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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 September 2021

Re-Markings
Vol. 20
No. 2
September 2021

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EDITORIAL

 

Some died in neglect, others in the midst of every attention. No remedy was found that could be used as a specific; for what did good in one case, did harm in another. Strong and weak constitutions proved equally incapable of resistance, all alike being swept away, although dieted with the utmost precaution. By far the most terrible feature in the malady was the dejection which ensued when any one felt himself sickening, for the despair into which they instantly fell took away their power of resistance, and left them a much easier prey to the disorder; besides which, there was the awful spectacle of men dying like sheep, through having caught the infection in nursing each other. This caused the greatest mortality… On the one hand, if they were afraid to visit each other, they perished from neglect; indeed many houses were emptied of their inmates for want of a nurse: on the other, if they ventured to do so, death was the consequence. This was especially the case with such as made any pretensions to goodness: honour made them unsparing of themselves in their attendance in their friends’ houses, where even the members of the family were at last worn out by the moans of the dying, and succumbed to the force of the disaster … Men now coolly ventured on what they had formerly done in a corner, and not just as they pleased, seeing the rapid transitions produced by persons in prosperity suddenly dying and those who before had nothing succeeding to their property. So they resolved to spend quickly and enjoy themselves, regarding their lives and riches as alike things of a day. Perseverance in what men called honour was popular with none, it was so uncertain whether they would be spared to attain the object; but it was settled that present enjoyment, and all that contributed to it, was both honourable and useful. Fear of gods or law of man there was none to restrain them. As for the first, they judged it to be just the same whether they worshipped them or not, as they saw all alike perishing; and for the last, no one expected to live to be brought to trial for his offences, but each felt that a far severer sentence had been already passed upon them all and hung ever over their heads, and before this fell it was only reasonable to enjoy life a little. Such was the nature of the calamity…

The impact of this passage cannot be lost on anyone who saw and experienced the devastating effect that the merciless COVID-19 unleashed upon mankind. The lines cited above provide a graphic account and appear to have been extracted from a recent reportage. Yet, readers will be startled to know that they come not from any contemporary news desk but from The History of the Peloponnesian War penned by Thucydides some 2500 years ago. The amazing parallel that we observe in the two situations, despite a span of 25 centuries separating them, compel us to understand that epidemic, pestilence, natural calamity, pandemic and the like are an integral part of the human experience and that they are always universal as well as contemporary.

It is true that survivors refuse to draw any lesson from the past or present and love to continue to cherish the illusion of immunity from disaster. They tend to forget that if life is all about hedonistic pleasures, it is also about restraint about how we conduct ourselves as a member of the social community. To make a mockery of protocols like ‘social dis-tancing’ and wearing a ‘mask’ only shows how insensitive we can be to feelings of compassion for others.

The near and dear ones who have been snatched away from our midst will never return. The doctors and health workers who have lost their lives so that others could live deserve all our gratitude. Our obligation to them all cannot end with merely our prayers for the peace and rest of the departed souls. We need to take it as a collective responsibility to contribute our very best to ensure that no one feels alienated and segregated again on account of our lack of empathy and concern for our fellow men, women and children no matter from what class, caste or region they come from. To all those who used the pandemic as an opportunity to grow rich and affluent overnight by hoarding medicines, Oxygen gas cylinders and the like, I wish to remind them of a statement made by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago: “Do not pursue what is illusory – property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade and can be confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life – don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing.

Before closing this editorial note, I deem it an honour to thank all the contributors who have enriched this volume with their presence. I also deem it a privilege to dedicate this edition of Re-Markings as our salutation to all the medical scientists in the world who have done their very best to make the planet pandemic-safe by giving us the vaccines at a pace that is simply incredible.

Nibir K. Ghosh
Chief Editor

CONTENTS

The Mythology of Imperialism at 50: A Conversation with Jonah Raskin – Nibir K. Ghosh / 7

An Evening to Remember: E-launch of 20th Anniversary Special Number, 18th March 2021 – Sugata Bose / 16

If You don’t Know Me by Now…Black Lives Matter – E. Ethelbert Miller / 20

A Conversation with Anita Auden Money –  Nibir K. Ghosh / 23

Michelangelo goes to Istanbul: Enard’s Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants Rajesh Sharma / 36

The Bliss of the ‘Inward Eye’: A Birth-Centenary Tribute to Satyajit Ray – Nibir K. Ghosh & Sunita Rani Ghosh / 41

Ye Mera India: Conceptualizing the West, Home, and Belonging in Popular Hindi Cinema – Urvashi Sabu / 48

Native/Non-native Dialectics: Myths and Folklore in Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle –  Charu Mathur / 54

Tradition and Deviation: The Wounded Self in Bhabani Bhattacharya’s Novels – S. P. Swain & Ramani Ranjan Panigrahi / 61

Divakaruni’s The Forest of Enchantments: A Feminist Version of the Ramayana Gunjan Chaturvedi / 69

Redefining Progress: Perpetual Dilemma Between Self and Soul in the Modern Age – Abha Sharma / 78

Rediscovering the Indigenous Identity: A Study of Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and Easterine Kire’s Son of the Thundercloud Riya Dutta & Seema Singh / 86

Ecological Undercurrents in Barbara Gowdy’s The White BoneAshoo Toor / 96

Exploration of Dalit Sociological Life and Feminism: Bama’s Karukku and Sangati Pramod Kumari / 103

The ‘Form’ of Mourning: Reading Julian Barnes’s Levels of Life Sahajmeet / 111

Fantasy Literature: A Child-Centric Approach – Insha Iftikhar / 118

The Institution of Marriage in Shobhaa De’s Spouse Santosh Kumar Singh / 125

Reading Amit Chaudhuri’s Novels in the Light of Rājaśekhara’s Kāvyamīmāsā Shivali Garg / 132

Psychological Displacement in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane Asma Rafiq & Alisha Chaudhary / 140

Women as Victims of Inhuman Social Realities in Pre-independence Bengal – Emily Pandey / 148

Poetry

Tuncay Gary – The Theatre is being Demolished / 152, Fauré, Satie, Debussy and Ravel / 152, Reached the Middle / 153, To be Exposed on an Island / 154

Cyril Wong –  Diary Entry / 155

Deena Padayachee – Gauntlet / 156

Pratiti Kaushal – A Battle you couldn’t Survive / 157

Book Review

The Secret Diary of Hendrik GroenSushil Gupta / 158

Unwinding Self  by Susheel Kumar Sharma – H. C. Gupta / 159

The Village Poet & Other Stories by Manoranjan Behura – Debashreemayee Das / 160