Indian Literature and Literary Theory The present section is an attempt to define a category: Indian Literature, so that one can conjure up a vision of Indian literature which has become more and more relevant during 21th century. 1. 1 An idea of Indian literature: Indian constitution gives us values : liberty, equality and fraternity. These values are Indian literary values, because literature is highly valued writing. In other words we can say Indian constitution is one although written for the Indian people who speak different Indian languages.
Likewise Indian literature is one although written in the different Indian languages because their value systems and consequently value judgements are one. In addition, if there is one particular Indian constitution for all Indians then why not Indian literature? 1. 2 Indian Literary Theory: Indians must study our own tradition first and try to understand its useful theories to enrich literary angle as well as literary creations. We should also study the western or foreign literary criticism and try to accept whatever is useful as per our culture pattern.
Chapter II Nativism:
Indian Critical Discourse
In this chapter an attempt has been made to study, analyze and assess the origin and development of Indian Nativism in literature. 2. Towards Nativistic Literary Theory: i)A number of approaches to the study of Indian Literature are in vogue today – the Marxist, the feminist, the Orientalist, the Postcolonial, the subaltern, to mention a few. Their common drawback is their inability to see that the theory of the nativism is the key to this thought.
The basic insight of the theory of nativism is simple enough. Nativism is nothing but asserting one’s own native culture.
At the same time it tries to augment the tradition and change it into current coin and makes it acceptable to the present age. However, innovation requires the adoption of western ideas but one should adopt them only on his own terms, on condition that they could be integrated within an Indian intellectual framework. ii)One of the consequences of this adoption of western literary theories was the emergence of modern Indian Literary theory. But one should be aware of the fact that the contact with the west produced two distinct genre of literary theory. One is literary theory in India and the other is Indian Literary theory.
What distinguishes the two is their respective intellectual framework. Literary theory in India does not have an Indian intellectual framework. It is primarily a body of western literary theory to be applicable to India. Some Indians adopted them together with their western intellectual framework. The Indian Marxists, Neo-Marxists and subaltern theoreticians were (and still are) the skilled practioners of this genre of literary theory. They used (and still use) the western intellectual framework depending on convenience, but not an Indian framework, in their attempt to modernize Indian literary theory.
iii)Indian literary theory by contrast is a body of ideas that includes Indian ideas as well as select nativised Western ideas, both set in a recognizably Indian intellectual framework. Aanand Coomarswamy, Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, among others produced literary theory of this sort. But Bhalchandra Nemade is the most prominent theorist and his prominence is due to his theory of Nativism. He is not afraid of adopting certain Western ideas (i. e. Ralf Linton’s Nativistic Movements from Anthoropology) if he feels that their adoption is necessary for India’s innovation.
At the same time, he is careful to keep intact the genius of our civilization. What he wants to keep intact is what is truly original to the Indian way of thinking. And the theory of Nativism certainly is part of it. iv)At present, one finds an unusual proliferation of Indian practical criticism without the necessary native theory of literature. The attempts to westernize or to Sanskritize Indian literary theory into a single system also proved to be inadequate. There is a great problem, which needs to be looked into in order to understand the precise nature of the crisis in Indian criticism.
That problem relates neither to the sanskritic tradition of poetics nor to western literary thought. It relates to literary theory in the modern Indian languages. v)In order to evolve a native literary theory based on our national genius, culture and traditions, Bhalachandra Nemade, a poet-Novelist critic, advanced the positive term ‘Nativism’ to start a nationwide literary movement emphasizing India’s many regional languages and cultures, a movement just now being widely recognized and challenged.
The concept of Nativism has its affinities with the idealogy expounded by two Mahatmas: Phule and Gandhi, both posed danger to the greater Anglo-Sanskritic tradition by introducing a different system of moral concern which emphasizes truth and threatened to alter the basic characteristics of Indian Society by making its cultural periphery its center. Nemade, successfully, advanced the term nativism, shaped by decentralized impulse rather than centralized one and advocated indomitable literary values : tradition, Indian modernity, new morality, verbal action, truth, language of the people and nativisation.
vi)Nativism in Indian literature is not anti-migrant like American Nativism because it is not form of ethnic identity that seeks to exclude those who are not members of the local or indigenous ethnic groups from residing and/or working in a territory because they are not native to the country or region. But Nativism is reactionary and progressive form of indigenism whose agenda can be summed up as an urge for cultural self respect and autonomy. It is nothing but the freeing of Indian literature from alien models and creating the opportunity to make it stand on its own.
vii)Nativism is not atavism; those who have a hankering to go back into the ancestral past are called atavistic. Shivsena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena are atavistic because of their chauvinistic and outdated views. viii)Thus, nativism is a value term. It stands for the writer’s clarity of vision about his place in his society and culture; it stands for mature understanding of things in their proper perspective; and it stands for the writer’s sense of responsibility as an adult to forge in the smithy of his soul the uncreated conscience of his race.
ix) Hence, the term nativism needs to be exhibited in the glossary of literary terms as well as in all the Standard English dictionaries. Chapter III Indian Nativistic Literary Values Therefore, in this chapter an attempt has been made to discuss Indian Nativistic Literary values. 3. Nativistic Literary Values: i) Tradition: Nativism locates non-vedic and oral tradition as the most significant creative upsurge of the Indian mind not only for the merit of ideas and insights it can offer but for its place in the process of acquiring Indian sensibility.
Nemade is the first important literary critic to introduce nativism which has the context of a living desi (native) tradition inherited from the Satyashodhak (seekers of truth) movement started by Phule. Each nation has its unique culture and civilization, which may be called its soul; hence we should cultivate the habit of looking within and be proud of our Indian culture and institutions in the right spirit. Consequently, we must rule out the colonial and brahmnical literary canons as being the only authentic literature. ii) Indian Modernity:
Indian modernity is a culture specific phase of history. In India modernism came to be recognized as synonymous to westernization, hence it is not only great insult to India but also betrays gross ignorance of sociological science. Modernity cannot and should not be transplanted; it must be shaped according to past traditions and present circumstances. We should create our own modernity that suits our ancient heritage and have Indian growth. The real strength of Indian modernity will be tried on our indomitable desi (native) values.
Any attempt to be different from the western models which is a sign of originality also may lead to a new native tradition. iii) New Morality: Nemade’s dichotomy : old and new morality, being purely sociological, is a paradigm of Phule’s distinction between true and false morality as expounded in The Universal Religion of Truth. Nemade advanced a modern literary value : New Morality, to set a very high premium on the morality of the writer. Nemade believes that the existence of the novelist implies community and his group consciousness.
The writer has to employ his own scale of values, which are based on the original social values. Since literature is an art form the writer must imply a plane, a condition that goes beyond social values. True morality, for Gandhi – New morality for Nemade – consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding out the true path for ourselves and fearlessly following it. iv) Verbal Action: Indian nativism articulates itself gradually through reason. A nativist selects the theme as a verbal action with a specific moral angle in the context of the multi-faceted relation between the individual and the community.
And in keeping with the action oriented theme, he organizes the novel through the medium of language. The novel becomes, then, the vehicle of thought. v) Truth: Nativism shows a strong inclination towards realism and social reality, which has been inherited from Jotirao Phule’s The Universal Religion of Truth ; from his writing we can discern quite clearly that he equates truth with reality. Truth has certain inevitable and determinable consequences for nativistic literary theory that it affords to judge literature in terms of its relationship to the world rather than in terms of inherent aesthetic criteria.
At the heart of nativism lies a commitment to socialist humanism. Truth as a form of Indian social reality is not a simplistic as the western idea but it has Indian social ramifications from Buddha to Gandhi, hence nativism outwardly follows the Sartreian concept of freedom but inwardly emphasizes the Gandhian concept of absolute and relative truth which lies in the acceptance of the need for a corrective process of experimentation with our own experience. Nativism emphasizes Indian hungers : equality, modernity and spirituality, as absolute as well as relative truth.
vi) Languge of the people: Nativism emphasizes the language of the people in the production of culture and priviledges the language and culture of the common folk as opposed to that of the elites, hence Buddha preferred Pali, Mahaveera Ardhamagadhi, Basaveshwara Kannada, Dnyaneshwara and Chakradhara Marathi and so on. Nemade’s nativistic anti-English attitude is Gandhian, which draws our attention to the central literary process in the Indian languages which are deeply rooted in the life of the people with the tradition of two thousand years. vii) Nativisation:
Nativism does not mean to suggest that we should be blind to the experience of other nations and develop a kind of narrow nationalism; but it expects that the borrowed elements should be thoughtfully chosen and some of them should be properly nativised. The texture of a vibrant society is strengthened by nativization of abstract and concrete influences impinging from outside. In short, if we believe that nativisation is a value system explicit in theory and practice of Indian literature we should initiate a process of critical reconsideration of our existing culture material and practice it with confidence.
Chapter – IV Nativism in Indian Literature An attempt has been made in the earlier chapters to give a detailed survey of Nativism in Marathi Literature and hints for certain comparative studies, particularly, with reference to the nativistic literary values. This work is one of the first attempts towards the creation of a Nativistic model for the study of Indian Literatures – their interrelations and independence, their proximities and distances, their differences in quality and quantity. This study will develop a model of multilingual, multi-literature history of Indian Literature.
The efficacy of this model will be examined in future not only by the votaries of multi language literatures but also by the historians of literary complexes, particularly in multi lingual countries. In this chapter, the study focuses its inquires into Nativism in Indian literature in the selected Indian languages. The period covered in the present study is much longer : since 1960 upto the date i. e. nearly 47 years; and the literatures in the following languages approved by Sahitya Akademi have been considered for the purpose : |1 |Assamese |12 |Manipuri | |2 |Bengali |13
|Marathi | |3 |Bodo |14 |Nepali | |4 |Dogri |15 |Oriya | |5 |Gujarati |16 |Punjabi | |6 |Hindi |17 |Rajasthani | |7 |Kannada |18 |Santhali | |8 |Kashmiri |19 |Sindhi | |9 |Konkani |20 |Tamil | |10 |Maithili |21 |Telugu | |11 |Malayalam |22 |Urdu | Research skills, methods & methodology In the present study I have practiced the said skill set, extensively. Alongwith these research skills, I have used the following research methods : 1) Textual analysis 2) Discourse analysis 3) Questionnaire method. 4) Interview 5) ICT based method.
6) Creative writing as a research method. 7) Quantitative method Moreover the methods have been informed by background research into the context of the cultural artifact under scrutiny, the context of its production, its content and its consumption. In this process I have consulted, mainly, original sources for the purpose. Lastly the methods are relied on Nativistic perspective or methodology. Thus, in the light of nativistic theory, a study of nativism has been carried out in the subsequent sections and chapters.
In the present study, within research specific contexts, interview data and questionnaire has been treated both as resource and as topic but where to put the emphasis depends on the individual research context. In the present study an attempt will be made to identify whether the concept of Nativism like all other similar artifact is valid for all Indian literatures in their respected languages.
4. Nativism in Indian literature: Outcome of the Study of Questionnaire and Interviews: i)Indian literature, though written in many languages, it has been observed that different regional literatures, i.e. Bhasha literatures, cherish and nourish nativism in different degrees.
These literatures display a firmer hold on nativism; and all these literatures though not entirely free from the lures of literary modernism, present greater number of literary works with a splendid awareness of native tradition. ii)The strains of nativism are seen in all the Indian languages and literatures but they do not form the mainstream. However, Nativism has become a dynamic counter-literary movement in Indian Literature.
After 1960s, many of the better literary works in Indian literature came from Nativistic writers. iii) As can be expected, Nativism suffered apathy and neglect of the literary establishments as well as stiff opposition from the established elite writers because Nativistic theory is the very reverse of elitist. Elitist represents particular sort of cultural breeding, Anglo-Brahmin in particular. When new kinds of students entered in higher education from supposedly uncultivated backgrounds, Nativistic theory helped them to emancipate literary works from the strangehold of a civilized sensibility.
Consequently, Nativism expected literature itself to be an ordinary kind of language instantly available to everyone. Thus, Nativistic theory is shaped by a democratic impulse. As a result, the major literarya movements (currents) have been a part of the Nativistic movements. They are : Dalit, Gramin (rural), Aadivasi (tribal), feminist, muslim and so on. iv)One of the most important developments in Indian literature since 1960s in all the languages has perhaps been the breakdown of the colonial voice, a unifying concern that despite its varieties of articulation characterized the literature that just preceded the 1960s.
v)All the languages had certain father figures represented by specific concerns, conventions and forms characterized by Nativism. vi)The writers, in all the languages, were well aware of the indigenous traditions that were rich in situations, characters, symbols, motifs and archetypes that could well serve as a sourse of metaphors for the conflicts of modern life. vii)These writers raised basic theoretical questions, examined paradigm – shifts and interrogated the set canons. viii)Indian literature, in all the languages, deals with:
a)impact of colonialism, b)the legacy of Indian literatute in the post colonial context, c)the continuities and discontinuities of colonial and post colonial Indian literature, d)the possible means of decolonization, e)modernism as a cultural pastiche, f)formal innovations intone with the Nativistic concerns and contents, g)development of Dalit literature and poetics of its own: subaltern literary theory, As a direct example of nativistic line of criticism, we have observed Nativism as a critical theory only in two languages : Kannada and Gujarati.
Therefore, in this section, an attempt has been made to evaluate Nativism as a critical theory in Kannada and Gujarati literature. Chapter V Nativistic Readings: The present chapter aims to provide practical criticism vis-a-vis Nativism in Indian literature. It also provides a basic introduction to the Nativistic critical-interpretive perspective that a reader beginning a serious study may bring to bear on literature. This chapter simply demonstrates Nativism as a critical tool, what we call approach, hence it is suggestive rather than exhaustive.
Its not definitive but it can suggest the possibilities in literature and literary criticism. Chapter – VI Nativistic Pedagogic Practices: In this chapter our aim has been to present an objective and comprehensive picture of a nativistic approach in teaching literature. Here, we have attempted to establish links between the nativistic approach and teaching methods. We have avoided personal evaluation, preferring to let the method speak for itself and allow readers to make their own appraisals.
This study is not intended to popularize or promote nativistic approach only, nor is it an attempt to train teachers in the use of the methods described because teaching literature, as Elaine Showalter said, is not brain surgery, no one will die if we make a mistake about Dryden (2003:IX). Rather, it is designed to give the teacher an introduction to less commonly used method and set of literary canons by which to critically read, observe, analyse and question any literary work of art. Chapter VII Conclusions: Challenges:
Ganesh Devi (1997:13) warns that Desivad in literary criticism must carefully guard itself against becoming a militant and closed ideology. It must bring to its practitioners a sense of self-discipline and self-search. Since the world has been shrinking as cultural space and since the exchanges between cultures have increased, Indian literary critics should think of the intellectual traffic between the West and India which has been becoming increasingly unilateral. It should be multi-lateral in the following ways : i) In India we have an ancient wisdom alongwith a stream of knowledge that has flown from the west.
The confrontation between these two has brought both illumination as well as a sense of bewilderment. What is now needed is a methodology to disseminate this new wisdom. The exploration of new methodologies is the aim of all the research activities that is being carried out in this project. ii) We have to grasp the awareness that springs out of the harmony and confrontation of the sciences and the arts, the classical and the folk, the indigenous and the extraneous, the occidental and the oriental and the great and the little traditions.
iii) We must also strive to express this awareness in Indian languages, as it is only such awareness which finds expression in one’s own language that is useful. iv) Translation, explication, interpretation and criticism are some of the ways in which the new awarensss could be created. v)It is a challenge for the writers to make use of the native resources and adopt them for the expression of modern consciousness. vi)The use of nativistic theory requires re-interpretation for the present cultural movement.
vii)John Oliver Perry (2000:29) argues that Criticism of literary texts and even non-literary ones rarely nowadays limits its purview to purely verbal material, i. e. , written or oral tests, but extends its concerns to and from issues, places, perspectives in the wider world. So criticis in India is not merely from or for India, and it is not necessarily directly about India. But it is always at least implicityly a criticism of India. To that extent it contributes beyond the literary scene to the capacity of Indians to think about themselves, their culture and society, their future as well as their past.
According to Perry (2000:45) Nativism supports regional culture rather than merely attacks the widening use and power of Indian English or of globalization. So, Nativism would seem to be potentially a prime movement opposing hegemonization and/or homogenization of India’s multicultural diversity. viii)The greatest impediment for Nativism is the problems that come of being, or being accused ‘of being, narrowly provincial, and traditional. But the diversity among regional writers is not found, in Indian context; regarding nativistic attitude.
However, Nativism is not susceptible to national organization, but it sometimes ijis allied or confused with those political forces seeking not merely to loosen the bounds of the federal central government to the different states (usually organized within regional language boundries) but also to contain or restratin nationalism itself, which suggests a direct assault on the highly influential Hindutva movement (Perry, 2000:46). Nativism and globalization: Globalization, in literature, is appreciating the variety of desi (native) contents, themes, techniques, styles, literariness etc.
of different regions, countries in their individual contexts. An open minded appreciation of a literary work as it is, in its own context, is what is expected in true globalization. The global literary theory can only be shaped by a decentralized impulse rather than a centralized one. This is what is the most positive way to emancipate literary works from the strangehold of a narrow nationalism and throw them open to a kind of analysis in which anyone could participate. The texture of a vibrant society, literature and culture could be strengthened by the multicultural participation and appreciation.
It has been argued that the books can be exportable-importable commodities, not the literary values. Each nation has its unique culture and civilization, which may be called its soul. However, it does not mean that we should be blind to the experiences of the other nations and develop a kind of narrow nationalism; but it expects that the borrowed elements should be thoughtfully chosen and some of them should be properly nativised. In other words, globalization, in literature, is nativisation and vice-versa.
Therefore, instead of talking glibly of internationalism and scoffing at nativism one should be in a position to decide: 1. which foreign elements need to be imported or borrowed and nativised, and 2. which native elements need to be exported or introduced and globalized. As a direct example of nativistic line of criticism we may look at the western critical concepts : modernism, post-modernism, realism, existentialism, Marxism, structuralism, deconstructionalism, feminism etc. which have been mechanically applied to Indian situation. These concepts could have been nativised after synthesis between these two worlds.
Consider, for instance, feminism. In fact feminism is a global and revolutionally idealogy. However, there is an English, American, French and/or Black feminism, still it is global. Then why can there not be an Indian feminism. The Black women unite together under the banner of womanism which denies even the vocabulary of the white race. It was this non-vedik tradition pleaded for equal and common human rights for women and men. It may therefore be assumed that India is culturally mature enough to manipulate the new ideas to its advantage.
The Indian feminism could be strengthened by the nativisation of French, English, American and/or Black Feminism. The process of nativisation makes us aware of the fact that our native elements must be exported or introduced and globalised. This is not simply give-and-take policy or export-import market logic if looked into the matter of book industry, leaving aside the literary values Nativism does believe that globalization is a value system in Indian Literature, hence need to export and globalize Indian creative and critical literature in order to stop the unilateral
intellectual traffic and encourage the multilateral traffic between India and the rest of the world. Thus, one can follow nativisation and globalization, Globalizing Indian literature is easily possible only through global language, and without doubt, the Indians must accept that English is the world’s first truly global language. Therefore, the only way to globalize Indian literature in general, and nativism in particular, would be to translate into English.
Thus, from the outset, Gandhi’s mission was global, hence preferred translations and like Gandhi, Nemade, the father of Indian Nativism, recommends a well-planned programme of translations from the regional languages into English and vice-versa. English education has made us all mental translators in varius measures of efficiency.