Category Archives: Links

Being like America

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Should one wish to be like ‘America’:

So what does it mean for India to ‘be like America’ – semiotically charged as the phrase is? Should we ‘be like America’? Are there positive lessons to be learnt, portents and cautions that need be judiciously considered, institutions, ideas and processes that may be adopted? Or is it to be an unfalteringly foot-stomping ahead on to being a ‘superpower’?

The boundaries between nation building, feeding consumers, nurturing oligarchs, creating wealth and prosperity, are all increasingly blurred. Again, what are the social costs of being a superpower? What are the social safeguards? Is this desire, feeding off class driven consumerist desires, aspirations, mobility and politics, this ‘idea of India’ fetishistically overcontoured?

Guha, in the aforementioned Granta piece, argues that America is “at once deeply democratic and instinctively imperialist”.

In ‘being like America’ does India desire the former or the latter? As the state actively undermines democratic institutions and its profiteering friends/cronies become increasingly predatory, one wonders if posing such a question is moot?

More here

Online Resources for Literary Studies

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Here are some useful links for those interested in literary studies:

1. University of North Carolina, “The Writing Center“,

2. University of California Press, “e-Scholarship editions“, E-books

3. Robert Phillipson papers

4. Yale-New Haven Teacher’s Institute, Curriculum Units

5. Free desktop dictionary and thesaurus

6. For classics, “Online books” and project Gutenbuegh

7. BBC GCSE, English Literature

8. Emory University, “Postcolonial Studies”

9. Postcolonial Caribbean Literature

10. Internet Public Library, “Literary Criticism

11. Women’s Literature

12. MLA Literary Research Guide

13. Voice of the Shuttle, extensive links

14. The Victorian Web

15. Free audio books

16. Indian resources, including theses, “Vidyanidhi

17. Free Comparative literature journal

18. Directory of open access journals

19. Sample issues of several standard journals through project muse

20. Literature teaching related stuff, ERIC

21. A good search engine for academic articles, Jurn

 

Will be updated

Amazing Wildlife Photos by Lokesh Mosale

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My friend Lokesh Mosale is a wildlife photographer who is based in Maysore, Karnataka. His pictures never stop surprising me. He seems to capture movements and play of light. It is not the remoteness of the bird captured in his photo that attracts our attention but the moment captured that is amazing. I hope he wont mind me posting some here. Please visit his website and ENJOY.

“Urdu is very much alive in contemporary India”

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Words Without Borders have focused in their current issue on the Urdu fiction from India with a delightful bunch of stories including those of Qurratulain Hyder, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Zakia Mashhadi and others. Muhamma Umar Memon has edited the issue and has written an introduction. An excerpt from the intro:
The partition of British India in 1947 took its tragic toll not only in human lives and displacement, but also in culture. Like everything else, the Urdu language, an unmistakable product of India, in which all Indians participated without regard to religion or creed (of the three most celebrated Urdu fiction writers of the twentieth century, one was a Hindu, the other a Sikh, and the third a Muslim), also split apart in the frenzy of linguistic nationalism, with distinct religious identities foisted upon it. So now it is a language of the Muslims and Pakistan—Indians believe that and, worse, even Pakistanis believe that. Nevertheless, Urdu is very much alive in contemporary India. And not just among its Muslim minority, roughly the size of the population of Pakistan, but also among the expatriate South Asian communities in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. The total tally of those who can speak Urdu runs into several hundred million, a greater number than the combined speakers of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish.
An excerpt from Hyder’s story “Beyond the Fog”:
Throughout the day English sahibs, memsahibs, and their baba log cross the bridge on mules and horses or riding in rickshaws and dandis. In the evening, the same bridge becomes the site of milling crowds of Indians. The swarm of rushing humanity going up and down the slopes huffing and puffing looks like the surge of a massive tidal wave. Movies starring Esther Williams, Joan Fontaine, Nur Jahan, and Khursheed are playing in the local cinemas. Skating continues in the rinks. In the ballroom of the Savoy the Anglo-Indian crooner and his band will soon start “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.” Drums will be struck; maharaja and maharani log, nabob log, bara sahib and bara mem log will start dancing.
Following is an excerpt from Sajid Rashid’s story “Fable of a Severed Head”:

5:40— verar local express

Shifting his heavy, red canvas bag from his left shoulder to his right, he looked up at the Churchgate Station monitor and scurried toward Platform 3. People were practically running to the platform to board the 5:40 local. Women office workers were scrambling into the ladies’ compartment, pushing and shoving, being pushed and shoved in the wild crush, barely managing to keep their stride under the weight of their dangling purses and shoulder bags, as if this was the last train. Dog-tired from the day’s grueling work, he only wanted to plop down by some window and let the fatigue of the day, indeed of his whole life, slowly ooze out of his bones.

Free access to academic journals

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PKP, Public Knowledge Project, is an initiative to make possible free circulation of knowledge produced through public institutions such as universities. It is a gateway to several academic journals in diverse disciplines. No registration required either. Select articles from the participating journals are placed on free access. Here you go.

Those interested in international English studies will be interested in this site that provides access to articles from ARIEL, a fine journal in the field of literatures in English. Jstor and Project Muse also do not give access to ARIEL, if I am not mistaken, hence this free access to ARIEL is welcome. For postcolonial and cultural studies ARIEL has been a central Journal for decades now.

An excellent journal for Comparative literature buffs is CLC – Comparative Literature and Culture. The site maintained at Purdue University, gives free access to current and past issues. The journal publishes highly esteemed work in the area. Here is the ticket.

Muse India is an e journal associated with the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore. It publishes creative and critcal writing. V. good people associated in bringing it out. Overall a good site for Indian literature enthusiasts. Go here.

Culture, Society and Praxis is another free access journal. Go here.

Culture Machine is an electronic journal with theoretical stuff on culture, technology… Here is the ticket.