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Re-Markings, a biannual refereed international journal of English Letters, aims at providing a healthy forum for scholarly and authoritative views on broad sociopolitical and cultural issues of human import as evidenced in literature, art, television, cinema and journalism with special emphasis on New Literatures in English including translations and creative excursions.​

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Re-markings September 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re-Markings Vol. 17 No. 3 September 2018

Editorial

If two of our Advisory Board members – Harvard University Professor Sugata Bose, distinguished Historian, Lok Sabha M.P., and Sonoma State University, California Professor Jonah Raskin – made 2017 a very special year with their gracious presence at events organized by Re-Markings at Agra, 2018 has been rendered exquisitely memorable by the visit of Dr. Charles Richard Johnson.

My acquaintance with Dr. Johnson began way back in 2001 when the Public Affairs Section of U.S. Embassy, New Delhi invited me to accompany him on his lecture tour of India. I was thrilled but my enthusiasm was short-lived as the visit had to be called off at the last moment on account of the Iraq war. Perhaps Fate had ordained that we would meet not in Agra, the city of Sulahakul, but in Bill Gates’ town, Seattle, from where Dr. Johnson proclaims to the world the imperatives of amalgamation of multidisciplinary and multicultural perspectives.

The opportunity to meet this celebrity came during my Senior Fulbright Fellowship (2003-04) at the University of Washington, Seattle where Dr. Johnson was Professor of the Creative Writing Program. We (my wife, Sunita, and I) arrived in Seattle on September 5, 2003. Around 6.00 p.m. the next day, we were pleasantly surprised to see at our Lake Avenue dwelling none but the famed Charles Johnson himself, accompanied by his daughter Elizabeth. I warmly welcomed him by wrapping a shawl around him as we honor scholars in India. Guess how he reciprocated! He gave me a huge packet he had brought for us. When I untied the fancy ribbons and opened the packet I couldn’t believe my eyes. There lay in front of us over two score books—novels, essays, interviews, photo-autobiography, and so much more—all of which he had authored. His precious gifts, with his endearing inscription on each one of them, revealed his innate magnanimity and generosity that we enjoyed for the entire period of our stay in Seattle.

The imprints that my constant association with Dr. Johnson left on my heart and soul only increased with the passage of time. If he had dreamed of visiting India since his childhood, I too had often imagined and explored the possibilities of meeting him in India and of talking to him at length in the lyrical precincts of Emperor Shahjahan’s dream in marble. It was nothing short of providential, therefore, when I learnt of his visit to India and of his desire to be with us in Agra in February 2018.

It was a privilege to Chair Dr. Johnson’s keynote address on “Why Buddhism for Black America Now” at the Three-Day national seminar on “Buddhist Education and Universal Responsibility” organized by the Ministry of Culture at Nav Nalanda Mahavihara, Nalanda from 15-17 February, 2018. During his visit to Agra from 24-26 February, it was a rare pleasure for us all to hear him talk on “Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” at an event organized by Re-Markings in association with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra to felicitate Dr. Johnson for his exemplary role as a cultural ambassador of the world. Dr. Arvind Kumar Dixit, Vice Chancellor of the University, chaired the event held at Basic Science Institute.

The two ‘Conversations’ with Dr. Johnson and a review of his latest collection of stories entitled Night Hawks, included in this issue, bring into bold relief his engagement as a writer and activist to formulate a better world. Jonah Raskin’s tribute to Stephen Hawking tells us of a mortal who had the ability and the courage to challenge and defy death in order to re-write the history of Time. Walter Kefoue Chakela’s essay in this volume has its own story to tell. It stems from a post he put on facebook, a couple of months ago, showcasing the inclusion of his poems in A World Assembly of Poets (Re-Markings’ special number, November 2017). In the post he regrets not seeing any woman poet from South Africa in the wonderful collection. Reacting to his post, I immediately requested him to initiate an effort to bring together women poets from South Africa in an article for Re-Markings. He accepted the challenge right away and sent me the essay in record time.

I deem it a pleasure to thank each one of the contributors for enriching this volume with erudite critiques of literary renderings from different parts of the globe from the viewpoint of issues and concerns seminal to the crisis-ridden world we inhabit. It is not insignificant that time and again we receive articles, essays, poems and stories from writers, academics, scholars and critics articulating the anguish and agony of being a woman in an essentially patriarchal society, be it in India or U.S. or Middle-East. The song of the caged bird may seem to evoke no compassion or concern from any quarter but I am optimistic that a day will dawn when women will come together to proclaim with vehemence and dignity: “Women of the World Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains. You have a world to win.”

Nibir K. Ghosh

Chief Editor

 

CONTENTS

 

‘Buddhism – Creative and Spiritual Gift’: A Conversation with Charles Johnson –

Nibir K. Ghosh

 

Clutching the Knife on the Cutting Edge: The Voice of the Woman in South African Poetry –

Walter Kefuoe Chakela

Stephen Hawking (1942-2018): A Tribute to the Visionary Scientist – Jonah Raskin

 

Letter to Re-Markings from A Distant Land No Longer Distant – E. Ethelbert Miller

 

An Endangered World: Literary Art, Activism and Environment – Anuradha Sen

 

Veiled Identities and Literary Imagination in Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran

Navleen Multani

 

A Talk with Charles Johnson at Nalanda – Shrikant Singh

 

Formulaic Style in Robert Browning’s A Grammarian’s FuneralNar Deo Sharma

 

South Asian Gender Stereotypes in Chitra Divakaruni's Arranged Marriage Parimala Kulkarni

 

Resistance, Fear Psychosis and ‘OneSelph’ in Virtual Carnivalesque – Tariq Faraz

 

Shylock as Shailaksha: Indian Vernacular Appropriation of Shakespeare – R. P. Singh

 

Pervading Silence in Ida Fink’s A Scrap of Time – Avantika Gaur

 

Mute Revolt: An Aberrant Life History of Rashsundari Debi – Pooja Yadav

Problematics of Acculturation in Anita Desai’s Bye-Bye Black Bird Shilpa Saxena

 

Nigerian Women Representation  in Buchi Emecheta’s The  Joys of Motherhood,  Chimamanda Adichie’s  Purple  Hibiscus  and  Flora Nwapa’s Women  are  Different Neha Singh

Poetry

The Man – Shweta Awasthi

 

Poems by Rajiv Khandelwal – My First Memory of You, A New Dawn

 

Review Essays

A Master Storyteller and His Inspired Nocturnes – Robin Lindley

 

Orchestration of Universal Harmony and Prayer – Gopikrishnan Kottoor

 

Of Lessons Learnt by Heart – Urvashi Sabu