Friday, 5 June 2015

Monday, 11 August 2014

New HSA English Syllabus

Kerala Public Service Commission has published the detailed syllabus of HSA English examination. This will make preparations very easy as they have listed specific texts to be studied. To view the syllabus, please click on the link below:

Monday, 29 July 2013

12 Angry Men film Review

"The cinema has now attained a stage where it can handle Shakespeare and psychiatry with equal facility."  Satyajithray

One of the key features of cinema is that it encompasses all forms of human thoughts. Film is a meeting place of music, dance,acting, technology and human creativity. It exposes different aspects of human existence. Can cinema function as a philosophical text also? Can it analyse the nature of justice, truth? A close watching of the movie 12 Angry Men by Sidney Lumet willhelp us to understand how cinema can expose the realm of philosophical speculation.

       12 Angry Men is an American drama film adapted from the teleplay of the same name by Reginald Rose. The film begins with the verdict of a murder trial and 12 men from various professions are asked to re-examine the court verdict. If they find the accused guilty, then he will be hanged.

           At the beginning of the film all the jurors except an architect voted the accused as guilty. He stood for a possibility of a different course of events which other jurors refused to accept. He was asked to explain and he demanded another voting in which he was supported by a wise and observant elderly man. As the homicide trial continues, the architect manages to convince others that the court trial is not as obviously clear as they thought. With his clever inferences and meticulous observation and analysis, he defended his point of view and eventually got majority. The accused is acquitted at the end of the film.

        The film exposes the nature of justice and the role of class, power and gender in forming one's sense of justice. It also points at the inability of man to come to final conclusion and brings out the attitude of jurors towards the trial and how social prejudices twists the objectivity of human understanding. It explores how ones sense of justice, truth etc... are influenced by various social forces.

Throughout the history of cinema, film makers have presented various philosophical issues which are fundamental in our understanding of the world.  Japanese film Rashomon (1950)  by Akira Kurasova and the recent Oscar winning Iranian film A Separation (2011) by Asghar Farhadi are examples of film makers attempt to dramatise some of these issues. In Rashomon, Kurasova lets three characters to report one incident in three different ways. The viewer gets the view of a Samurai, his wife and that of Tajomaru, a bandit. The three  narrates three stories in which the hero and villeins are alternated. A wood cutter sums up the narration by crossing the narratives of the first three. The spectators are not sure about the authenticity of any view. Kurasova ends the film with a pleasant note as the wood cutter takes care of the abandoned child. Through the film he poses the issue of the authenticity of human knowledge, truth and the essential nature of man. The film A Separation also presents the ambiguities we have in human experiences.

          Instead of presenting everyday experiences, its pleasure and sorrows, these films have challenged the existing human centered knowledge systems and its limitation to create any abstract concept. In this sense they match some of the philosophical texts written in this regard. They pleases the audience as a piece of art but explores values of their times. As Ray observed, the art of cinema has proved to be the master art that can include all other forms.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Kerala PSC HSA English Rank File Series – 8 Solved Model Question Paper [Descriptive]

Charles Lamb’s Prose Style

[Place of Charles Lamb among English essayists- two qualities that distinct his essays- personal and imaginary- humor filled with pathos- long sentences- use of old fashioned words-imitation of Elizabethan writers]
Charles Lamb is considered as one of the best essayists in English literature. He has published a variety of essays on various themes under the pseudonym Elia. His best essays are collected in Essays of Elia (1823) and The Last Essays of Elia (1833) which secured a place for him among the best prose writers of the language. Lambs essays are remarkable as it portrays the life of the people of his time. Two of the most distinctive features of his essays are the use of personal elements and the imaginative characters. Differing from all other essayists, Lamb’s essays are deeply personal and they present anecdotes from his memories. Lamb placed his life, longing and the life of the people as the central concern of his essays. The charm of Lamb’s essays lie in its ability to encompass the personal and the serious with the flavor of imagination. Dramatic characterization marks another peculiarity of his style. In many of his essays, he creates imaginary characters and weaves the story. For example, in essays like Dream Children: A reverie and The South Sea House he has introduced remarkable characters. In Dream Children, he imagines his unborn children Alice and John. The presentation is so captivating that the reader considers them as real until they declare that they are unreal. Similarly, in The South Sea House, Lamb introduces so many workmen at South Sea house who are imaginary. 

Humor and pathos are the key tone of Lamb’s essays. Though his portrayal of characters is humorous, the undercurrent of pathos can be felt by the readers. Almost all significant essays of lamb have been derived from his tragic experiences which he disguised in humor. Any sensible reader of Lamb may be caught by the underlying flow of pathos.

Lamb’s use of language is characterized by the use of long, unwinding sentences. He plays with language like ‘the wind plays with the leaves’. Just like Elizabethan writers, he also makes use of alliteration and compound words. Another noteworthy element of his essay is the use of old fashioned words and the quotes from various texts.

In a nutshell, Lamb’s prose style encompasses personal, imaginary tales in long sentences with is attractive in its humorous tone. Though the imitation of Elizabethan prose writers can be found in some of his essays, themes, characterization and humorous tone of the essays is his own.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

III semester MA (CSS-PG) result. 12/2012

Dear students

Calicut University has published  III semester MA (CSS-PG) result. The exam was conducted at 12 December 2012. To get the result, please click on the link below.

III Semester M.A. English(CSS-PG) 12/2012

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Analysis of The Uncolonised Mind by Ashish Nandy Part 2

                  In the second section of the essay, Nandy presents the case of Aurobindu who was a counterpoint to Kipling. He was born to Indian parents and was sent to England for higher education. Like Kipling Aurobindu also felt cultural alienation as he was brought up in strict westernized cultural background. He was denied of any contact with anything that was Indian-language, culture etc...Culturally Aurobindu was a European child and he wanted to have a cultural self-affirmation through Indian spiritualism. He developed spiritualism as a language of defense. Unlike Kipling, Aurobindu wanted to own up Indianness in him to become his version of authentic Indian. When Kipling tried to identify with imperialism by disowning his Indianness, Aurobindu wanted to rejoin the indianess buried deep in him and to become an Indian. The important thing is Kipling’s new ‘self' is formed when he disown India ad accept the values of imperialism, but for Aurobindu, there is no need of disowning the west in him to become an Indian as Indian cosmology includes all, the material and spiritual. Nandy stresses on the idea that Aurobindu used 'English' as the vehicle of his self-expression throughout his life. Nandy's concept of an inclusive India is elaborated here. Though anglicized scholars consider India as a realm of spirituality, Indian philosophy includes the spiritual and material. So, the orientalist attitude towards India as an anti-thesis to materialist west is invalid. On the other hand, Indian cosmology can share diversity of the universe and Aurobindu succeeded in placing western elements in him within the fold of Indian civilization. Kipling had to give up his Indian self as colonialism constructed India as the ‘other’.

                    Disenchanted with the west and its values Aurobindu returned home; became a part of Indian freedom struggle, and played a key role in moulding the nationalist front in India. During this period he was arrested for his assumed role in creating violence against British imperialism. He took this opportunity to learn Indian languages and philosophy.  After this tenure at prison, Aurobindu came out and evolved a system of freedom and beliefs. As he was a scholar in Indian as well as Western discourses, he believed in introducing a system of beliefs which will include all-both East and west within its frame. He was aware that east is imperfect without west. Using the vision he had, Aurobindu realised that the colonial concept of a opposing India v/s west is not true; it, on the other hand, is complimentary. Later in his life, Aurobindu built an ashram in Pondichery and it was systematized by Mira Paul Richard, a French woman. His spiritualism enabled Aurobindu to see beyond the binary opposition of male v/s female, and east and west. When writers like Kipling and Naipaul considered Indian past as a glorious one and projected India as an anti-thesis to material west, Aurobindu placed India as a synthesis in which both Indian and western elements have to negotiate. Instead of projecting east in term of west, Nandy attempts a deep-rooted analysis of Indian system which will provide a comprehensive cosmology within which all discourses reposition themselves. In other words, the disenchantment found in writers like Kipling and Naipaul rises from their acceptance of ‘self-definition, provided by colonialism to its subjects. Colonial discourses have succeeded in defining itself and othering all other discourses. As a result, writers of the last two century often borrowed colonial view point of India and argued for India's reawakening in western terms. When it failed, they hated it and glorified the material past of India. We can see a similar tone in the writings of the first Indian English poet, Henry Derozio. Aurobindu has come in term with Indian elements and suggested an Indian spiritual vision which includes all other systems in the world. India, as Aurobindu finds it, is a system that doesn't form the anti-thesis of the west. It negates the inherent binaries of colonial thought and suggests a synthesis. Like the binaries, masculine and feminine is irrelevant in the concept of androgyny, or present and past is irrelevant in timelessness. British colonial constructions are irreverent in the breadth of Indian cosmology; hence it doesn't provide any warrior hero to confront the empire. Its strategy is different

                        Presenting the cases of Kipling, who internalized colonial construction of self, accepted the values of the empire and submitted himself by serving imperialism, and Aurobindu, who rejected the self definition provided by west and affirmed himself through Indian spirituality and prepared the ground for great understanding of the universe, Nandy takes up the example of Gandhi, who practiced this visionary consciousness in politics. The right response to colonialism is not to meet colonialism in its own terms, but to develop a system of beliefs that defines the position of the colonized in their terms. Kipling demanded the victim to meet the savagery of oppressor with their own savagery. He hated Indians who submitted themselves to colonialism for material benefits and found them repulsive. According to Nandy, the success of Gandhi lies in establishing a theory of imperialism without losers and winners. Since imperialism defined itself as superior, winner and the agent of civilization, Gandhi preferred to consider the hegemony of colonial powers without any losers or winners. Writer like Kipling liked to see colonialism as a moral statement on the superiority of some cultures as the inferiority of others. For this reason, they were even willing to accept that some had the right to speak of the superiority of Indian culture over the western culture. This moral superiority of imperialism was questioned by Gandhi. Many of the modernists of Indian freedom struggle found colonialism as an agent of progress and believed in its right to exist as a superior power. They considered colonialism as a menace and India’s liberation through modernizing India. Gandhi treated imperialism as an immoral agent and used Christian values to bring out the evil in it. Gandhi also pointed out that, the process of colonialism cannot help to create a civilized living as it is illegitimate. By refusing to separate facts from values, he interrogated the internal value system of colonialism that disqualified itself in making a valued state of beings. Gandhi’s non-modern readings of colonialism made all agents irrelevant and gave limited access to the technology associated with it. The cultural position of Gandhi is remarkable as he kept away from radical critique of the west and an aggressive affirmation of his Indianess.

                    Citing the transformation happens to the word ‘Hindu’, Nandy explains how a self definition to the word limited its scope. Up to 19th century the word refers to the way of living of the people of India; now it means an ideological standpoint, In other words acceptance of any self definition in internalization of an ideological view point.

                  Focusing on the non-modern reading of western discourses, Nandy emphasizes how the passive, effeminate, reluctance often becomes a success. So, counter narratives do not always mean to meet enemy on his own terms. The lazy, passive and effeminate subject may defend his cultural traits by pretending to be so. It goes on to say that Indian culture preserves itself by employing different strategies. The uniqueness of Indian culture lies in the society’s traditional ability to live with cultural ambiguities and to meet them to build psychological and even meta-physical defenses against cultural invasion. Indian culture has succeeded to live with so many alien cultures and has not lost its features. During the colonial period, Indians had renegotiated its values within the colonial discourses. Differing from other cultures, it positioned itself in a highly ambiguous cultural process. This flexibility of Indian culture enable it to renegotiate itself with any align culture as Indian cosmology is inclusive in its reach. As a result, there is hardly any space for aggressive confrontation and the culturekeep the ambiguity so that the survivals of its members are ensured.

By employing a passive, cowardly and easily negotiable role for himself, the victim keep the stage occupied and when opportunity turns up, he strikes. It is better to be dead in somebody else’s eyes, so as to be alive for one’s own self, So Indian response to colonialism was often described as opportunistic, cowardly and effeminate. This is not a submission of the subject to the hegemonic orders, but a survival strategy that escape the victim to collate his self and evolve a theory out of his suffering.

 Click here to read

Analysis of The Uncolonised Mind by Ashish Nandy Part 1