Sunday, 3 February 2013

Republic of Letters

In a lifetime, one has to often deal with questions of substance and significance. These are about the bigger realities, so to say, of the world- inside our minds and the one outside it, if there is one. Literature is one tool that helps us in discovering and perceiving these realities, at the same time. It is not to demean the stature of letters (figuratively speaking). In dealing with perceptions and realities, one gets closer to ideas of identity and existence. This is the struggle which all of us undergo. To explore the truth of existence is the undercurrent of literature and its thrust as well.

Talking more specifically about literature, one could say, it is the undeniable potential of a language, a people, a culture. It generates and regenerates. It creates and recreates. It is indeed the power to rule the world one creates. A poet (creator of literature) is Shelley’s “unacknowledged legislator”, Elizabeth Browning’s “prophet”, and one possessing “fine madness” for Michael Drayton. Is it not the might and clout of a poet when “sleepless themselves to give their readers sleep” and “stop it from going to sleep”, at the same time!

“To be a poet is a condition rather than a profession”. Their creations work like “lighthouses built on the sea of time”. Its propensity to bring to the forefront the oddities and bestialities of human race is well evident in the works of Dickens, Shaw, Sarat Chandra, Premchand, to name a few. In the Republic of Letters, the poet doesn’t only please, but also move. Poet’s imagination gives the “airy nothing” a form; it names the unnamable; their experience of empathy changes reality.

Here stands Immanuel Kant asserting- “Dare to know!”

- Shabeeh Rahat
B.A.(H) English 3rd yr
Jamia Millia Islamia

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