Monday, September 3, 2012

Literature of India

First Quarter Literature Selections, Poems , etc
                                                                        Gloria Socrates-San Agustin                                
                                             You fear
                                                 That all my vow
                                                 To love no one
                                                  But you     
                                                  May pass;     
                                            Or that           
                                                 The sunshine     
                                                 I had pledged to keep
                                                  For you
                                                  May fade
                                                  With falling rain;
                                           That ere the sight
                                                  Of you is gone,
                                                  Your kiss
                                                  Should freeze
                                                  Upon my lips.

                                           But most of all-
                                                  You might fear
                                                 That should forever come at last,
                                                 Then every joy must cease-
                                                 We two must part……

                                          Take heart, dear one,
                                                  And be assured-
                                                 The day after forever,
                                                  Shall find my vows renewed.
Spotlight on the Author
         Gloria Socrates-San Agustin comes from Puerto Princesa, Palawan, However, most of her teen-age years were spent in Tacloban City. She was just a high school student at the Leyte High school (now Leyte National High School) when she started writing her lyric poems.
She was a member of the United Amateur Press, U.S.A. Her brief biography is included in the fifth and ninth edition of the international Who’s who in Poetry published by the International Biographical Center in Cambridge, England. She worked at the Development Bank of the Philippines in the 70’s and 80’s. When Congress was revived, she transferred to the office of then Speaker Ramon Mitra. Ms. San Agustin succumbed to cancer in year 2000.
                                                             SECOND QUARTER
INDIA, a land overflowing with religion and the religious spirit, has a written literature that started with Vedic holy texts some time after 1500. These homilies and hymns gave rise to the Upanishads, a body a religious prose writings philosophical in nature and dealing with basic tenets of Hinduism, the dominant religion of India.
Later, oral history, legend, and moral tales were fused into two-great books: the Mahabharata, considered the national epic of India, and the Ramayana.             
Other major additions to the literature of India are the Punaras (400 B.C.-1400 A.D.) and the Panchatantra (450 A.D.), which is a collection of five books of fables and short tales interspersed with poetry. Another form of literature was the shastas, which sought to systematize all learning in the form of laws for the arts and sciences.
The seventh century A.D. saw the peak of classical poetry. Drama and lyric poetry abounded. During this period, Kalidasa emerged as a poet and writer of note. He produced three masterpieces which Shakuntala, a play, is the most celebrated.           
In the latter part of the Middle Ages, the courts of the Mogul emperors, which produced Perso-Arabic writing inspired a literature in Urdu. The major artistic form was the ghazal, a stylized form of lyrical folk song.    
Spotlight on the Author
KALIDASA, a great poet and dramatist of India, wrote in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. He is sometimes called the Shakespeare of India. Many of his plays and poems have romantic themes. They are remarkable for their description of nature, the elegant style in which they are written, and the powerful imagination of their author.
Many historians think Kalidasa was one of the groups known as the nine gems. These were men of genius at the court of the Indian king Vikramaditya. This king was probably Chandragupta II who reigned from A.D. 380 to 415.

Literary Piece: SALUTATION TO THE DAWN by Kalidasa
                                 Look to this day
                                 For it is life, the very life of life
                                 In its brief course 
                                 Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:          
                                                    The bliss of growth
                                                    The glory of action
                                                    The splendour of beauty.                                
                                  For yesterday is but a dream
                                  And tomorrow is only a vision,
                                  But today well lived makes
                                  Every yesterday a dream of happiness
                                  And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
                                  Look well, therefore, to this day!
                                  Such is the salutation to the dawn.  

Understanding Free Verse
Read again the poem, Salutation to the Dawn. Do the ending words rhyme? Does the poem follow a regular pattern? A regular rhythm?
Note that the poem has none of these. Every line follows the one before it without any formal grouping, without consideration for rhymes. The only breaks are dictated by units of meaning. Yet, every part of the poem belongs where it is and cannot be placed elsewhere.
The poem, Salutation to the Dawn, is an example of free verse. Note that despite the absence of regular rhyme and rhythm, the poem has a lyrical quality achieved through the following:
1.    Repetition of words within a line: For it is life, the very life of life.
2.    Rhyming of words within a line. Lie all the verities and realities
3.    Parallelism in the structure of lines which have similar ideas;
              The bliss of growth
              The glory of action
              The splendor of beauty
              For yesterday is but a dream
              And tomorrow is only a vision
      As well as
               Every yesterday a dream of happiness
               And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
4.    Repetition of lines: Look to this day!; Look well, therefore, to this day!
Note also that the repetition of the first line serves to summarize the theme of the poem. Note further that the last line serves to justify the title of the poem.
      Exercise: Identify the lyrical devices in the following excerpts.
1.    A quarrel of the rams and cooks
Has lately come about;
It threatens every monkey life
Without a shade of doubt.

Because, if senseless quarrels rend
A house from day to day,
           The folk who wish to keep alive
           Had better move away.
                                       From: The Panchatantra
2.    Earnestness is a path of immortality
Thoughtlessness, the path of death,
Those in earnest do not die,
But the thoughtless are as dead already.
                                        From: The Dhammapada
3.    The man with food in store
Who hardens his heart against the needy
Who comes in miserable state begging for bread to eat,
         Even when of old he did him services –
         Finds not one to comfort him.
                                        From Rig Veda

4.    He who fixed fast and firm the earth that staggered,
 And set at rest the agitated mountain
           Who measured out the air’s wide middle region
           And gave the heaven support,
He is India.
                                                 From: Rig Veda                                                                

Modern Indian literature began with the establishment of civil service training schools and printing presses in the 19th century. A colony of Britain, India became even more aware of its literary heritage when the British advisor on Indian affairs scornfully dismissed the entire Indian literacy heritage. The disdainful attitude inspired among the people a fervor for Indian literacy works and the vernacular.

Awareness of their Indian heritage and the exposure to the Western literacy and philosophical writing produced a cultural renaissance.

With the establishment of English language schools, English became a major tool for political and social reform as well as for literacy expression.

The literature in English began to shape vernacular writing.

India has one of the world’s oldest and richest civilizations- it goes back more than five thousand years. And yet, India – for all her age-old glory and glitter- has a bittersweet history of conquest, struggle and painstaking search for freedom. For over half a century, the Indians worked for freedom. It was finally granted them in 1947.

The pioneer writers of this period include Raja Rammohun Roy, Mahavir Prasad Dvivedy, and Arunacala Kav, who developed a utilitarian prose style; Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Jayashankar Prasad who introduced blank verse and sonnet; Sir Rabindranath Tagore who introduced the short story to vernacular writing; and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Hari Narayan Apte who pioneered in the novel. The first plays modelled on Western drama were written by Madhusudan Dutt. Nationalist leaders like Mahatma Gandhi influenced the Social realism of the early works.

Today, the writers of the post-Independence India experiment with surrealism, symbolism, and other new forms of writing while keeping alive the sentimental romanticism of the 19th century. And many of the writers have achieved fame- not only in India, but also in the international community.  


Page 1

       Santha Rama Rau was born to a wealthy family in India. Because her father was Deputy High Commissioner for India, Rau spent more of her life abroad than in India. Her life gave her a cosmopolitan view of Indian life.

On Learning to Be an Indian records her experiences after her return from abroad and subsequent reversed acquainceship with her Indian heritage.

Selection: On Learning to Be an Indian

          My grandmother cannot speak English. I have never discovered whether this is from principle or simply because she has never tried, but she understands it perfectly. In England, Mother had kept Premilla and me familiar with Hindustani by speaking it to us sometimes when we were home for vacations, and by teaching us Indian songs. So during our first few weeks In Bombay, we could both understand the language though we were still too out of practice to try speaking it. Consequently, my grandmother and I spoke different languages to each other. But we got along very easily in spite of it.
          I found after a few days that in her own indirect way she was trying to instil in me something of the traditional Hindu girls’ attitude to the household, the rest of the family, and living in general. The servants were the first problem that came up. Whenever the telephone rang, one of the servants ran to answer it. They were unanimously terrified of the instrument and would hold the receiver well away from the ear and scream “Allo!”
         Naturally, unless the caller and the name of the person who was being called were both familiar to the servant, nothing was understood or accomplished. After watching this procedure for some time, I began to spring for the telephone, too, whenever it rang. As long as I won’t it was all right, but occasionally, I would reach it at the same time as the houseboy. The first time this happened, he grasped the receiver and ignored my outstretched hand. I asked him please to me answer the phone in the future if I were in the house – this in a very polite but halting Hindustani. I used the formal from of “you” as I would have to any stranger.
          Afterwards, my grandmother called me into her room. In her own mysterious way, she had overheard the conversation and wanted now to warn me against treating the servants in such a way again.
          “They are not your equals, so do not treat them as such.” It is not enough for the servants to be frightened of you; that fear must be founded on respect. By all means we should give the servants medicines if they were sick, see that their children are well treated, visit their quarters and make sure that their rooms are kept clean, even give their children an education- which they would never get, if it were left to their families- but we should always keep our social distance.”
           Then there was the matter of prayers in the mornings. My grandmother was always up by five o’clock and said her prayers, decorated the images in her shrine, and
 sang the hymns of the day at the same time. She would light a little ceremonial fire,                  throw spices and something that smelled like incense on it; when the fire died she rubbed her fingers in the ash and smeared it on her forehead. This provided the white part of her caste mark for the rest of the day. The other women of the house were expected to join her, though there was no expressed compulsion. After a few days of these I decided that if I expected to be able to stay awake after nine at night, I must stop keeping these habits.
            One afternoon, I told my grandmother that the prayers were meaningless to me except as a curiosity that I could make no sense of the hymns, which were sung in Sanskrit (I’m pretty certain they were incomprehensible to her too), and felt that I was too old to be converted to Hinduism now.
             She assured me briskly that even if I wanted to, I could not be reconverted to Hinduism, and that no such expectation has prompted to suggest that I come to prayers with her. I had been born a Hindu, but since I had crossed water, ate beef, neglected to wear my caste mark, and committed innumerable other offenses, I had lost my right to both my religion and my caste.
             “But don’t assume from that that you may marry anyone outside the Brahmin caste!” The real reason, it turned out, for this religious indoctrination had been to show me something of the values by which Indians live.
             “Do you realize that you know nothing of the factor which is vital to the lives of most of your countrymen? Do you always want to see India through the eyes of a visitor? The real Indians are the villagers, the peasants. Poverty and the work on the land is so much a part of their daily living that they must have a tremendous, inclusive faith to make such living possible. If you want to understand these people, you must also understand something of Hinduism. It is the most rigid of beliefs, the most realistic of philosophies, and it determines for them everything from their food morals.
              “We have been called pacifists,” she continued, showing for the only timethat I can remember a consciousness of the existence of contemporary polities, “but it is not ignorance that makes us so. We could be the most highly educated country in the world. We have all yhe prerequisites for intelligence for intelligent “political consciousness”- if that were an end. But I, for one, can only hope that the religion and philosophy of our people will secure them against civilization, and what you call ‘progress.’ Bless you, my child, progress is a convenient term for describing our journey from the great age of India.”
               If I had at the time been less scared of my grandmother, I would have argued with her about her attitude toward conditions in India, which I thought hopelessly reactionary. Concepts which had always seemed to me self-evident she ignored or nullified with her strange, kindly, patronizing attitude toward “those Indians less fortunate than  ourselves.” Equality of opportunity: Absurd! 
               If I had at the time been less scared of my grandmother, I would have argued with her about her attitude toward conditions in India, which I thought hopelessly reactionary. Concepts which had always seemed to me self-evident she ignored or nullified with her strange, kindly, patronizing attitude toward “those Indians less fortunate than ourselves.” Equality of opportunity: Absurd!
Page 3
              “But I can see that you do not even know even know what I am talking about. Because we let politics pass us by, because we have evolved no way of writing down our music, because we do not preserve in a concrete form our art and our stories, the West considers that we have lost our culture. But it is in the oral traditions of the villages that the arts of India are really alive. The brief Western immortality of museums is pointless to people who have seen eternity in their earth. In comparison with this people of the West are short- sighted, are they not?”
                “I suppose so.”
                 “And we are long-sighted- which is not the same as far-sighted, “ she added.
                  I was growing impatient because I had invited a friend to tea, it was dangerously near tea time, and I had yet change.
                “ Is it all right,” I asked my grandmother casually, “if I have a friend to tea?” it was a very informal meal and Asha frequently had girls from her school to it, so I didn’t think there would be any objections.
                  “Perfectly all right, my child, if she is suitable friend.”

“Well, it’s a he. I should think he’s suitable He travelled over from South Africa with us. Mother liked him.”
I have never seen anyone look as shocked as my grandmother did then.
“The more I see of you girls the more amazed I am at your mother for the extraordinary education she has given you, and above all for allowing such outrageous behaviour from any girl in our family!”

“I don’t think this concerns her at all’” I said, surprised. “Because, she could scarcely have kept us in a vacuum during all those years in England- particularly when she was away so much of the time.”   
“That is exactly what I told her. You should have been left here in our care.” “But we wanted----“
“Don’t argue with me my dear child. I will discuss this with your mother.”

I turned to leave the room. “Well, shall I call him up and tell him not to come?”
“Of course you cannot do that. If you have invited him already, we are obliged to extend our hospitality to him. Buy while I am the head of this house, it will not happen again.”

Upstairs, I asked Mother what to do. I told her that my grandmother had not yet heard the whole story. I had promised John that I would have dinner with him. Mother looked at me despairingly.

“Was it for this that I learned to be a diplomat’s wife?” I don’t see that I’ve done anything awful.”

Page 4
“I suppose it never occurred to you that your grandmother never receives Englishmen in her house?”
“Why would it occur to me?” I asked.
“For obvious reasons. The situation being what it is in India, in her own inimitable way your grandmother makes a personal- or rather a social- issue of it.”
       “ I thought she was supposed to be so detached from politics.”
         Then Mother began to think that the whole situation was funny. “But the really appalling thing is your dinner engagement with him! If you go out alone with him, and the family knows about it, you’re as good as married to him.”
        “You mean I’m not supposed to be alone with any man until I decide I want to marry him?”
        “I’m afraid that’s right, as long as we stay in your grandmother’s house.”
        “But Mother, doesn’t that seem to you a little absurb?”
        “Darling, I was never alone with your father until I was married to him.”
        “But Mother-“                                
        “I know, I know, times are changing, everybody does it, but I’m sorry, dear, you’ll have to break the dinner appointment.”
        “But Mother-“
        “Let’s not discuss it further, shall we?”
         When John came, we had tea in icy solitude on the front veranda. His first remark was, “You look pale. Do you feel all right?”
         “I feel fine. I’m not allowed to wear make-up around here.” I had had a brief argument with Mother about that too.
        “Never thought it would make so much difference.”
        “My grandmother doesn’t approve of it.”
        “Damn right. Now you won’t get lipstick all over the cups and thenapkins.”
         As Mother came out to join us, the curtains to the living room swung behind her, and I saw the family was gathered there I don’t know how anything immoral could have gone on with the gardeners as an audience and on an open veranda, but I suppose they just wanted sure. I was thankful that John was facing out toward the garden.                    
         He asked Mother where the family, of whom he heard so much were.
         “Oh, they went out.”
        “All of them?”
        “Of course,” Mother said, as if it were the most natural thing.
        “They went to the tennis tournament. “When Mother says something in that carefully explanatory way, as if it were absurd that anyone shouldn’t know, nobody can say, “What tournament?”
          I took John out into the garden to tell him I couldn’t dine with him that evening. I thought it would be the best to tell him the whole story. I don’t think he had the least idea what it all meant, for he just looked very hunted and said, “But you don’t want to marry me, do you?”
         This incident, when I looked back on it, brought into sharp contrast for me the astonishing changes that have taken place within fifty years in the ordinary girl’s life in
Page 4
India. My grandmother was married when she was nine years old. When I heard that, I was profoundly shocked. Child marriage in books was one thing, but such a barbarous thing in my own family was quite another. Apparently, I too had been influenced by the sensational inaccuracies that have been put out about India in books kike Katherine Mayo’s Mother India.      
          When my grandmother says that she was married when she was nine, she means that betrothal ceremony was performed between her and my grandfather. Perhaps “betrothal” indicates too weak a link, for she could not then have married any other man – even if my grandfather were to have died before the actual wedding ceremony. Her “husband’s” family would have been obliged to clothe her and shelter her just as they would the widow of one of their sons. As soon as the betrothal ceremony was completed, she went to live in her mother-in-law’s home. She stayed there until her mother-in-law died and she, as the oldest woman in the house, became the head of the family.
            Between the time when she first came to live in the house and the time that real marriage ceremony took place, about seven years later, she was carefully chaperoned by some members of her “husband’s” family on all occasions when she had to appear socially or in the presence of any men. This, mother assures me, is the traditional method, at least in our caste system. She took her place at once in the daily life of the home. A Hindu girl’s duties in her mother-in-law’s home are specific and exacting. Their purpose is to train the girl to be, as nearly as to train the girl to be, as nearly as possible, the perfect wife and mother.
             It is practically a tradition among Hindu women that their mother-in-law is always a monster of efficiency and demands equal competence from them. She insists that the young bride must give no order to a servant which she cannot perfectly carry out herself. Consequently, the bride must learn to cook, sew, clean, bring up children (and there are always several in the house on whom she can practice), run the family life, advise those younger than herself, keep the accounts of the household, and keep a careful check on the finances of each individual member of the family. I’m sure every Hindu wife of that generation can tell stories about having had to cook meals for twenty-five people single-handed, or of having had to rip out a seam fifteen times because it was not sewn finely enough.
            In those days, half a century ago, the joint-family system still dominated the social life of Hindus. My grandmother’s mother-in-law, for instance, presided over family, with her husband as a sort of consort. All their sons lived in the house with them, and as the boys married and then they, like my grandmother, went to live in the homes of their mother-in-law. The children of the sons were educated in the house by tutors until they were old enough to go abroad to college. My grandmother learned to read and write along with her nieces and nephews after she was married, but that was the limit of her education. Besides those close members of the family, various cousins and great-uncles left over from another generation, lived in the same house. It was a joint family of the most conservative type.
     Page 5
        Originally, this social unit had grown out of the fact of the fact that India was almost entirely an agricultural country, and wealth was measured only in land. The sons of any land-owning family, therefore, were compelled to live together for economic reasons, and because the laws for property division were so sketchy. As the system took root and grew, somehow the women seem to have taken charge. Their province- and this is true to a wide extent even today- was the home and there they were dictators. The wife of the oldest man in the house held and dispensed all the money in the household. Anything that any member earned was given to her and she drew from each according to his capacity and gave to each according to his need. So although she had no legal rights, she could, if she wanted, have absolute control over the members of her own family.
        By the time my grandmother, as a wife of the oldest son, came to be the head of the household, the system was already breaking down. Our family moved from the south, which is our home, to Bombay. My grandmother found that her sons showed a to regrettable tendency to wander off to what she considered the less civilized parts of the world. One of them, Shivan, even married a Viennese girl, beautiful-but a foreigner. Grandmother found that she had no control either over whom her sons married or over the education of her grandchildren. But to look at her and the way in which she lived you would never suspect that the conditions which made her standards valid were vanishing.
          One of the minor forms which my grandmother’s continued autocracy took was the examination of the mail received by anybody living in the house. Asha told me that she used to censor, and sometimes entirely remove, letters from people of whom she did not approve. She did not know the people who wrote to me, and still had not gathered in her own way their respective life histories, so she would just question me closely about all my mail. From whom were the letters? Any of them from men? Where had I met them? Did my mother know their families? If the questions were not satisfactorily answered, she would say, “In my opinion you should not reply to that letter,” or “Surely a brief note will be sufficient answer.”
          To me even mother’s education- which seemed to her so progressive and enlightened-appeared incredibly narrow. Certainly she was not married at an appallingly early age-although her sisters were; she was given, on her own insistence and on the arguments of one of her brothers who was at an English university, a formal education at a school and college. She had wanted to be a doctor and after endless arguments with her mother, she was allowed to go to medical school in Madras. But unfortunately, her mother heard that she was the only girl in her class and that she was the only girl in her class and that every morning she would find notes on her desk from the men students-some expressing their view of women who broke the fine conventions of Indian womanhood by leaving their homes and entering a world of men, and some exclaiming poetically, “If I were Dante, you would be my Beatrice…” She was taken out of the school immediately and continued, instead, more ladylike work in English literature in women’s college.
           All the same, Mother defied two of the most rigid social conventions of the time before she was twenty-five. She earned a living by lecturing in English literature in a
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living by lecturing in English literature in a Madras college; and at twenty-five, she was the first Kashmir girl to marry outside her community. When we went back to Kashmir- more than twenty years after Mother’s marriage- I met women who still would not receive Mother, and could scarcely be civil to her if they met her at somebody else’s house, because of the shocking way in which she had broken their social rules when she was a girl. For at that time in India there was a prejudice not only against inter-caste marriages but against inter-community one’s too. If your family or ancestors came from Kashmir your husband should from there too.
        Because Mother had to fight against the old standards, and because she was brought up to believe in them which my sister and I will never have. Brought up in Europe and educated in preparatory and public schools in England, we felt that the conventions were not only retrogressive and socially crippling to the country, but also a little ridiculous. We thought at the time that one needed the needed the perspective of travel to see these things. But we were only flattering ourselves, for later we found many young Indians who had a far clearer picture of India’s social problems and, moreover, were doing a great deal more toward solving them than we ever thought of doing.

1.    In what way are the customs told about in the story different from or similar to present-day ones in the following aspects:
< treatment of household helpers                             < receiving letters
      < marital traditions                                                    < saying of prayers
      < marriage and family life                                         < entertaining male visitors      
     < educations
2.    Which of these customs may have been similar to ours more than a century ago?
3.     What may have caused changes in our way of life? Are these changes advantageous or are they detrimental to us? Explain.
4.    Is there any custom told about in the story which you think should be kept? Why or why not?
5.    Does the author believe that only those who have travelled to other countries can see the disadvantages of some of their ancient customs? Support your answer.  

       Whose life is told about in the story, On Learning to Be an Indian? Who is telling the story?
        You probably know already that the story of a person’s life told or written by that person is called an autobiography. An autobiography is based on facts and gives details about life at a particular time or a particular place.
        The autobiography is a type of nonfiction or prose writing about a real person, place, and event. Although the autobiography is nonfiction, it contains some elements found in fiction such as character, setting, and events.
          Characters in an autobiography refer to the people who are part of the events told about. The person telling the story is called the subject.
           Setting includes both the time and place in which the events occur. Generally, the setting is important in an autobiography.
            The events in an autobiography are usually told in time order or order in which they happened. In this order, one detail leads to another and the link between details is clear.                 

>  Exercise
    Read again the story On Learning to Be an Indian, then answer the following questions below.

1.    Who is the subject of the autobiography?

2.    Who are the other characters in it? Describe each character briefly.

3.    What is the setting of the story?

4.    Enumerate details that are told about life. 

      All the world paid tribute to the Mahatma, the frail, diminutive man of India. His life thirty years before his death is closely linked with the history of India.
      The Great Awakener of Indian nationalism, Gandhi was considered the architect of Indian independence through nonviolent revolution.
       Always standing by the side of mercy, love, and compassion, Gandhi was the spokesperson of the lowly and downtrodden all over the world, more particularly of the Untouchables in his own land.    

       His real name Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, but the people called him Mahatma or Great Soul. One of the foremost spiritual and political leaders of the 1900s, he is honoured by the people of India as the father of their nation.
        Gandhi helped free India from British control using a unique method of nonviolent resistance. This was a method of social action based upon principles of courage, nonviolence and truth. Gandhi called this strategy Satyagraha. In this method or strategy, the way people behave is more important than what they achieve. The philosophy appeared strange to both European and English-educated Indians, but appealed to ordinary people.
        Gandhi was born in Porbandar, India on October 02, 1869. The Gandhis were middle-class Uindus belonging to the Vaisyas(merchant) caste of India. This caste ranked just below the Brahmans (priests, scholars) and the Kshatriyas(noble men, warriors).   
         The young, shy and serious Gandhi got married at the age of thirteen. This was an arrangement made by his parents in accordance with the Indian tradition. The young couple had four children.
          Gandhi studied law in London and returned to India after passing the examinations.
           In 1893, a Moslem company sent him to South Africa to do some legal work. At the same time, South Africa was under British control. Almost immediately, he became a victim of discrimination.
           It happened this way: For his travel to South Africa, his employer had purchased for him first class tickets. But at the first stop of his journey, a European entered the compartment where he was in. The European got furious at sharing a compartment with a “colored.” He summoned the conductor to order Gandhi to the baggage compartment. Gandhi refused and he was taken forcibly taken off the train.
           According to Gandhi, the humiliation proved to be the “most creative experience” of his life. He said, ”My active nonviolent began from that date.”
           Gandhi saw that most Indians suffered from discrimination. While at South Africa, he led campaigns for Indian rights. As part of Satyagraha, he promoted civil disobedience campaigns and organized a strike among Indian miners. He was arrested many times by the British but efforts brought important reforms.
Page2 – A Man…….

       Gandhi also worked for the British when he felt justice was on their side. He was decorated by them for paramedic work in the Boer War(1899-1902) and the Zulu Rebellion(1906).
        When Gandhi returned to India in 1914, he became the leader of the Indian nationalist movement. He began a program of hand spinning and weaving, believing that the program aided economic freedom by making India self-sufficient in cloth. He also believed that it promoted social freedom through the dignity of labor aside from advancing political freedom by preparing the Indians for self-government.
         Meanwhile, he continued his Satyagraha campaign. In 1930, he led hundreds of followers on a 386-kilometer march to the sea where they made salt from seawater. This was a protest against the Salt Acts, which made it a crime to possess salt not bought from the government. During World War 11(1939-1945), Gandhi continued his struggle for India’s freedom through nonviolent resistance. He spent several years in prison for political activity. But he believed that it was honourable to go to jail for a good cause.
        India was granted freedom in 1947. But the partition of the country into India and Pakistan grieved Gandhi. He was saddened also by the rioting between Hindus and Muslims that followed for he had wanted to see a united country. He urged the Hindus and the Muslims to live together in peace.
         On January 13, 1948, at the age of seventy-three, Gandhi began to fast. His purpose was to end the bloodshed among the Hindus, Muslims, and other groups. On January 18, the leaders of these groups, pledged to stop fighting and Gandhi broke his fast. Twelve days later, in New Delhi, while on his way to a prayer meeting, Gandhi was assassinated. A Hindu fanatic who opposed Gandhi’s program of tolerance for all creeds and religions shot him three times.
          A shocked India and the rest of the world mourned on Gandhi’s death.
         Gandhi’s great disciple and chosen successor Jawaharlal Nehru, spoke for millions when he said, ”The light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere.” The great scientist, Albert Einstein, said of Gandhi, “Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a man as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.”

Reviewing the Biography
        What does the literary selection, The Man Called Mahatma tell about? Note that unlike On Learning to Be an Indian which you read and studied earlier, the story about Gandhi’s life is told by another person, not by Gandhi himself. Perhaps you know already that such a story is called a biography. The write of a biography is a biographer.
          Like the autobiography, the biography is a kind of nonfiction. It deals with a real person and with real events.
         Although the biography is a form of nonfiction, it often has the elements of fiction such as characterization, setting, plot, suspense, and conflict.
         Reading a biography helps us understand not only a particular person but also the period in which that person lived.

Ø  Read again the selection, “The Man Called Mahatma.” Answer the following questions.
Ø  1. What is the setting of the story?
Ø  2. How is the subject (Gandhi) characterized)
Ø  3. What is the plot? The conflict?
Ø  4. Which parts of the story have suspense?
Ø  5. From the biography, what do you learn about the period in which Gandhi lived?
Ø  6. Do you think Gandhi’s actions are justified? Why? Why not?

More questions about the biography.

Ø  1. What impression do you have of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi? Identify the details in the story that give you this impression.

Ø  2. What traits are involved in the philosophy called Satyagraha? What do you think of this philosophy?

Ø  3. From the story, what do you learn about the caste system in India. Give your reactions.

Ø  4. What do you think about the Indian tradition of marriage. What is your opinion about this tradition?

Ø  5. How did Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence start?

Ø  6. What nonviolent campaigns did Gandhi organize? What were the results of these campaigns?

Ø  7. Why was Gandhi disappointed with the freedom granted to India in August 1947?

Ø  8. What is your opinion about Gandhi’s program of tolerance for all creeds and religions?

Ø  9. How do you feel about Gandhi’s death? Why?

Ø  10. Explain the statements of Nehru and Einstein about Gandhi.


WEEKS 11 & 12
          With the creation of the autonomous and sovereign national state in northwestern and eastern zones of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, the passionate yearning of the Muslim Indians for cultural self-identity and political self-determination was at last fulfilled. The name of the new state was Pakistan: P, from Punjab, A, from Afgan,(a term signifying the North-West Frontier Province); K, from Kashmir; S, from Sind; and Tan, from the last syllable of Baluchistan.
          As a federal state, Pakistan consisted originally of four governor’s provinces: West Punjab, Sind, North-East Frontier province and the East Bengal, which was later named East Pakistan. In 1971, East Pakistan gained independence and together with West Bengal-a state of India-formed Bangladesh, meaning Land of Bengals.
          The literature of both Pakistan and Bangladesh, particularly poetry, is greatly influenced by Islamic mysticism or Sufism. This is especially true in the case of poetry written in that part of Pakistan, known as Sind, which is identified in its literary history as the land of the Sufis, or Islamic mystics.
          Foremost among the Sind Sufis was Shah Abdul Latif, whose poetry was the exemplar of Sufism-Soul-lifting, sublime, and intensely spiritual.
          Another Muslim contribution to the cultural heritage of Pakistan has been Urdu, the language that has enriched thought and literature. The most famous poet toward the end of the 19th century was Muhammad Iqbal, a native of Punjab. He was largely responsible for the literary renaissance of the Muslims, which preceded their political awakening. With his poetry, Iqbal inspired the Muslims with a new sense of their cultural distinctiveness and a feeling of destiny.

                      A Pakistani Folktale Retold by Chia Hearn Chek
Spotlight on the Background
     Parrots are colourful birds found chiefly in warm, tropical regions. They are noisy, sociable birds.     
     With their noisy calls and bright colors, parrots are among the most conspicuous of all the world’s birds. There are about 330 species, many of which are now threatened by extinction.
       Most parrots live in forests and woodlands in warm parts of the world. They fly through the trees, or use their feet and hooked beaks to clamber among the branches. Many live in pairs or flocks, and search together for their food of fruits, seeds, nuts, and flowers.     
      Many species of parrots are prized for their ability to repeat words or to learn complicated tricks. Some can use human words or other symbols to communicate feelings such as hunger, fear, or boredom.
       The talking parrot is a favourite character in Asian folklore.        
SELECTION:   Once a poor trapper caught a beautiful parrot in the forest. He brought it home to his wife who was about to make a meal out of the bird when it cried, “Stop! Please don’t kill me. Take me to the Raja and I’ll make you rich.”
     So the bird hunter and his wife brought the parrot before the Raja and offered to sell it. The Raja took one look at the bird and liked it once. “What’s the price? he asked.
     “Eight thousand rupees, Your Majesty, and not a paisa less,” said the parrot before the hunter could say a word. The Raja could hardly believe his ears.
     “Eight thousand rupees then,” he agreed. He then paid the money to the hunter and kept the bird.
      The Raja was very pleased with the talking parrot. Not only did the bird talk intelligently on all subjects including politics, the bird surprised everyone in the palace by naming all the gods in the Hindu religion. Indeed, the Raja became so fond of the bird that he soon forgot all about his wives who became jealous of the parrot and planned to have it killed.
        One day the Raja had to go away on a journey for a few days. As he was leaving, his six wives pretended to be sad. In fact, they could not wait for the Raja to leave so that they could kill the bird.
        As soon as the Raja had gone, the six queens got together and set a trap for the parrot.
        “Tell us Wise One, who is the ugliest of us six?” they asked the bird. The plan was that if the parrot named any of them, they would kill him because of rudeness.
        “Let me out of the cage first so that I can see you all more closely,” the parrot replied.
         The ladies then let the bird out. As soon as the parrot was free, he flew away saying, “None of you is fairer than the Princess who lives beyond the sea.”
          A few days later, the Raja returned. When he found out that his pet parrot was missing, he was very upset. He lost his appetite and could not eat. He slept very badly, too.
         At last, he decided to give a big reward to anyone who could return his parrot. Again, it was the bird hunter who brought the parrot back to the palace. The bird wasted no time in telling the Raja about the wicked plan of the six wives.
          So great was the Raja’s love for the bird that on hearing this, he sent his queens away and told them never to return to the palace again.
          “Tell me Wise One, is it true that the Princess who lives beyond the sea is more beautiful than my six queens?” the Raja asked the parrot.                             
           “Yes, Your Majesty. But so sad to say, the Princess is lonely as her wicked uncle does not allow her to have any friends. To make things worse, her uncle will soon be marrying her off to the Black Prince who is a very hard-hearted man. Your Majesty, you must save the Princess from her wicked uncle,” said the parrot.
             “But what can I do to help?” asked the Raja.
             “Get on your flying horse and I’ll show you the way,” answered the parrot.
              The Raja at once sat on his flying horse and took off. The parrot flew a little ahead to show the way. Together they flew across the sea.
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     Presently, they landed safely on the palace grounds where the Princess lived. It happened that the Princess was having a stroll in the garden. The Raja hid behind some bushes on the edge of the garden. When he saw the Princess, he threw some golden buttons in her path. These golden buttons the parrot had advised the Raja to bring along.
     When the princess saw the buttons, she came closer and closer to the Raja.
    “Now’s the time. Carry her and flee,” said the parrot.
    With one quick sweep, the Raja carried the Princess in his arms and mounted the flying horse. The animal flapped its wings higher into the sky. In his excitement, the Raja forgot that he was allowed to whip the horse only once. Instead, he whipped the animal many times so as to make it fly faster. Slowly, the magic horse lost the power of its wings and landed on a nearby forest owned by the Black Prince.
      The Princess was very frightened when she heard some dogs barking. The Raja tried his best to comfort her. It happened that the Black Prince was hunting and his dogs led him to the Princess and the Raja.
       Now the uncle of the Princess had promised the Black Prince that she would be his wife someday. Therefore, when the Black Prince found the Princess in the forest, he took her away with him. He then gave orders to his soldiers to beat up the Raja.This the soldiers did so well that when they left, they gave him up for dead.
       Slowly, the parrot nursed his master hack to health. As the days passed into months, the Raja felt better. His first thought was to find the Princess. But where could she be found?
        Meanwhile the Princess was being kept as a prisoner by the Black Prince. When she looked at the magic horse which she had brought along with her, she felt very sad. She missed the kind Raja and his talking parrot. She was wondering what had happened to them. If she could find the talking parrot, perhaps she could find the Raja, too.                  
         Then she had an idea. Each day the Princess would leave plenty of bird seeds in her garden. At first a few birds came to eat the bird seeds. As time went by, more and more birds came. One bird began to tell another bird that a kind princess was feeding them in her garden. Eventually, the news reached the talking parrot. He at once came to see who the kind lady was. When the Princess saw the talking parrot, she was overjoyed.
       “Oh Wise One, is your master well? And where is he?” she asked.
       “The Raja is well and he’s not far from here. “But he’s weak,” the parrot said. “Together, we’ll save the Raja,” the Princess whispered. After saying this, she went into the palace.
         A little later, the princess returned with the magic horse.
        “Now show the way, Wise One,” said the Princess as she got on the horse. The parrot flew off and the horse followed.
         After a short while, they arrived at the forest where the Raja was resting. He was overjoyed to see the Princess again.
         “Hurry, let’s get out of this place,” the Princess said.
          The Raja sat on the horse and, together with the princess, flew home safely.
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     As for the talking parrot- well, he has a beautiful story to tell, hasn’t he? They say that birds are still chirping this story.

1.    Why did the Raja buy the parrot at once?
2.    Why did his wives dislike the parrot?
3.    How did they plan to get rid of the talking parrot?
4.    How did the parrot help the Raja save the Princess from her wicked uncle?
5.    Why did the Raja’s plan to save the princess fail?
6.    How did the Princess and the parrot save the Raja?
7.    How does the story show that love overcomes obstacles and good wins over evil?

      Recall the story, The Talking Parrot. What traditions and beliefs of the past are revealed? Is the story realistic? What makes it unbelievable?
                 Stories like The Talking Parrot are called folklore. Folklore includes everything from legends, myths, fables, and stories of superheroes of long ago to the jump-rope rhyme, folk songs and proverbs.
                 All folklore started in the oral tradition, passed along from generation to generation, often changing in some details as storytellers added their own special touch.
                 The folklore stories not only entertain, they also keep the past alive as they tell of the beliefs, traditions, and religion of the society. The stories also show the qualities that are valued and those that are shunned by society; thus helping greatly to mold the character of the readers.

    Bangladesh was formerly called East Pakistan. Many East Pakistanis objected to West Pakistani control over the nation’s government economy and armed forces. In 1971, East Pakistan declared itself an independent nation call Bangladesh.
     The narrators, Jean and Franc Shor, of the literary selection travelled to Bangladesh sometime in 1955. At that time, it was still a part of Pakistan, a Commonwealth of Nations created in 1947 from the predominantly Moslem-occupied areas of India. The area of Bangladesh is about one-sixth of the area of Pakistan, formerly known as West Pakistan.

      Brief introduction about the selection, Bangladesh (East Pakistan): Land of Elephant Roundups and Bengal Tigers, by Jean and Franc Shor. It is a first person account of the travel of two writers through the country at the time when it was still known as East Pakistan. A talk written piece on travel is called a travelog or travelogue. Usually a travelogue is illustrated pictorially. To appreciate a travelog, create mental  pictures of places and things described. Imagine yourself in the place and think of things you would do if you were physically there.     

        The huge swaying elephant on which we rode moved quietly into the edge of the teak forest to let a honking jeep pass along the narrow trail. The Bengali, schoolmaster who rode beside me smiled.
         “This is symbolic of East Pakistan,” he said. “The elephant gives way to the jeep. Our bamboo economy is being modernized. In a single generation we are making the leap from primitive jungle to a modern nation.”
        My companion may have been a bit optimistic. East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, covers 54,500 square miles of jungles and rivers and alluvial plains. It is enormously fertile. But its population has a low literacy rate, and communications are bad. Time and effort are required to correct these things. Yet the progress East Pakistan has made in the eight years since it achieved freedom speaks well for its fortune, as does the enthusiasm of its people.
      The wild elephants, in herds of 10 to 15, come down into the Hill Tracts each winter from higher areas of nearby Burma, seeking their favourite foods of young bamboo, elephant grass, and wild bananas. A contractor locates a wild herd, assembles several hundred beaters, and builds a keddah nearby.
        The keddah is a circular stockade, 20 yards in diameter, with reinforced walls of heavy logs 12 to 15 feet high. A heavy log gate slides up and down like a guillotine. A funnel-shaped chute, with walls 200 yards long, leads to the entrance. It is 50 yards wide at the width of the gate.
         Jean and I spent the next day exploring Myanimukh and nearby villages while the rest of the party went tiger hunting. Mounted on elephants we moved slowly through the jungle, fording rivers and streams, and forcing our way through the dense patches of elephant grasses where the tough stalks stood 12 feet tall.

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      The intelligence and surefootedness of our huge mounts amazed us. They moved cautiously, testing the footing in swampy ground before putting their weight down. With trunks they pushed aside young trees and tall bamboo, being careful that we were not brushed. At a steep, muddy riverbank they sat on their haunches and slid to the bottom.
       A comfortable overnight train ride took us to Chittagong, principal port of East Pakistan, nine miles upriver from the bay of Bengal. From there we drove northeast to Rangamati.
        It was a friendly, lazy, pleasant journey. We were not sure that our schoolmaster friend had been right when he praised the coming modernization of the area. The government, we learned, was building a big dam on the Karnaphuli River, near Rangamati. Soon the river channels would be dredged, power vessels would replace the grateful dug-outs. Electricity would reach into the river villages, and the bamboo economy would be a thing of the past. It would mean th end, we thought, of a very pleasant way of life.
        In Rangamati, Mr. R.M. Hussain, inspector of schools, offered to take us on tour of Mogh villages.
       “We are establishing new schools for the hill people,” he said. “More than 200 have been founded in the past two years.
         Hussain’s work, we found, had taken him into every tribal village in his district. He loved the hill people, and they responded with equal affection. In every village we were immediately surrounded by his friends.
         With Chanchurui we walked about the village. Women clad in the typical green Mogh homespun, were setting out pepper plants. Cows, the first we had seen in the area, grazed around the houses.
         “It is odd that your people should keep cows,” Hussain said to Chanchurui. “They don’t eat the meat or drink the milk, nor do they use the leather. What’s the reason?”
         “I’m not sure,” smiled Chanchurui. “Having a cow is an index of prosperity and respectability. Perhaps it is because we have lived near Hindus so long. They worship cows. We don’t-Moghs and Buddhists- but usually the Hindus were more prosperous than the hill people, and keeping cows was probably a way of showing they could afford a luxury.”
          Betbania has a population of 800, and it seemed to us that the fields we had seen could hardly feed so many people. We asked Hussain where the food came from.
         “They farm the jungle,” he said. “Have you ever heard of jhum cultivation?”
           We hadn’t, so he explained.
         “This is the most primitive form of agriculture in the world,” he said. “each year the people select a hillside tract in the jungle with several hundred acres of bamboo. In early village moves to the area and with homemade knives cuts the bamboo and grass, leaving it to dry in the sun.
         “A few days before the monsoon rains come, the villagers burn the whole area. Nearly a foot of ash covers the ground.