Feature: ‘Death as an Inception’

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The hemlock, bewildered at the transgressive duality, or to be exact – bipolarity of human nature exploits its own attributes. The evergreen, key to tissue erosion , end of a fleshly life as we know of it. Sounds as oxymoronic as it is! But is there a brighter side to it? Can there be a brighter side to death? Can a globally accepted insipid notion metamorphose to anything close to ‘intrepid’? Can our ectoplasm hover its way to a certain pilgrimage? Will the process really set us free? …yes, death can be considered a transcendence to a frenzied state of divine contemplation subverting or mortifying the age old notions regarding death as the terminator.

The profundity of death springs over defying limitations. It is the darkest illumination that surrounds the manifold dimensions and peripheries of life. Death is a threshold that lets u pass on to the other side, a supernatural purgatory endorsing peace. It transports u to the land of divinity and fulfillment girded by the ‘heaven’s rampart’ (that’s how D.G ROSSETTI puts it). Wouldn’t it b nice to glance the Elysian freedom or sense st.peter’s knell?

Life can be an ostentation whereas death purports a sense of realism tainted by reverie. Lord Byron signifies this temperament of unreciprocated realization in the line “Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep, And yet a third of life is passed in sleep “ Can the venture of the deceased be perceived in the other way round inverting the proverbially accepted reckoning? Well, absolutely in my opinion it can, I have my way with words though . Death will be like cheering your way through a dream where you never wake up, you get to live your dream, now that is something you can never establish while you are still breathing. All you need to do is dream a better dream, die a better death.

Depluming the shroud of fear and accepting death as an inevitable consequence to life is the best way to embrace the truth that follows because “Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion” says D.H Lawrence.  Death is only the loss of the enclosure that keeps you bounded. Moulding the aboriginal surmises is the real quest in progress. This piece of work on demise focuses solely on the alternative perception that we can decipher if we put our zeal to it. Death does set you on a brighter but unknown path surprising us in everyway possible. Let us be in awe of this whole new dimension.

The biological vessel is just a slough which we get rid of, when it is time. It’s nothing but a necessary transformation leading to a spiritual probation. Even the hemlock can turn out to be a lucrative sycamore if not approached in a derogative manner. All we need is a twist in perspective and voila!

Finally, a proper illation to death depends on how it invades or pervades our introspective insight that will actually unveil the possibilities of death as a negation or a divine manifestation.

SOUMYA CHATTERJEE

 

The Concept Of Death In Literature

death in literature

The Concept Of Death In Literature

By Atri Majumder

The concept of death is an interesting topic for analysis in literature as it is the foundation stone of the philosophy of almost all litterateurs. One may however argue that there is no logic as to why a vague and incomprehensible subject should play such a dominant role in literature? But isn’t it next to impossible to elude death from our thoughts, let alone speculating about it? To some it is a perpetual, impending probability while to others it is an accepted and immediate, absolute reality.

History teaches us that whatever is beyond the realms of understanding of man is important to him and he loves to brood over it and extract a logical or satisfactory meaning out of it. In the light of this indomitable curiosity of the human race, death gives a perfect space for giving birth to ideas and hypothetical realities. For example the concept of eternity may be found to have its origins in death. Though we are dealing with a singular concept we can’t generalize or place it in a uniform pattern as it is individualistic to the core and variable in nature.
While science has failed to provide us with any valid explanations yet, the concepts provided to us by religion governs our lives to some extent(concepts of Heaven, Hell, reincarnation, salvation, etc).Fear of the unknown gives rise to supernatural ideas and our imagination stretches out to another world-the world of the dead. Another aspect of death is sorrow, the indelible pain it inflicts on life and it can thus be interpreted as the most significant emotion of life. All these ideas are reflected in literary creations and they form different ideas in the readers’ mind.
A serene acceptance of death is found in these lines of Emily Dickinson:”Because I could not stop for death/He kindly stopped for me”, while John Donne wants to metaphysically earn a victory over death:”Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so…..One short sleep past, we wake eternally, /And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!”.
The Romantic poets, Keats and Shelley saw death as a means of escape from ‘the weariness, the fever, the fret’ of life. While Keats writes “I have been half in love with easeful death”, Shelley’s personal despondency is best reflected through “I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!”
The pointless massacre of life fed as cannon fodder, and the vainglorious heroism associated with martyrdom are echoed in the poetry of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas and many others. Albert Camus, the French novelist and philosopher, made a witty observation in his journal on March, 1936:”It is death which gives gambling and heroism its true meaning.”
Thousands of elegies, dirges and requiems have been composed which constitute some of the best literary creations of all times. Tennyson universalized his personal grief in his famous poem ‘In Memoriam’, a requiem to his friend Arthur Henry Hallam; while Walt Whitman laments the death of Abraham Lincoln in “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”.
Suicide is another debatable and interesting topic related to death that emerges in many literary works. While to some it is an act of cowardice, to others it is just the product of sheer hopelessness or that evanescent situation where one loses the meaning of existence. The preoccupation with suicidal thoughts has been expressed vividly in the confessional poems of Sylvia Plath:”And I/Am the arrow,/The dew that flies/Suicidal…”(Ariel).On another note,Julian Barnes justifies suicide in a somewhat crude manner-“…life is a gift bestowed without anyone asking for it;that the thinking person has a philosophical duty to examine both the nature of life and the conditions it comes with;and that if this person decides to renounce the gift no one asks for,it is a moral and human duty to act on the consequences of that decision.”(The Sense Of An Ending)
Thus death is a subject for deep contemplation to most litterateurs as is self-evident from their works.But the question that arises is what kind of an impression does it create in the reader’s mind?Does it change change the philosophy of a person and does the haunting thoughts of death govern our lives to some extent?Or is it just a momentary flight of poignant emotions, a means of escapism from thestaggering burden of life?How do we comprehend this ultimatum-do we accept it as a stoical renconciliation with an inevitable denouement?Do we lead our lives in fear of plunging into the abyss of infinity,of being deprived of time,of leaving many desires unattained?Are we living inside a perepetual cycle of life and death?

Vol. 2, Issue 1: From the Editor’s Desk

THE LITERARY JEWELS

VOL. 2, ISSUE 1

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

Dear Readers

It was John Keats, who had said, “If poetry comes not to me as leaves to a tree, it had better not come”. Even William Wordsworth too vouched for the spontaneity in the process of writing poetry. This concept of ‘spontaneous overflow’ has been rejected by modernist poets. Today a lot many poems that are being written are very prosaic. Now being prosaic doesn’t mean that a poem compulsorily needs to follow some particular diction, metre and style. But there are various linguistic techniques that can be put to use to make the poem sound more rhythmical and fluid in style. For instance, first is the use of ‘liquid consonants’ like ‘l’, ‘m’ and ‘n’. Secondly, the use of the technique of ‘alliteration’ adds lots of rhythm to the poetry. And above all, the loftiness and nobility of thought and the grandeur with which it is expressed is what make poetry loftier than prose. The complexity of thought is not a sign of good poetry as might be mistakenly considered by some.

Inspite of everything and the number of poets existing around here, things have come to such a pass that today only selected publishers are ready to take up a poetry project. Loads of poetry is being written but very little is being published. Recently a new trend has picked up. There are many books that are at once a collection of short stories and poetry. I can’t say whether that is a good sign for poetry or bad. There are pros and cons. Although the poetry gets to see the light of being in print this way,  yet what is sad in this scenario is that poetry has to take help of fiction to be in print. Well let’s keep this debate aside for some other day! Let’s enjoy an overdose of poetry in this issue of ‘The Literary Jewels’. This is how we could pay our respect to this celebrated and noble art! Long live the muse!

Happy Reading!

 

AMRITBIR KAUR

Editor

The Literary Jewels

Reel Story – ‘Kala Ghoda Festival’ by Abhimanyu Bishnu

REEL STORY

VOL. 2, ISSUE 1

KALA GHODA ARTS FESTIVAL, MUMBAI

By Dr. ABHIMANYU BISHNU

Let me take you through a visual journey of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival held at Mumbai every year. Enjoy the sights!

BHMC Building

Prince of Wales Museum

David Sassoon Library

Ghoda

Writing on the Ghoda

Crow

Crows

Sculpture

Maze

Fading Away

Brand Ambassador

Creative Merchandising

Evils of Smoking

Unprotected Sex

Living is Giving

Mother Earth

Assortment of Spoons

Lavani Dance

Rajasthani Dance

Flute Player

Crowd

Handicraft Mural

Submerged Creation

Dashavatar

Avatar

Feline Visitor

Rearing Horse

Victoria Terminal at Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover Story: Digitization Preserves Rich Culture of Punjab

Cover Story: Vol. 2, Issue 1

DIGITIZATION PRESERVES THE RICH CULTURE  OF PUNJAB

By GURPREET SOHAL

“One of the main advantages of digitization is the ability to protect vulnerable items

within the collection from the decay and damage often caused by use.”

Ingeborg Verheul (2006)

The culture of Punjab comprises a large and dynamic diversity of heritage, as it is based on the cultures, traditions, customs and cultural expressions of the different ethnic and ethnographic communities, which have historically inhabited the country. So protecting cultural heritage is very important from economy, historical and society point of view.

Starting of initiative for digitization:

In general, Digitization is the process of converting information into electronic format. It can be done with the help of scanner and digital camera. There are many initiatives taken to digitize the heritage of the different countries worldwide level:

S. No. Title of the project Country Website
1. UNESCO Project entitled the Memory of the world Worldwide http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/flagship-project-activities/memory-of-the-world/about-the-programme/national-memory-of-the-world-committees/
2. Digital Library for Dutch Literature Netherlands http://www.dbnl.org/
3. Building Virtual Research Environment for the Sphere of Historical Resources Europe http://www.manuscriptorium.com/
4. Pandora Web Archive Australia http://pandora.nla.gov.au/
5. National Mission for Manuscripts India http://namami.org

 

#Panjab Digital Library

In this regard in North India, Panjab Digital Library (PDL) is taking care of preservation and digitization of cultural heritage of region of Punjab that includes current Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pardesh, certain areas of Rajasthan and Western Punjab which is now in Pakistan. PDL was formally started in 2003 by Mr. Harinder Singh and Mr. Davinder Pal Singh with vision to make Punjab literary works. In the year of 2009, the Library formally launched its work online whose resources are accessible electronically for all humanity worldwide.

 

The collection and its sources

The Panjab Digital Library includes resources from the Government Museum, Chandigarh; Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra; Beant Singh Memorial, Chandigarh; the Institute of Sikh Studies; the Department of Languages, Punjabi; Chief Khalsa Diwan; Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee; Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, Delhi; Nirmal Sanskrit Vidyala, Banaras; St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi; Punjabi Sahitya Academy, Ludhiana; and Takhat Sri Patna Sahib, Patna.

Individual collections of Dr. Man Singh Nirankari, Dr. Kirpal Singh, Dr. Harnam Singh Shan, Gurtej Singh, Anurag Singh, Dr. Gurdev Singh Sidhu, NPS Randhawa, Dalip Singh MalluNangal, Gurjeet Singh Cheema are also digitized.

Documents Digitized so far:

Panjab Digital Library has digitized over 6,513,000 folios so far which includes Manuscripts, books, newspapers, photographs, and miniatures.

 Important Assets:

1. Digitization of ‘Ghadar’ a newspaper of the revolutionaries of the Indian Independence Movement. The newspaper started its publication on 8th December 1913.

Figure 1: picture of the newspaper published on day 1

 

2. The Anandgarh Sahib fort was photographed in 1934. The fort seems to be in good condition at that time.

Figure 2: Anandgarh Fort at Anandpur Sahib
3. The last from the series of news on Sardar Bhagat Singh and other activities in Punjab in September 13, 1934 in the tribune.

Figure 3: News about S. Bhagat Singh in 1934 A.D. Newspaper

 

4. News about Bhagat Singh execution has been published in the Phulwari magazine in 1931 A.D.

Figure 4: Phulwari of March-April 1931

5. Naina Devi Mandir, photographed by Dhana Singh on 26 May, 1934

Figure 5: Photograph of Naina Devi Mandir

6. Miniature of the Sunehari Masjid, Lahore

Figure 6: Sunehari Masjid Miniature created in 1753 A.D.

7.  Frescos and wall paintings on the roof of Akal Takhat, before they were destroyed in 1984 A.D.

Figure 7: Fresco wall painting of Akal Takhat, Amritsar

8.  Punjab State Gazetteers of Phulkian States.

Figure 8: Rare books digitized related to the Phulkian States of Punjab of 1904 A.D.

9.  PDL has digitized 200 year old Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. They have more than 70 different textures, designs and decorations on this scripture.

Figure 9: 18th century manuscript of Guru Granth Sahib. The manuscript was recently digitized from Patna Sahib, Bihar.

Figure 10: opening page of 19th century Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

In the Indian scenario the texture and decorative art is very rich and established in the past so the with text of source or manuscript, it is really important to preserve and digitize the texture of the document also.

Futuristic Plans:

  1. To set up a digital Library in the every college in the region of Punjab.
  2. 3D image building of 93 Forts of Punjab which are nearer to damage.

So the Panjab Digital Library has done commendable job in preserving, digitizing and make it accessible electronically to the society for future.

Further Information:

  1. The Panjab Digital Library (PDL): http://www.panjabdigilib.org
  2. Verheul, Ingeborg (2006). Networking for Digital Preservation: current practice in 15 National Libraries. Munchen: K. G. Saur (IFLA publications)