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Literature and Politics
|by Ananya S Guha|
The subject matter of my discussion, and my ensuing points, which I am all set to make, with a vengeance may seem to many to be strange bedfellows. No, I am not saying that there are thematic political concerns in literature - that is a truism. But what I am going to say, is that there are literary coteries which work with cunning and machinations like any political group, for ouster of people who they are jealous of, or feel threatened by.
The fact is that political acumen, I use the word euphemistically can work outside of political systems and trappings. Anyone can play politics, at home or in work, among friends and among relatives. But when literary exponents, with all their talk of humanism, play baiting, sensational and mud slinging roles we have reached in a way, the nadir both of literature and politics. Literary coteries can be vicious, trying and self arrogant. So can individual writers.
The basic premise of genuine creativity is humility and not self attained hubris. But I have seen writers who do not wish what they write to be touched, let alone edited. The editor must always be given a prerogative, whether in a book or a journal, and every writer must respect that prerogative. But the worst is when literary coteries are formed for canvassing and nasty politics, to assail and even oust particular writers who pose a threat to the highly insecure ones.
In economics good money drives out bad money, here bad writers can drive out the good ones. There is immense potential for this, when literary coteries do the ganging up action. It is saddening to say the least.
In the beginning of this century two notable poet writers of our country played the original sin of politicking, by virtually driving out an internationally acclaimed woman novelist and social activist from the Presidency of our government backed literary body. It was a shameless grotesque act of blatant chicanery and petty politicking. Now, one of these writers is in a bit of a soup, when one woman novelist of another country accused him of sexual harassment in her Twitter page! His response was not a tweet but a guarded response, which had the clever make up of a dissembling person. So this is what happens,you play the sin of politics, you pay for it. So literary coteries beware.
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