100 days ago, I met three nicely read, intellectual and admirers of art and literature gentlemen. They were all out praising the Russian literary giants. War and Peace, Crime and Punishment… blah blah. Honestly, I never liked Russian literature except for exceptions like stories by Chekhov. However, the world was always in awe of Russian literature. Today, fast forward to the present, the European and Americans are up in arms (the armours) against the Russians and their literature as well. Why so? It is because Russia is invading Ukraine (with reasons they know the best). I am not going into the political monkey-balancing or taking sides. It is for the countries in war to decide. Nevertheless, I will propose something and it is the best time to do so.
Why are we still studying British literature? Didn’t those invaders invade our country and made us poor? Didn’t the Britishers loot our wealth? Didn’t the British empire enslave and committed atrocities on Indians? History is the witness to it. Why are we still studying their literature in our schools, colleges and universities? Why don’t we have (still) special courses in Indian English Literature?
When it comes down to war, invasions, colonisations and all the evil practices we can think about, Europe and America are the biggest hypocrites. They have done all the wrongdoings and their history is written with blood. And here we are! The evil preaching – stay away from the devil. Can anything be more ironic than this? Think!
India has been a soft nation immediately after the independence and thanks to Pandit Ji and his special affection for certain Britishers we could be able to (un)settle our feet in the international community. Thanks to educationists like Maulana Azad and Radhakrishnan our education system is so vibrant… one cannot (never) be sure what is being taught for what purposes. Add historians and social reformers to the same brackets. British invasion (add other invasions too) has been lionised instead of being taught as it was. And here we stand admiring Russell and even Churchill… we take pride in basking in the vain glory of Wordsworth and Tennyson who stood close to the thrown when the British empire was ensuring that their sun never could set but many millions could never see the sunlight! Isn’t that hypocritical? Why at all are we teaching those as if they were super souls born to redeem the human civilisation?
When Russian literature is being banned in universities and schools across the world, we must ensure that we, at least, discuss the deeper holes of the British literature and a lot of hypocritical literary personalities who sang of humanity and sympathy in their literature but stood with the tyranny of the British rule in many parts of the world. Can we do that?
Ashish for Literature News