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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.​

Re-Markings

Re-Markings Mar 2019 Cover

Re-Markings Vol. 18 No. 1 March 2019

Editorial

“Why has India always been the target country for all invaders including a small country like Portugal?” and “Why India always, almost all the times, has given in to the invaders?” These two questions often asked by Dr. A.P.J. Kalam to the youth of India who came in contact with him call for deep introspection at all levels of history, society and polity. In my view the abundance of natural resources as well as the wealth of spiritual wisdom made India an obvious haven for looters, plunderers and conquerors from across the world in whatever garb they came. The vulnerability to fall easy prey to the invaders was primarily on account of the near-total absence of the sense of belonging to a nation. We existed as either individuals concerned with our own predicament and fate or at best as part of a clan, caste, community, religion or province. The idea of India as a country or nation has virtually been non-existent for centuries. Consequently, patriotism of any kind, which is an integral prerequisite for the defence of any nation against foreign invasion, has often been an extremely rare commodity.

One may ask, “What is patriotism?” The Random House dictionary defines patriotism as “devoted love, support and defence of one’s country; national loyalty.” Though one is intrigued by Dr. Samuel Johnson’s statement that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” I would rather say that patriotism is the lifeblood of any nation that believes in safeguarding its solidarity. If an Island like Britain could govern not only a continent but create and consolidate an empire, it could only be possible with the unquestioned loyalty of its citizens to the nation characterised by feelings so lyrically expressed by the British diplomat, Cecil Spring-Rice, in his poem “I Vow to thee My Country” (1908): “I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,/ Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love:/ The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,/ That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best.”

Despite my own fondness for the above lines penned by the British poet, it would be grossly unfair not to dwell at length at the superlative brand of loyalty displayed by Indians in the valiant struggle against the seemingly invincible British Empire in the freedom struggle. The utterances by Sri Aurobindo and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, among others, inspired millions to lay upon the altar of the motherland “the dearest and the best.” In “The Ideal of Karmyogin” Sri Aurobindo stated in clear terms: “the task we set before ourselves is not mechanical but moral and spiritual. We aim not at the alteration of a form of government but at the building up of a nation.” He reiterated his stand when he said: “Others know their country as a material thing, as fields, plains, forests, mountains, rivers; I know my country as Mother. I offer her my devotions, my worship.… I know I have in me the power to accomplish the deliverance of my fallen country…. This feeling is not new to me, not of the present day; with this feeling I was born; it is in the marrow of my bones; God has sent me to earth to do this work.”

Likewise, the inimitable icon of India’s freedom struggle, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, galvanized the whole nation with his words: “How many selfless sons of the Mother are prepared, in this selfish age, to completely give up their personal interests and take the plunge for the Mother?” Netaji had learnt very early in life that “Only on the soil of sacrifice and suffering can we raise our national edifice.” It was perhaps natural that he took no time to relinquish the Indian Civil Service that was then thought to be a “heaven-born service.” Throughout his public career, he had always felt that though India was otherwise ripe for independence in every way, she had lacked one thing, namely an army of liberation. His historic role as the undisputed commander of the Indian National Army (INA) proved to be the proverbial last nail in the coffin of an Empire where the Sun never set. Had Netaji been present when the tricolour was unfurled at the Red fort in Delhi on 15th August 1947, who knows India’s “tryst with destiny” may have been spectacularly resonant with Tagore’s “Heaven of Freedom.”

It is, therefore, incumbent upon the young generation to walk in the footsteps of such valiant patriots of India who conceptualized the foundation of the nation in the principles of “faithfulness, duty and sacrifice.” If we construct our lives on such visionary ideals irrespective of the profession we are in and place our selfish interests even at par with our concern for the well-being of all in the nation, unmindful of the machinations of divisive forces, we can reassure our beloved former President, Dr. Abdul Kalam, that no invaders can henceforth dare to disturb the solidarity and prosperity of our motherland.

Besides contributions celebrating the inspirational legacy of legendary figures, the current edition of Re-Markings offers essays and creative renderings focusing on issues and concerns of abiding interest. Wish you happy reading and a wonderful 2019!

 

Nibir K. Ghosh

Chief Editor

 

 CONTENTS

‘Passion is a part of the trip, compassion its destiny’: A Conversation with Margarita R. Merino – Nibir K. Ghosh / 7

Satyagraha Forever: When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Came to India – Jonah Raskin / 24

Remembering Swami Vivekananda on the 125th Anniversary of his Historic 1893 Chicago Address – Swami Sujayananda / 30

 Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam: Memories Revisited – Debasish Chakraborti / 38

 Meta-language and Human Civilization – Shantanu Basu / 43

Subhas Chandra Bose: The Master Strategist – Sanjay Kumar Misra / 49

 Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin: A Challenge for Translation – Dipa Chakrabarti / 59

Thoreau’s Opposing Ecology: Walden for the Anthropocene – Tanutrushna Panigrahi / 66

(Ab)Normal Lives – Red Lipstick: The Men in My Life as a Transgender Narrative – Anjali Singh / 72

 Visualizing the Indian Superhero in Indian Comic-book Superheroes and Modern Adaptations of the Mythical – Aisha Mohammad Shamsuddin / 81

Lakshmibai Tilak’s I Follow After: A Narrative of Protest – Sanghamitra S. Bhatt / 90

 Badal Sircar’s Evam Indrajit: A Discourse on Identity Crisis – Suruchi Upadhyay / 98

 

POETRY

Two Poems – Hafeez Jalandhari

In Me There Must’ve Been Something Lacking / 103,

I Still am Young / 104

Two Poems – Jagdish Batra

In My Sire’s Days / 106, The Realization / 107

Four Poems – Namita Sethi

In Verse / 108, Myth / 109, No /109, Narcissus and Echo / 110

Fictitious Reality – Manju / 111

Some Sweet and Silent Wishes – Sneha Shrivastava / 112