THE HINDU ONLINE : Turning a Nelson's eye? [Excerpts]

Sreenivas Paruchuri (
Thu, 23 May 1996 20:07:53 +0200 (MET DST)


Turning a Nelson's eye?
Date: 14-05-1996
Cl: Literature

MODERN INDIA LITERATURE: An anthology, Volume Three, Plays and
Prose: Chief Editor, K. M. George; Sahitya Akademi, Rabindra
Bhavan, 35, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi-110001. Rs. 350.

Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! The Indian male can exult today. For,
the Sahitya Akademi, the Great Sentinel of Indian literature as a
whole, has achieved freedom for the Indian male from female
overtures and dominations. Judging by the final volume of the
carefully-planned series on modern Indian literature, Indian
women are ignorant, cannot read or write anything worthwhile and
are pitiful creatures with bird brains son whom the Indian male
has to pour infinite compassion. Even the Samskara, Ghata-srardha
author, who in his fiction appears to be a champion of Indian
woman in sorrow, has turned a Nelson's eye to this totally
unrepresentative anthology churned out by Sahitya Akademi. Not a
single woman writer, sir!

But all honour to the Telugu editor for including Panuganti
Lakshmi Narasimha Rao's Stri Swatantryamu. The essay describes an
estate run by women and we have the Andhra version of Lysistrata
pleading for equal opportunities: ``It is true there are rules
for us against writing, talking and thinking of men... The
purport of the rules is that we should not talk, write or even
think about how few these virtues are. But it does not mean that
we should not talk of the infinite, the most despicable and
unparalleled ill-traits of evil men. If we do not talk of their p73
lack of civility, bad conduct, vile arrogance, wily intentions,
worst pride and evil mind how can they be disclosed to the
world? ... Has he (man) not spoken in meetings devoid of courtesy
and humanity, unspeakable foolish words to the effect that for us
home is the school, kitchen is the slate, dish-cloth is the pen,
dungwater is ink, smearing the floor with dung is writing of
letters, cooking at the hearth is natural science, draining water
from boiled rice is critical appreciation of books and what

So why include women's writing in a serious, valuable volume like
this, eh? Who cares for the Yogini's fruitless fury? Meanwhile, a
warm vote of thanks to the General Editor K. M. George and his
band of language editors for the hard work, comfortable format,
informative notes and sumptuous selections which make this
flounder of a volume a welcome addition to the library.

Prema Nandakumar