When was the last time when a nation of fragmented opinions unanimously poured their emotions so genuine, so natural and so powerful. Well, it might strain your memory to reconcile until the demise of cinema’s greatest acumen Irrfan Khan moved an entire generation of cinephiles and more beyond. But, what made this man and his death not so trivial?

The world is a carnival of emotions and the celluloid is thus its biggest celebration. The silver screen has for long served as the recluse for all or most of our feelings, and its players inevitably become a part of our lives. The audience around the globe and our nation in particular adores its movie personalities, their influence caters to wider prospects and their presence ushers greater momentum. They feature on our walls and our device screens; our collective memories and pleasant dreams and cultivate our endeavors by endorsing them. But, dont these things cater to the conventional stars of visual grandeur-  those who feature in extravagant films with formulaic conventions, a stardom, a following and a fanbase of their own. While, it might be that we as a generation have evolved with our preferences and adjudication of cinema or perhaps, Irrfan superseded all of this to manifest a culture of a different kind, just as his roles, movies and nature.

On 29th April, the internet community rolled into sorrow as the social media feeds were flooded with feelings over the loss of our finest cinematic potential – Irrfan. Tributes, eulogies, nostalgia and prayers, he was all over, the 53 year old Irrfan was struggling with a neuroendocrine tumor, a rare cancer and hence left the world with his last performance in the March 2020 release ‘Angrezi Medium’. From juniors to contemporaries of film fraternities in Bollywood, Hollywood and Regional Films; composers to sports personalities and politicians, comedians to social media influencers; writers and scholars, everyone mourned the loss of this legendary persona. I found people who are generally technoverted and closeted in expression, remembering the man as if it was a personal loss, and hence it prompted me to discuss the various souls of this single shoulder, which embodied myriads of happiness, sorrow, catharsis, hope, belief, pain and reality as one.

The Pan India Icon

It isn’t surprising that a man who brought life to the character of Ashoke Ganguli in the Namesake as a first generation Bengali immigrant, uttered every word of Paan Singh in natural Chambali dialect. Umber Singh in Qissa cherishes every breath in Punjabi while Roohdaar haunts the streets of Kashmir with same vigour. Ranvijay Singh of Haasil resonates the North Indian political demography as Raj Batra of Hindi Medium does with regard to the typical Old Delhi shop-owner. Thomas in Mumbai Meri Jaan is the rare depiction of the South Indian vendor in the cinescape, and the same goes true for Saajan Fernandes who effortlessly anchors The Lunchbox as an about to retire widower in Mumbai. His last appearance as Keshav Bansal, a Marwari sweet shop-owner in Angrezi Medium marked the essence of his nativity in Rajasthan.

An Artist beyond Big Screen

Irrfan was more than a Bollywood actor, having done films like The Warrior, The Namesake, Inferno and Jurrasic World he is an established figure in Hollywood and has featured in Telugu and Bengali films as well and didn’t hesitate to involve in Short films like Road to Ladakh and The Bypass either. A trained dramatics student of National School of Drama, Irrfan was deeply involved in theatre and was a keen observer in theatre festivals even after gaining prominence. Irrfan started with television and went on to star in period dramas like Chandrakanta and Chanakya and hosted shows like Don and Mano Ya Na Mano. His iconic voice was more than enough to narrate films like Bajirao Mastani or dub over as Baloo in The Jungle Book.

Irrfan as an enthusiastic meme, which is popular with Indian Netizens.  Image Credits: Imageflip
Irrfan as an enthusiastic meme, which is popular with Indian Netizens.
Image Credits: Imageflip

Irrfan didn’t stop here, he went on to feature in television commercials like 7 UP, Hutch, Syska. His every Bollywood Party song or Podcast with AIB and collaborations with FilterCopy has negated stereotypes and was an enthusiastic volunteer for a perennially popular meme content.


A Literature Enthusiast

Irrfan Khan with Shamsur Rahman Faruqi Sahab Image Source: Thread Reader App
Irrfan Khan with Shamsur Rahman Faruqi Sahab
Image Source: Thread Reader App

I often wonder how many mainstream icons of such engagements engross with literature or other arts, while the quest goes on forever with disappointments, many a times I do come across someone like Irrfan, who reads Om Prakash Valmiki’s ‘Thakur Ka Kuan’ so enthusiastically, and passionately pens his feeling to great Urdu Writer Shamsur Rahman Farooqi, admiring his ‘Kai Chand the Sare Aasmaan’ and his eagerness on making a film on the same.

A Devout Human

Among many reasons that prompted so many people from various walks to respond to the demise of this great actor was probably the humanitarian nature that was typical of Irrfan apart from being a brilliant actor. Attaining the stature he was endowed with Irrfan was humble in his approach, his confidants and acquaintances reminisce him as a person of natural instict who respected his work and humans, nature and creatures alike. He was a dedicated family man, who loved his wife and children.

Apart from being a volunteer for social causes. In 2015, the actor had visited Badanavalu, a village near Nanjangud, to support theatre personality and social activist Prasanna, who launched a movement to promote sustainable living, the actor spent night with the people of the movement and has continually supported causes for sustainable development and climate change.

Irrfan with Activist Prasanna Image Credits: Deccan Herald
Irrfan with Social Activist Prasanna
Image Credits: Deccan Herald

There might be many stars with social campaigning, a perfect rags to riches story, brilliant executioners in their own fields but there was something specific about this human, the man who will be cherished by generations for what he was and what he has left as his works.

Featured Image Credits: India Today

Faizan Salik

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In times of an ideological crisis, conversations are imperative to prevent the homogenization of ideas by the authority. Rabindranath Tagore felt the emergence of a crisis during the freedom struggle. As a result, he delivered three speeches in different parts of the world, with two of them talking about the oriental ‘nations’ of India and Japan. The third lecture centered around the West and the ideology exhibited by its people. Tagore believes that the idea of nationalism originated as a measure to counter chaos and disorder. The chapter of nationalism in the west draws a subtle line between truth and untruth, and shows how untruth is lionized as a means to economic attainment. Through a resourceful criticism of the West, he gives them hope and assurance of a better future. The author praises the West for being a lover of individual rights and liberty but denounces its acts of suppression in the colonies. In Nationalism in India, Tagore scrutinizes the Indian society and provides numerous warnings to the same. In the beginning, he gives an explanation for the existence of the caste system and implicitly justifies it by terming it as a legitimate response to the diversity present in Indian society. Towards the end, he calls for action against the caste system, thereby retaining the faith imposed on him by his readers. Tagore showers words of praise for Japan, a nation which, according to him, embraced modernity while retaining its own spiritual and humanitarian values. He writes, “In a word, modern Japan has come out of the immemorial East like a lotus blossoming in easy grace, all the while keeping its firm hold upon the profound depth from which it has sprung.” As seen in the other two essays, he warns the Japanese as well, by saying that they might lose their ideals by racing with the west. “If it be a mere reproduction of the West, then the great expectation she has raised will remain unfulfilled.” The Nobel laureate writes the trio of essays by giving it a poetic touch. He’s able to capture the essence of oriental philosophy in a few pages, long before the world came to blows with each other. His essays draw a distinction between the oriental and the western culture, which serves as a beautiful reminder to the millennials, people who look at their hands and see no history. Tagore’s Nationalism ends with a Bengali poem, The Sunset of the Century, which is translated into English. In the last few lines of the poem, he appeals to the conscience of his readers through words weaved in majestic lines. The last stanza of the poem beautifully sums up his belief. Be not ashamed, my brothers, to stand before the proud and the powerful

With your white robe of simpleness.

Let your crown be of humility, your freedom the freedom of the soul.

Build God’s throne daily upon the ample bareness of your poverty

And know that what is huge is not great and pride is not everlasting.

Feature Image Credits: Sify

Kuber Bathla [email protected]]]>

On the occasion of Frankenstein Day, let’s look into the life of acclaimed author Mary Shelley and her widely celebrated work ‘Frankenstein’.

Born on 30th August 1797, Mary Shelley isn’t a name unknown to the literature enthusiasts. At a young age of 18, she made a mark for herself amongst the literary greats with her widely celebrated horror novel Frankenstein.

Her novel, born out of a friendly discussion and instigation by Lord Byron, earned her the title of “mother of horror stories”. With no prior writing experience, she displayed an exemplary display of her skills with Frankenstein, and reflected the literary genes she accrued from her parents- political writer William Godwin and famed feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

30th August marks itself as ‘Frankenstein Day’ to honour and celebrate this literary gem and her masterpiece.

Touching upon the themes of incessant quest for dangerous knowledge, ambition, and monstrosity, Frankenstein, published in 1818 is a masterpiece, remarkable in every aspect of its being.

Victor Frankenstein, a scientist with his quench for forbidden knowledge discovers how to create a living being out of inanimate dead beings. Putting his research into practice, Victor creates a living monster which he abandons at its very first glimpse, filled with hate and disgust for his creation.

Little did Victor know that in the process of creation of the monster, he is writing his and his family’s doom.

What provokes the reader’s thoughts is the diminishing line between the monster and Victor with the question of what it is to be a monster, which underplays in the text. How human is the monster and how monstrous is Victor becomes the theme which prevents the novel from becoming a flat-read of black and white characters.

The novel masterfully puts forth the perspective of the monster, and the sense of alienation and loneliness which engulfed him after his creator Victor abandoned him. As Victor goes on to continually defend his actions, Mary ultimately questions his ambitions and, cryptically, holds him responsible for all the suffering he and his family undergo.

Frankenstein is filled with suffering, death, and sadness and many critics find it to be a reflection of Mary’s own life filled with suffering. She lost her mother when she was barely ten days old, eloped with and married Percy Shelley when she was 16, and she lost him a few years later and three of her four children before they even touched the age of three.

Thus, her life filled with tragedy is reflected in her most famous work.

This novel laid the foundation for all the coming science fiction and horror novels and earned itself a classic position. With pertinent themes and intriguing narration, Frankenstein becomes a poignant read.

It’s not every other novel that has a special day to its name. So, cosy up in your beds this rainy weekend with a cup of coffee in one hand and Frankenstein in another.


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a part of English Honours’ fourth-semester syllabus.

Feature Image Credits: Looking-glass Theatre Company


Shreya Agrawal

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The English Department of the University of Delhi (DU) continues to be negatively affected by the Syllabus Controversy. 

The Executive Council of DU has approved the syllabus for English for the first semester, but this approved syllabus continues to be a mystery for not only the students, but also the professors. In fact, even the Head of the English Department, Professor Raj Kumar has not been made privy to the new syllabus. This continued delay with regard to the syllabus has now moved beyond ideological and ethical debates, and has started to negatively impact the students, causing mass worry and frustration across the University campuses. 

In most colleges, professors have started to teach the first-year students the old syllabus, but they are not sure about whether what they are teaching the first-year students is going to be relevant to them with respect to the upcoming examinations. Priyanshi Banerjee, a first-year student of English at Lady Shri Ram College, said, “No one seems to know anything about the new syllabus and this is causing a lot of problems for us first-years. Examinations are not going to get postponed, but considering the current slow pace of studies I don’t know how we are going to manage to complete our course work.”

Students are not even able to procure the books being taught currently because the bookstores in the college campuses are not stocking them, because of a lack of clarity with respect to the prescribed texts. Shyla Sharma, another first-year student of the English Department, said, “All of us are very anxious. It is very odd for us to see other department’s students going about their course work when we don’t even know what our syllabus is. Even the professors seem upset and lost, and this is causing a lot of confusion. We don’t even have all of our books yet, as we have been told not to buy them. I hope the syllabus is soon released.”

In spite of the mass tension, an academic debate in the midst of the syllabus controversy continues to flourish. Royina Chhabra, a first-year student of the English Department, said, “Restrictions are being put on our academic freedom. We should have a right to study what we want to, especially our history and culture irrespective of whether it is good or bad. How else are we supposed to learn and think for ourselves? This entire controversy is taking a huge toll on our education.” Many students also seem to be specifically upset about the negative debate with respect to the exclusion of the Queer Literature Paper. A first-year student of the English Department, who wanted to remain anonymous, said, “Queerness is a part of our lives. Section 377 no longer criminalises homosexuality, so why is our education system doing so? In fact, I believe that it is the responsibility of our education system to educate people about queerness because most people in India aren’t aware of, or comfortable about it. The fact that our new syllabus is probably going to be politically motivated and authoritarian in nature highly antagonises me.”

The Syllabus Controversy began when right-wing organisations like the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) objected to the English Department for including certain study material relating to caste and gender in the new syllabus. Specifically speaking, they had an issue with the story Manibein alias Bibijaan in which the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bajrang Dal are portrayed negatively, with respect to the 2002 Gujarat riots, and the inclusion of the depiction of Hindu deities in queer literature by taking references from texts like Bhagvath Puran, Sankar Puran, and Shiv Puran. Counter-protests for academic freedom by organisations like the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), Students’ Federation of India (SFI), All India Students’ Association (AISA), Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), and Pinjra Tod soon followed, leading to ideological and educational confrontations. This controversy has led to the syllabuses of many subjects not being released, even though the new academic year has already started. 

Feature Image Credits: Sriya Rane for DU Beat

Juhi Bhargava

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India’s acclaimed writer, director, scholar, and voice of rebellion Girish Karnad passes away at the age of 81.

Girish Karnad (1938-2019) was an actor, film director, multilingual writer, playwright, and Rhodes scholar. He passed away on 10th June at the age of 81, after suffering from degenerative pulmonary disorder for some time. His sad demise has left a void in the abstract world of art and literature. One of the most revered personalities has left behind a long lasting and unfaltering legacy.

Born in Maharashtra and brought up in Karnataka, he began writing plays in Kannada at a time when they were heavily influenced by western literature and marked the coming of modern play writing in Kannada. Yayati (1961) was his first novel based on the predecessors of the Pandavas. Tughlaq (1964) till date remains one of his most acclaimed plays. He debuted as an actor and screenwriter in Kannada movie Sanskara (1970). His directorial debut was the film Vamsha Vriksha (1971) based on a novel, which also won him a National Film Award for Best Direction. He has also showcased immense talent in several Bollywood films, most recently Ek Tha Tiger (2012) and its sequel. Rakshasa Tangadi, a Kannada play on the Battle of Talikota, remains his final work.

Karnad is the recipient of several prestigious awards including Jnanpith Award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, National Film awards and many more in the South and North Indian Cinema.

His contribution to activism remains invaluable. A champion of free speech, he was a critic of hard-line Hindutva and later the Babri Masjid incident. Further, he was also a proponent of secularism and multiculturalism, women’s rights, and identified as a liberal. He did not confine himself to films and plays, but fearlessly voiced himself for any cause. At an event at Bengaluru – which Karnad attended wearing a nasal tube, due to his deteriorating health – he wore a placard around his neck which said: Me Too Urban Naxal. Karnad commented, “If speaking up means being a Naxal, then I am an urban Naxal.”

In his biography, Aadadata Ayushya, he revealed how his mother intended to terminate her pregnancy when she conceived him. But due to delayed arrival of the doctor, his mother left the clinic. He went on to dedicate this biography to the doctor. Today the world mourns the death of this multitalented individual who could weave stories with colossal depth and meaning.

Kalrav Vashishtha, a first year B.A. (Honours) English student commented, “We had ‘Broken Images’ by Karnad in school, and I loved it. A few years later, I realised we just had a portion of it in our syllabus. It shocked me to the core to read the rest of the play. A masterful manipulator of words, he turns the whole play upside down with such haunting realism. We just lost one of the best writers in the country and the void can never be filled.”

His contributions in over ninety films in both Hindi and Kannada, thirteen directorial works, several plays and translations earned him places in institutes like Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Nehru Centre in London, and Sangeet Natak Akademi, among many others.

The master playwright was cremated in a quiet ceremony. He is survived by his wife, Saraswathy Ganapathy, and two children Radha and Raghu.

Feature Image Credits: Zee News


Shivani Dadhwal

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“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality” – Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is renowned for introducing the world to detective fiction as we know it and his unmatched gothic tales which are chock-full of morbidity and macabre elements. He saw strangeness and horror in things that were common place, through his words he weaved horror that not only rattled the soul but also captured the imagination of his audience.

The 19th century America was plagued with high mortality rate where children died in infancy, women rarely survived childbirth and the general atmosphere was filled with despondency. This proved a solid ground for Poe’s morbid tales to take root and thrive. His words brought the elements of violence, cruelty, madness, horror and existential dread alive in the heart of his readers and they could relate it with their surrounding which was at that time pervaded with feeling of grief and loss.

He derived inspiration heavily from his life which saw tragedies early on, with death of his mother during childbirth, death of his foster mother and death of his young wife Virginia. His work derived from this despair of his childhood and combined shock seamlessly with horror pulling the reader into his world of melancholy.

The Gothic tales of that time were becoming cliched with their repetitive content which involved dark castles and haunting secrets and in that environment Poe’s macabre tales emphasized on the strangeness of human psyche. He made his horror realistic by using the very whimsical and complex nature of psychology and tried to rationalize it through the medium of science.

In Premature Burial, Poe pens down the very real fear amongst the public about being buried alive which was a common occurrence at that time. He takes his dark romantic vision to another level with works like Berenice which has a level of psychological depravity that can give you goosebumps. In my personal favorite, The Masque Of The Red death, Poe personifies the plague like death itself which comes down on Prince Prospero and his horde of nobles with a vengeance. With the splendor of abbey, general sense of foreboding and the inevitability of death he draws a compelling horrific narrative.

Poe would construct the beginning in such a manner that it brought the feeling of apprehension upon the readers, cue this beginning from The Tell-tale Heart, “True! –nervous –very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses –not destroyed –not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?”

While his literary career was full of ups and down and death brought his turbulent life to an end, his stories paved way for rational horror stories and now he is immortalized in his works, forevermore!

Image credits : Pinterest

Antriksha Pathania
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Here’s a culmination of thoughts about what I have come to feel and believe in.

“Turning and Turning into the widening, The falcon cannot hear the falconer. Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold, Mere anarchy is loosened upon the world.” – W.B. Yeats (The Second Coming)
In my three years of studying English Literature, I do not think I have come across lines that better define the times that we have become a part of, both partly willingly and partly reluctantly.
With the turn of the year and the ever-nearing elections, we are seeing the worst that this country has to offer. We had a near war-like situation with Pakistan, there have been various accounts of Muslim lynchings, the situation of Kashmir is continuously falling into an everlasting non-conclusionary void. We have become the community that loves cows more than the girl child while rapes are still growing more in number and less human in grit.
Netflix, seemingly the only hope of escape from the brutal reality, has started cancelling shows that we want to watch and I do not understand what this Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) system in the University of Delhi (DU) is, in which you can’t even get marks.

India, as a nation, has achieved a feat of having killed 30 million women, from unborn children, to honour killings. To put it in comparison, even Hitler killed six million Jews. We, however are the nation of the woke and the ancient dharma. These are the deeds of Indians and religious fanatics – both Hindus and Muslims alike. No Pakistanis, no Chinese, no West – we are stuck protecting the cows and calling ourselves chowkidars, forgetting the duty we hold for our girl children. When will this play – pretend end? Many men have started becoming a part of the equal rights movement, yet where are the mainstream movements against lewd advertisements and songs? When will we realise silence is supportive only for the oppressor?
Another thing that bothers me is the society’s ignorance at how men are the victims of patriarchy too. We need to let go of the stigma that toxic masculinity and patriarchy put us men at a pedestal that damages us as well. We need the equality, the normality, as much as women do. It isn’t men versus women; it’s us together versus this social construct of patriarchy.

As the elections draw closer, we are seeing everyone choosing sides on this mindless battle of two parties with people going like “I will vote for Modi ji” or “I will vote for Rahul Gandhi.”

Everyone has blatantly forgotten that these elections are to vote for the person standing and delivering in your area. Vote for them based on facts and accountability, not based on propaganda jingoism.There are many more gloomy things that could have been entailed in this rant. However, I believe I have done my bit to share my thoughts enough to make at least one man think of what is happening in this great, beautiful nation, that has merely become a playground where the rich kids have the toys and we are stuck eating sand.
“It is what it is,
The playground of the puppets,
The ‘woke’ with strings attached, Those asleep completely detached.
In the great circus of life,
With the audience and the Joker, Maybe its all a dream, or maybe it’s over, When will we wake up to see things closer?
It is what it is.

A play with no players, and no god watching us over.”

Haris Khan
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The second day of Mushaira 2018 was dedicated to independent journalism, celebrating 10 years of the establishment of the largest student-run media organisation, DU Beat.

The day began with a panel discussion on “Quality Journalism for the New Age” was hosted by panellists Vinod Jose, Executive Editor of the Caravan, and Manisha Pande, Associate Editor of Newslaundry. In a vivacious discussion on quality journalism in the age of fake news and sheer propaganda, Vinod Jose and Manisha Pande enlightened the audience on the crises faced by modern day journalists. On being asked by Moderator Srivedant Kar on the apparent crisis looming upon media today, Vinod Jose held political pressure on journalists as being responsible. On the issue of distinguishing between quality and ‘fake’ journalism, Pande claimed that even the mainstream media isn’t exclusive of the phenomenon of fake propaganda; hence social media like Facebook and Twitter aren’t at fault alone.

Followed by the discussion on journalism was Dr. Shashi Tharoor’s inspirational speech on “How can the youth make a change today”. Dr. Tharoor started his speech by joking that age-old rivalry between Hindu College and St. Stephen’s is not there anymore and was nostalgic about his college days. He commented that students around his time had fewer opportunities than students of today and the youth must stay aware of the country’s politics. He emphasized the need for the youth of the country to be participative in decision making because they should not abdicate to old men for choices about their lives. He talked about India being the third country in the world with 800 startups each year, the advancement in telecommunications and advent of AI. The audience was enthusiastic throughout his speech and applauded him numerous times. He encouraged the students to take interest in various social or national issues and try to make a change. He ended his speech with the poem Tehzeeb by Gopal Krishna Gandhi and left the young minds absolutely enthralled.

The speech was succeeded by a panel discussion by three social media influencers, Sejal Kumar, Shibani Bedi and Shivesh Bhatia. The three talked about their gradual success, making good content, and to reach out to the target audience. Given the day and age we all live, and being a consumer of visual art, one’s photography skills matter but Shivesh added that one must make the best of what is at their disposal whether it is a phone, computer or DSLR. They all ended the discussion with the fact that there are no instant results and brands eventually come if one is committed fully to one’s work.

The next speaker of the session was Suchita Salwan who is the CEO and Founder of Little Black Book. She also happens to be a Hindu college alumnus. Talking about entrepreneurship, she quoted “There’s a difference between an influencer and an entrepreneur”. She emphasised on the fact that people who aspire to be entrepreneurs need to focus on forming winning companies. Also, addressing the problem of availing funds, she pointed out that it is important to find the right kind of investor for the company. A brief Q&A session followed.

In a nostalgic journey through memory lane, the former DU Beat members engaged the audience in a spirited discourse of their life after DU Beat. The panel consisted of Radhika, Gurman, and Brij, all ex-DUBsters. Their discussion ranged from jovial anecdotes about how Brij’s first article was rejected by Gurman Bhatia who was the Web Editor. DU Beat had played in constructing their professional lives. When asked about the prerequisites of being a good journalist, Radhika remarked, “You don’t necessarily need to do English honours to be a journalist. You don’t need to know fancy words. You just need to know how to do clean reporting.”

Speaking on “Partition Literature”, Sukrita Paul Kumar opined on the anguish and pain associated with the creative reflections of 1947. Quoting Gulzar’s “Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji,” she asked the audience to revive the ‘child’ in them in order to prevent the rising homogenisation of society and keep alive the spirit of dynamic creativity. For her, knowledge of history combined with personal experience captures the essence of history better than history itself.

Following up next was the team of Slip of Tongue, who is a group performing slam poetry formed by the National Youth Poetry Slam winner Diksha Bijlani. Originally composed of seven members, only four could make it at the event. Starting off “Hero Syndrome”, Diksha Bijlani lifted the spirit of everyone present in the audience. Somesh Thapliyal’s “Toxic Masculinity” was the next performance. Diksha Bijlani and Cheryl Mukherjee performed a duet on female camaraderie titled “Bra Shopping”, much to the delight of the audience. The fourth member Ishaan Chawdhary performed a love poem titled “A wedding song”. Their performances left everyone snapping their fingers, which is a slam poetry tradition. A few other sets of poems followed before the team signed off, leaving the auditorium filled with the sound of snaps and claps.

In an enchanting performance by Delhi-based singers and songwriters Vishnu Kumar and Amani Kerr, the duo initiated their rhapsody with “Sugar” from Maroon 5. As it progressed to “I Can’t Feel My Face” from The Weeknd, everyone was left tapping their feet. The high-point of their rhapsody was the performance of “Attention” by Charlie Puth. They also captivated the audience with two of their originals, “Kite” and “Where the Light is Always Green”. With this, they drew the curtains of Mushaira 2018.


Feature Image Credits: Sahil Chauhan for DU Beat.

Oorja Tapan
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Karan Singhania
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Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak
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Prachi Mehra
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The much awaited literary festival of Hindu College, Mushaira 2018 witnessed students flocking from a myriad of colleges of the University of Delhi. The event started with customary lighting of lamps by Nasera Sharma, Guest Speaker, along with Dr. Anju Srivastava, the Principal of Hindu College, and Manisha Pandey, Speaker of Hindu College Parliament. Muhammed Daniyal, Minister of Literary Activities of the Hindu College Parliament delivered the keynote address delineating the problems they had to face to come up with the speakers line-up. He presented a timeline of how the society evolved from the stage of genesis to the present day. He painted Mushaira as a stage to revoke the atmosphere of hysteria and intolerance.

Nasera Sharma began with the first speaking session on “Ignored languages and their revival with special emphasis on Urdu”. She made a strong point about the current generation before talking on her subject, about holding the power to resolve the issues that the current generation created. She quoted “Sarkar aati jaati hai par naagrik bane rehte hai”. She protested the belief of eliminating the use of English in order to promote Hindi before telling about how different languages like Pashto and Sanskrit are related through grammar. She emphasised on how India came close to the Middle Eastern countries through literature. Bemoaning the lack of knowledge of people she mentioned that Urdu is a victim of political divisions. Concluding her talk, she shed light on how the originality and beauty of the Hindi language is dying.

Maintaining the poetic vibe, Hindi Kavi Sammelan followed next. More than ten guests were invited to speak on this event. Madhyam Saxena was the first speaker who started the session on a comic note leaving the audience in giggles. The short poems or shayaris as we know them revolved mainly around romance. Some notable guests who came up to mesmerise the audience were Shambhu Shikhar and Azhar Iqbal. The presence of such renowned artists added to the lustre of the already entertaining event. Even though it was the longest session of the day, but the laughter didn’t let the enthusiasm fade. The session also featured some university poets such as Nitin Kumar of KiroriMal College and Sanjana Jha, who is a Hindu College alumuna.

The last and the most anticipated performance of the day was a Qawali session by Junior Qutbi Brothers. They began their performance by informing the crowd about the 800 year old tradition of Qawali, which they believe, is an integral part of the cultures of the Indian subcontinent. They serenaded the crowd with devotional songs like Chaap Tilak as well as popular hits like Coke Studio’s version of Afreen Afreen by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The first day of Mushaira 2018 ended on a soulful and melodious note.


Feature Image Credits: Sahil Chauhan for DU Beat.

Oorja Tapan
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Karan Singhania
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Sandeep Samal
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Bhavya Banerjee
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Bob Dylan, the singer – songwriter won the Nobel in the Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song traditions”. With that the earth came to a halt, figuratively of course.  The Pandora’s box that opened included two important issues – limitation of the current definition of literature and lack of diversity of Nobel laureates.

The whole community had their views regarding this event, while some people like Philip Pullman, Salman Rushdie and Joyce Carol Oates welcomed the decision, others were flabbergasted at the possibility of a songwriter being placed in the category of literature. Ruskin Bond called it a “great insult to all the writers who have already received the award and also to those who rightly deserve it” Jodi Picoult tweeted “I’m happy for Bob Dylan. #ButDoesThatMeanICanWinAGrammy?”.

Did Bob Dylan really deserve the Nobel Prize for literature? The answer to this question may vary, but can a songwriter bag a prize for literature? I think yes.

What is literature? Literature, as I understand is not just written text but a combination of lyrics and art as well wrapped around in a light thread, the definition of which is still expanding. When discussing the aspects of a century or a particular time frame, the lyrics and the discourse caused by them is also discussed.

It does not have a well bounded definition and it should not. In earlier times, there was no collective definition of literature. During pre literature, literature mainly constituted of oral traditions like folklore, folk songs etc which were an amalgamation of the societies history, their culture. It is an expansive art that continues to grow in all directions as we speak.

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan’s song lyrics have been a part of the academic syllabus where themes, motifs, structure etc is discussed just like other literature pieces are examined and the lyrics have been a platform for research and academic papers as well.

The other, more recent conversation is questioning the whole Nobel Prize establishment itself. With 867 awards distributed since 1901, just 46 have been awarded to women. The demographics show that western countries have received a disproportionately high number of awards igniting a conversation about the lack of diversity and the reinforcement of hierarchy especially when the rumoured list of nominees for literature included Ngugi wa thiono’o from Kenya and Ali Ahmad Said Esber (Adonis) from Syria which have received one and zero Nobel Prize for Literature respectively.

The Nobel Prize this year has not been without controversy but it has opened up important discussions about the boundaries of a category, whether there is a need to have more categories, questioning of the procedure and decision making that goes on when deciding the nominee for the Nobel and why there is a large disparity in the awards.

Adarsh Yadav

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