.No.4: You need no book, Rasha Sundari no paper or pen either you have the black, smudgy kitchen wall for your magical scribbles lines, ellipses, curves all of them your secret codes for a whole new world.
Ans: The poem, ‘Don’t Wash’ is written by Lakshmi Kannan to honour and pay tribute to Rasha Sundari Debi’s extraordinary spirit and grit: a woman who even risked her reputation in her determination not to take anything lying down. Rasha Sundari lived in a society where educated women were considered a bad omen. ‘Don’t Wash’ helps us appreciate the intelligence, determination and daring with which Rasha Sundari embraced what was socially unacceptable and even sinful, to fulfil her dreams and live life on her own terms.
Kannan uses the image of wash as the poem’s central metaphor. ‘Wash’ symbolises customs which are considered sacred and are not to be questioned. Water has an important significance in Hinduism where washing the place of worship, altar and statues of gods and goddesses is an integral part of religious ceremonies. In itself, water cleans filth. However, in the poem the poet persuades Rasha Sundari Debi to leave the walls of her kitchen unwashed so that whatever she may have scribbled on the wall remains intact and unerased. The sooty writing on the walls underlines Rasha Sundari’s hopes and becomes a marker of her identity. Not washing the walls is like saying that you should not change yourself because society expects you to be different: your uniqueness should not be washed off because it is what will make the world a better place where everyone – man or woman – will have a fair chance to realise their worth. The kitchen walls in Rasha Sundari’s house, blackened with charcoal soot look dirty and the kitchen appears messy. But the poet insists that the walls are not to be washed as the akshara is written on them. If you think about it a little more, you’ll realise that the written word – akshara – is considered sacred in Hinduism. The poem argues that the akshara continues to remain sacred and is not defiled just because it is written by a woman.
Write short notes on the following:
2. The arguments over language.
Ans: Debates about linguistic norms typically set traditionalists against revisionists. The two sides are particularly entrenched because each is rooted in a fundamental truth: the traditionalists are right that the rules are the rules (for instance, pronouns do need to agree in number with their referents), and the revisionists are right that language does change over time (nouns can come to be used as verbs).
The two fundamental truths are reconcilable because language is both our creation and our master. We humans invented and continue to reinvent our language to meet various needs, but language can serve these needs only if, at any given time, we conform to most of what has been already devised. Therefore, although we as an evolving species make language, it is also imposed on each of us individually.
As a result, there will always be a tension between sticking to and violating linguistic rules. We can, however, often fruitfully discuss emerging linguistic innovations if we keep in mind three main goals of language use: effective communication, pleasing expression and moral solidarity.
anguage is, first of all, a tool for saying as well as possible what we intend to say. For this purpose, it makessense to avail ourselves of all the resources offered by our language at a given time. Traditionalists are on their strongest ground when they are defending against changes that deprive us of useful linguistic tools. So, fordrawing a conclusion and an argument’s requiring one. Similarly, allowing “refute” to mean “deny” obscures the distinction between proving and asserting that a claim is false. And making “beg the question” a mere variant of “raise the question” deprives us of a simple way of distinguishing between asking a question and assuming a particular answer to it.
Granted, even after linguistic evolution has assimilated opposing terms to one another, it is still possible to use our language to make the distinctions they formerly expressed. But resisting the assimilation allows us to learn important logical distinctions merely by learning our language.
Linguistic change is also often resisted on aesthetic grounds. Some people find split infinitives (“to plainly see”), “verbed” nouns (“let me caveat that”) or misspelled words (“supercede”) simply ugly. Similarly for verbal tics such as “like” and “uh,” or “echoes” that repeat the same word or phrase in close proximity. Conversely, many enjoy the elegance, pithiness or clarity of certain modes of expressions. Aesthetic judgments are personal but not necessarily idiosyncratic, and we may well be able to sensitize others to what we find repellent or attractive. There is room for lively and enlightening discussion, even though the final conclusion may be “de gustibus.”
Our attitudes toward language are also important expressions of cultural and ethical loyalties. Knowledge of and respect for established linguistic rules may, for example, express allegiance to our literary tradition. To be careless in how we speak and write can signal that we are ignorant or disdainful of the writers and speakers who helped craft our language.
6.The Bhakti movement and Indian literature.
Ans: The Bhakti movement is considered to be a cultural revolution in the history of medieval India. It had a significant impact on the literary works that were developed during that period. The Bhakti literature reflects a new form of devotion to God i.e., a personal bond between the devotee and the deity.
The Bhakti literature began to be composed in the sixth century AD in south India by the Tamil poet-saints.Alvars, who were the devotees of Lord Vishnu, began to spread Vaishnavism through their devotional poetry. This came to be known as the Divya Prabandha. There were 12 Alvars. Tiruvaymoli, written by Nammalvar, is highly revered by the Vaishnavas. The only female among the Alvars was Andal. Her collection of poems, known as Tiruppavai, enjoys great popularity even in present times for its touching fervor and simplicity.
Nayanars were the devotees of Lord Shiva. There were 63 Nayanars and their collective devotional poetry is known as the Thirumurai. It is also known as the Tamil Veda. It consists of 12 volumes, with songs and hymns written in praise of Lord Shiva. Of these, the first seven volumes are known as the Thevaram. Composed in the tenth century AD, Thevaram enjoys widespread acceptance even in the present times as a religious text.
Bhakti movement’s contribution to the development of Telugu and Kannada
Bhakti movement also provided an impetus to the growth of other regional languages such as Telugu and Kannada in the south
Mahabharata was translated into Telugu by Nannaya in the 11th century AD. This was considered as the beginning of literary work in Telugu. The kirtans written by the poet-saint Annamacharya on Lord Vishnu led to an increase in the popularity of Telugu. Vallabhacharya had enriched the Telugu literature with his works like the Bhagvata Tika, Subodhami etc.
In Kannada, the trio of Pampa, Ponna, and Ranna had produced their works which contributed to the development of the language. In the 12th century AD, the Virashaiva religious movement began gaining popularity under Basavesvara. He advocated the use of simple Kannada as the medium for instruction, which increased in appeal among the common people. His contemporaries like Allama Prabhu and Akkamahadevi invented a new type of prose composition called the Vachanas. Noted for their directness, simplicity and poetic beauty, they played an important role in the enrichment of Kannada literature.
The Bhakti movement was popularized in north India by Ramananda in the 12th century AD. This led to the growth of literary works in languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Gujarathi, Bengali, Punjabi etc.Ramcharitmanas, Hanuman Chalisa are some of the most popular works of Tulsidas. By choosing to write in Avadhi which is a dialect of Hindi, Tulsidas made the epic of Ramayana and other devotional literature more accessible to the common man. This also represented a break from the composition of devotional literature in Sanskrit. Many of the verses and phrases used in the works of Tulsidas have now become a part of the common parlance in Hindi speaking areas.
Kabir, who is revered by the Hindus, Muslims as well as the Sikhs of north India, wrote in the vernaculars. He did not adhere to the strict rules of grammar which were prevalent during his times. His works were mainly two line compositions, known as the Dohe. They were full of everyday metaphors and similes, through which he propagated his philosophy. The Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, includes many of his verses.
Mirabai was among the most famous women saints of the Bhakti movement. She sang songs in praise of Lord Krishna which became popular as Bhajans. Mira’s bhajans are still considered to be devotional works of a high literary value. Her work includes over 1300 songs which symbolize passion, eroticism, and a complete surrender to her master Lord Krishna. Surdas, a blind poet, had composed songs in praise of Lord Krishna. Of his total compilation of close to 100000 poems, only around 8000 have survived. His compositions were made in Braj Basha, a dialect of Hindi, which eventually led to its attainment of a literary language status.
Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda is a popular devotional work on Lord Krishna. It is considered to be the most Sanskrit lyrical work of the Bhakti period. Its theme is the love between Lord Krishna and Radha. It laid the foundation for the growth of Bengali literature. His work represents a mix of passion, devotion, and lyricism.
Chaitanya and Chandidasa were among the famous Vaishnava poets of Bengal. They produced Vaishnava literature, mainly poetry, which represents a mix of eroticism and spiritual fervour.
Shankaradeva and Madhavadeva were the two prominent Vaishnava poet-saints of Assam. Kirtana-ghosa is an anthology of devotional songs which was written by them, but mostly includes the works of Shankaradeva. Bhattadeva had translated the Bhagavadgita into Assamese, which led to the enrichment of Assamese prose.The works of Narasimha Mehta, Bhalana, and Akho led to the growth of Gujarati literature under the influence of Vaishnava Bhakti. Narasimha Mehta is considered the father of Gujarati poetry.
In Marathi, the works of Jnanadeva viz., Bhavartha Dipika (also known as Jnanesvari) and Amrutanubhava are revered as sacred books. The works of Namdev and Tukaram, who defied the Sanskrit elite to write devotional literature in Marathi, are also very popular in the present times.
7. The impact of cultural negotiations on the literature of the Northeast
Ans: Different literary and cultural theories that we have embraced so far have presented a diverse prism of reading, understanding and interpreting literary texts and their inherent world views. There aredivergent views among scholars and critics about the way a reader understands the text within a given context of the environment depicted by a particular text and invariably create his or her own perspective that forms an afterlife of the texts. These theories and approaches have enabled readers and authors to recreate their own contexts and gradually navigate them into the centre of mainstream literary discourse that generally tends to ignore those voices from the periphery. The voices from the periphery in Indian literary environment are those coming from the social, economic and even geographical margins that includes inter alia the writings from translingual, minority, Dalit writers as well as writers from remote areas like the Northeast. These writers form a periphery which has been termed as ‘Subaltern’ by Antonio Gramsci and highlight an ongoing endeavour to portray a different ‘context’ or world view that can be understood and adequately interpreted from the author’s own social, cultural and political milieu.
Such writings, though limited in number and scarce in our critical literary landscape, nevertheless underline an alternative mode of consciousness that emerges from caste, community, spatial existence and economic marginalization. It also depicts a subtle ongoing struggle of the writings from the ‘margin’ to move towards the ‘centre’. The writings from the periphery, therefore, are a case of assertion of identity, culture and social reality that is ‘different’ from the mainstream and a protest against any literary hegemony of the mainstream. Thus a translingual writer (Na’Asomia) with East Bengal origin in Assam writing in Assamese or a poet from the Ao Naga community all raise questions about those real and imaginary margins enforced and try to strike back by using their texts as a platform of resistance. Ironically, the centrality of the ‘margin’ in their texts sometimes may be seen as an appropriation of the margin, its literary/artistic practices as well as the further marginal position of gender and sexuality.
Literary texts and other forms of cultural expression that were seen as marginal or lying in the periphery during the first half of the twentieth century by scholars like Bourdieu and Even-Zohar are gaining new momentum in recent years. Several factors facilitated this movement that includes commercialisation of cultural symbols, democratic access to literary spaces through the advent of new platforms like the Internet and the social media. Bourdieu regards language as a mechanism of power assertion highlighting the writer’s relational position in a social context. Distinct use of language and cultural symbols, metaphors and special registers comes from particular contexts and militates against the reader’s own positions about the text and its meaning. Linguistic interactions and literary interpretations are therefore parts of the readers own contextual positions in the broader mainstream social space and parameters of understanding. Depending on the contexts of the reader, the writer’s voice is thus understood and interpreted. In recent years Even-Zohar stressed on the problems of majority and minority, and centre and periphery in the context of wealth, power and control of resources. His “polysystem theory” focuses on relations between literature and language that reflects a complex analysis of socio-cultural systems. In understanding the writings from the periphery these socio-cultural systems may play a vital role in redefining our approach to literature from the margins.
Globalisation and the emergence of technology-led information society have also impacted the forms and contents of art and culture in contemporary world. However, there are some distinct trends of writing that thrives on being different, driving home the idea that every country, and every local community with different cultures and histories and tries to create a ‘space’ away from the mainstream (called ‘subaltern’ by Antonio Gramsci). The present seminar attains significance in bring to the forefront different perspectives of such writings from two specific contexts – language (translingual), society and location (tribal communities of the Northeast). The seminar not only makes a case for examining literature with a pre-existing, pre-compiled traditional literary history but also examine them critically from the point of view of the caste, class, the minority, the marginal and the quintessential ‘subaltern’. There this seminar will be a fresh academic exercise that will produce new insights into the study of literary texts from a diverse set of theoretical and analytical frameworks.
8. Show how writing by marginalized sections describes the experiences of an entire community With reference to the texts you have read.
Ans: By reading and discussing literature, we expand our imagination, our sense of what is possible, and our ability to empathize with others. Improve your ability to read critically and interpret texts while gaining appreciation for different literary genres and theories of interpretation. Read samples of literary interpretation. Write a critique of a literary work. Texts that interpret literary works are usually persuasive texts. Literary critics may conduct a close reading of a literary work, critique a literary work from the stance of a particular literary theory, or debate the soundness of other critics’ interpretations. The work of literary critics is similar to the work of authors writing evaluative texts. For example, the skills required to critique films, interpret laws, or evaluate artistic trends are similar to those skills required by literary critics.
People have been telling stories and sharing responses to stories since the beginning of time. By reading and discussing literature, we expand our imagination, our sense of what is possible, and our ability to empathize with others. Reading and discussing literature can enhance our ability to write. It can sharpen our critical faculties, enabling us to assess works and better understand why literature can have such a powerful effect on our lives..
“Literary texts” include works of fiction and poetry. In school, English instructors ask students to critique literary texts, or works. Literary criticism refers to a genre of writing whereby an author critiques a literary text, either a work of fiction, a play, or poetry. Alternatively, some works of literary criticism address how a particular theory of interpretation informs a reading of a work or refutes some other critics’ reading of a work.
The genre of literary interpretation is more specialized than most of the other genres addressed in this section, as suggested by the table below. People may discuss their reactions to literary works informally (at coffee houses, book clubs, or the gym) but the lion’s share of literary criticism takes place more formally: in college classrooms, professional journals, academic magazines, and Web sites.
Students interpret literary works for English instructors or for students enrolled in English classes. In their interpretations, students may argue for a particular interpretation or they may dispute other critics’ interpretations. Alternatively, students may read a text with a particular literary theory in mind, using the theory to explicate a particular point of view. For example, writers could critique The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin from a feminist theoretical perspective. Thanks to the Internet, some English classes are now publishing students’ interpretations on Web sites. In turn, some students and English faculty publish their work in academic literary criticism journals.
Over the years, literary critics have argued about the best ways to interpret literature. Accordingly, many “schools” or “theories of criticism” have emerged. As you can imagine–given that they were developed by sophisticated specialists–some of these theoretical approaches are quite sophisticated and abstract.
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