Society & Lifestyle
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|by Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam|
I am a writer; a poet, fiction-writer and essayist who writes in English language. I have been writing for the last 30 years. None of my works are published. I am not an established or famous author. I am not counted as a contributor to Indian Writing in English. The advent of literary websites has given me an opportunity to express myself frequently and made me a much-read writer. I have got bouquets and brick bats for my creations.
Now-a-days I am feeling a bit tired of all this experience and also am feeling I have expressed much and there is not much worthwhile more to share with my learned and aesthetic readers. My readers are all competent in their own fields and are well-versed and well-read. I have been enjoying their responses to my creations which many times inspired and encouraged me for some more creations. I have made a few friends also during this period whose company I always cherish and relish. Recently I have decided to take a break from literary activity of writing and relax completely amounting to slowly receding to the background and forget that I am a writer and become a devotee to Lord Krishna and lead a spiritual life. And I stopped writing, composing poems and posting them in the websites temporarily.
Then a peculiar thing has happened. A public interest petition was filed against me in a subordinate court in my town. The litigation is I must not stop writing. I was really amused by the incident. I was arrested and presented before the Honorable Judge for the trial. I am completely confounded by the turn of events. Living in the jail, daily going to court and coming back have made me irritable and impatient. I argued my case myself. I did not engage any lawyer. I pleaded with the honorable judge about my constitutional right of doing what I want and abstaining from doing what I do not want to do.
The lawyer for the petitioner is a rationalist and an atheist. He is pleading his case well. He says that as a writer I have an obligation to the society and I do not have any right to abdicate that responsibility suddenly. The Honorable Judge concurred with the petitioner’s lawyer on many points and that made me speechless in wonder. I argued that I have many opinions which are unpopular and if I express them I will be pounced, hounded and hunted by the interested people and leaders. I told the judge that I have strong views on social, political, gender, religious and the like issues and if I express those I will be torn into pieces by persons who have contradicting views; whose very existence is thriving based on these divisions. They will blame me and call me names. So I told honorable judge that I decided to stop writing.
Then the honorable judge said, suddenly I cannot take such a decision and I must reform myself to suit the majority of the citizens and write for them.
I have written enormous stuff on pollution, climate change and the hazards of smoking, drinking etc., still the situation remains the same as before I started expressing myself. My write-ups have got the attention of some discerned readers and that is all. Under these circumstances, I told the judge that I do not have much left to be expressed.
When I said that I am not for corruption, all isms, suppression of merit, and the like the learned judge ruled that I must conform to the societal expectations and express accordingly. Peculiarly he dismissed my argument for my civil rights, saying a writer has no freedom or individual life. He is a public person and must shun personal preferences and must be objective. When I told the judge that none of my works were published and I am not a writer in the real sense of the term, he ruled that the moment I decided to write I cease to be an individual with individuality; all my resources are at society’s disposal. I must continue using them for society’s welfare and well-being.
I protested to the learned judge saying the moment I decided to stop writing I cease to be a writer and none of these laws bind me. But the honorable judge did not concur. He said it is better to light a tiny lamp than blaming the darkness around. I pleaded with the judge saying that I am really tired of expressing myself in this vicious atmosphere and my opinions have no takers. And many individuals who are intolerant are using filthy language and even threatening to eliminate physically their opponents. I do not want to be a target to such uncultured and uncivilized persons who are barbarous and I am not ready to risk my peace of mind or life for my expressions.
I informed the judge that I am now 55 years old and want to turn my attention towards God and want to spend the rest of my life in singing His Glory and strive to attain salvation and completely immerse myself in spirituality.
At this stage the lawyer for the petitioner has intervened saying there is no God and I am like a person who has taken opium and I must continue writing for the exploited and must follow atheism. He also argued that people like me are dangerous to society and must not be allowed to sing the glory of the God. He also said that service to humanity is service to God. Moksha or salvation, are words used by certain people to indulge in vain pursuits and mislead the rest of the communities.
I am completely taken aback by this argument of the petitioner’s lawyer. I told the honorable judge to leave me to myself and do not dictate to do what I do not want to do. I informed My Lord that one must read the constitution thoroughly where each citizen’s freedom and independence are guaranteed and I can practice what I want without harming any one. I also informed the court that writing is an aesthetic activity which goes on voluntarily as the cuckoo sings, peacock dances, rivers flow, flowers bloom, men and women fall in love, children smile and elderly profess wisdom.
A person cannot be compelled to do anything against his will much less to write. Nature dwells in the writer and poets as intuition and instinct and makes one to respond, compose, express and revel in one’s own creations. I lived and passed all these moments and I just want to live my life peacefully in the company of Lord Krishna.
I also told the honorable judge that I know Sanskrit, German and French languages and will do translations of classics among these languages and also into my mother tongue Telugu and thus will be in touch in literature as well; and also that I am only a part-time writer and my real interest lies in doing scientific research and by profession I am a researcher. And pleaded with the judge not to curb my freedom of speech and that I want to remain unheard as I am not in a mood and do not want to create anything from my study, knowledge, views, opinions, understanding, insight and scholarship. And there are many equally learned and talented persons who are flooding the literary street with their goods and my non-writing does not actually affect the output; just as a drop of water removed from the ocean does not make any difference to the amount of water present.
But My Lord sentenced me to simple imprisonment for five years where I must be supervised by the jail warden that I write daily and post. I became dumb by hearing the judgment. I am dragged to the jail.
Suddenly I woke up. I was profusely sweating. My bewilderment is still fresh and I am still in daze of the judgment. It took five minutes to realize that all that happened has been a mere dream. I am completely relieved. And I decided once again to take complete break from writing. But I liked the observations of the learned judge that it is better to light a tiny lamp than blaming the darkness around. I am a bit softened by the truth and duty embedded in the words of the learned judge and will start writing occasionally when I strongly feel for the cause or any incident or person that impresses me. And of course I dedicate major part of my life to Lord Krishna.
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