February 5, 2023

Non Fiction

Musings II: Of Death

The lively presence of children at memorial ceremonies, much as they are upbraided for threatening to dilute the solemnity of such occasions, actually relieves frowning adults of the burden of mourning. In Bengali Hindu middle-class households, there are gastronomic and sartorial codes around memorial meetings. The host and hostess must ask guests, “Kheyechhen to? I hope the dhnokaar daalna is up to the mark? And the shukto?”

The Relationship Between Comparative Literature & Translation Studies

If Translation Studies helps the comparatist to actually engage with the questions of language/language-use, reception and changes within a literary system, then Comparative Literature and Translation Studies can be the best of friends. And Comparative Literature, now more than ever, is in dire need of friends. This is not because there is, or as people like to imagine there always has been and always will be a crisis in the discipline of Comparative Literature.

Musings #I: On Travel

A visit is too purposeful a project, particularly short-term ones. Only a long stay allows one to loosen the bonds of convention and custom. Though I began this essay with a reference to early modern travel, I cannot say I look upon travel with the same kind of educative zeal as, say, Sir Francis Bacon does in his essay Of Travel.

Documentary Film and Painting: The Crisis of Representation

In fact Van Gogh often acts as a darling to filmmakers only because his representational mode. A careful investigation of the Dutch painter’s works would expose that his revolution laying the fact that he like a true iconoclast forced painting to come in close liaison with music. His violent lines convincingly cross the boundaries of frame. They go outward. Instead of converging they diverge.

K. G. Subramanyan as Muralist #2

There had to be a personal angle, it also had to be for him, as it was for Nandalal and his other mentors at Santiniketan. Public art, meant not only art in a public space or on public buildings, but art that came alive through an environmental connect and was made meaningful by the response of variously endowed viewers.

K. G. Subramanyan as Muralist #3

The imagery is minimal and its overall impact is austere, some would think too spartan. Compared to the black and white mural its sensuousness is subtler and deliberately underplayed as in many of Nandalal’s works. This is Subramanyan’s homage to Nandalal as well as a demonstration of his personal insight into the expressive subtleties of design gained through long years of engagement.

K. G. Subramanyan as Muralist #1

But unlike his contemporaries, compelled to work as both artist and designer at the outset of his career he learned to explore self-expression within the larger frame of communication and subsume the quest for originality within the operative frame of a visual language that is potentially shareable even if not actually shared.