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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 2020 Cover

Re-Markings 

Vol. 19

No. 2

September 2020  

 

EDITORIAL

The inexorable march of King Corona with amazing speed and dexterity has literally thrown planet Earth into the throes of incredible chaos, crisis and confusion. The trail of death and devastation unleashed by His majesty’s invisible presence cutting across borders and boundaries of nation, community, class, gender, ideology, religion, language, space and clime has left everyone bewildered beyond imagination. Pandemics and pestilences have been registering their indelible imprints on humankind since time immemorial, be it in the ancient narrative of Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex or Albert Camus’ The Plague in modern times. But what we are witnessing all around us at the present moment is a tale of epic proportion that is all set to actually flatten the world beyond recognition through its ferocious intensity and magnitude. If being taken unawares by the sudden surfacing of the pandemic and the consequent havoc created by it has reminded president Donald Trump of the Pearl Harbor attack and the 9/11 tragedy, the rest of the world is no less perturbed by the extent of its outreach. That King Corona is omnipotent and omnipresent, a prerogative hitherto reserved for none else than God himself, is now an established fact. That he is omniscient too is obvious from his innate awareness of literary sensibilities displayed by poets and writers from time to time in human history.

The paradigm shift from the emphasis on integration and inter-connectivity of a globalized world to the new norms of social distancing, isolation and quarantine has brought home the truths of utterances that we smugly dismissed as mere poetic metaphors. In “To Marguerite” published in 1852, Mathew Arnold had mentioned, at the very outset of his poem,

Yes! in the sea of life enisled, With echoing straits between us thrown, Dotting the shoreless watery wild, We mortal millions live alone.

Arnold’s viewpoint pertaining to “mortal millions” living “alone” contested what Aristotle had opined in Politics: “Man is by nature a social animal…. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.” Aristotle’s stance was further endorsed by John Donne in 1623 when he stated in his essay “Meditation 17”: “No man is an island entire of itself; every man/ is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

In an affluent society increasingly governed by considerations of material prosperity where personal well-being counted far more than collective good, Arnold’s prophetic utterance described the harsh reality of human existence. The idea of isolationism was reiterated by T. S. Eliot in The Wasteland (1922) while describing the urban landscape: “Unreal City…/ A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,/ I had not thought death had undone so many./ Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled, And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.” In a similar vein W. H. Auden has sadly brought home to us in his New Year Letter (1941): “Aloneness is man’s real condition.” If we fast-forward the observations of Eliot and Auden to 2020, it could conveniently fit into the description of any city in current times, be it New York, Rome, New Delhi or Mumbai.

King Corona aka COVID-19 has come with numerous lessons for mankind, the most prominent being the need for compassion, fellow-feeling of love and brotherhood for one and all. Are we willing to take such ideas into consideration?

I am afraid we are not. The most recent happening in Minneapolis where four white policemen attempted, in the manner of the deadly virus, to create respiratory problems leading to the death of George Floyd, a black American, clearly demonstrates the human resolve to continue with the status quo of the powerful asserting their dominance over the oppressed and powerless wings of society. At the time of writing this editorial, the casualty of over 1,50,000 in the U.S. alone seems to be pitted against the tragedy of one poor black individual who died gasping for breath while the Statue of Liberty helplessly looked on.

Let us, therefore, join our hands and hearts in this hour of grave global crisis, curb our own immediate self-interests, and work in com munion for a society where individual happiness can coexist in harmony with the general good of all. This is, perhaps, the only way we can arrest the unbridled march of the virulent pandemic.

With prayers and warmest good wishes for the well-being of the Re-Markings’ fraternity and everyone else on planet Earth,

Nibir K. Ghosh

Chief Editor

CONTENTS

‘I have poetry, words not bombs’: A Conversation with Mac Donald Dixon – Nibir K. Ghosh / 7

Pandit Ravi Shankar: The Godfather of World Music 100 Years After His Birth – Jonah Raskin / 16

The Poet as Archivist, The Archivist as Poet: An Interview with E. Ethelbert Miller – Phillip Richards / 22

Tijan M. Sallah: The Celebrity Gambian Writer – Ebrima Ceesay / 28

Not just a Theatre Guru, a Cross-over Artist: Remembering Walter Kefuoe Chakela – Lebogang Lance Nawa / 38

Dancing with Langston – Sharyn Skeeter / 42

Anti-Semitism: An Etymological Quandary – Jilani Warsi / 51

Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of a People – Santosh Gupta / 58

John Steinbeck’s The Pearl and the Idea of Social Justice – K. K. Askar / 67

From Personal to Political: Cultural Trauma in Amy Waldman’s The Submission Monica Sabharwal / 75

The Return of the Repressed: Deciphering Women Writing – Palak Bassi & Tanya Mander / 83

Fiction and Philotyranny: An Exploration of Thomas Bernhard’s Concrete  – Mohd. Anwar Husain Khan / 93

Locating ‘Saguna’: The Native Indian Convert in Postcolonial India – Revathy Hemachandran & Maya Vinai / 101

‘Independent voices must be heard’: A Conversation with Robin Lindley – Nibir K. Ghosh / 108

Quest for Identity in V. S. Naipaul’s A Bend in The RiverMamta Bansal / 122

Film Adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone Mukund Kumar Misra / 126

The Bosphoric Hüzün in Orhan Pamuk’s The Black Book  – Saniyah Saman / 132

Journey from Anonymity to Presence: Bama’s Sangati and Morrison’s Beloved Dhruvee Sinha / 139

Hercule Poirot: Feminized Detective – Laghima Joshi / 145

Review Essay  

The South Korean Upstairs, Downstairs: A Review of Bong Joon-Ho’s Cinematic Parable, Parasite  – Jonah Raskin / 151

‘Saturated with Life’: Sushil Gupta’s First Person Singular Vandana Agrawal / 153

‘There’s always a Dream’: Chanda Singh’s The Last Boga Sahib Murad Ali Baig / 155

Poetry

L. Gautam – I Loved Father / 159, Where is He Now / 159, How Hard I had Turned / 159