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Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Poems Published

Read my three new poems, A Stone Lizard, Tell Lies, Empty Chest published with ken* again, the literary magazine, Vol. 10, No. 4, Winter 2009/2010 at Contemporary Poetry Post.

These poems give a literary refreshment.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hindi as a Language -- an Analytical Perspective by Khurshid Alam

Introduction: Hindi Diwas was celebrated on 14th September 2009. On this day a TV channel arranged a long discussion on Hindi as a Language – its present condition, its permissibility, its acceptability, its future and its usage in daily life of the people of India.

Hindi as a Language -- an Analytical Perspective
We celebrate Hindi diwas on 14th September each year in respect of the adoption of Hindi as a national language of India. There are a host of programs and activities organized by schools, colleges, government and non-government organizations in the country on this occasion, and remarkably on TV shows. This year too a private TV channel hosted a program on it. Widely discussed concerns were: where Hindi is today, if the Hindi that is spoken presently is the correct Hindi, and what its future is.

Many scholars argued that there is a bleak future for Hindi. Such people were concerned that pure Hindi is not spoken in our country – it is rather a mixed bass hum of Urdu, English, and aliens words. They argued that other regional languages are spoken in purer forms but the case is not same with Hindi.

Those scholars who were optimistic opined that in whatever form Hindi is used today should rather be accepted as a correct or pure form of Hindi. So we should not be pessimistic about its future, they argued. Each side cited ample examples comparing Hindi with other popular languages of the world.

But the discussion was largely narrowed to for-and-against arguments. The scholars were good at their sides but they missed one thing; they missed to notice that Hindi as a language has acquired two sub-forms, which is hardly a case with other languages, even on the world arena. One, cosmopolitan Hindi (c-Hindi) and two, traditional Hindi (t-Hindi).

The cosmopolitan Hindi (c-Hindi) is more urbanized and secular in nature. It is largely spoken in metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and other cities. In addition to becoming the language of the people of cosmopolitan cities, the c-Hindi is widely used in Bollywood films, TV serials, radio, and media both print and electronic. Moreover, these media have played greater roles in popularizing the c-Hindi. As Oscar Wilde’s famous aphorism goes in the essay The Decay of Lying1 that, ‘Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life’, so the language used in Bollywood movies and TV soaps has been adopted by the people in the cities reciprocally. The people in corporate sectors and the youth at the college and university levels are the best brand symbols of this Hindi.

The c-Hindi, though basically follows Hindi grammar and syntax, is composed of a rich combination of Urdu, English, and some other native and non-native words derived from all contact languages, in addition to Hindi words usage. This is why we sometimes confuse this Hindi with Urdu, while it is not so. A language is recognized by its grammar and syntax usage. Its status in India is similar to English at the world level, which is considered more polished, reflects present India, and its speakers are regarded more potent.

Above all the c-Hindi is a melting-pot language to those people whose mother tongue is not Hindi but they use it. A large number of people, whose Hindi is not a mother tongue, who migrate to metropolitan cities, prefer to speak in Hindi than in the regional language. They learn the regional language a little later. For example, a Tamil speaking person when lands in Mumbai picks up Hindi sooner than Marathi. Likewise a Bengali in Ahmedabad feels more comfortable in speaking in Hindi than in Gujarati.

In this regard its status is very much similar to that of Urdu in Pakistan which is a language of adoption there. In Pakistan, Urdu is the mother tongue of less than 10% of the people but it is the national language of the people whose mother tongues may be either of the Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, and Baluchi languages.

Importantly, the scholars who express concern over the purity of Hindi are actually talking about the c-Hindi thinking that this is the real and only Hindi that the people are using throughout the country. They argue that the languages such as Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, and other languages are purer than Hindi. They are the advocates of archaic Hindi to the polished Hindi instead.

But they fail to distinguish the unique sub-forms of Hindi. It is to be noted that the traditional Hindi (t-Hindi), and not the c-Hindi, is originally the lingua franca of the people. The t-Hindi is as pure as any other language is. This Hindi is spoken by the largest number of people in India even today and is widely used in as different states as Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh with variance in regional flavor, dialects and accents. This Hindi is still the medium of written literature, and print media based in these regions. Its purity can be compared with the purity of any other languages of India.

Purity of a language is a subject of isolation. An isolate language is the purest language that we can think of. A regional language is used within a certain region and is by and large an isolate language in nature. Therefore, a regional language may be purer than a contact language. Typically, Hindi is both pure (or traditional) at the regional level and polished (or cosmopolitan) at the national level. Hindi has even brighter future than many other languages of India and the world.

diwas – day

1. Wilde, Oscar. The Decay of Lying: An Observation, Intentions. (1891, originally 1889).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Critical Essays

Four best literary critical essays:

Black Anomalies in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
August Wilson depicts black anomalies in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. A. Wilson is one of the great black writers who showcases the encumbrance which the Blacks were chocked in — the white tyranny of slavery.

Christopher Marlowe the First Rebellious in Literature
Christopher Marlowe is remembered largely as a great tragedy playwright but he was more than a believer in the Renaissance and creator of a world of his own...Marlowe rebelled against religious tenets, against social laws, against the submissiveness of human nature and against the literary theory.

Mid-Twentieth Century Sub-Urbane of America
Sub-urban life compared by Louis Simpson in the poem “In the Suburbs”and John Ciardi in the peom “Suburban”.

Jonathan Swift was a great dreamer of Utopia
Jonathan Swift was a great dreamer of Utopia, an imaginary land where every thing is so fine and orderly and not a misanthrope as he is alleged to be by a larger community of the critics.

To read in full, please visit:


Friday, March 5, 2010

K-ulture Curry by Khurshid Alam

What is K-ulture Curry?

Introduction: K-ulture Curry is a concept which refers to a mix of cultures that a people follow. The writer Khurshid Alam argues that what we actually follow is a culture curry rather than a pure culture. When we refer to as our culture is the culture many of which symbolates are borrowed from other cultures, and similarly many of ours may have been adopted by others. Hence there is no thing as such our culture and their culture. It is simply a matter of variance because of different but temporary reasons.

K-ulture Curry
"no culture is or can be a forte of a people only"
No culture is or can be a forte of a people only neither there is a culture that is tabooed to be practiced by any people in the world. Culture is merely a practice of a certain set of the “symbolates” as the American anthropologist Leslie A. White highlights in a series of essays titled Science of Culture1. People practicing certain symbolates, which are a chain of symbolic actions, may be defined as the people belonging to that symbolate, or culture. A cultural symbolate is influenced by various symbols and factors such as religion and beliefs, philosophy, literature, arts, music, institutions, manners, lifestyle, food pattern, morals, customs, norms, civic systems and others (Williams, Raymond. Culture2).

"culture is always changing and evolving"
But culture is always changing and evolving, as according to Leslie. There is hardly a culture that is pure in the real sense of the term, what we practice is a culture curry instead. What we practice is a mix of various cultures, in many cases even foreign. What we mean by our culture is actually a pile of cultural symbolates that we practice at the time of discussion and that we do not practice certain symbolates at that point of time is obviously for the others, that is other culture.

Moreover, the sets of the cultural symbolates followed by a people for over a period of time (down the generations) and influenced by many other factors become unique to them and then may be said the culture of that people, which makes it the ‘popular culture’ (Goodall, J. The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior3). This uniqueness distinguishes a people from other people, but the uniqueness of the popular culture is generally too tiny which expands by time and with exposure to the people of other cultures and may tend to become a ‘high culture’. A high culture is a culture which practices maximum number of cultural symbolates and is open to adopt the symbolates of other culture fast.

"culture curry pot is always boiling"
Culture curry pot is always boiling! The adoption of cultural symbolates of one people by the other is a universal phenomenon and has been found worldwide since immemorial time but it is more rapid when people of popular cultures live within the geographical boundaries, are amicable with each other, collaborate together, share certain values, ideas and beliefs etc. This is even rapid in the era of post globalization. Melting pot of cultures, with reference to the American culture, is the best example at macro level of this culture type.

"culture curry is too hot and cannot be swallowed easily"
However, culture curry is too hot and cannot be swallowed easily. When different cultures come across, the possibility of cultural clash may arise particularly at the beginning. Especially when the people adopt the symbolates of other cultures consciously. Such cultural clash divides the people into two groups; one who are open to adoption and two, who oppose it. Both types are always there in the society. The best example of this scenario can be cited of some of the right wing Hindu political parties in India such as Shiv Sena (Chief: Udhav Thackeray, Maharashtra, 2009) and Sri Ram Sene (Chief: Pramod Muthalik, Karnatak, 2009) which tried to prevent the celebration of the Valentine’s Day by the Indians saying it a culture of Western people. There are examples of such clashes from around the world when some forces – social, political or religious – intervene to nib the adoption of the symbolates of a different culture.

"the pot of culture curry keeps on boiling and the symbolates permeate slowly"
Yet the pot of culture curry keeps on boiling and the symbolates permeate slowly. Some good examples of this logic can be taken of the Bermuda dress. It is a typical dress type of the people of the Bermuda triangle – an island in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Bermuda shorts are a little longer than half-pants (or English shorts) but shorter than trousers. A unique dress code of the people of Bermuda but is now well common in other parts of the world.

Remarkably, culture curry cannot be started by any person intentionally with a sense that they are adopting a new culture rather it is an act of imitation. The reasons of imitation may be many and uncertain but it permits automatically; first by few people and then by others. Soon the popular culture gains the aspect of the high culture.

1. Leslie A. White, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The Science of Culture: A study of man and civilization. New York, 1969.
2. Williams, Raymond. Culture. 1981/1982.
3. Goodall, J. Boston. The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior. Bellknap Press of the Harvard University Press. 1986.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Contemporary Literary Review: India

Contemporary Literary Review: India (CLR: I) is the literary journal where you find life in action. It brings in a mix of Life, Arts, Culture, and Literature that can make you a complete man you can proud on. You will find here poetry, stories, critcism, reviews, non-fiction, and other genre of the best quality of the time from around the world.

Contemporary Literary Review: India (CLR: I) is the online literary journal that guarantees you a cosy room where you need not rack your brain to pick up the best words for your writings and zip up the gibberish, or think twice to submit if you muddle between simple words. You express your mind at the best! That is the motto at Contemporary Literary Review: India.

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